See Luminosity

The Problem With Modern Liberalism For Christians

The Problem With Modern Liberalism For Christians

Against all odds, and contrary to what virtually every political pundit on both sides thought, Donald Trump won.

He won, and the election revealed how completely polarized our country is.

see-luminosity-1280-9This most recent election indicated that America is guided by two fundamentally different views of how the world works, and Christians are weighing in passionately from both sides of the aisle.

I explained in a previous post that I believe committed believers, who honestly seek to live out their faith principles, can make reasonable arguments for voting for a variety of both Democratic policies and Republican ones. There is no “Christian political party”. I want to be clear about that. But, in spite of the fact that I feel Christians can make reasoned arguments for ways their vote can accomplish Christian purposes in voting for candidates or policies from either party, there are some significant differences in the bedrock beliefs that undergird our two major political parties – and they do not both correspond to a Christian understanding of the world.

I believe that when Christians are thinking about the best way to further the cause of Christ in a complex political system, they must look not only to the policies of each party, but to the worldviews that underlie those policies. In other words, while there are plenty of reasonable arguments to be made on the small scale on the ways Democratic policies look more like Jesus than Republican, or that Republican policies more closely represent Christian values than Democratic, Christians must move beyond individual policies and look beyond them to the foundations underneath them – because it is those foundations that determine how people understand the world, and how they respond to it.

In doing so, I want to be clear about terms. Rather than addressing Republicans or Democrats, I will refer instead of conservatism and liberalism/progressivism. I am conceptualizing these terms according to the most generalized ways they are expressed within current political thought and practice, understanding that whenever one generalizes, it means explanations will never fit perfectly. In other words, For the purposes of this discussion, conservatism refers to the political approach valued by the Founding Fathers that values tradition, limited government, and Judeo-Christian moral values, and is loosely represented by Republicanism. For the purposes of this discussion, I am not referring to classical liberalism (which, in many ways, holds similar values to modern conservatism), but to modern liberalism.  In doing so, I will interchange the term liberalism with progressivism, due to the predominance of progressive thought amongst modern liberals.[1] Progressivism refers to the political approach that values social justice, expanded government, a pragmatic or consequentialist approach to moral values, and is loosely represented by Democrats.

While various policies of both parties can arguably advance the cause of Christ, the underlying foundations of both parties’ platforms represent to completely different worldviews. A worldview generally answers 3 major questions:   see-luminosity-1920-14

 

  1. Where did we come from?
  2. What is wrong with the world?
  3. How can we fix it?

Christians, of course, must adhere to and live by a biblical worldview – they must answer these questions according to what has been revealed in God’s Word. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Christians to evaluate the worldviews of conservatism and progressivism through the lens of a Christian worldview. I believe that when we do so, a fundamental barrier for Christians becomes evident with respect to modern liberalism. This problem is embodied in the differences between how conservatives and liberals understand three fundamental aspects of life:

 

  1. The nature of truth
  2. The nature of humanity
  3. The nature of authority

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NATURE OF TRUTH

Conservatism and progressivism differ greatly in how they understand the nature of truth, and particularly moral truth – in other words, what is right, and what is wrong. The nature of truth involves how we know what is real; how we make determinations about what is “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”. An individual’s (or party’s) conception of the nature of truth is foundational for how he/she/they view everything else, including political policy.

Conservative Worldviewsee-luminosity-1280-10

Conservatism generally understands truth as being objective, or fixed. It recognizes enduring, permanent philosophical realities that do not change over time, but are shared by all of humanity. Conservatism has a transcendentalist perspective – that truth comes from a source beyond and above ourselves that created the universe and thereby established the nature and reality of all we see and experience. Humans simply discover truth, they do not create it.[2] Conservatives value tradition and natural law, out of which the Declaration of Independence was derived: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”[3] Similarly, Founding Educator Noah Webster elucidated this concept of objective truth:

“The moral principles and precepts found in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation. . . . All the evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. . . .”[4]

see-luminosity-1920-10Included in this objective truth is a moral code – a standard of “right” and “wrong” that is established in something outside of and greater than ourselves. Conservatives hold that rights come from outside of government or man-made entities. For this reason, conservatives believe that laws must be subservient to a more foundational code of morality that is universal and does not change – depending on the conservative’s outlook, this foundational code can be derived from natural law or God. Signer of the Constitution James Wilson wrote:

“Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants…The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.”[5]

Similarly, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story explicated:

“The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion—the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any civilized society can well exist without them”.[6]

Conservatism understands that we enjoy rights as human beings because our value comes from something above ourselves, and because of this, man-made law may not usurp natural (or divine) law without inherent negative consequences.

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Liberal Worldview

Modern liberalism’s understanding of truth is informed by postmodernism – the belief that truth is not a fixed entity, but relative to the circumstances, cultural/historical setting, or situation in which people live. Contrary to the conservative understanding that truth is discovered because it has been revealed, progressive thought understands that truth is created by human beings in relationship with others. Liberalism understands that truth is not grounded in some ultimate reality out there, but is what humans make it to be. Humans must create truth for themselves, and they do so in community. This understanding of truth includes the concept that reality is socially constructed – that each person brings his/her experience, or story, to the table, known as a “narrative”. Progressivism recognizes that a person’s worldview is simply a story about a collection of stories (a “metanarrative”) that creates a truth for a particular group of people. Society does not reveal any sort of objective reality or truth, it tells stories of experiences.[7]

Moral law, as liberalism understands it, is pragmatic and consequentialist – actions should be judged by their results. In other words, right and wrong are not determined by some outside, fixed standard, but by pervading cultural norms – what works for a particular culture or group of people. Liberals recognize that different cultures and peoples are guided by different values that change over time, and society must progress to adapt to these changes in order to best meet the needs of those see-luminosity3-1920-2living in it.[8] As one modern Progressive puts it, “Moral principles are tested by their consequences.”[9] Morality is grounded not in eternal truths, but in individual experience.[10]

Instead of thinking about “right” and “wrong”, progressivism focuses more on “what works” or “what is preferred”.[11] This influence can be seen in the modern shift away from constitutional law to case or common law – where the Constitution is understood as a “living document” that should be reinterpreted according to the current cultural milieu, and legal decisions are influenced most heavily by precedent (decisions on prior cases), rather than on a fixed legal foundation, such as the original intent of the writers of the Constitution.[12]

 

CONSERVATISM LIBERALISM
Truth is objective, fixed, and unchanging Truth is relative to experience/circumstances
Truth is transcendent – from divine/natural law Truth is socially constructed – from humans
Truth established by Creator is discovered Truth is created in relationship with others
Moral truth established outside humanity Morality based on “what works” for society
Manmade law must always bow to natural law Manmade law is all there is; should adapt to be relevant

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Biblical Worldview

Scripture asserts that the triune God is the essence of truth. Truth is an objective, unchanging entity grounded in the nature of the God of the universe.[13] The Bible tells us that scripture itself is truth – God’s word (nature, intent, will) revealed to humanity.[14] As a part of that Truth, the Bible makes it clear that there is moral truth. There is a definitive path of right and wrong in life -which is not dependent upon anyone’s perception, but based on the nature, intent and will of God.[15] Scripture articulates that there are consequences, both on earth and in eternity, for which path we choose – wholeness/life for those who choose God’s way, and brokenness/death for those who reject His way.[16]

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Contrasting Worldviews

Conservatism most closely mirrors the biblical understanding of the nature of truth – that it is objective, fixed, and grounded in the Creator. In contrast to the liberal idea that morality is based on pragmatism or preference, a biblical worldview underscores that there is moral truth which is universal, which is based on the nature, will, and intent of God, and that there are consequences when humanity does not live according to that moral truth. Regardless of any individual policies within liberalism that may further God’s kingdom, the fact that liberalism embraces a relativistic understanding of truth (particularly moral truth) means that, at its heart, its understanding of the world is one that is decidedly antithetical to the kingdom of God.

Although liberal policies can certainly achieve good ends, the relativistic understanding of moral truth pits the philosophy irrevocably against the bedrock of Christianity. It becomes extraordinarily difficult to advocate for liberalism, as a philosophy, in furthering the kingdom of God when it stands against the idea of a fixed, unchanging source of truth that is not culturally dependent. Liberalism’s advocacy for “there is no objective truth” presents an insurmountable problem for Christian followers when Jesus says, “I am the Truth.”

 

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NATURE OF HUMANITY

There is a stark contrast between the two philosophies with respect to the nature of humanity, as well. The nature of humanity answers questions such as “Where did humans come from?” “What value to humans have, and where does that value come from?” “What is the purpose of human history?” “What is humanity’s fundamental problem?” and “How can the problem be fixed?” The philosophical approach to humanity impacts virtually every aspect of public policy, and of the way we view and respond to ourselves and others.

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Conservative Worldview

Conservatism recognizes that humans have inherent worth (rights) because they were made by a Being greater than and outside of ourselves. The Declaration of Independence states that sometimes it becomes necessary for people to assume “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them”.[17] The idea of human rights as inherent and coming from something outside of the state is evident throughout America’s Founding thinkers. One American Founding document, The Essex Result, states, for example, “All men are born equally free. The rights they possess at their births are equal, and of the same kind…We have duties, for the discharge of which we are accountable to our Creator and benefactor, which no human power can cancel.”[18] Likewise, the Virginia Declaration of Rights explains “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty…”[19] In other words, humans have rights of which they cannot be deprived, because an entity above us gave us those rights.

Furthermore, conservatism recognizes that human nature is established and not inherently able to be perfected on its own. Humans, when left to their own devices, will generally make choices that benefit themselves over others. It understands problematic human behavior to be that which comes fromsee-luminosity-1920-17 within – an inherent nature that is self-serving. Conservative believe that, regardless of the favorability of the conditions outside of a person, human beings will always be pre-disposed toward selfishness, because it is an inherent quality. As a result, humanity will never be able to achieve a perfect state of society.[20] Conservatives posit that for change or reform to be effective, it must be commensurate with the way we were made (natural law). Eighteenth-century statesman Edmund Burke, considered the founder of modern political conservatism, elucidated this idea:

“Power to be legitimate must be according to that eternal, immutable law, in which will and reason are the same.”[21]

While conservatives believe humans can and should work to better themselves, their character, and their society, conservatism recognizes that there will forever be a fight against this force of sin within the human soul that will not be conquered or perfected in this lifetime. Founding Father James Madison explicated this theme:

“If men were angels, no see-luminosity-1920-2government would be necessary.”[22]

Conservatism further emphasizes personal duty and responsibility, and accountability for each individual to self-regulate according to eternal moral standards, with a recognition that the more people live by an internal sense of morality or character, the better society will be. Early American Speaker of the House of Representatives Robert Winthrop expressed this:

“Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”[23]

Liberal Worldview

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In contrast to the idea that human beings have worth because of being created by a Being greater than ourselves, modern liberalism is grounded in the assumption humans evolved, without the existence or involvement of an intelligent Being: “We are, as far as we know, the only animals to establish self-conscious volition as a driving force behind evolution. And that makes us special.”[24] As a result, religious and natural law foundations for the basis of human beings having rights are generally seen as insufficient. Instead, “progressives rely on political consensus to bring a uniform set of values and rights into reality.”[25] In other words, human beings have rights based on a general cultural consensus of what those rights are, based on what works best for society.

Modern liberalism has seeds in humanism, which affirms that people human beings generally orient toward bettering themselves and doing good, unless there is something in their environment that prevents them from doing so.[26] Influential nineteenth-century progressive thinker, Charles Merriam, explained,

“There is a constant trend in human affairs toward the perfectibility of see-luminosity3-1920-5mankind.”[27]

Progressives believe that human nature is moldable and able to be perfected – that if the right social structures are put into place, human beings have the potential to achieve a perfect state in society.[28] Liberalism values freedom and autonomy for humans to reach their potential – and the state is viewed as having a crucial role in ensuring this freedom. There is an emphasis on social change out of the belief that most problems can be fixed through human ingenuity by establishing the right social structures.[29]see-luminosity-1920-4

Liberalism generally rejects the idea of a fixed, in-born human nature, in favor of the understanding that human beings have common characteristics that are the product of their environment. Most specifically, liberalism emphasizes two specific common traits of humanity: all have needs and all have a tendency to seek power to fulfill those needs, as a result of competing for survival over time. Problematic human behavior is explained as a response to oppressive structures in the individual’s experience that present impediments to people being able to get their needs (and potential) fulfilled.[30] Consequently, liberalism focuses on impacting the environment, or physical/social/political structures around people, in order to shift how people behave and to create a better society. In other words, liberalism understands problematic human behavior as coming from outside the person, and that if the oppressive barriers to human progress are removed (especially using the power of the state to do so), human beings will do and become good, thereby creating a good society.

Progressives believe that people cannot be understood apart from the context in which they live. Modern liberalism recognizes a utilitarian and collectivist understanding of rights –the well-being of society as a whole is prioritized over the betterment of any particular individual.[31] Early progressive legal scholar Frank Goodnow wrote,

“The rights which [man] possesses are, it is believed, conferred upon him, not by his Creator, but rather by the society to which he belongs. What they are is to be determined by the legislative authority in view of the needs of that society. Social expediency, rather than natural right, is thus to determine the sphere of individual freedom of action.”[32]

Nineteenth century Progressive educational thinker John Dewey agreed:

“Thus a right, individual in residence, is social in origin and intent.”[33]

Consequently, concepts such as equality, acceptance, and social justice are paramount.

 

CONSERVATISM LIBERALISM
Humans have inherent rights from being made in image of God Humans have no inherent rights bc we randomly evolved; rights come from the state
Humans have an inherent, fixed nature based on how we were made Humans do not have inherent nature; products of their environment
Human nature is naturally sinful/selfish Humans orient toward doing good; bettering selves and society
Problematic human behavior comes from our nature – from within Problematic behavior is from oppression or barriers to human goodness in environment – outside us
Reforms must be commensurate with way humans were made for society to improve Reforms must focus on impacting structures around people so they aren’t prevented from improving
Society will never reach perfection due to man’s inherent nature Society will reach a perfect state if all barriers to improvement are removed
Focus on individual duty and responsibility to live by moral law; individual self-regulation improves society Focus on collective duty to society as a whole; societal problems improved thru fixing sociopolitical structures

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Biblical Worldview

The Bible tells us that humanity was created in the image of God[34] as the pinnacle of all He made[35], and therefore is imbued with fundamental worth. In other words, people have rights by virtue of being made by in the essence of the Creator. Scripture also underscores that we are deeply loved by God,[36] and that because He loved us, He gave us free will to follow Him or reject Him. [37]

God’s Word also makes it clear that the Lord has given us responsibility[38] – to be good stewards of what He has given us, and to walk in His ways. In other words, people have not only rights, but duties – to God and to God’s creation (of which people are most important). In spite of those duties, scripture reveals that humanity has chosen to go our own way rather than God’s, and, as such, now have a nature of sin that condemns us without God’s intervention and grace.[39]

The Bible expresses that humanity will never become good on its own[40], but only by the grace of God, through the work of atonement in Christ.[41] In other words, the only way a holy and just God can have a relationship with sinful people is through a perfect person taking the punishment for the guilty (thereby satisfying justice) – precisely what He did with Christ’s death and resurrection.[42]

Scripture also delineates that even though Christ’s atonement satisfies the justice needed for our sin before God, it does not change our nature of sin. That process happens over time through the process of sanctification, as believers work to follow Christ and the Holy Spirit slowly transforms us to become more like Him.[43] Consequently, God’s Word illustrates that we will never have a perfect society in this lifetime, no matter what we do.[44] Our goal should be to live in obedience to Christ, through which our characters are transformed by the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to the end of time, when Christ returns and creates a new, perfect heaven and earth with Christ as its head.[45]

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Contrasting Worldviews

Conservative understanding of the nature of humanity points toward that of the Bible – that our worth being grounded in something greater than ourselves, whereas progressivism struggles to provide a coherent grounding for why people have rights. Liberalism’s beliefs that humans evolved by chance from lower life forms do not adequately answer the question of why people deserve greater rights than animals, plants, or even any non-living entity that exists – beyond the explanation that culturally we have determined it should be so.

Although many liberal policies seek to effect beneficial outcomes for people, the underlying progressive view of humanity directly contradicts the biblical understanding of humans as being crowned with worth by virtue of being made in the image of God. The understanding of the nature of humanity is the foundation of how our society (and government) views and treats people – whether our rights as human beings are inherent, paramount, and unalterable by any human institutions or groups, or whether our rights as human beings are negotiable based on prevailing societal consensus. The liberal rejection of the idea that human dignity comes from something greater than humanity itself opens the door for the possibility for the pervading consensus to determine that humans, or certain humans, do NOT have greater rights – an argument that is already being made on many progressive fronts[46]. If rights are bestowed simply through societal agreement or understanding, then they can also be revoked through the same means – which directly violates the God-ordained sanctity of human life.see-luminosity-1920-17

Furthermore, conservatism mirrors the biblical understanding that the SOURCE of problematic human actions comes from within (inherent selfishness or sin nature), whereas liberalism emphasizes the external impacts on behavior as having primary significance (oppression, intolerance, etc.). Central to a biblical worldview is the understanding that we have a nature of sin, due to choosing our own way over God’s, and that we are all responsible for our behavior, irrespective of the influences outside of us.[47] While there is certainly no doubt that forces outside of us have an impact on our choices, externalization of problematic behavior draws people away from the Christian principle of acknowledging and repenting of our sin – a central requirement for salvation. These underpinnings of progressivism run directly contrary to another of the most fundamental tenets of Christianity – the worth of humans as made in God’s image, and the fallen nature of those humans as ones who have chosen our own way rather than God’s, necessitating the Cross. An additional problem is that progressivism does not provide adequate explanation for why, if humans do not have an inborn nature but are merely products of their environment, they orient toward goodness at all – especially since the law of natural selection rewards those who seek their own benefit (even at the expense of others). The philosophical underpinnings of liberalism’s understanding of humanity are not only weak, but see-luminosity3-1920directly contradict how the Bible sees mankind, and render Christ’s incarnation and atonement completely irrelevant.

Finally, conservatism’s view of the REMEDY for our human condition is more representative of the biblical one. Conservatism’s recognition that the best remedy for a broken world must address the soul/character inside of the person, but that, due to our inherently selfish nature, we will not ultimately ever be able to perfect ourselves, echoes of the biblical truth that we must rely on God’s grace for redemption, and that we must live not just for this life, but for the next. While liberalism’s efforts toward social justice are laudable, its belief that (if the right structures were put in place) a perfect state of humanity and society can be attained ultimately constrains the purposes of human altruism to only this world: We should make the world better because that is what works and feels best for those of us living in it – and this world is all there is. Liberalism sees the fix for humanity as best emanating from ourselves, whereas conservatism sees the fix for humanity as coming from something greater than ourselves.

Ultimately, the conservative understanding of the nature of humanity points in the direction of a Divine Being, and a universe grounded in a law outside of itself. The liberal understanding of the nature of humanity, on the other hand, wholly invalidates the total thrust of God’s purposes with respect to mankind, and the entire foundation upon which Christianity is built (that a loving and just God came to earth and died to save the creation that rejected Him).

 

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NATURE OF AUTHORITY

Conservatism and liberalism are polarized with respect to the how they see the nature of authority. The nature of authority addresses such themes as “To whom are we accountable?” and “What is the role of social, political, and cultural structures?” These questions have implications that are preeminent for the role of government, and, even more broadly, to the responsibility of human beings to a higher Being, one another, and to the world in which we live.

Conservative Worldview

see-luminosity-1920-5Conservatism recognizes that human authority is accountable to a higher authority outside of and above ourselves, whether that is recognized as God, a Divine Being, or natural law. Government law, therefore, is seen as subservient to natural law. This idea is reflected in the Declaration of Independence:

“They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”[48]

Conservatism believes that government did not bestow worth or rights upon humanity, and therefore cannot take it away – it can merely protect the rights that were given by God (or nature).

Human beings are accountable, in conservatism, to natural law, which means we must act in accordance with the way we were made. Conservatives believe that there are natural consequences, inherent in life, that occur when man-made laws contradict natural law, or when we do not act in accordance with the way we were created. The more government supports natural law, the more individuals and society will benefit, and the more government violates natural law, the more individuals and society will suffer. Founding Father Daniel Webster communicated the significance of this:

“[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”[49]

John Adams concurred:

“[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[50]see-luminosity-1920-3

Conservatives view the role of the state as merely protecting people’s God-given rights. It does this by holding them accountable to natural law – most specifically, protecting against the violence of others. Conservatives acknowledge that the government is there to serve people, rather than the other way around. John Adams illuminated this idea in the Constitution of Massachusetts:

“The end of the institution, maintenance and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body-politic; to protect it; and to furnish the individuals who compose it, with the power of enjoying, in safety and tranquillity, their natural rights, and the blessings of life: And whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness.”[51]

Because human rights are endowed by the Creator and not by the state, conservatives favor small government with significant checks and balances on power, so that the state cannot infringe on those rights.[52] It is the understanding about the inherent self-serving nature of human beings that drove the Founding Fathers’ efforts to create a balance of powers within the American government through the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, and the multiple ways in which our country’s political system seeks to prevent the few from gaining power over the many (for example, the Electoral College). These checks and balances arose from the recognition that those who have power are naturally pre-disposed to gain more power for selfish ends, and that the God-given rights of human beings must be protected from the state.

see-luminosity-1920-9Conservatives focus on personal responsibility for members of society in regulating their own behavior through an internal adherence to natural law (a standard of morality set by nature or God) with an understanding that the less people regulate their own behavior by internal moral compass, the more some outside force (such as government) must control their behavior for them – which often leads to the abuse of human rights. As Benjamin Franklin wrote,

“[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”[53]

Signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Henry Lee agreed:

“It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people.”[54]

Conservatism acknowledges that permanent, natural principles – such as those inscribed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, serve as the foundation for determining what is right and wrong for society. Because these principles are an inherent part of creation and unchanging, conservatives believe that documents, such as the Constitution, which enshrine those principles, can be utilized as the standard by which society is held accountable – even as time progresses. These documents serve to protect the people from the state by holding the government responsible to a higher authority – that of natural, or divine, law.

In conservatism, the hierarchy of authority is 1 – God, 2 – individual human beings, 3 – the state.

Liberal Worldviewsee-luminosity-1280-8

Because liberalism does not recognize an intelligent Creator, progressives see rights as being derived from the state.[55] Progressivism rejects the idea that human beings have inherent natural rights, believing instead that people obtain rights by participating according to the rules set up by society. Progressive political scientist from the turn of the Century, John W. Burgess, wrote:

“There never was, and there never can be any liberty upon this earth and among human beings, outside of state organization.”[56]

Influential Progressive thinker and political activist, Charles Merriam, explained,

“Liberty is not a natural right which belongs to every human being without regard to the state or society under which he lives. On the contrary, it is logically true and may be historically demonstrated that ‘the state is the source of individual liberty.’ It is the state that makes liberty possible, determines what its limits shall be, guarantees and protects it…Liberty, moreover, is not a right equally enjoyed by all. It is dependent upon the degree of civilization reached by the given people, and increases as this advances. The idea that liberty is a natural right is abandoned, and the inseparable connection between political liberty and political capacity is strongly emphasized.”[57]

Rather than seeing the role of government as merely protecting the natural rights of individuals, progressives understand the state’s role as actively helping individuals in the process of bettering themselves and society – to progress toward greater perfection. Theodore Roosevelt orated, “The object of government is the welfare of the people.”[58] Due to an evolutionary belief in forward progress throughout history, progressives posit that government is becoming less of a danger to those who are governed and more capable of solving the significant problems facing humanity.[59]

see-luminosity2-1920-5The state is central, for liberals, in helping humanity achieve its perfect state. Progressives understand that the government does not simply regulate an inborn human nature, but is responsible for actually transforming the human condition for the better. However, centralization of power within the hands of the state is required to do so, because only the concentrated power of government carries the force capable of removing the oppressive barriers to individual and societal progress.[60] Charles Merriam explained,

“In the days of the Revolution, it was thought that the end of the political society is to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens, and beyond this nothing more….This idea was broadened out, and…the duty of the state is to do for man: first, what he cannot do alone; second, what he ought not to do alone; and third, what he will not do alone… In the new view, the state acts not only for the individual as such, but in the interests of the community as a whole…The ultimate end of the state is defined as the ‘perfection of humanity, the civilization of the world; the perfect development of the human reason and its attainment to universal command over individualism; the apotheosis of man.’”[61]

The state is seen as an active agent for positive change in humanity – in helping human beings and society achieve its potential. Individuals are responsible to the state (and to the greater society), rather than the state being responsible to individuals.

As a part of the centralized power of government, liberalism values equal results, not simply equal opportunity, as the state actively works to remove oppressive forces that prevent people from bettering themselves. Part of the government’s responsibility is to lend the weight of its power toward those it see-luminosity3-1280-2believes will most benefit society as a whole. Leading progressive intellectual Herbert Croly wrote of the government:

“It must help those men to win who are most capable of using their winnings for the benefit of society.”[62]

He further explicated,

“A well governed state will use its power to promote edifying and desirable discriminations.”[63]

Progressive president Lyndon Johnson echoed this idea:

“We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result…For what is justice? It is to fulfill the fair expectations of man.”[64]

see-luminosity3-1920-3Government, in liberalism, should not be held to established, immutable values (such as natural law), but should adapt as the situation, cultural expectations, or societal needs shift. Progressive president Woodrow Wilson embraced this idea:

“The laws of this country have not kept up with the change of economic circumstances in this country; they have  not kept up with the change of political circumstances…government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton.”[65]

As a result, America’s Founding documents are seen as a “living documents” that must be interpreted anew according to the particular needs or outlook in each new period in history. As Wilson contended:

“The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day. It is of no consequence to us unless we can translate its general terms into examples of the present day…Unless we can translate it into the questions of our own day, we are not worthy of it, we are not the sons of the sires who acted in response to its challenge.”…..[66]

In progressivism, because God does not exist, the hierarchy of authority is 1 – the state, 2 – individual human beings.

 

CONSERVATISM LIBERALISM
Individuals & government ultimately accountable to higher authority – natural law/God Individuals ultimately accountable to state/larger society
God is source of individual liberty. State didn’t give humans freedom so state can’t take it away State is source of individual liberty. State gives it so state can take it away based on what works best for society
Role of state is merely to protect God-given rights Role of state is to actively help individuals and society move toward perfection by removing barriers to progress
There are inherent consequences for violating natural/moral law; more society follows it, better society will be Consequences come from state for violating agreed-upon societal norms; these norms change as history/circumstances change
Government subservient to individuals Individuals subservient to larger society (state)
Favors small government with checks and balances to limit power; tendency of state to violate God-given rights Favors strong centralized government with power to impact structures; state will transform human condition for better
The more people regulate own behavior by adhering to natural law, less state has to regulate them The state should lend its power toward helping those who it deems will most benefit society and obstructing those who don’t
Believes documents like Constitution reflect unchanging values and should be standard of accountability Believes documents like Constitution are “living” and should adapt as cultural expectations or needs shift

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Biblical Worldview

The Bible illustrates that God is omnipotent, and that as creator and sustainer of the universe, He has ultimate authority over everything that exists. Because He created life, He gets to define its parameters. [67] Furthermore, scripture emphasizes that our responsibility, as His creation, is to recognize God’s ultimate authority and obey Him – an obedience that should come as a result of loving Him.[68] The Bible confirms that human authorities, such as governments, are instituted by God for our well-being, and that we should respect them[69], unless the mandates of those authorities conflict with God’s mandates – at which point we must obey God.[70]

To the question of who is ultimately in charge, the Bible makes it unequivocally clear that the answer is the holy, omnipotent Creator.[71] He who creates life is the only One who has the right to define it.[72] Government is a structure given by God for the good of humanity, but both it and the persons it governs remain subject to the Creator and Sustainer.[73] Government is an institution for the well-being of human beings, who are the pinnacle of God’s creation.

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 Contrasting Worldviews

Conservatism’s emphasis on authority coming from a transcendent source clearly mirrors that of a biblical worldview. In contrast, progressivism favors a distinctly atheistic understanding of authority. Similarly, the conservative conceptualization of human rights is representative of the biblical notion that human worth and dignity is inherent due to imagio dei – being made in the image of God – while liberalism sees rights as simply a creation of the state. Liberalism’s denial of a transcendental authority is inimical to the very foundations of Christianity, in which the omnipotent Lord of the universe has stated, “The Lord our God, the Lord is One…I AM who I AM…Do not come closer. Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”[74]

Even further, the conservative adherence to the authority of enduring principles to guide human behavior and institutions (such as in the Declaration of Independence) is exemplary of Christians’ adherence to the authority of enduring principles found in God’s Word. Liberals’ reliance upon consensus,see-luminosity2-1920-4 circumstance, and personal experience belie the scriptural principle that the human heart is deceitful[75] and that people must trust God (and His truth) rather than themselves.[76] Although liberals’ goal for the state to provide for the welfare of its constituents presumes to honor the dignity of human beings, its underlying premise for doing so (because rights are created by the state for the utilitarian purpose of generating a society that works) runs directly contrary to the biblical recognition of both God’s ultimate authority and the dignity of humanity as made in His image. It also opens wide the door for the potential for abuse of those loved by God, if the state determines that some are not worthy of rights – as it has done in the past.

Ultimately, conservatism’s understanding of the nature of authority points to a Creator, whereas that of liberalism is purely temporal and secular. Liberalism consistently elevates human experience as the primary measure, while conservatism is directed toward transcendental authority – acknowledging power and control in the hands of an eternal Creator. This pits progressivism utterly against Christianity, which is established with God as the complete center.

The Bible reveals that the omnipotent, omniscient, holy Creator of the universe is the starting point of everything, not humanity. Revelation 22:13 shouts,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End!”

Psalm 8 intones,

“Yahweh, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth! When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?”see-luminosity2-1920-3

The thrust of scriptural revelation illustrates the story of the all-powerful Lord of creation seeking for His beloved created ones to worship Him above all else – including themselves. The very first of God’s commandments to His people is “Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.. I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:3-4). The New Testament explains it like this: “I have been crucified with Christand I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:19-20). And Jesus said it this way: “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.” (Matt. 16:24-25).

The center of Christianity is the ultimate authority of God. There can be no salvation, no relationship with God, no eternal life, without bowing the knee to the fundamental, essential, all-encompassing power of the Lord. Refusal to acknowledge this authority, or to set any authority – including humanity – ahead of God, is to condemn oneself to eternal separation from the Source of Life, Love, and Good. Liberalism’s understanding of authority, with its elevation of humanity as the ultimate measure, creates an insurmountable divide from Christianity. No matter the quality of the sacrifices brought by progressivism, they are ultimately burned on the altar to humanity.

 

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THE PROBLEM WITH LIBERALISM

Both conservatism and liberalism have contributed positively to American society since its inception. Christians from both sides of the aisle can reasonably make scripturally-grounded arguments for supporting certain Republican and Democratic policies as means by which biblical principles can be implemented within the public sphere. However, when the underlying foundations of both modern political philosophies are examined, it becomes clear that the worldviews underneath those policies are diametrically opposed. Whereas the foundations of conservatism are complementary to a biblical worldview, progressivism, at its heart, stands in opposition to the most fundamental biblical principles – including the nature of truth, the nature of humanity, and the nature of authority.

No matter the efficacy any specific liberal policies may have, the fact that progressivism engenders an atheistic, relativistic, human-centered understanding of life sets it firmly against Christianity. This presents an overwhelming problem for Christians, because it means that no matter how good the journey may be, at the end, the road of modern liberalism will not ultimately end at the kingdom of God. Even more problematic is the reality that progressivism does just the opposite – it actively promotes a secular, anti-transcendentalist perspective of the world in which collective humanity is elevated as the central measure of life.

Our understanding of truth, of ourselves, and of the nature of authority is at the center of how we understand everything. The great theologian John Calvin wrote, in The Institutes of Religion:

“Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”[77]see-luminosity-1280-4

 

At the most elemental, basic level, liberalism is wholly antagonistic to Christianity: Truth is relative rather than objective, right and wrong are experientially determined according to what works for society rather than according to an immutable standard, human beings do not have fundamental worth beyond that which the state bestows, people are basically good and oriented toward perfection on their own, the only reality that exists is the one in which we live, humanity/the state is not accountable to any standard outside of itself. Irrespective of any beneficence liberalism provides through its policies, its worldview directly contradicts a biblical one. Its most fundamental values are opposed to the Kingdom of God, in which the Lord of the universe reigns supreme and those made in His image bow to His sovereignty and seek His glory.

The process of promoting the values of Christ in a complex social and political system is extremely challenging, and there are reasonable arguments that some liberal policies demonstrate the purposes and values of Christ better than conservative ones. However, policies are underscored by worldviews – and it is those bedrock values which determine the ultimate destination of a philosophical outlook. Policies answer the “how”, while worldviews answer the “what” and the “why”. Christians must ensure that their worldview – the “what” and “why” of life – firmly follows that of scripture. Liberalism’s answer to the “what” and “why” of life is a rejection of all that Christ is and came to accomplish.

see-luminosity2-1920-2In Matthew 7, Jesus homilized about the importance of our foundations being secure: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. see-luminosity2-1920But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” (Matthew 7:24-27)

To further the analogy, political policies are like the plumbing and electrical in the house. They directly impact the way the family lives, and their quality embody the difference between the family being comfortable and efficient or uncomfortable and inefficient. But neither the plumbing or the electrical, regardless of how good they may be, provide any ultimate efficacy for the family if the house falls into a sink hole or crumbles in an earthquake.

Modern conservatism and progressivism have two very different visions for the world. The fundamental problem with liberalism for Christians is that the liberal vision is one that rejects God, in favor of a human-centered secularism, in which fixed, guiding principles for humanity embedded in the fabric of creation are supplanted by personal/cultural experience.

Christians must honestly and seriously engage the ways the progressive worldview opposes Christianity. “The ends justify the means” cannot be a sufficient reply when the end is a complete rejection of God and His revelation about life. In order to be salt and light in a world that does not know Him, we must ensure that our foundations are secure. We must reject the temptation to simply accept the cultural packaging of policy at face value (tolerance, compassion), and understand the underlying values beneath them. And a worldview that eliminates the possibility of God, rejects the inherent dignity and worth of human beings, and refuses to acknowledge the inherent character problem of humanity presents an impregnable barrier to the gospel. We, as His disciples, cannot espouse a perspective on life that prevents people from seeing their need for a Savior, and denies that a Savior exists at all. If policies we support are so undergirded, we must do an honest evaluation of the true efficacy of the “how” of those policies against the detriment of the “what” and “why” of the worldview beneath them.

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For the Christian, it all begins and ends with God, not ourselves – and our worldview must reflect that. John Calvin understood this well:

“As long as we do not look beyond the earth, being quite content with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue, we flatter ourselves most sweetly, and fancy ourselves all but demigods. As long as we fail to see God for who He truly is, in all His majesty, we will never recognize or scrutinize our own lowly state but rather will continue to view ourselves in our natural fallen condition as ‘basically good.’”

see-luminosity-1280-7But if we do so, contrary to the understanding of progressivism…

neither we, nor the world we live in, will ever actually become good.

 

 


[1] Wallace-Wells, B. (2016, Jan. 18). “Hillary Clinton’s New Progressive Alignment.” The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/news/benjamin-wallace-wells/hillary-clintons-new-progressive-alignment; Siddiqui, S. (2016, May 30). “The Pragmatic Progressive; What Sets Obama Apart From Bernie Sanders.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/30/barack-obama-bernie-sanders-progressive-liberal-policy; Vanden Heuvel, K. (2016, July 12). “The Most Progressive Democratic Platform Ever.” The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-most-progressive-democratic-platform-ever/2016/07/12/82525ab0-479b-11e6-bdb9-701687974517_story.html?utm_term=.731d0033fd65; Seitz-Wald, A. (2016, July 10). “Democrats Advance Most Progressive Platform in Party History.” NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/democrats-advance-most-progressive-platform-party-history-n606646

[2] Samples, J.C., Ed. (2002). James Madison and the Future of Limited Government. Cato Institute.

[3] U.S. Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776). https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

[4] Noah Webster, History of the United States, “Advice to the Young” (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 338-340, par. 51, 53, 56.

[5] James Wilson, The Works of the Honourable James Wilson (Philadelphia: Bronson and Chauncey, 1804), Vol. I, p. 106.

[6] Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847), p. 260, §442.

[7] For more information see Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Feb. 5, 2015). “Postmodernism. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/; Hoffman, L. (2005-2008). “Premodernism, Modernism, and Postmodernism: An Overview. Postmodern Psychology”; http://www.postmodernpsychology.com/Philosophical_Systems/Overview.htm; Gilley, G.E. “Postmodernism”. In Plain Site. http://www.inplainsite.org/html/overview_postmodernism_.html

[8] Pestritto, R. (2012) “The Progressive Rejection of the Founding.” Hillsdale College Press. https://online.hillsdale.edu/document.doc?id=289; Council for Secular Humanism. http://www.secularhumanism.org/; Flynn, T. “Secular Humanism Defined”. Council for Secular Humanism. https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/13

[9] Kurtz, P. “The Affirmation of Humanism: A Statement of Principles”. Free Inquiry Magazine in “World View: Secular Humanist” by William Benedict. http://www.williambenedict.com/world/index.html

[10] Pestritto, R. (2012) “The Progressive Rejection of the Founding.” Hillsdale College Press. https://online.hillsdale.edu/document.doc?id=289

[11] Kurtz, P. & Wilson, E. (1973). Humanist Manifesto II, Fourteenth Reason. http://www.americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_II

[12] Strauss, D.A. (2010). “The Living Constitution.” The University of Chicago School of Law. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/alumni/magazine/fall10/strauss; Brody, D. (2006, June 5.) “Constitution: Living Document or Original Intent?” CBN News. http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2006/june/constitution-living-document-or-original-intent/?mobile=false

[13] John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. The works of His hands are truth (Psalm 111:7).  Jesus says, of the Holy Spirit, “He is the Spirit of truth”. (John 14:17). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) “I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” (John 18:37)

[14] John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) “16 All Scripture is inspired by Godand is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) “The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever.” (Psalm 119:160) “Hisdivine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us byHis own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) “12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)

[15] “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) “This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands.” (1 John 5:2) “God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5-9) “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) “No one should deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, he must become foolish so that he can become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19) “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) Jesus says, of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44). “See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply… 19 I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20) “This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected.[d] This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

[16] “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). “Because they hated knowledge,
didn’t choose to fear the Lord,30 were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction,31 they will eat the fruit of their way and be glutted with their own schemes. 32 For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 But whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger.“ (Proverbs 1:29-33) “Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) “For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:27) “But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.” (Luke 6:35) “How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” (Matthew 7:14) “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically,as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong he has done, and there is no favoritism.” (Colossians 3:23-25) ““Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12) “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.” (Psalm 119:37) “‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am presenting to you the way of life and the way of death.” (Jeremiah 21:8) “20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness.21 So what fruit was producedthen from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the end is eternal life!” (Romans 6:20-22) “12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12) “He will repay each one according to his works:eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil… 10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good….(Romans 2:6-10) “Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)

[17] U.S. Declaration of Independence. July 4, 1776. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

[18] The Essex Result (1778, Apr. 29). A set of regulations regarding a proposed constitution for the state of Massachusetts. The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/the-essex-result

[20] Lacey, R.J. (2016).  Pragmatic Conservatism: Edmund Burke and His American Heirs. Palgrave McMillan.; Adams, M. (2009, May 18). “The Nature of Conservatism.” Townhall. http://townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/2009/05/18/the_nature_of_conservatism

[21] Stanlis, P. (2011, July 25). “Burkean Conservatism.” The Heritage Foundation. http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=695

[22] Madison, James. (1788). The Federalist No. 51. In The Federalist. New York: Modern Library.

[23] Robert Winthrop, Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1852), p. 172 from his “Either by the Bible or the Bayonet.”

[24] Coon, C. (1998, Feb. 10). “Human Nature”. Progressive Humanism. http://www.progressivehumanism.com/progressive-humanism/human-nature/

[25] Halpin, J., Schulz, W. & Dreier, S. (2010, Oct.). “Universal Human Rights in Progressive Thought and Politics”. Center for American Progress.  https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2010/10/pdf/humanrightshistory.pdf

[27] Lacey, R.J. (2016).  Pragmatic Conservatism: Edmund Burke and His American Heirs. Palgrave McMillan.

[28] Federici, M.P. (2011, August 25). “Progressivism”. First Principles, Intercollegiate Studies Institute. http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=669; J. Pestritto and William J. Atto, “Introduction to American Progressivism,” in American Progressivism: A Reader, ed. Pestritto and Atto (Lexington Books, 2008), 1-32. Published on Natural Law, Natural Rights, and American Constitutionalism (http://www.nlnrac.org)

[31] “The American people are right in demanding that New Nationalism, without which we cannot hope to deal with new problems. The New Nationalism puts the national need before sectional or personal advantage.” – Theodore Roosevelt, Speech in Osawatomie, KS (1910, Aug. 31). “The New Nationalism” http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/teddy-roosevelts-new-nationalism; Petersen, K. (2013, Jan. 9) “What is Progressivism?” Dissident Voice. http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/01/what-is-progressivism/; Coon, C. (1998, Feb. 10). “Human Nature”. Progressive Humanism. http://www.progressivehumanism.com/progressive-humanism/human-nature/;

[32] Goodnow, Frank Johnson. The American Conception of Liberty and Government. Brown University, 1916. P. 57 in Paul, E. Miller, F. D. & Paul, J. (2011). Liberalism and Capitalism Vol. 23, Part 2. Cambridge University Press. https://books.google.com/books?id=6etiK1JiW24C&pg=PA68&lpg=PA68&dq=frank+goodnow+rights++conferred+society+social+expediency&source=bl&ots=3ye7jXdTaQ&sig=bYoTexDFDtqteyNaMZRLb_WHsdU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwigyILZ_Z7QAhVL2MKHSBWB6sQ6AEIPDAF#v=onepage&q=frank%20goodnow%20rights%20%20conferred%20society%20social%20expediency&f=false

[33] Dewey, J. & Tufts, J. (1908) “Responsibility and Freedom & Rights and Obligations”, in Chapter XX “Social Organization and the Individual”. Ethics. http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/john-dewey-and-the-progressive-conception-of-freedom

[34]”So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:27) “We praise ourLord and Father with [the tongue], and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it.” (James 3:9) “Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and I love you, I will give people in exchange for you and nations instead of your life.” (Isaiah 43:4) “everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7)

[35] “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being,” (Genesis 2:7)You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honorand subjected everything under his feet (Hebrews 2:7-8).­­ “Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image.” (Genesis 9:6)

[36] “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “What is man that You remember him, or the son of man that You care for him?” (Hebrews 2:6) “The Lord your God…will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17). “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.” (Jeremiah 1:5) “You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of yourCreator.” (Colossians 3:10)

[37] “And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eatfrom the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16) “But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship…As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.” (Joshua 24:15)”  Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

[38] “God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawlson the earth.”(Genesis 1:28) “So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19). “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.” (Genesis 2:15) “The Lord said: “Who then is the faithful and sensible manager his master will put in charge of his household servants to give them their allotted food at the proper time? 43 That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded. 44 I tell you the truth: He will put him in charge of all his possessions.” (Luke 12:42-44)

[39] “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way.” (Isaiah 53:6) “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10) “23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” (Galatians 5:17) “With my flesh, [I am a slave] to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25) “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12); “

[40] “There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12); “All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a pollutedgarment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.” (Isaiah 64:6);

[41] “We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!…For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:3-5, 8); “He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5); “But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him forthe iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6; “Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil—  and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in serviceto God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:14-17); “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be thepropitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

[42] “He made the One who did not know sin to be sinfor us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21); “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2); “Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed. Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them.Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:10-14); “For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.” (Romans 1:18-19); “But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the Prophets  —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a propitiationthrough faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26); “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2 Thess. 2:13); “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6); “Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also bein the likeness of His resurrection. For we know that our old selfwas crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the bodymay be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him…” (Romans 6:4-8) “15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someoneas obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” (Romans 6:15-18); “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

[43] “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23); “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20); “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17; “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6); “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10); “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16); “You took offyour former way of life, the old selfthat is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewedin the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24); “We know that all things work togetherfor the goodof those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30); “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us byHis own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4); “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. 22 For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15-24); “If you love Me, you will keepMy commands.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:15-16)

[44] “You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33); “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:18-25) “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” (Philippians 1:21-24); “Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordealcomes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler.But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household…So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:12-19); “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Tim. 2:3-5); “And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5); For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.” (Phil. 1:29); “Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.” (1 Cor. 9:24-25); “So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption;  sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.” (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

[45] “Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23);”32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:32); “For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17); “But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief;on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God. The heavens will be on fire and be dissolved because of it, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.” (1 Peter 3:10-15); “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.” (Revelation 21:1); “For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19); “Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin— in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.” (1 Peter 4:1-2); “We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:51-57); “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44)

[46] Giubilini, A. & Minerva, F. (2012, Feb. 23). “After Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” Journal of Medical Ethics

[47] “But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man…” (Matthew 15:18-19); “the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live” (Ecclesiastes 9:3); “A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (Luke 6:45)

[49] Daniel Webster, The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1903), Vol. XIII, p. 492. From “The Dignity and Importance of History,” February 23, 1852.

[50] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.

[52] West, T.W & Schambra, W.A. (2007, July 18). “The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics.” The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/07/the-progressive-movement-and-the-transformation-of-american-politics

[53] Franklin, B., The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, p. 297, April 17, 1787.

[54] Richard Henry Lee, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, James Curtis Ballagh, editor (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1914), Vol. II, p. 411. In a letter to Colonel Mortin Pickett on March 5, 1786.

[55] West, T. (2012). “Overview: Founders vs. Progressives.” Hillsdale College Press. https://constitution.hillsdale.edu/document.doc?id=322

[56] Merriam, C. (1903). “Recent Tendencies” in A History of American Political Theories. http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/charles-merriam-explains-progressive-political-science

[57] Merriam, C. (1903). “Recent Tendencies” in A History of American Political Theories. http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/charles-merriam-explains-progressive-political-science

[58] Roosevelt, T. (1910, August 31). “The New Nationalism.” Speech in Osawatomie, KS. http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/teddy-roosevelts-new-nationalism

[59] J. Pestritto and William J. Atto, “Introduction to American Progressivism,” in American Progressivism: A Reader, ed. Pestritto and Atto (Lexington Books, 2008), 1-32. Published on Natural Law, Natural Rights, and American Constitutionalism (http://www.nlnrac.org)

[60] Federici, M.P. (2011, August 25). “Progressivism”. First Principles, Intercollegiate Studies Institute. http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=669;

[61] Merriam, C. (1903). “Recent Tendencies” in A History of American Political Theories. http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/charles-merriam-explains-progressive-political-science

[62]  Pearson, S.A. Herbert D. Croly: Apostle of Progressivism”. The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/herbert-croly-progressive-apostle

[63] Pearson, S.A. Herbert D. Croly: Apostle of Progressivism”. The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/herbert-croly-progressive-apostle

[67] “Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18). “For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17) “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expressionof His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3).

[68] “This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands.” (1 John 5:2-3) “I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply” (Deuteronomy 30:16) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God by walking in all His ways, to love Him, and to worship the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul?” (Deuteronomy 10:12) “So be very diligent to love the Lord your God for your own well-being.” (Joshua 23:11) “My son, obey my words, and treasure my commands.” (Proverbs 7:1) “Obey Me, and then I will be your God, and you will be My people. You must follow every way I command you so that it may go well with you.” (Jeremiah 7:23) “Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

[69] “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1) “Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.” (1 Corinthians 15:24) “He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens— far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given,not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put everything under His feet“ (Ephesians 1:20-22). “you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” (Colossians 2:10) “Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperoras the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good.” (1 Peter 2:13-14).

[70]  “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) “

 

[71] “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8); “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev. 22:13); “However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.” (Ex. 9:16); “God is wise and all-powerful. Who has opposed Him and come out unharmed?” (Job 9:4); “Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:12)

[72] “Where were you when I established the earth? Tell Me, if you haveunderstanding. Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?… Have you ever in your life commanded the morning or assigned the dawn its place, so it may seize the edges of the earth and shake the wicked out of it?… Have you traveled to the sources of the sea or walked in the depths of the oceans? Have the gates of death been revealed to you?… Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades or loosen the belt of Orion? Can you bring out the constellationsin their season and lead the Bearand her cubs? Do you know the laws of heaven? Can you impose itsauthority on earth? Can you command the clouds so that a flood of water covers you? Can you send out lightning bolts, and they go? Do they report to you: “Here we are”?” (Job 38:4-7)

[73] “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King.” (Isaiah 33:22); “A king’s heart is like streams of water in the Lord’s hand: He directs it wherever He chooses.” (Proverbs 21:1); “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17); “Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:20-21); “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:28); “Appoint judges and officials for your tribes in all your towns the Lord your God is giving you. They are to judge the people with righteous judgment. Do not deny justice or show partiality to anyone. Do not accept a bribe, for it blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Pursue justice and justice alone, so that you will live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20); “give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:25); “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks.  Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.” (Romans 13:1-7); “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2); “Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45); “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above.” (John 19:11); “Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.” When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me,since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.” Samuel told all the Lord’s words to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “These are the rights of the king who will rule over you: He will take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots. He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties, to plow his ground or reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war or the equipment for his chariots. He can take your daughters to become perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He can take your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He can take a tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give them to his officials and servants. He can take your male servants, your female servants, your best young men,and your donkeys and use them for his work. He can take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves can become his servants. When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves, but the Lord won’t answer you on that day.” The people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.” Samuel listened to all the people’s words and then repeated them to the Lord.“Listen to them,” the Lord told Samuel. “Appoint a king for them.” (1 Sam. 8)

[74] Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Exodus 3:5, 14

[75] “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9); “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:3); “You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:17-18)

[76] “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7); “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19); “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26)

[77] Brake, A. “Human Depravity: A Lost Christian Doctrine.” Please Convince Me. http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2013/human-depravity-a-lost-christian-doctrine/

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