Category Archives: 3. VOTE

Vote, periodically. Vote intelligently and always. This is a crucial action step. Actually, though “voting for the lesser of two evils” may be a helpful way to look at it, we are actually “voting for the best possible option available in this particular election,” not for a minimum of evil. (Acts 1:21-26) If the choice is really that bleak, we need to find better individuals to run for our representatives in the next election cycle. Voting intelligently is the most basic part of governing ourselves under God in the civil sphere. This is what America is all about.

Elections the Peaceful way to “Alter or Abolish” Civil Government

Why and how should American Christians vote in Primary Elections? Any elections?  (series)

Election Year 2016! Have you asked yourself lately about our representatives, “Why would they do that?!?…”

But actually, they are not the problem if half of us have refrained from voting.

Many Christians are generally dismayed by our civil government these days. It seems ineffective, corrupt, over-bearing, self-absorbed, and sapping the economic strength of the American people, perhaps even dangerous.

But we are not really disappointed in the “civil government” as such, but in our representatives, individual people who are occupying positions of leadership and making choices. How did they get there? We, the people elected them!

Bible-believing Christians across America need to RISE UP and vote their Biblical values!

WHY should Christians vote in America?

Back in 1776, the people of America thought it self-evident that civil government has a proper job and purpose. Their leaders wrote their philosophy of civil government in the Declaration of Independence from England. They stated the proper purpose of civil government is protection – to protect all society by securing the God-given rights of the individual to life, liberty and property.

This thinking was pervasive in the thirteen original colonies. The English king had aggressively overstepped his proper limits, on many fronts, and was now attacking the colonies militarily to force his control on them. These 55 leaders were the representatives of the people of the thirteen American colonies, and unanimously, they agreed to and signed the Declaration of Independence.

They were dealing with the historic dilemma of civil government.

The people must be left free while confining the civil government in chains of law.

They ultimately accomplished this through the Constitution. The genius of American government is limited government, not limited citizens.

The idea was that in America, this Rule of Law (a Constitution) would replace the Rule of Man (a king). This was new on the earth!

See The Third Alternative video summary. (10 min.)

As we have become secularized over the years, there are many who see civil government as ultimate authority, not God. They believe that civil government’s purpose is to rule and control the people, rather than to protect their freedom.

This thinking is counter to the foundations of America and creates a cultural clash.

The Founding Fathers wrote in their Declaration that if any civil government is destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.  We are not facing abolishing the civil government as they did, but alter it we must – by voting!

Elections are the peaceful way to “alter or abolish” civil government.

next – Vision

 

July 4th – America’s Birthday!

What was new about America?

America was born on July 4th, 1776, when 55 representatives of the thirteen original American colonies unanimously signed the Declaration of Independence. By doing this, they repudiated the rule of the English monarch over them and honored the rule of God over them. They established that in America, political sovereignty shall rest in the individual under God, not the state, nor the church.

These representatives made the historic shift from the rule of man to the rule of law. This means that instead of the changing and fickle rulings of a man, top authority rested in the stable continuity of written law, i.e. a constitution. The Declaration proclaims that they saw the necessity for this action as self-evidently true, and describes why they came to this decision. This was unique in world history.

The essence of the Declaration was that as a people they were going to stop being dependent on a king, on men, and instead be dependent on God. They ended the Declaration with the words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

They believed that God was leading them to this separation and would somehow protect them and accomplish it. They personally committed everything to each other to that end. These are men of whom the world is not worthy.

The problem now is we are shifting back to the rule of man.

The question today has become, “When are people of faith going to get serious about their involvement in civil government?”

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

American Civil Government – Are We Desperate yet?

banksy-dreams_00349040Are we desperate yet?

As biblical people we need to remember that politics will not save us.

As we enter a new presidential election cycle, we may be tempted to think, “If only a particular high-power politician who thinks as we do gets into office, then everything will be fine. We will have peace and prosperity.”

But Christians need to remember that politics will not save us. We ourselves are the solution, not a high-powered political individual.

The Bible is clear that the welfare of a nation depends on His people. II Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from Heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Christians need to strengthen their focus in prayer to the expansion of God’s kingdom on planet earth. Jesus said we should pray, “Thy kingdom come.” His kingdom is an internal kingdom that reigns in the hearts of individuals, in contrast to the external political structures of this world.

What does the interplay of these internal and external kingdoms imply as to how American government should work?

Looking at the current state of affairs in America – many are repeatedly dismayed by the decisions government makes. It seems as if elected representatives in both parties have no roadmap to guide their policies. Bad decisions made by political leaders impact us negatively, and will continue to have adverse effects on generations to come. This should bring about desperate Scriptural godly action on our part.

At the same time, we see confusion and a staunch complacency among biblical people, half of whom have not voted in recent elections or do not vote at all. They may lack confidence that they could vote according to their beliefs. They may think that whatever is happening is by definition “God’s will.”

Rather than seeing ourselves in a struggle to establish God’s kingdom, there are many who even think we are in the middle of some divine plan that will somehow glorify God when America crashes. Nothing could be further from the truth! God wants to expand His kingdom everywhere.

The result of inaction is that people without any roadmap are elected to all levels of public office by default, and have been for a generation or two. To use an understatement, this is a problem!

What is the solution?

There are three steps Christians can begin to take.

  1. All biblical Christians must vote in every election. To guide our votes, we need a consistent biblical worldview that comes from the study of the Scriptures. This establishes the correct internal roadmap in us, and helps us elect others who also have the proper roadmap for civil government.
  2. We can serve the Lord and the community in the public sphere by the grace of God, and turn things around in America. I believe it can take as little as six years, and I’ll explain that more in future posts. Each of us has a significant part to play personally; first in strengthening our own character and understanding of God’s ways for nations; and second in doing the specific tasks the Lord has planned for us as individuals.
  3. We must remember to have a “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” which is what the Founding Fathers wrote into the Declaration of Independence and where they began their thinking. That is where we must also begin.

Christians need to look beyond their physical circumstances and stand in faith that God’s promises for protection, provision and love are true. When we take steps of faith, we will find that He is faithful!

We need to BE the solution in America.

PRAY – STUDY – VOTE – SERVE

Education for Liberty Project

Making Sense of Government Survey

We’re VERY close to finishing our long-awaited online seminar, Making Sense of Government, for release in July.  The webinar is finally ready.

The webinar will be a live, online interactive seminar analyzing the Biblical worldview of government and its application to events and issues today.   It will be a starting point for understanding American government and how it was designed to work.  It is about philosophy of government, not politics.  It will be the first in our series of webinars.

HOWEVER, we need your help.  Before we finalize the webinar for presentation, we need to make sure we have covered everything.

This is where you come in. Please take a few minutes to answer this super-short survey by filling out the form below, or commenting at the bottom of this post:

What are your two top questions about American government, and your involvement in it, that we absolutely NEED to answer in this seminar?

Your Name

Your Email

Thanks!
Bill Burtness
Director, Education for Liberty Project

IS THE CONSTITUTION STILL RELEVANT?

Time Magazine, June 23, 2011, issue had a painful cover article entitled One Document, Under Siege by Richard Stengel. The cover showed a shredded American constitution.

The author wondered if the U.S. Constitution is still relevant after all these years. There are so many things today that the Founding Fathers never even thought of. The author states, “Here are a few things the framers did not know about: World War II, DNA, Airplanes, the atom, television, Medicare, derivatives, the germ theory of disease, miniskirts, the internal combustion engine, computers, antibiotics.” [We might add fifty states and one third billion people.] “There has been so much change and growth; how can that old parchment have relevance today?” is his query.

In order to answer this question, it is helpful to analyze it from our presuppositions.

See the YouTube video summary – The Third Alternative

The author is speaking from his government presupposition that  the purpose of civil government is to control the people and that ultimate sovereignty rests in the state. The thinking is that there was little to control at the time of America’s founding, so the document worked. But things have changed radically since then and the document is no longer able to control everything, yielding dysfunctional government.

This idea that the purpose of civil government is to control everything is the socialist or European view of government, from which we departed almost 250 years ago.

But, is complexity the reason for dysfunctional government, or is there something else?

CONTROL OR PROTECTION

The American view is that the purpose of civil government is not to control everything, but to provide the individual with protection.  The idea that came out of the Reformation and was embraced by the founding generation is that ultimately God is sovereign, and that He gave mankind civil government. The individual is to control his own life under God in every area. The proper purpose of civil government from the Bible is to protect his liberty, along with his life and his property.

This view says that far from the civil government being the focus of everything, it is actually only a small part of life with specific proper purposes and functions – to protect and serve – not to educate, not to provide, not to direct, not to take care of the poor, not to decide what the people should buy, not to control the people.

The constitution still is more than adequate to accomplish its proper purpose of protection.

PERSONAL CHARACTER

The condition for it to work properly, however, is that individuals throughout the society must control themselves to do what is right on their own in every area of life, i.e. they must govern themselves under God.  This arrangement takes a high general level of individual character, which has been diminishing over the years in America. As a people, we are now looking for someone to rule and control us rather than protect us and stay out of our lives.

This is the result of the people in America drifting away from being ruled and controlled by God and His word – a voluntary condition. We are therefore asking, “Who is in charge?” and concluding that the civil government must be the top authority, since we don’t recognize God’s presence.  As the character level of the people increases in dependence – we are seeking a king to take care of us. In our hearts, we are trading back the rule of law for the rule of man.

From this view, as we look at the constitution we are listening to people who say it is antiquated and insufficient to control so vast a people in modern times. But the purpose of the American constitution and civil government is not control.

The constitution is still accomplishing its proper functions and purposes. The problem is the declining character of the people of America, and therefore the representatives we choose. Representatives reflect the character of the people in general. Dependent individual character in society opens the door to external tyranny as we seek someone to control things for us.  Socialism begins in the heart.

THIRD GREAT AWAKENING

Therefore, we must pray for a new third Great Awakening to strengthen individual character to be able to handle freedom properly in America. This character includes such qualities as  honesty and love, righteousness and justice, responsibility and initiative, generosity and unselfishness.

The constitution is the law that governs the government. It is not being shredded by the advances of today’s society, but is being diminished by those whose philosophy of government tells them that old parchment is no longer relevant to control everything.  The people elect representatives who feel the same way – that they do not need to obey or uphold the constitution anymore in these complex modern times, even though that is what they vow to do in their oath of office.

THEREFORE WE MUST VOTE

We must vote for representatives who recognize the real purpose of American civil government, and want to uphold it and strengthen it.

We must vote intelligently, Biblically and always.  Doing so is the first step in governing ourselves under God in the area of civil government.

For a full treatment of the American philosophy of government and how to rebuild the United States of America from the inside out:

Get your copy of SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS.

Subscribe to the Education For Liberty Project e-mail list for notification of new posts, videos and education events.

 

 Time Article: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2079445,00.html#ixzz1SrYtVGjX

 

WHY SHOULD CHRISTIAN AMERICANS VOTE?

WHY SHOULD CHRISTIAN AMERICANS VOTE?

Christians in general feel as if they should vote but what are the real reasons why Christian Americans should vote? The requirement in America is that informed biblical people vote in every election available. Why?

Many pastors would like to give their congregations basic biblical understanding of American government and politics but aren’t sure where to begin. This post will be helpful as a starting point for that discussion.

AMERICA’S ORIGIN IN THE REFORMATION

The American philosophy of government came from a spiritual movement in Europe called the Protestant Reformation, which started in the early 15th century.

Some professors teach (in accordance with their presuppositions) that America comes from a movement in Europe called the Enlightenment, but actually this is not the case. Although both movements shared some similar values – such as their emphasis on the importance of the individual over the state – there were basic and significant differences.

The Enlightenment brought about the French Revolution because as a whole it did not see God as ultimate value, but man. In France, the Huguenots – the French Protestant Christian middle class – was murdered or driven out starting in 1572, as part of a grand plan to “dechristianize” France. Catholic clergy and adherents were executed and churches were closed and their property destroyed. Ultimately, the Enlightenment there brought about a violent anarchy with a Reign of Terror and resulting tyranny.

This was in stark contrast to the results of the American Revolution. Rather than anarchy motivated by rebellion, the revolution here was in fact a war of self-defense against an increasingly oppressive king. Its result was true liberty that has lasted almost two and a half centuries.

Since then, this American style of liberty has spread to many places on earth, even as it has been diminishing here at home. Still, many Americans don’t understand where their liberty originally came from. Please view The Third Alternative video summary of these American presuppositions (ten minutes in length).

A NEW CONCEPT OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT

The philosophy of government propounded by the American Founding Father generation is often known as Christian Self-government. This concept explains that every individual is to control himself under God’s authority as opposed to having an absolute freedom – anarchy – on one hand or being under absolute civil control – tyranny – on the other.

America at its founding was unique. Christians believe that God ultimately decides the boundaries of nations and that He began something new in America. Americans could choose their leaders. They were not stuck with whomever happened to be in line for the throne and their opinions and whims. This was a new and radical concept on earth.

Therefore we could potentially choose those whom we saw as the best people in the land to govern us. In other words, we could govern ourselves under God in the sphere of civil government.

We must recognize that the only thing civil government does is legislate morality – turn personal morality into law – and then enforce that morality. The question is, “Whose morality is being turned into law?”

The Bible tells us that the institution of civil government – man over man authority – was given by God. It therefore has proper purposes, functions and boundaries, also given by God.

The trick is to keep civil government within its proper functions and boundaries. Therefore we must vote for individuals who can and will do that. Those who believe that there are no limits to civil government should not be voted into office, or should be voted out if they are already in power. This is our challenge today.

RULE OF LAW REPLACES RULE OF MAN

The American founders used the Bible as their “government textbook.” They learned that the people and their representatives must as their first priority govern the government and keep it restrained to its proper functions and boundaries.

The people are the ones to tell the civil government what it can and cannot do. This is called the consent of the governed.  This is accomplished by a constitution. Representatives are to “uphold the constitution.”

The constitution is the law that governs the government and is top civil authority.  This is called the Rule of Law.  This change in the basis of civil government from the Rule of Man where a king or some other grouping of men is the top and final authority to the Rule of Law was historic.

The founders had suffered much under the Rule of Man concept of authority and finally had to protect themselves and their families from future abuses. Though they were reluctant to do it, they finally decided they must separate themselves from England’s king and declared their independence from his government in 1776.

The American founders understood from the Bible that the proper purpose of civil government is to serve its citizens with protection (Matt. 20:20-28).

The English king’s view of his civil government was to rule and control the people. He believed the colonists were his subjects and their lives and property ultimately belonged to him. He could grant or retract the right for them to use that property whenever he so desired, if it fit his purposes of control.

Preceding America’s separation from England was a pervasive supernatural spiritual awakening throughout the colonies that historians call the First Great Awakening, approximately 1740-1780. One result of this awakening was the colonists believed that they were God’s servants not the king’s or, significantly, the church’s. They believed that God was ultimately sovereign in their lives, not the king or the church. They basically loved their king and their church but understood that each institution had proper boundaries given by God Himself in the Bible.

In America, elections ultimately gave the people the ability to renew the civil government’s purpose of protection and service continuously. For that to happen, the requirement is that informed biblical people vote in every election available.

PRAY     STUDY     VOTE     SERVE

 

FOUR KEYS TO TRANSFORMATION

            

“I’m not even going to vote. It’s just the lesser of two evils!”

FRUSTRATED WITH POLITICS

A pastor in one of our city-wide pastor’s meetings recently voiced this frustration felt by many Bible-believing Christians at this time, not knowing how to approach the quandary we find ourselves in and feeling our single vote as impotent. Evidently, there were some 20 million believers who felt the same way in recent elections, and that adds up!

Unfortunately, this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy of cultural decline, as Godless policy has been implemented at every level of civil government in our nation, for many years, while we scratch our heads.

The Scriptures tell us about ancient Israel’s decent into chaos and violence in Judges 2:7 & 10, “There arose a new generation that did not know the Lord, nor the things He had done for Israel.”  Their problem was they had not been taught.

That is our problem as well.

We believers have not been taught the original thinking of the American Founders. There is now a need for a huge education movement in our day as our culture has become more secularized and postmodern. We believe this movement has begun, but there is much work to be done, especially at a grass roots level.  Thus the

EDUCATION FOR LIBERTY PROJECT!

America at its founding was unique on the earth – the people could for the first time as a nation govern themselves under God in the area of civil government. We could choose those who govern us! Thus the   opportunity to “hire” the best in the land periodically to be our representatives.

But, we must want the best. That is a matter of our personal character.  And we must find the best, and get them into office.  That will take some effort.

FOUR KEYS TO TRANSFORMATION

The Education For Liberty Project is a grass-roots vision to help remedy this dilemma, challenging believers with four key elements:

PRAY – STUDY – VOTE – SERVE.

1) Pray, daily. This is the beginning point! If we are going to be delivered, it is only God who can deliver us. We need His intervention. Our wits are not good enough.  We know prayer changes things. God’s people must turn back to God. In II Chron. 7:14, God tells us that if we do, He will forgive our sin, and He will even heal our land. We must see a new Third Great Awakening in America.

2)  Study, regularly. Like Ezra, who studied the law of the Lord, practiced it, and taught His statutes in Israel, Ezra 7:10, so must we put forth some effort to learn, practice and teach God’s ways for nations. Study the Bible and the Biblical worldview. Learn the Biblical principles America was founded upon.  Apply them in your family, church and civil government. Teach them in your sphere of influence.

SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS by Bill Burtness is a resource textbook, written in simple terms especially for Christian Americans to study and teach, to help renew a practical understanding of how America was designed to work. It is about how to have a free nation. It is about philosophy of government, not politics.

Least expensive is the PDF e-book you can download now.

Get your copy of SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS.

3) Vote, always. And vote intelligently. This is a crucial action step. Actually, though “voting for the lesser of two evils” may be a helpful way to look at it, we are actually “voting for the best available option in this particular election,” not for a minimum of evil. (Acts 1:21-26) If the choice is really that bleak, we need to find better individuals to run for our representatives in the next election cycle. Voting effectively, to strengthen the nation, is the most basic part of governing ourselves under God in the civil sphere. This is what America is all about.

4) Serve, as the Lord leads, however possible. This is a long-term frame of mind in a free nation. There are many local positions where we can begin to serve in the civil sphere – election judges and pole watchers, precinct committee and political party leadership in both parties, school board or city council, local, county, state, national representatives, and more. As the Lord leads, each position is a place of learning and service to the Lord and the community.

Our representatives must be the most Godly, Biblical, intelligent and capable servant leaders in the land. (Matt. 20:25-28)

TAKING THE LEAD

The basis of law and government comes from God and the Bible. Without that basis, we only have man’s greed, power hunger and opinion directing nations. So the charge for restoring America lies at the feet of Bible-believing Christians, many of whom refrain from voting. Since we believers have the instruction Book, we must take the lead. Refraining from voting is in itself a vote. But how do we cast an intelligent Godly informed Biblical vote? This is our challenge.

Get your copy of SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS.

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