This is the fourth post in this series. What issue will we focus upon here? Who gives us our rights? Do our rights come from government, or did our Creator give us our rights when He made us? The Social Gospel would have us believe “justice” requires government to give us our “rights”. The Bible, on the other hand, distinguishes between charity and rights. Therefore, here we will distinguish the difference between charity and rights. We will explain why the Founders of this nation believed in God-given rights.
So how should we begin? How do we know of our Creator? There are moments when we experience awe. There are moments when we feel alone and forlorn. When we look into the sky on a moonless night far from city lights, and we see the stars in all their glory, who is not awed? When we walk alone in midwinter, and the sky is overcast, the ground is brown, the trees are bare, and the air is cold, damp, and chilling, who is not reminded of his mortality? Who does not long for Spring and renewal?
When our pride demands we assert control, Creation itself reminds us that we need a Creator who cares about us. Still we struggle for control. How? We try to control other people, but should we? When we meet another person, don’t we know that that soul is like our self, a creation of God? Don’t we know that God expects us to respect the property and the rights of that person? But what rights?
Long ago Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. In addition to the history of the Hebrews and procedures that detail how God wanted them to worship Him, those books contain a legal code, The Law. The Law explains how God wanted the Hebrews to respect both His rights and each others rights. The Ten Commandments summarizes The Law.
Exodus 20:1-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Ten Commandments
20 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of [a]bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor [b]serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting[c] the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Since we have freedom of religion, and we only render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (Matthew 22:21), our government does not presume to tell us how to respect God’s rights. Instead, our government prohibits murder, regulates marriage, outlaws robbery, and punishes the telling of falsehoods. If we could read minds, we would probably even prohibit wishing each other ill. That is why the Declaration of Independence includes this statement.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (from here)
Does that seem convincing enough? If not, consider 1 Samuel 8. When Israel asked for a king, God made it utterly clear that that was a bad idea. How is 1 Samuel 8 related to the Social Gospel? The Social Gospel provides an excuse for Socialism. Socialism always requires a great leader with authoritarian powers to implement Social Justice, that is, a king.
Still not convinced? Then consider the fact that The Law even made military service voluntary. Read Deuteronomy 20. That chapter contains the principles God gave the Hebrews governing warfare. Deuteronomy 20 includes this verse.
Deuteronomy 20:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, [a]lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.’
God knows that those go to war must be devoted to the cause. Doubt filled soldiers are more trouble than they are worth.
What have we talked about already? Here are the previous posts in this series.