The Use of Force, Part 5 (A Christian Manifesto Today #58)

Welcome to A Christian Manifesto Today episode #58. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Torch Leadership Foundation.

Pastor and Christian philosopher, Francis A. Schaeffer, warned us and created the war plan that we as Christians need today to deal with a society that is increasingly moving away from God, the Bible, and moral principles. He wrote “A Christian Manifesto” over 33 years ago and its words are just as relevant today as they were back then.

Our Christian Manifesto Today Passage from the Word of God today is Matthew 22:21 which reads: “Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Our Christian Manifesto Today quote today is from Thomas Jefferson. He said: “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

In this podcast, we are using as our text: “A Christian Manifesto” by Francis A. Schaeffer.

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer writes in “The Use of Force” (Part 5):

And fourth, we must say that speaking of civil disobedience is frightening because there are so many kooky people around. People are always irresponsible in a fallen world. But we live in a special time of irresponsible people, and such people will in their unbalanced way tend to do the very opposite from considering the appropriate means at the appropriate time and place. Anarchy is never appropriate.

But these very real problems do not change the principle that the men of the Reformation and the Founding Fathers of the United States knew and operated on. This principle is that there is a bottom line that must be faced squarely if the state is not to become all-powerful and usurp God’s primacy. We must recognize that there is a bottom line if we are to have real freedom of thought and action at the present time—even if, happily, we never reach that bottom line. If we have not faced the possibility of civil disobedience, if needed, our thinking and action at the present time will lack the freedom they should have. Locke understood that. Without the possibility of his fourth point—the right to resist unlawful authority—the other three would have been meaningless.

All the problems which do indeed exist do not change the need of thinking about the possibility of civil disobedience. Let us remind ourselves that Jonathan Blanchard and Charles Finney in their day thought through and taught this bottom line in regard to the need for the abolition of slavery. They taught this—facing the possibility that they might have to pay the price of going to jail, or more, if that was the result of civil disobedience.

The colonists followed Rutherford’s model in the American Revolution. They elected representatives from every state who, by way of the Declaration of Independence, protested the acts of Great Britain. Failing that, they defended themselves by force.

The Declaration of Independence contains many elements of the Reformation thinking of Knox and Rutherford and should be carefully considered when discussing resistance. It speaks directly to the responsibility of citizens concerning oppressive civil government.

After recognizing man’s God-given absolute rights, the Declaration goes on to declare that whenever civil government becomes destructive of these rights, “it is the right of the people to alter and abolish it, and 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.” The Founding Fathers, in the spirit of Lex Rex, cautioned in the Declaration of Independence that established governments should not be altered or abolished for “light and transient causes.” But when there is a “long train of abuses and usurpations” designed to produce an oppressive, authoritarian state, “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government…”

Simply put, the Declaration of Independence states that the people, if they find that their basic rights are being systematically attacked by the state, have a duty to try to change that government, and if they cannot do so, to abolish it.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s Pray.

* * * * * * * *

Dear friend, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how:

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, continue to stand for the Lord and his Word. God bless you!

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