Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rights

For those of you who do not know, I teach Debate (and Bible, Rhetoric, Math, and Physics) at Summit Christian Academy in Yorktown, VA. Our school will be participating in a Debate Tournament with several other classical, Christian schools on November 5th. Here is the resolution of the first debate.

Resolved: Restricting civil liberties for the sake of national security is justified.

In preparation for this debate, I challenged the students (9th and 10th graders) with a few questions today. Perhaps, we could all benefit from really examining these questions.

What is the source and nature of our rights?
Do we have the right to speak our minds?
Do we have the right to yell "Fire!" in the middle of a crowded building as a prank?
Do people have the right to preach jihad against the United States government?
Do we have the right to be racist?
Do public school teachers have the right to teach that racism is wrong? If so, on what authority?
Do public school teachers have the right to preach the gospel in the classroom? If so, on what authority?
Do judges have the right to base their judicial decisions on the wisdom and authority of the Bible?
How does law fit in to this discussion?

Well, we never made it past the first question. The kids did acknowledge that our rights are from God, but they had this idea that we have the right to do whatever we want, even the right to choose to murder. (This is probably due to the fact that the ACLU and their disciples are probably the most effective teachers of "theology" in America - certainly more effective than most parents, pastors, and Christian school teachers. God help us.) What was interesting is that they differentiated between "the right to choose to murder" and "the right to murder." But they basically were really big into the whole of idea of free will and choice. They are confused about the nature of our rights. So, we spent most of the class discussing the definition of the word "right," and then discussing the implications of that definition.

Webster's Dictionary defines "right" like this:

right - something to which someone has a just claim

But even after establishing this definition, students were still holding on to this whole idea of choice and free will and doing what we want. They admit that there are consequences for their choices and God will punish us for our sins. But they basically said that people have the right to choose to go to hell. So, I pointed them to Galatians 4:4-5 and John 1.

Galatians 4:4-5 - "But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."

John 1:12 - "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God...."

So, I was trying to explain to them (unsuccessfully so far) that God gives his children rights that are fit for children of God. One of the students pointed to a Scripture (I forget where) that talked about the freedom we have in Christ. But she was using it (I think) to make an argument that we have the right to do whatever we want. So, I pointed the class to 2 peter 2:19. I made the comment that this should be America's national motto; although, in fact, this is probably the most un-American verse in the Bible.

2 Peter 2:19 - "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him."

We have a long way to go, but I think I fired up some students today. I basically blasphemed the "gods" being exalted by the ACLU, and that riled up the students. The word of God went forth, and students were challenged to truly love God with all their minds. I am excited about where this will lead.

8 Comments:

Blogger SCAStudent said...

ok I feel that everyone in america has free will to choose what they believe. As much as we have the right to talk them about God they have the right to choose Islam. America was founded on religious tolerence. God also gives men the free will to choose whether or not to believe him. If God gives men this freedom shouldnt we?

8:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mike,
I would point you to this website:

http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/cor/politics.html

Why don't you figure out which of these points you agree with and which you do not?

The idea that "everyone in America has free will to choose what they believe" is very tricky. Do we have free will to believe that rape is a good thing? You might say that we do, as long as we don't rape people. But then you are taking away that person's supposed "right" to practice his beliefs.

You say, "God also gives men the free will to choose whether or not to believe him." Can you prove this Biblically?

2 Thessalonians 1:8 says, "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."

1 John 3:23 says, "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us."

Clearly, the Bible commands beleif, righteousness, obedience, and justice.

God does not give men "freedom" to sin. Anyone who claims that we are "free to sin" is a heretic. We are not free to sin. If we sin, then we are a slave to sin. If we have been set free, then we are a slave to righteousness.

Or should all law be thrown out?!

Mike, I caution you. I love debate, and I'm sure you do too. But be very reverent and prayerful. I am telling you the truth of God.

I point you specifically to points 8, 9, and 10 of the article I sent you.

"8. We affirm that genuine liberty exists only when man possesses within himself the internal restraints and liberties derived from the indwelling Person of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:16-22), thus living in voluntary submission to the Bible's view of reality and morality. We deny that genuine liberty consists of the absense of moral and/or legal restraint, as is taught in the philosophies of extreme libertarianism and anarchism."

"9. We affirm that God's standard is necessary to retard man's tendency toward unchecked license, which leads to the disintegration of society. We deny that any form of restraint other than that founded on Biblically centered Judeo-Christian values can prevent the ultimate disintegration of society. (Deuteronomy 4:6)."

"10. We affirm that God created all men and women to be responsible moral agents, equal with all others in importance and value before Him, equally responsible to Him as stewards of liberty, and designed to act as his voluntary bond-slaves in reclaiming the fallen creation. We deny that man's freedom is absolute; that is is derived from evolutionary prerogatives; that man is anything less than answerable to God for his stewardship of liberty; and that God is a respecter of persons."

2 Peter 2:19 - "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him."

If God gives men "freedom to sin," then we should as well. But God has not given men "freedom to sin." He commands men everywhere to repent. The purpose of government, according to Romans 13 is to bring terror to those who do wrong. The Bible commands us to do justly. The just shall live by faith.

The Bible commands you in the book of Jude to "contend for the faith." Are you doing that faithfully? As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation.

4:51 PM  
Blogger The_Revolting_Masses said...

Alrighty, Through much prayer and consulting of people i consider to be wise and knowledgable on the bible and the chrisrtian fait in general this is what i have come up with. God grants all men free will. If we had no right to choose what we believed, why would God allow eve to choose sin in the first place? If his will was to control us and not let us choose, he would not have allowed sin to enter the world at all. However, God did allow sin to enter the world therefore allowing man to choose it. Although I personally believe it is wrong do many things, others may not feel that way. There are, however, basic laws of our nation. These laws must be followed by all people who live in the USA. If you believe rape is right, that doesn't make it legal and you can still be punished. Our government makes that laws and it is not a Christian government. We have to respect the rights of other people as much as we would like to force people to follow God. People must choose salvation, not be forced into it. Otherwise, they dont truely love God. Then they are like robots forced to obey their master and creator, not truely loving him. John 12:44-47 "Then Jesus cried out' a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me he see the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so the noone who believes in me should stay in darkness. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For i did not come to judge the world but to save it.'" In this passage Jesus clearly aknowledges a mans ability to not believe in God or his teachings. Just as Jesus did not come to judge but to save we must attempt to save people not judge them. SO if Jesus aknowledged peoples right to choose sin shouldnt we? We shoule try hard to save them as much as we can, but just as Jesus did we have to respect their right to choose.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mike,

Do you know what a heretic is? Do you know what the root of the word "heresy" is?

The root of the word heretic is "to choose." A heretic is one who chooses to disobey God.

When you say that God "allowed" sin to come into the world, you have to be careful. In one sense, God did allow sin - in the sense that he did not stop it from happening. But in another sense, he has never allowed sin - ever. He has always commanded people not to sin. Furthermore, He has instructed people to worship Him, to imitate Him, and to command others to follow Him. The good kings of the Ancient Israel were those who tore down the idols of the land. When God appeared to Gideon, he was commanded by God to tear down his father's idol. In fact, the book of Proverbs states, "The wise man attacks the city of the mighty and tears down the stronghold in which they trust." In the Mosaic Law, we are commanded not to have any god before Jehova. This is true freedom.

"We have to respect the rights of other people..." you say. But the Scripture says to command repentance, to contend for the faith, to confront injustice and unbelief, and to tear down idols (not just your own, but also the idols of the city).

You say, "People must choose salvation, not be forced into it." But the Scripture says, "Go and suggest discipleship to people, but back off as soon as they resist." No, I'm sorry. That is not what the Scripture says. It says, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

Jesus never acknowledged that people had the right to choose to sin. He simply said that he came to save the world, not to judge it (the first time). He is coming back to judge the Earth. Furthermore, the saints will be joining Jesus in judging the world as well.

Jesus acknowledged that there are people who do not follow Him. But in no way did He show respect for the choice not to follow Him. On the contrary, He condemned those who refused to repent.

Now, I have to ask a question: Why are you fighting so hard for the ACLU and their depraved mission? Why don't you fight that hard to make disciples of all nations?

All laws are based on some kind of value. If we are not basing our laws on the values of the Bible, then our laws are rooted in idolatry of some kind. If a law is not just, then the law should be changed. How do you evaluate justice? You must know God, for the just shall live by faith.

Read Romans 13 Mike. Pray in accordance with the Scriptures. Meditate on the 10 Commandments. Live to serve God.

8:32 PM  
Blogger SCAStudent said...

ok Mr. Hillman after much prayer and meditation I have come up with the following things. I may jump around I'm taking things as I find them
1. you said we must "tear down idols (not just your own, but also the idols of the city). " Here is a situation say at work the person in the cubicle next to you has a Buda statue. Should you go into his cubicle and destroy the statue. how about a Mosque should we burn it down. As a Christian should I become a gay basher? Do we As Christians not have to respect the rights of other people who aren’t Christians?

2. Also I would thank you for agreeing with me that God allowed sin too enter te world he God may not condone sin but he permitted it to enter the world.

3. The great commission If you look at several translations the NIV says go *Make* disciples of all nations but the KJV says "go ye there fore and *teach* all nations" If in the original Greek the word used meant to force it could not be translated into both teach and make there is no hint of force in teach.

4.you said "You say, "God also gives men the free will to choose whether or not to believe him." Can you prove this Biblically? " and "God does not give men "freedom" to sin. Anyone who claims that we are "free to sin" is a heretic. We are not free to sin. If we sin, then we are a slave to sin. If we have been set free, then we are a slave to righteousness. " first of all is seems that you are insinuating that I am a heretic. That is an Ad Hominum abusive fallacy. Second of all Romans 1:24 "Therefore God gve them over to the sinful desires of their hearts..." here the bible says God gave allowy them to sin. they will face punishment but God allows them to sin. He gave them over to their sin he did not force them to come back to him.

4. Did Jesus in his ministry ever force himself on anyone? No he worked through patients. A perfect example is the story of the young rich ruler in Mark 10. when the ruler leaves Jesus does not un after him waving he Gospel at him or even condeming him. He simply lets the man go.

5. Finally the Idea of a society based on Judeo Christian values and Laws. you must be careful when saying this because there are many conflicting views in this group. Do we follow all old Biblical laws to the letter in this society. Or do we adapt them to fit todays cultural change. the Episcopalian church has a gay bishop does this society allow or even promote the homosexual lifestyle. the bible says in Timothy 2 that women should "learn in quietness and submission" and Paul goes on to say " I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man she must be silent." So in this society no female pastors no wonem holding any kind of management or executive position in a company at all because that is against the bible. Also Jesus said if you hand causes you to sin cut it off, if your eye causes you to sin gouge it out, and if you foot causes you to sin cut it off. In this society should we remove peoples limbs when they sin. Also in the old testament it was said an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. Although Jesus spoke about this many Jews give the new testament little if any credit. So if someone commits a murder do we kill them. Many Christians are strongly against the death penalty. Also how do we view the Pope according to the Catholics he is infallible and Gods emissary here on earth. How do we deal with all of these differing beliefs within the church?

9:38 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mike,

On point 1: You must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If God did tell you to tear down the statue of Buddha in your neighbor's cubicle - you had better do it. More often than not though, I would say tearing down the idols involves personal confrontation in the context of relationships.

What do you suppose that Proverb means?

I would also point you to all the good kings Israel ever had. They were all known for tearing down the idols of the land.

As a Christian, I do not advocate the physical abuse of gay people. I do advocate the aggressive verbal condemnation of homosexuality, while also communicating God's love to homosexuals. I deny that homosexuals have the "right to marry." Marriage is a God-ordained institution. It was not an idea invented by men. Up until recently, the state has recognized the God-ordained institution of marriage. This is good, because righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

We do have to respect the God-given rights that God gives to non-Christians. But I am arguing that what you call rights and what I call rights are not the same thing. I maintain that people do not have the right to do wrong. See Romans 13. God lets us know the purpose of government very clearly.

2. God did not and does not allow us to sin. When we sin, we are doing that which God does not allow us to do. God does not respect our decisions to sin. He commands repentance. His hand is still outstretched. Because he is merciful, he is tolerant and patient (in a sense - not the same tolerance that liberals talk about). This tolerance leads people to repentance. But a time is coming when he will no longer show such tolerance. His judgement will come swiftly. Justice will be done.

3. Whether the appropriate word in Matthew 28:19 is make or teach, I don't know. (Do you?) However, I firmly deny that the word teach does not imply using force. In verse 18, Christ asserted his authority, and in verse 20, He promised to be with the disciples always. We are to go forth in authority. The gospel is a command; not a suggestion. Read 1 Timothy.

I will address this more fully later.

2:28 PM  
Blogger SCAStudent said...

I need time to meditate and think on this but 1 quick thing. Many people cannot hear the holy spirit clearly ana although w may feel God id talking to us our human desices can get in the way. So if you say U can destroy persona property or public property if the holy spirit tells us to anr we not opening ip a loophole in Judeo christian law for vandals to blame their crimes on the Holy spirit. also where does it stop are we allowed to now Kill people of other religions if the holy spirit tells us to. If this is taken too far soon we have a Christian version of Gihade

6:15 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mike,

First I will respond to your last post.

(Friendly encouragement - check your spelling)

Your fear of utter reliance on the Holy Spirit is disturbing to me - although not unexpected. While many people will do all kinds of heinous sins and claim that they were following the Holy Spirit, it would be entirely wrong for us to depend on anyone else but the Holy Spirit.

For one thing, you can not properly interpret any Scripture without the Holy Spirit.

1 John 3:21-4:6 says, "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ has come in the fles is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."

We are entirely dependent on the Holy Spirit. If we don't know God, then we need to find Him! Seek and ye shall find.

If we don't recognize the Holy Spirit, then we end up putting our trust in ourselves. That is, we depend upon and rely on ourselves, or other people, or the government, or money, or some other kind of idol. We exchange the glory of God for a lie and worship and serve created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. (See Romans 1).

Of course the problem with that is that people are flawed. Many trust in themselves over the Holy Spirit (even many who confess to be Christians). By doing that, they have exalted themselves over the Holy Spirit. This is extremely foolish, because we are so sinful and depraved and stupid and foolish. Trusting in ourselves is a very foolhardy thing to do. We've been wrong. God has not. Therefore, we should live in humble submission to God by faith.

The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word of God and vice versa. We need the Holy Spirit to properly interpret God's Word. We need to read the word to make sure that what we sense is in fact the Holy Spirit and not the bad pizza we ate last night.

We need not reject the Holy Spirit.

Now, on point 4 of your previous post.

I am a man of faith Mike. I do not use the word heresy or heretic lightly. A heretic is someone who has made a choice to say something or believe something that is in conflict with God's word. Now, this choice is often made unintentionally. The heretic often believes he is saying right and in line with God's word.

Furthermore, I love heretics, but I hate heresy.

Would you say that every incident in history, when one man called another man a heretic, was an incident when the fallacy of ad hominem abusive was committed? Or is there something unique about this particular case?

Was John the Baptist committing the fallacy of ad hominem abusive when he called the Pharisee a "brood of vipers?"

Was Jesus committing the fallacy of ad hominem abusive when he called the Pharisees "blind guides?"

The ad hominem abusive fallacy is a fallacy only when the personal attack is done out of impure, ungodly, and/or hateful motives. Otherwise, you would have to say that Jesus committed the fallacy, and then you would have to also deny the deity of Christ.

A right is a just claim. Sin, by definition, is breaking God's law (whether physically or in your heart breaking the Spirit of God's law). Sin is not just. According to those definitions, you may not have a just claim to do that which is not just. You don't have the right to sin.

I maintain my stance: Anyone who disagrees with me on this, given these definitions, is a heretic.

Furthermore, anyone who is saying that my assertion is false might as well be calling me a heretic, for I am claiming that this is in accordance with God's word. If it is not, then I am a heretic according to the above definition. So, if you are going to disagree, then you are essentially calling me a heretic. According to your logic then, you would be committing the fallacy of ad hominem abusive.

In all seriousness, you do not want to be calling me a heretic, because what I am saying is in line with God's word.

Conclusion: After prayerfully considering this argument, 'fess up. Confess your error to yourself and to God.

More later....

7:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home