We must Restore Truth-Seeking, the Biblical Worldview, Moral Order, Christian Unity on Salvation & Biblical Government
By F. Earle Fox
The following talk was given at a pro-life conference by Crusade for Life to which clergy were invited, held at His Nesting Place in Long Beach, CA, a residence for pregnant women. Crusade for Life is hoping to reach pastors to mobilize them to end abortion with its alleged legality.
Clergy have more potential clout with the public than any other body of persons. Yet, most clergy have had only a theoretical stance on abortion, with little participation in efforts to end the carnage.
The Church is the moral and spiritual leader of society, and will be held accountable by God where it does not oppose the holocaust of death – 3000 every day, 125 every hour, 2 every minute. We are not winning the war on abortion.
That must change.
We live at the end of a two hundred year period in which the Christian Church has been in major retreat in the West, with little presence or testimony remaining in the public arena. We have been watching the death of Western civilization, that is, Judeo-Christian civilization. Renewal of civilization is a project on which both Christians and Jews can cooperate. We have an almost identical worldview and moral foundation.
Spiritual chaos has been the fundamental root of our moral, political, and economic chaos. We are in need of a new Reformation, to once again mine the Scriptures to correct failures within the Church and problems put in our path by the surrounding and dominant secular and now neo-pagan culture. Reformation is a continuing way of life, not only specific doctrines from the 1500s.
The Scriptures were written with a message for every age, including ours. We are in a winnable battle – if we do it God’s way.
Abortion is a plague on our people and our land. But we have gotten used to it because we do not hear the silent screams. If we heard the screams of 3000 adults who were lined up every day and shot, gassed, or cut up with a butcher knife, there would be an outcry and an army quickly raised in their defense.
What must we do? As our first speaker just described, the issues are much deeper than just abortion itself. Abortion is the result of a terrible decay from the deepest levels of truth and Biblical worldview. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Here are six New Reformation theses which I want to nail on the doors of all places of worship to rebuild our spiritual foundations so as to effectively deal with abortion. The theses go in order, each building on the prior:
Thesis 1: We must learn how to be truth-seekers at any cost to ourselves. Truth-seeking is the Godly and Biblical foundation of all else. In the Bible, reason and revelation are wedded, not divorced, not enemies, as many, both Christian and secular, folks think.
God holds (1) the intellectual high ground (He knows how to explain things reasonably), (2) the moral high ground (He knows the difference between good and evil), and (3) the spiritual high ground (He knows how to unite His creation with Himself), – intellectual, moral, and spiritual, all three. God is inviting us to stand there with Him. Jesus is the Logos, the Word, the Reason of God. He speaks with clarity and truth, both factually and logically.
Example: I Kings 18:17 ff. – Elijah on Mount Carmel appeals first to logic: “How long will you go limping with two opinions? If Baal be God, then we will follow him; if the Lord be God, we will follow Him.” You have to choose between them because they contradict each other.
And then a test by empirical evidence – with the two bulls. The deity who shows up to prove His own case is the true God.
900 BC, no universities to be seen, no philosophers for another 400 years. From where did Elijah get such ideas? This is science, rough and ready, but science just the same, an up or down appeal to logical and empirical evidence. God told Elijah to do this.
(For a list of other such examples, go to http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/12The/Bbl/Bible&TruthSeeking.htm )
Christians have often rejected science for fear that an honest investigation, as Elijah conducted, might prove Christianity wrong. In doing that, we have been cowardly, and faithless to God – who insists on that open, honest, up or down test. Science was God’s idea, not man’s.
In Biblical history, God was Himself preparing His people for a renewed eternal life. God did not consider salvation a great mystery, but more like common sense spiritual truth.
When we Christians reject reason, we betray the revelation of God. By rejecting reason, we did nothing at all to protect revelation. We just gave revelation the reputation for being (surprise! surprise!) unreasonable. People are correct to reject unreasonable revelation (as Islam gives us). Failure of reasoning favors only manipulators and charlatans. Reason is a fundamental part of the Image of God. Revelation and reason are, in God, eternally wed.
Truth-seeking, which is what science is, is the only way to get to honest positions. We have become position-defenders without first being truth-seekers, so our positions harden into stone, with few listening or willing to consider the possibility of being wrong, so communication ceases. Is not that how we look to many outsiders? Why would they want to come in?
Truth-seeking is also the royal road to the unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17 – which, He said, would convince the world that He had come from the Father – because the world itself cannot produce the deep inner bond and unity of mutual love. Only God can do that – because He speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Then, even knowing the truth about ourselves, He loves us.
We, His own people, not the secular or pagan people, are once again His biggest problem. It is no surprise that the world around us does not trust us. The Church speaks with 1000 different and largely conflicting voices.
Truth is not plural. Views are plural, and it is our task to sort out the conflicting views to see where the truth lies. If we do not love one another, there will be little incentive to do the hard work of truth-seeking, except when it pleases us, when it goes our way.
When we reject reason, we lose the capacity to be truth-seekers or truth-speakers, and so cannot call others to that high task. We do not know how to wield the two-edged Sword of the Spirit in public debate, the two edges being reason and revelation welded back to back – an invincible weapon.
We Christians must repent of our betrayal, restore our intellectual, moral, and spiritual credibility, and thus stand on that impregnable high ground with God.
Summary 1: We must learn how to be truth-seekers before position-defenders. That is the Godly and Biblical foundation of all else. In the Bible, reason and revelation are wedded, not divorced.
If we are first truth-seekers, then we can go to the next step….
Thesis 2: We must reestablish the Biblical worldview and Good News as the foundation of civilization in the Church – and then in the public arena.
Western culture is specifically Judeo-Christian culture, not secular and not neo-pagan. We have all but lost Christian culture and are rapidly turning to neo-paganism – a world in which there is nothing to tell us that abortion is wrong. The amoral secular and pagan worlds cannot produce a moral order.
The Biblical worldview can be stated very simply: The cosmos is the creation of an Intelligent Designer who Himself is not created. Being the Creator ex nihilo, God is therefore also the one who can decide the reason for the existence of the world and its inhabitants. That means that God is both Creator and Sovereign. He creates the world, and then tells us why we are here, how we are to direct our lives, the moral law.
No being can give me the reason for my existence other than the one who gave it to me. That reason for existence is the only logical basis for a moral order, which is why no thinker in either the pagan or the secular worlds have been able to explain the source of moral order – in their worlds, there is no such source, no creator ex nihilo.
(See Worldview sheets… for more information, go to http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/11Phl/WrldV/00Wvw.htm )
There is only one alternative to the Biblical world, a world which originates in some form of random chance evolution. The pagan world typically originates out of an unknowable primal substance, and then evolves into the world we inhabit.
But the process is not a rational one. One is born by chance, one lives by chance, and one dies by chance. Whatever stability one gets in life comes through the strong man asserting himself to stamp his own order upon the social and political chaos which is inherently a part of the world. Tyrants would be grudgingly appreciated because they establish at least some order in an otherwise chaotic and degrading life.
We must restore the moral consensus, first within the Body of Christ so that we can restore it once again in America and then the West. In both the secular and pagan worlds there is no reason for existence because it is all a matter, they think, of blind chance. “The world does not have you in mind” they are mockingly fond of telling us — as though meaninglessness were a blessing.
The Biblical worldview, then, gives us two stabilities:
(1) our personal stability of being (we know who we are and stand on solid ground – no one can pull the rug out from under us, we are personally stable); and (2) moral stability for doing (we know the meaning of right and wrong, where the world is going, and thus how to govern our behavior).
Those two stabilities, personal (our being) and moral (our doing), are the basis for the Kingdom of heaven, and therefore the basis of salvation for the fallen. God is saving our being, our personhood, and He is correcting our doing, goals, behavior, and attitudes.
There is thus a deep, deep chasm between the Biblical worldview – versus – the secular and pagan worldviews.
Summary 2: We must reestablish the Biblical worldview and Good News as the foundation in the Church – and how it differs totally from the Fallen dark world of amoral secularism and paganism.
Only if we have the Biblical worldview correctly understood can we then explain either Moral Order or Spiritual Warfare reasonably.
Thesis 3: Moral Order and Spiritual Warfare must be readdressed, not as out of date, but as necessary to any civilized culture. Without both truth and a moral order, there would be no reason for spiritual warfare.
The first sign of spiritual warfare is the systematic subversion of either truth or morality. It may or may not involve spiritual entities other than human beings. The only reason to subvert the truth is to undermine a moral order which goes against one’s own desires.
The common use of psychological warfare techniques against civilians by politicians thus means that we are at war with our own government.
Moral order comes only from the purpose which our Creator has for our existence. We are here for a reason. Only that reason for our existence can be the foundation for a moral order.
Evil must feed off the good, it has no creativity of its own. But that means the more good there is, the more lush the garden of food for the evil to feed upon. That helps explain the strange and easy victories, for example, of evil Communism in subverting Western Christian culture.
If the Biblical community is not aware of this principle at work, Christians and Jews easily becomes sidetracked onto the newly invented but decadent version of life. It will look more user-friendly without the (oh well…) useless baggage of Biblical Christianity.
We have a history of pseudo-conservatism (does not conserve) fighting pseudo-liberalism (does not liberate). Both are phonies. Honest conservatism and honest liberalism are both focused on truth, and thus are part of the same family. Today the phonies are both subverting truth and the Biblical worldview.
We Christians will not recover our spiritual offense until we see how evil works to undermine our faith, both personally and in the public, political arena, most importantly through government control of education — to prevent our faith from being passed on to future generations.
Limiting government to its constitutional tasks and size will go a long way toward limiting the power of evil in the public arena, including ending abortion. But the warfare exists in, and must be fought in, our own churches. Ask, What are the forces in my church which prevent an open, honest, mutually respectful discussion on abortion and other hard and contentious issues?
The weapon of choice is the two-edged Sword of the Spirit, revelation and reason welded back to back, speaking the truth in love. We must be willing to empty the pews to speak the truth, insisting on that open, mutually respectful discussion. Otherwise, truth will be darkened and falsehood will win. If the Church cannot promote that kind of truth-seeking, it has no hope of being of service to God.
Summary 3: Spiritual warfare must be readdressed as necessary to recovering and sustaining modern Biblical culture.
Thesis 4: We must present salvation, which is primarily atonement theology, consistently with the Biblical focus on truth, worldview, and moral order.
Christians are all over the map today – with 2000+ (and counting) Christian denominations. There is little stable agreement among us on the basics of Christian faith, such as the relation between grace, freewill, and the sovereignty of God – especially since Pelagius and Augustine began their heated, and now centuries-long, debate. If the Church (the moral and spiritual leader of society) itself is not united on these issues, how can there be moral and spiritual unity either within a given nation or among the community of nations?
The Pelagian controversy began between Pelagius and Augustine ca. 400 AD, and has plagued Christian theology ever since.
There has been imagined a conflict right at the heart of our faith, the theology of atonement, a conflict imagined between grace, freewill, and the sovereignty of God over all things. These divisions over atonement were a primary cause of the incessant splitting of the Church to the present time. We were not truth-seekers, we were mostly position-defenders – or we would surely have resolved many of the conflicts rather than increasing them.
The inner unity of our personal selves and the outer unity of family, society, and politics both originate in God, nowhere else. That requires on our part a moral and intellectual commitment to both truth and love. We are commanded to love one another just like He loved us. Yet we only rarely exhibit the kind of love toward each other which He showed us. We are also commanded to be of one mind, to agree on the basic truths of the nature of God and of the Gospel.
These divisions and contradictions can be resolved – and need no longer be creating chaos in the Christian community — if we reunite reason with revelation, humble ourselves to see where we might be wrong, and work together first of all as truth-seekers so that we can be united behind a common Biblical position under the law and grace of God. (See http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/EM/ShpMl/Law&Grace/00Law&Grace.htm)
Summary 4: We must learn how to present salvation, which is primarily atonement theology, in ways that are consistent with the Biblical focus on truth and its worldview.
Getting it right about truth-seeking, about the Biblical worldview, and about the law and the grace of God then leads to the next step….
Thesis 5: We must reestablish Biblical government. The union between the law and the grace of God (above) is the essential foundation for the development, not only of personal salvation, but also of civil government.
Personal faith and corporate religion cannot be separated. Heaven is a community, with a political structure founded on “Jesus is Lord”. “Jesus is Lord” is a political statement — as both the Apostles and Caesar understood. No Biblically oriented community can rightly ignore the public arena as a primary field of both evangelism and good works.
Church and state struggled mightily over the centuries after Constantine legalized Christianity. Over 1500 years of Western culture, the Lord slowly built up His kind of government – including a significant shift in 1215 with the Magna Carta, written largely by the Archbishop of Canterbury. John Wycliffe, early translator of the Bible into English, said that God wants a government of the people, by the people, and for the people – echoed centuries later by Abraham Lincoln. That is Biblical government. (Read I Samuel 8 where God warns what will happen with government centralization. Nothing has changed.)
Then from the post-Reformation period into the 1700’s, reformed scholars gave us further powerful insights which led to the founding of America, a City on a Hill. We must reestablish that lost city. Only so can we reestablish our communal moral consensus under God by which alone we, the people, can hold civil government on a constitutional tether. That moral consensus is part of the unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17 – intellectual, moral, and spiritual, both personal and communal.
It was above all else that moral consensus under God which enabled a Christian West to bring civil government under the control of the people. The American Declaration of Independence states that our freedoms and rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – all come from God alone, applying to all human beings, without exception.
That obligation to honor life is created by the Second Great Commandment given by Jesus (Matthew 22:34-40), that each of us is commanded, not advised, not suggested, but commanded, to love our neighbor. Loving one’s neighbor means seeking and working for their good. It means sharing with that person the goods that God has given to me. It means honoring their rights from God.
The primary purpose of all civil government is — to bring the use of coercive force under the law & grace of God. So, the first question of civil government is: Who is God? What is the source of authority by which anyone can command another person? Answer: God alone.
Government centralizers are enemies of God, of our Declaration & Constitution, and therefore also of we, the people. That betrayal is exercised in abortion — and in many other ways, such as a false separation of church and state, and government (rather than parental) control of education.
The government is rightly the referee for society – but using only the rules given by God through the people. The Church is the worship leader and moral teacher – but does not hold the gun of enforcement. It operates in a freemarket of ideas to win converts. The government holds the gun of enforcement, but is limited to using the gun only as ordered by us, the voters under God, through our elected legislators. (See http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/Pl/Cnst/Ed-FrMktVsWall.htm )
Summary 5: We must learn how to explain and reestablish Biblical government. The law and the grace of God give the essential foundation for the development of civil government.
Thesis 6: In view of all the above, we must, under the law and grace of God, defend life for all living persons – including the pre-born, stop ignoring them in their plight by engaging the forces of evil, yes, in private lives and personal relationships, but equally in the public arena, especially in civil government.
Life on all fronts is becoming cheaper. Life is measured now in economic and pragmatic terms. That means certain persons become dispensable. The necessary result of that is that every life is dispensable and at risk.
For all the effort and resources spent on overturning Roe v. Wade, we have accomplished very little in almost 40 years of trying. We have blood on our hands. 3000 Americans die violently – every day (125 every hour, two every minute) – because of the above failures in our homes, churches, and government.
All this is true because we pastors are seldom teaching the truth about the Biblical worldview and about Christian commitment in every aspect of life, including the public arena: politics, education, welfare, etc. “Jesus is Lord” is a political statement – Lord over all presidents, legislators, and judges.
If we do not promote Biblical government and resist unGodly government, are we not acting like atheists? Are we not conceding the atheist position? Are we not putting all the use of coercive power into the hands of atheists? This is not only evil, it is stupid and self-destructive.
Most modern Christians are, in one area or another, practicing atheists. We do not typically inform the world that Jesus is President of presidents, and Judge of judges. Or if we do say it, we do not say it very loudly. We are acting as though God did not matter, not very much, and that His judgement is not upon us for our failures in all of the above issues. Is not that acting and speaking like an atheist?
The good news is that increasing numbers of Christians are catching on to the mess we ourselves have largely created, and that we must correct our own thinking and behavior, get the logs out of our own eyes, before we teach lapsed Christians or secular and pagan folks.
Summary 6: Pastors and churches must go on the offensive against the evils of our time, regardless of what government officials might think. Civil government does not tell the Church of God how it must minister. We are to teach and preach the pro-life message, along with the rest of the Word of God – at any cost to ourselves.
What, then, have we accomplished?
(1) We have decided (hopefully) to be truth-seekers at any cost to ourselves. If we are wrong we want to know and will correct our errors. (2) We will again take seriously that upon which Biblical religion and thus Western Civilization is founded, the Biblical worldview in which we are created and ruled by God. (3) We will take seriously the moral order given by God, and reinvest ourselves in the spiritual warfare going on until the King returns. (4) We commit to reuniting Judeo-Christendom by reuniting reason with revelation to understand creation, the Fall, and salvation. (5) We will restore and stabilize the Biblical and Godly government with which we began our American history. On this renewed foundation, (6) we will rescue the littlest ones from the constant threat of death inflicted without due process of law to convict of a capital crime.
That is a large order, but it is doable, and will bring us back to many, many blessings which were developing in America but which are currently fast eroding. In the meantime, as we rebuild foundations, we must also be on the front lines, rescuing, as we can, the little babies from torture and murder.
What are the special temptations of pastors?
(1) Valuing the opinions of our congregations more than the opinion of God, (2) valuing the bottom line of the budget more than the spiritual bottom line of souls, (3) valuing peace in the congregation more than the truth to which God calls us.
There is probably not a pastor or priest alive who does not wrestle with these issues. But we are then rejecting the Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross begins with valuing truth and the Lord of truth, again, at any cost to ourselves. We might lose some of our congregation, we might lose some of our budget, we might get strife in our congregation.
Jesus warned, “If they hated me, they will hate you….” We will suffer.
And, repentance is for clergy just as much as lay people, indeed, more so. Are we not to be the living, visible examples of the cross life?
Repentance does not mean beating up on ourselves, it means turning around and going God’s way. It means a change of heart and mind and behavior. Repentance is a blessing, not a guilt-creating curse. Staying in guilt, unforgiven, creates a spiritual cancer, eating away at our souls. Repentance is the cure for guilt. It leads to freedom and joy, not to bondage and shame.
The Lord finds ways, as we are truth-seekers, to weave each of us, with all of our faults, into His ever growing tapestry of life. So, each of our past experiences should be a learning experience. Though we may have reason to regret some of those experiences, we must nevertheless learn from them.
We are at war, and the enemy has seized the bridge of our ship, sometimes in our churches , and for sure in our government. (over three decades I watched many ignorant and cowardly conservative leaders surrender – the other side did not “win” – what had once been a faithful Church of God.)
If God is not real, we ought to close up our churches. If the Bible is telling us the truth, Christians ought to proclaim Jesus as Lord over all things, including Caesar. Only as we restore our moral and spiritual consensus under God will we be reunited so that we can become effective witnesses for the littlest ones, and take America back from the enemy — from government centralizers who inevitably become tyrants.
Leading in that direction is largely the task of the clergy – the “black-robed regiment” of the American Revolution.
Editor’s note: Earle Fox is an Anglican priest living in La Habra, CA. He has spent his life developing Christian apologetics to be able to stand in the public arena, and thinks it can be done because the Biblical worldview is the only logically consistent worldview there is (contra both paganism and secularism). The article, A New Reformation, is focused on the abortion issue (the 6th thesis to be nailed on church doors), but the first five background theses are relevant to many other areas in addition to abortion in the Church’s attempt to deal with (or often to avoid dealing with) our witness in the public arena (economics, politics, welfare, education, etc.).
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Follow references below for abortion not being legal anywhere in America. Roe v. Wade is not the law of the land:
http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/LifHlth/Abrt/00Abrt.htm#Abortion_Legal Read articles by three constitutional lawyers: Herbert Titus, Kerry Morgan, Brian Carney, with comments by E. Fox
What does that accomplish? It gives the truth about the nature of American law, especially the separation of powers. It shows how the enemy has subverted our own present government, and continues to do so, and shows how we, ignorant of our God-given government, have allowed them to do this.
Law is made in a very narrowly defined way, and in no other, with clear basic principles, the first of which is that law must conform to the law of God, and the second of which is that only the legislature can make civil law. The president cannot and the courts cannot. They can give only opinions about law. The judgements of the courts apply only to the case at hand.
This is an area for pro-lifers to go on the offensive, to challenge the opposition, another powerful talking point. If abortion is not legal, supporters of abortion lose both the moral and legal high ground. They may be guilty of, or accessory to, murder — morally if not legally.
An offensive will raise up many supporters now in the wings. It will help restore the separation of powers and other rightful limitations on the reach of government.
Editor’s Note: See superb free online Hillsdale course on the Declaration of Independence and Constitution – and article by Ronald J. Pestritto, The Birth of Administrative Government, a devastating description of how tyranny is slyly at work among us, at www.hillsdale.edu or at http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/Pl/Cnst/00Const.htm#Constitutional_Subversion
Another resource: Abortion, the Bible, & America — at www.EmmausMall.org
For live links to supporting resources, go to http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/LifHlth/Abrt/NewRef-ProLifeHiGd-Conf.htm