When the Righteous are in Authority.
Once Upon a Time:
A good story often begins with –" Once upon a time!" Well then –"Once upon a time Western Civilisation flourished upon the sound principles of Biblical law or Judeo-Christian truth.
This foundation is now seen as inhibiting, moralising or puritanical bigotry. Disciplines of delayed gratification and sacrifice are now superseded by the ‘paragon’ virtue ‘tolerance’. Truth and absolutes of right and wrong, are now supplanted by post-modern relativism and political correctness. What were once self evident truths have now vanished in a forest of perverse promiscuities and wanton diversities of lifestyle and multi-culture. Individual rights now dominate where responsibility to society and each other, once reigned supreme. Under the influence of "Hollywood media evangelism" and electronic sex-education, Western civilised culture, nurtured upon/by Biblical (Judeo-Christian) foundations has, in little more than one generation all but relapsed back into its original pagan lifestyles. The ruling society and culture first impacted by the gospel of Jesus Christ was Rome, where state rule dominated, where Pan and Caesar remained prominent and Greek Stoicism and Epicureanism endorsed pantheistic and atheistic lusts and passions. Such ideologies find their equivalent today in New Age, scientific and secular humanism, cultural Marxism (socialism) and post-modern liberalism. Different names but the same pagan dogmas.
What has happened that we can no longer publicly celebrate or talk about the God of the Bible, about moral absolutes, in society, in school, the judiciary, in government or even in our autonomous universities, for fear offending some other minority group?
In Psalms 88:12 we read that righteousness can no longer be done in the land of forgetfulness.
Have we then forgotten our foundations, our heritage, our secure and sacred traditions?
Have we lost respect for righteousness and how to discern right from wrong?
Have we forgotten that Christianity provides a comprehensive framework and philosophy upholding an answering world view for advantageous living? It is not just another religion!
Do we no longer regard honesty, justice and truth as paramount virtues? Do we now lament with Isaiah– ‘ So justice is driven back and righteousness stands at a distance while truth has stumbled in the streets and honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.’ [59:14/15]
When surrounded by affluence and abundance of pleasures, why is it that the people still moan? Fear and apprehension have infected our psyche’.
King Solomon, surrounded by similar affluence and lasciviousness lifestyle still learned to speak with wisdom and his words suggest that unease and apprehension result when the wicked rise to power. BUT when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice. [Pro 29:2] Moreover, If a ruler harkens to lies all his servants (officers) are wicked. [v 12] And then, when the wicked are multiplied transgression increases. Yet the righteous shall see their fall. [v 16]
Righteousness exalts a nation while sin is its reproach. Pro 14:34
Well might we ask of ourselves, if the righteous are not in authority, who is?
If we are to embark on a search for righteousness, where do we go to find it? How is it defined? What is righteousness? Without reference to the Bible there cannot be found any unchangeable definition of righteousness– for the righteousness found in the character of God and expressed in Divine Law; both natural and Biblical– epitomized in/by the standard measure of the 10 commandments.
When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice.–Interpreted.
In Solomon’s wisdom literature, different situations are contrasted. Here in Pro 29:2 in respect of the civil authority, the righteous against wicked in rule, are contrasted. One commentator1 states that if the righteous form the majority (in office)or are in such numbers that in any one party that forms the predominant power amongst men; then the condition of the people (ruled over) is a happy one and their voices are joyful. ie. the righteous increase to the point where they are enabled to control the civil government.
In our democratic form of government we can only have righteous rulers if a large constituency of citizens elect them to office and support them in efficiently governing. Against this, when the wicked, or those who behave according to their own egocentric ways and contrary to the ‘law of the Lord’, then the people mourn; they cry in distress, they sigh and moan.
It seems self evident that the ‘wicked’ , who rise from amongst the people, cause distress when they begin to enact policies that serve their own interests, when they oppress freedoms and take bribes. When they apply burdensome taxes and otherwise cultivate pride, favour friends, justify the guilty and condemn the just.
This interpretation is derived from the import of the Hebrew word –raba = are ‘in authority’ over against –mashal = ‘beareth rule’; the former denoting increase in number dignity and power.
Another commentator-Poole2- states that the people mourn, both for the oppressions and mischiefs they feel and for the dreadful judgements of God which they (then) justly fear.
It should be noted that these comments do not apply in any partisan manner. They do not imply that any one political party has any kind of prior claim to higher or lesser degrees of either righteousness or wickedness.
The word righteous here denotes its full Biblical import measured against God’s moral Law and Justice. [see Pro 2:1-9] Such righteous leaders do not come to authority by top-down imposition but rather when they see themselves and act, as servants of the people.
In the absence of righteous rule our own civil society still needs to see:-
a new generation being educated and trained to achieve righteous leadership,
precepts of the Kingdom-or Dominion of God, proclaimed widely and accepted,
Assemblies of Christians (in Churches) functioning as ‘salt and light’ in the world- in the community-in the work place- in society. Not as POW’s –prisoners of the world in cloistered isolation.
A majority of the nations of the Western World function under democratic principles and are largely stable governments; none more so than in Australia and likewise the UK and USA. We might well ask however, is this because they are founded upon the secular opinions prevailing today or the fact that they were once grounded upon Godly or Biblical values, ethics and law.
It might rightly be said that civil authorities in Australia, as in the USA, have been established on the principles of Exodus 18:21 as directed by Jethro, Moses father-in-law. That he-Moses- should choose leaders over tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands, analogous to present government bodies at local, regional, state and federal levels. These positions were to be filled by men, who feared God, respected truth and hated covetousness; in other words they were to be righteous leaders.
Noah Webster has penned these words :–" God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God, for the preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty. If citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, then government will soon be corrupted."
We would do well to remember that civil authority is ordained of God to function as ‘Ministers of God’ [Rom 13:1] AND as Paul instructed Timothy, we are to pray for those in authority. [1Ti 2:1-3]
The first chief justice of the Supreme Court of the USA-John Jay affirmed- "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, it is our duty as well as privilege and interest for our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
Concerning the Judiciary we should continue to heed Ezra’s [7:25] instruction to set or appoint magistrates and judges those who know the law of God.
In Australia each session of the Federal Parliament, from Federation to this day, reads the following prayer:– " Almighty God we humbly beseech thee to vouchsafe thy special blessing upon this Parliament and that thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper the work of thy servants to the advancement of thy glory and to the welfare of the people of Australia." [James Balfour]
Separation of Church and State?
People in contemporary society have become convinced that the God of the Bible is not concerned with civil society; only the ‘private’ world of the sacred and spiritual. Too many people have become blinded by the mistaken belief that politics and Christian spiritual living are separate spheres.
There remains also the many misconceptions arising from the idea of the separation of Church and State. Such a mythology continues to have devastating influence on education, the judiciary and politics; particularly in the US.
Relative to the power of the institutional church, originally throughout Europe and functioning in Great Britain, the constitutional statements for countries like USA and Australia were to inhibit the formation of any state sponsored church and /or the converse, a church sponsored state NOT the separation of GOD from the state or the state from God. This much misunderstood concept now effectively excludes the public acknowledgement of Biblical Christianity from the intellectual academy, national leadership, the political arena, law and the judiciary.
Post-modern social thinking now presents the idea that science or political, human philosophy, now provides all needed public (community) truth while personal morality is governed by private or relativistic truth.
Today we fail to appreciate that the very freedom we enjoy, as democratic nations, is indeed a gift from God. However, if Biblically sound voices are continually silent [and silenced], this freedom [including freedom of religion] will become dominated by secularism and authoritarian rule will ensue.
Already Christian evangelism is seen as a hindrance to UN Charters concerned with Tolerance3 and Global religion.4
The Christian community as a whole has been deceived by the acceptance of secular rule and the separation of church and state fiction. Thus, even the most evangelical of communities accept that the sacred should never become soiled by the secular. When the Church maintains that its role is merely to preach the gospel (offering mainly an insurance policy against hell), it then withdraws from all political controversy; confirming thereby, that the Christian life should be reserved for the private arena and separated (isolated) from public debate.
Already in local, national and in global legislatures, society has come to accede to the view that provided leaders fulfil their public office, their private behaviour, lifestyle or character, is not important. One might well ask how then does a private liar perform as an honourable public saint?
How then shall we achieve the goal to see the righteous in authority and a rejoicing people?
How then shall we counter a moaning community when the wicked rule?
Presenting only the gospel of personal salvation, the Church so often loses sight of the need to equip and elect a new generation to achieve public or judicial office; to educate editors of newspapers, to train leaders in University and capable lawyers, barristers and businessmen.
Have we forgotten how to be offensive?
For "When men speak ill of you for my sake!" said Jesus
This does not mean being obnoxious but rather courageous and forthright in a stand for righteousness.
Jesus did not only say " Blessed are you when they persecute you because of me!" He added-
" Blessed are you when they persecute you because of righteousness!"
Have we forgotten how to think and live courageous Christian principles?
Have we forgotten that Christ has called us to much more than a private belief? He has called us into an abundant comprehensive way of living! To live lives and actions capable of providing answers to confused contemporary and social dilemmas?
Have we forgotten that we are in a battle (not only) against flesh and blood?
Do we see only the world beyond our shores as the only mission field?
Have we forgotten that our salvation not only redeems us from sin but saves us for, restoring the un-created (fallen) world to its Divine design and dominion?
Why should it be regarded as ‘Old-fashioned’ to retain a respect and honour for ‘traditional moral values’? What advances or greater values have replaced the ‘old–fashioned traditional ones’?
If there are no Christians who have any vision of becoming Godly leaders, then unrighteous men and women will rule in many areas of society. The community will then continue to moan, groan and gripe because governments and educators fail to seek wisdom, revelation and knowledge in the power of God, to solve our social dilemmas; everyone suffers.
Because Governments incorporate the word ‘secular’ as a self identification this does not mean that it is religiously neutral. For it is, in fact, a competitive (human) religious or belief system. Commonly we tend to assume that belief in God or a god, is a religion while, atheism or belief in no god, is not religious. However, as a belief system this too is a religion or ‘world view’. The application of the word ‘secular’ does not infer neutrality. Rather it is a religion (belief system)5 whose doctrine is the worship of man as the source of all knowledge and changing truths. Assigning to human kind the task of providing solutions to all of earth’s woes; functioning as ‘secular’ saviour and redeemer. The humanistic secular ‘world view’ is a belief system in which there is no god other than man himself. It is a modern I–dolatry!
Secularism offers the view that human kind evolved by chance and life has no special Divine purpose. This present life is all there is and concepts of soul or spirit are purely superstitions. Moral rules can never be absolute and laws for social order are for ever changing. They are adaptable and merely relevant to cultural and social choices. There is no judgement in any after life and the highest of human rule -Democracy-is determined by the people for the people.
Humanists, in particular, acknowledge that their secularism finds its roots in pagan philosophy. From which we might conclude that there are but two categories of religious belief, Biblical or pagan. The former theistic, expressing the wisdom of a creator God embracing Judaism and Christianity; the latter to include Buddhism, Babylonian mystery religion, Hinduism (& New Age) and even Islam; Mohammed’s distorted mix derived from ancient Arabian polytheism and a confused mix of Judaism and Christianity.
As a word secular derives from the Latin – saeculum- meaning world (of or in, the world). Thus,
secularism in today’s understanding is seen as a rejection of things religious or even hostile toward religious thinking. We have no way of knowing whether persons in secular government are pious, or impious– men of high moral character or none. Numerous outspoken ‘secular’ philosophical leaders have moreover, openly professed to a goal; the overthrow of the dominance of Judeo-Christian ethical foundations and to institute the ‘secular’ society.
Over the last 100 or so years men like Thomas H. Huxley and philosophers such as Nietzsche, Michel Foucault or Paul Sartre. In Australia, former Attorney General and Chief Justice, Lionel Murphy, openly confessed to his objective of severing the nexus between Judeo-Christian ethical culture and civil society.
Dominant guidelines for secular governance were initiated in 1933, under the title–Humanist Manifesto 1, compiled by 34 leaders6 in US Government, academia, education and Unitarian clergy; John Dewey being one of the more high profile signatories. This Manifesto was up-graded in 1973 to Mar 11 supported now by 100’s of humanist luminaries including Thomas Huxley. The 1993 revision became the Mk. 111 version and in 2000 the New Planetary Humanist Manifesto7 was recognised. Atheism was now replaced by the expression ‘scientific naturalism’. Evolution was re-affirmed and a-morality emphasised as the moral fabric for society; determined as culturally and situationally variable; never absolute. These kinds of concepts have infiltrated Western education from grade school to University graduation.
Principle views expressed are that society must be freed from ‘puritanical’ codes which persist in condemning homosexuality or other sexual orientations and that consensual sexual practice/s should not be denied.
Charles F. Potter 8 author of Humanism-A New religion and one of the original architects of the Humanist Manifesto, declared– ‘Education is a most powerful ally of humanism. What can theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five day week program of humanist teaching?’ To which comment John Dewey 9 adds– ‘ There is no god and no soul. Hence, there is no need for props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, immutable truth is all but dead. There is no longer room for fixed natural law or permanent moral absolutes.’ Then referring to humanism John Dewey affirms- ‘Here we have all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race. Such a faith’, writes Dewey,10 ‘has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind. It remains now to make it explicit and militant.’ In the USA, inspired by Dewey, the National Education Association (NEA) has made the Humanist Manifesto the basis for public education, both explicit and militant.
G. K. Chesterton has noted that when people stop believing in God, it is not that they then believe in nothing at all but rather they believe in anything.
Where the deception of neutrality pervades, secularist governments have opportunistically promoted, ‘the cause’ of ‘the separation of church and state’. Human secularism is then regarded as merely ‘secular science’ or philosophy; thereby driving in ‘the wedge’ that secular rule deals only with fact and not faith. Christian communities as a whole remain deceived by this strategy. They fail to acknowledge the battle that must be fought. Then hide behind the dogma that their role is merely to preach the gospel and thus, provide the insurance policy against the fire of hell.
Restoring Traditional Values
David Flint, an Australian advocate for the preservation of traditional values has recently noted that Australian ‘Elites’ have ( Ed. -openly) not rejected the Christian religion but ‘try to modify it to remove the essence from it, somehow merging it into all religion and no religion. More generally their view has been to deny the supernatural and to believe all truth is discoverable by science. The Christian is (then) derided for his/her faith in God. Yet the fact (truth) is that the fundamental views of humanist (or Marxist-even New Age religionists) have never been proved and I suspect are incapable of proof.’
A question people might justly ask in today’s world is not so much "Is Christianity true?" but rather –" Is Christianity worth believing?" The first question continues to dominate our preaching and teaching by marshalling the evidence. The second, and dare we say, more important, demands demonstration and action; the job for all who claim to be Christian.
When there is no longer any moral compass of (exemplary) righteousness, how does any community or nation, navigate out of troubled waters? Unless we exhibit righteousness we cannot expect our nation to possess the righteousness that will exalt it for only the reproach of sin remains.
The choice is either to continue to surrender to the mistaken idea of the separation of Church and State or face the challenge, equip a new generation and strive to overturn it by restoring the righteous to authority.
Inscribed into the preamble of Australia’s Constitution are these words… ‘humbly relying on the Blessings of Almighty God, we have agreed to unite in an indissoluble Federal Commonwealth, under the Crown and under the Constitution hereby established.’
This is the one foundational hurdle that the ‘Elite’ human relativists aim to dismantle.
Moreover, this recognition of both Almighty God and a Constitutional Monarchy are (for many) a strong motivation for changing Australia’s Constitution in the thrust for a Republic.
Let us hope that we can concur with Edmund Burke that… ‘We know and what is better, we inwardly feel, that the Christian religion is (and remains) the basis of civil society.’
As a society that purports to value freedom of religious expression and worship, are we to draw our strengths from secular or Godly principles?
How then shall we ever achieve the goal—When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice?
No community of people can ever hope to exist forever if this community adheres to the view that life has no real meaning and that it merely exists in a meaningless universe.
Franz Delitzsch, Proverbs, trans. M. G. Easton, in Commentary on the Old Testament by C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprint, 1978), 6:241-242.
Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust,  1962), 2:270
United Nations (UNESCO) "Declaration of Principles on Tolerance" 28th General Conference in Paris over 25 Oct. to 16 Nov. 1995.
UNESCO Declaration on the Role of Religion in the promotion of a Culture of Peace [Barcelona 12-18 Dec. 1994]
Whitehead & Conlan; The Establishment of Religion of Secular Humanism; Texas Law review, Winter 1978,pp 19, 30-31. Cited by LaHaye and Noebel in Mind Seige; Ch. 8; Humanism is a Religion.
Roy W. Sellars, The Humanist Manifesto 1933.
Charles F. Potter; Humanism-A New Religion, 1930
Paul Kurtz; A Call for a New Planetary Humanism; Free Enquiry (Fall) 1999,pp 8/9
John Dewey, A Common Faith; Yale University Press, 1934
Cited by LeHaye & Noebel Ch. 8; Mind Seige,2000, p 155