The Church Militant Lives in the Kingdom of the Left

The Church Militant lives in the Kingdom of the Left. That is, the Church of Christ on earth, consisting of all who believe and trust that He is their Savior, exists within the framework of secular and worldly laws and rulers that encompass life on earth. Christians live beside non-Christians, under the same laws.

Individually, Christians have as much interest in laws and justice as everyone else does. The mission of the Church is different. It revolves around the message of the Gospel. When we believe that message, that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, gave His perfect life upon the cross as the sole, sufficient payment for the guilt of the whole world, then God has made us members of the Church, and we possess all of His gifts. On the other hand, the faith that receives this greatest of all gifts in a completely passive way, does not remain passive in our life as Christians.

Christian faith must be active, and that activity takes place in the Kingdom of the Left, within that framework of laws and justice that defines civil society. The activity of our faith is directed by a conscience informed by Holy Scripture. That’s one of the reasons we teach the Ten Commandments in our catechesis: to inform and guide our actions of faith.

When we study the Ten Commandments, they teach us that the Kingdom of the Left — our government — exists as a gift from God, having certain responsibilities that represent His blessings upon us when they are fulfilled. For example, the Fourth Commandment describes not only our responsibility to figures of authority, but implies that they exist to serve our well-being. The Fifth Commandment shows that human life is to be protected, even by our government, when it is not fulfilling its greater responsibility in the Fourth Commandment. The Sixth Commandment reveals that God would also have government protect and encourage lifelong marriage, obviously between one man and one woman. That relationship provides the context for the basic meaning of the Fourth Commandment, “your father and your mother,” so that the institution of marriage is fundamental to civil society itself. The Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Commandments show that God would have government enforce the respect of private property, which is the fruit of our labor. The Eighth shows that God hold government responsible for protecting the good name of its citizens.

God blesses every citizen, Christian or not, when government fulfills these responsibilities. What’s more, Christians are then better able to live our their active faith in love toward their neighbors. Yet before any of those commandments, God commanded that we have only one God, and that we sanctify His name and His Word in their proper and daily uses. If this is forbidden or suppressed in the Kingdom of the Left, then Christians must disobey the errant earthly authority in order to obey the greater authority of God. Certainly, this will result in hardship or even death, especially when the earthly authority is not interested in justice or the other responsibilities that God has given it. It is for that reason that the Bill of Rights is such a blessing to the Church, in particular the First Amendment, guaranteeing the freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion. Of slightly less interest to Christians is the Second and subsequent amendments, which also exist to provide citizens the means to protect their individual freedoms in the rest.

These days, people seem more concerned about the “establishment clause” of the first amendment, prohibiting the government from establishing a national religion — or a state religion, as the Supreme Court has further interpreted it. However, just as important as the “establishment clause” is the “free exercise clause,” which forbids the national (or state) government from prohibiting the free exercise of an individual’s religion. The clause assumes that the religion in question does not threaten the freedoms of other citizens. Especially in this area, Christians in the Church Militant should be concerned and involved in the American government, because it applies directly to the activity and scruples of faith.

For an application of this concern, see Gene Edward Veith’s blog post about how the federal Equal Opportunity Commission is requiring Roman Catholic institutions to pay for birth control in their health insurance plans. You may be tempted to consider it “someone else’s problem” if you’re not Roman Catholic, but that would be unwise. A government willing to ignore the free exercise clause in the case of Roman Catholics will not hesitate to ignore it in the case of Lutherans, Reformed, Evangelicals, Orthodox, etc.

Chesterton: A Thinking, Christian Citizen

Part of a Christian’s duty on earth is to uphold his government by encouraging justice, the rule of law in civil society, and the protection of his fellow citizens from evildoers both inside and outside his nation. To that end, God has provided individual gifts like memory, reason, and strength. The Christian worldview is fully compatible with the right use of reason, and even demands that use when circumstances make it necessary. Here is an example.

Eugenics is an old name for the “applied science” of influencing the human gene pool for the benefit of the future human race. It was quite popular in some circles toward the beginning of the 20th Century. Well-known advocates were Adolph Hitler and Margaret Sanger. (In case you don’t know, Margaret Sanger is the founder of Planned Parenthood, a leader in the abortions-for-profit industry.)

G. K. Chesterton wrote a book against Eugenics, which I found available in audio as a Librivox recording. (BTW, the listing I browsed placed the Communist Manifesto just after Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. There’s a contrast for you.) What Chesterton wrote is well worth reading. You may think that Eugenics is no longer an issue in the 21st Century. If so, then find a copy of the movie Gattaca and watch it. In fact, what Chesterton wrote is also quite applicable to today’s public discourse about government and its role in providing health insurance for citizens. You can find the whole book at Project Gutenberg.

Here is Chesterton’s note to the reader.

I publish these essays at the present time for a particular reason connected with the present situation; a reason which I should like briefly to emphasise and make clear.

Though most of the conclusions, especially towards the end, are conceived with reference to recent events, the actual bulk of preliminary notes about the science of Eugenics were written before the war. It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies (not visibly very distinguishable from other babies) sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilisation, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses. It may therefore appear that I took the opinion too controversially, and it seems to me that I sometimes took it too seriously. But the criticism of Eugenics soon expanded of itself into a more general criticism of a modern craze for scientific officialism and strict social organisation.

And then the hour came when I felt, not without relief, that I might well fling all my notes into the fire. The fire was a very big one, and was burning up bigger things than such pedantic quackeries. And, anyhow, the issue itself was being settled in a very different style. Scientific officialism and organisation in the State which had specialised in them, had gone to war with the older culture of Christendom. Either Prussianism would win and the protest would be hopeless, or Prussianism would lose and the protest would be needless. As the war advanced from poison gas to piracy against neutrals, it grew more and more plain that the scientifically organised State was not increasing in popularity. Whatever happened, no Englishmen would ever again go nosing round the stinks of that low laboratory. So I thought all I had written irrelevant, and put it out of my mind.

I am greatly grieved to say that it is not irrelevant. It has gradually grown apparent, to my astounded gaze, that the ruling classes in England are still proceeding on the assumption that Prussia is a pattern for the whole world. If parts of my book are nearly nine years old, most of their principles and proceedings are a great deal older. They can offer us nothing but the same stuffy science, the same bullying bureaucracy and the same terrorism by tenth-rate professors that have led the German Empire to its recent conspicuous triumph. For that reason, three years after the war with Prussia, I collect and publish these papers.


Below is his first not-so-long chapter, answering the question, “What is Eugenics?”

Continue reading “Chesterton: A Thinking, Christian Citizen”

Christian Anderson Speaks to the Present

Fed up with church politics? Then here’s something you should appreciate. I may have blogged about this before, but re-reading it impresses upon me the importance of what this ELS church father wrote. Please read the whole thing at ??????? (diatheke). It contains wisdom for every Lutheran church body today, even districts, circuits, and congregations. This is from the end of that post:

Since the Church Council had gradually become such a strong influence in the Synod, when its power was taken into service of the liberal element, it was something which was not easy to resist. Woe to the poor pastor who dared to oppose this Council and come into its disfavor! And because this institution had so long been highly respected by the majority of the members of the Synod, the culprit could not count on much support.

“We see this same danger asserting itself in other synods, even if the vehicles of power may be called by different names.”

All Americans Required to Buy a Warehouse Store Membership

The United States Congress should consider addressing two problems at once: the poor state of the economy, and the affordability of every-day goods for families living in Main St. America. Both can be addressed quite easily, by requiring every American citizen to purchase and maintain a membership at a warehouse store like Sam’s Club or Costco. It may even be beneficial for Congress to authorize the creation of a new warehouse membership store, to be run and provisioned by the United States government. (“Stuff Mart” is one possible name for such an effort.) The funds needed for a government option could be obtained by taxing the private warehouse stores up to 80% of their gross profits, or by printing more money.

The benefits of these stores is well known. Low prices on bulk-packaged items, as well as generous food samples in the aisles that can help Americans provide for all the basic needs of their families, saving money that might be useful in the next few years, when our government’s Social Security expenses threaten to make it insolvent. These cost-saving benefits have previously been limited to only a few Americans and illegal immigrants, which has not only deprived them of this basic human right, but also driven up the cost of membership for everyone else. By requiring every American to join one of these stores, Congress would drive down prices for all, while giving the economy another needed stimulus.

Some might claim that a membership would not be much help to them. For example, I live in Oregon, 80 miles from the nearest Costco, in Portland. (Sam’s Club doesn’t even exist in this state.) Someone in my shoes might wonder what good a membership would be, but that would be selfish thinking. We should think instead of the good of our country. How could Congress drive down the membership costs and prices for people living in Portland, if people like me refused to buy our own membership, just because I would seldom shop there? My infrequent use of membership privileges should really be considered a strong reason to dive in and help my fellow citizens, since my membership dollars would come with no strings attached!

Thankfully, far more Americans live nearby one of these stores than live in the sticks, so if it came to a popularity contest based upon personal interests, the few holdouts must eventually bow the neck and bear the patriotic burden of making life easier for our neighbors in the azul states— whether they live here legally or not. Yet I hope that Congress and the American people will see the wisdom in this without much controversy. If necessary, perhaps the legislation could be attached in the eleventh hour to some unrelated, but vitally important and urgent bill like the one about universally mandated health insurance. It should be obvious that the potential good outweighs the lack of honesty, integrity, and wisdom that may be necessary to impose it upon the nation.