Biblical Citizenship in Modern America – The Separate Spheres Of Government: Does God care about civil government? What can we learn from history about the effects of not applying His principles in a society? What does the Bible actually say about God’s purpose for creating man? How should the separate spheres of government work together? Do we have a Biblical mandate to be involved in government? Tune in to discover the important answers to these questions and much more as we continue sharing from our Biblical Citizenship in Modern America course!
Air Date: 03/11/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Specifically doing that with the course that we’re bringing you this week on WallBuilders Live, the course is called Biblical Citizenship in Modern America.
It’s a new eight week course, where we teach that biblical perspective on how to be a good citizen. And we have all kinds of folks joining us: Kirk Cameron, Mat Staver, Carol Swain, Michelle Bachman, David Harris, Jr. of course, David Barton and Tim Barton. I mean, it’s chock full of great information and wisdom for you as a citizen to be able to live out that biblical worldview.
Today, we’re going to dive back in. This is going to be week two of Biblical Citizenship. So throughout this whole week, if you missed the first three days of this week, we crammed in week one of Biblical Citizenship in those three days of WallBuilders Live. And now for Thursday and Friday of WallBuilders Live, we’re going to squeeze in most of week two from Biblical Citizenship.
We’re actually leaving out a part of Biblical Citizenship week two because it’s Tim Barton’s talk that is a response to the 1619 project. And we just aired that a couple of weeks ago. So we’ve already shared that information with you. It’s available at our website, wallbuilderslive.com. But we’re going to get the rest of week two from Biblical Citizenship. Let’s jump in.
Biblical Citizenship in Modern America
Welcome back to Biblical Citizenship in Modern America, it’s time for week two. We’re back with our class here. Wherever you’re gathering for week two, whether in your living room with friends and family or at your church with a class or maybe it’s at the local library, or you’re online, however, you’re getting together with other people to study Biblical Citizenship, we’re glad you’re back for week two. Hope you enjoyed week one.
I thought it was absolutely amazing learning about the Monument from Kirk Cameron, it was incredible, the things that Rob McCoy shared with us, Jack Hibbs, and all these other pastors that spoke into this idea of biblical citizenship.
Before we dive into week two, and we really talk about is America worth saving, and what are the seeds of liberty that make America worth saving, once we answer that first question, I’m wondering what you guys most remember from our first week when we talked about the Monument, when we talked about the beginning of those seeds of liberty being planted here?
Anybody remember anything particular from that first week that you want to just kind of help? Remember, repetition is the mother of all learning. And remember what we said about fundamental principles, we need a frequent recurrence to it. We’re going to have a frequent recurrence to even what we learned the first week. Yeah, go ahead.
What Robert said is, while we were doing church, the rest of the world was an Ecclesia and we retreated from it. And I’ve often wondered, why is that? Why did we just go away? And I think when we escaped to our counter cultural ghettos on the sidelines of the culture, the world suffers, just like Jonah went and retreated on the belly of the ship. And they said, you know, hey, throw me over, because of the great storm. And I think this is the same situation that we’re in.
And I really, just to say this, I think Christian escapism is the stuff that fallen cultures are made out of. And we must rise up to the challenge, and now is the time to do it.
I want you to say that, again, “Christian escapism”
Christian escapism is the stuff that fallen cultures are made out of.
It’s actually a great way to lead into to this week, because I think sometimes I mean, we all need encouragement, but often, it’s conviction of what we need to change and how we need to act different that’s actually going to make the difference and actually become the encouragement. But what we’re missing most, I think, in our culture is courage to do the things that we get convicted to know that we should be doing, if that makes sense. And we have this lack of courage in the culture.
And so part of what we’re going to cover on this week’s class is not only answered this question of is America worth saving and what some of that true history of where we came from, but how do we as a church have the courage to stand for truth and go out into culture that sometimes we think does not want to hear truth?
Hungry for the Truth
I personally think they’re hungry for truth. I think they’re starving for truth and that they want it. But sometimes we lack the courage that even as Rob talked about last week that previous generations of Americans had, it’s a missing trait in our culture, and I’m praying for God to infuse that and for us to take on Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded you: be strong and have a good courage.”
So these truths that we’re teaching, I think as they convict us, they will give us that courage as well to go out and do the right thing. But we’re going to answer that quite question. We’re actually headed into the WallBuilders library, and we’re going to answer that question, is America we’re saving?
And I often say I’m just a country boy from Dripping Springs, Texas. My country boy, the answer to that is very simple. If you want to know whether or not a nation is worth saving, it’s real simple. Are people trying to get in or they’re trying to get out, right? A lot of people still trying to get in to America, right?
And so we’re going to talk about that. And we’re going to talk about what the true history is of America. And you’ll find something that we do throughout this course, is not a Pollyanna just chant and all that kinds of… We teach the good, the bad, and the ugly.
We don’t run from the sins and the mistakes and the evil things that happen in our country. Guess what? Our nation is made up of people, human beings, and so we have sin in our history. There is no doubt about it. But we teach the good, the bad and the ugly.
And when you look at it in the context of history in the entire world, in every other nation on the planet, America has been without question, the greatest national force for good the world has ever known. But as Ronald Reagan said, “If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are.”
And we’re really struggling with that in America right now. Who are we? So this week, we’re going to learn a little bit about what we did, and who we are. Stay tuned for Biblical Citizenship in Modern America.
I think biblical citizenship as a Christian, would be stewardship that God has given us this republic to be stewards over.
And you begin to love what God loves and hate what he hates in the scriptures because your heart is lining up with the heart of God because of the gospel.
If you’re a Christian, a person of faith, you must care about what’s happening in our culture, you must get involved in voting.
Biblical principles are what produce freedom of society. But you won’t have biblical principles in society in which you don’t have citizens with a biblical worldview.
The further we move away from biblical principles, the further we move away from liberty and freedom
As people are experiencing tyranny, they’re asking why, what has happened, and there’s just this feeling of being lost right now and not knowing where to turn. And you just gave us the foundation. This is truth.
Alright, friends, got to take a quick break, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live, and we’re actually sharing Biblical Citizenship in Modern America. We’re listening to week two right now. We’ll be right back after the break.
The American Story
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today. And we would say very providentially, in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery.
Which is certainly not true or things like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not the statement, Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.
Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story. Starting with Christopher Columbus going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people, but the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out wallbuilders.com The American Story.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. We are listening to Biblical Citizenship in Modern America. We’re going to dive right back in where we left off before the break.
Back to the Beginning
Biblical citizenship, that’s a phrase that brings two reactions. On the one hand are those who say, of course, naturally, that’s what we’re supposed to do as Christians. But there’s also a side that’s been out there for decades and even centuries and says, you know, Christians should not get involved in government, shouldn’t get involved in those kinds of affairs, should be only in spiritual affairs. So really, what is the right perspective? And what can we look at that will help us understand our responsibility as Christians today with civil government?
Best thing to see is what’s the biblical foundation for the concept? So let’s go back to the very beginning. If you go back to the beginning, look at the beginning, great place to start is the book of Genesis. Genesis is often known as a seed plot of the Bible, because every single major teaching that we believe as people of faith as Christians goes back to the book of Genesis.
So when you go back and look at the beginning of Genesis, and it does say in the beginning, let’s see how things begin. You have, in the beginning God, and you start with God, and we see that God made creation and he made man.
Now, once he makes man, you start seeing the beginnings of government. First form of government is self-government, we’re supposed to govern ourselves. But we also see that in the first three chapters of Genesis, God takes man and puts him with woman and they have children, and so you have family. This is the concept of family government. This is the first thing that we see in the Bible in the area of corporate government beyond civil government.
The next thing we find is in Genesis 9, we have the beginning of civil government. This is where God steps in and says okay, here’s what you’re going to do with murderers, here’s what you do with thieves. He starts laying down laws for civil government that came from God that’s in Genesis. That’s the second form of government, third type of government, because self- government, family government and civil government.
Whose Responsibility Is It?
The last you see is what we would call church government. This is where God gets on together and say, okay, let’s have a congregation. Here’s how you’re going to worship Me. Here’s your relationships.
We can call that church, but it comes after civil and it comes after family government. It’s the third institution. So when you look at a Genesis, you say that yeah, God is in the civil government, He actually gave us civil government before He gave us church government. So there is a biblical foundation for saying that God’s people should be involved in that.
Now, when you look at it, what you have is these three separate forms of government, types of government, and they all are very separate and very distinct. There’s areas that only they are to do. For example, if you look at the area of family, we’re told in Ephesians 5 and 6 that it is a family who has to raise up children.
It’s not the government’s responsibility to raise children. It’s not the church’s responsibility to raise children. They can help cooperate and support. But God says parents, it’s your responsibility to raise your kids. So that’s something that’s given only to that area. He did not give that responsibility to the other two areas.
In the same way with civil government, we see that God gives him the sort of civil justice. They’re to punish the wicked doers and reward the righteous, but only government gets that sword. Now there’s sorts of self-defense, and we can have self-defense and family or church or whatever.
But when the church picks up the sword of civil government and starts punishing wrongdoers, that’s where you get into the atrocities we see back in the Middle Ages with the Inquisition and the Crusades, etc. So the sword of civil government is given only to civil government. That’s all that belongs to it, he doesn’t give anybody else. Same way with the church.
Which Sphere Should We Be Involved In?
We’re told in Ephesians 4, the church is to raise up saints and train them for work of ministry. It’s not parents who are supposed to train the saints for the work of ministry. It’s not the government who train saints for the work ministry. That’s something that goes strictly to that area.
So when you look at the Bible, you have these three institutions and God says, okay, here’s what you guys do, here’s what you guys do, here’s what you guys do. So there are distinct areas that they’re supposed to do. But because man’s involved in it, you can’t have them completely isolated and completely separated. If I’m involved in civil government, I’m going to be involved in my family, I’m going to be involved in my church.
You really can’t isolate them all and say, wait a minute, I’ve got to put on different hat and move over here. I’m going to flow between three. And so because I do that, you have to understand that they’re not completely isolated, even though they’re separate spheres. And there’s ways that they can cooperate together.
For example, if you take the area of family, and I’m involved in family, and if I loop that with civil government, there’s areas that government supposed to do, areas that family supposed to do, but there’s areas where they can cooperate. Now, what is it that family and government can cooperate? What would help both of them if they both worked on this area? One answer is strong families. If government works to build strong families and family works to build strong families, they both benefit from that without violating their jurisdictional separation.
Now, this is not saying that governments create strong families because they don’t, but they can create an environment that helps families be strong, which is going to help government as a benefit. So it’s not government’s responsibility to create strong families, it’s their responsibility, not to damage what the family is supposed to do with its own family. And that means create an atmosphere for good policies.
If you look at the area of family and church, what benefits both of them? Well, quite frankly, having strong Christians benefits both.
Got to take a quick break, folks, stay with us. We’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back and we’ll jump right back into Biblical Citizenship in Modern America.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution, but just felt like man, the classes are boring, or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago, or I don’t know where to start? People want to know, but it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive! with David Barton and Rick Green, and it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders library, where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our founding fathers.
We call it the Quickstart Guide to the Constitution, because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the citizen’s guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive! with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to office hours live. Thanks for staying with us today. We have been sharing Biblical Citizenship in Modern America, our new constitution, citizenship, biblical citizenship course that you can get right now at biblicalcitizens.com. It’s entirely free. You can sign up for free. You can host it for free, and invite your friends and family to join you. Let’s jump right back in. This is Biblical Citizenship in Modern America.
“Whatever Makes Men Good Christians Make Them Good Citizens”
If the family works on having strong Christians that helps the church and if the church works on having strong Christians that helps the family, and neither one has violated the jurisdiction to the other. In the same way if you take church and government, now we often hear this as church and state.
I thought they’re supposed to be separate? Well, they are. They are separate institutions, but there are things they can do to cooperate. What would benefit both of them? What could you get church and government both working on that would help both of them? And the answer is building strong citizens.
Now, this is why we teach civics and government and math and science and some of the other things. You want educated citizens. You want strong citizens. You want citizens who know how the process works.
And interestingly, when you look at strong citizens, one of the best ways to have strong citizens was actually given by the Founding Fathers years ago, and there’s so many Founders we could choose from, but I’m going to choose Daniel Webster as the example.
This is what Daniel Webster said, great defender of the Constitution. He said, “Whatever Makes Men Good Christians Makes Them Good Citizens.” And that’s true. It’s not the good Christians that the police have to arrest or drive by shootings or violence or all sorts of abuse. And good Christians make good citizens, but those two things do go together.
And that’s something where that actually church and state can cooperate is in building strong citizens. And again, it’s the government that provides the atmosphere for that to occur. Government doesn’t do it, they just provide the atmosphere. So you have all these institutions, and they do have cooperative functions. They do have things they can do together.
The Real Purpose of Man
Now, going back to Genesis as a seed plot, let’s take another step. We’ve seen kind of how that there’s institutions, and God created all of them, and He gave jurisdictions to all of them, He gave responsibilities to all of them. They can cooperate. Which means we as individual citizens, can and should be involved in that. But let’s go back to the beginning at the creation.
When you look at the creation, is told in two places, you have the creation told in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. And as you see all the creation how it develops, He separates the waters above from the waters below. And He separates the firmament and He puts the greater light to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night. He creates the oceans and all they’re in it, and then the land and the plants and the animals. He goes through all of it. We finally get the man.
And the good question asked is why did God create man? Because we know that God created man, He tells us that. The question is why did He create man?
And this is a good time to say okay, what does the Bible say about that? And answer we’ve heard since 1646, this is when the Scottish shorter catechism came out, which really affected theology in the Protestant church realm. The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And that’s a really good purpose. I mean, that sound.
Big question to ask is, okay, what does the Bible say? Can you show me a Bible verse that says, that is why God created men? Well, that is something man should be doing, no question. But when you look, that’s not what the book of Genesis tells us about why God created man. When you look in Genesis to see why, you go back to those two chapters.
And when you look at the two chapters, after God has gone through everything in the six days and He’s got it all created, we’re told in Genesis 2:5-15, starting first with 5, it said, God looked at all he had created and it was very good. And then He saw that he had no one to tend his garden, so he made man. It’s interesting.
The Church and Hollywood
Man’s purpose was to take care of God stuff. God had created all this stuff, He didn’t have anybody to take care of them for Him. And so we’re told in Genesis verse 15, that once God put man in the garden, man tended the garden. What we see in Genesis is very similar to what Jesus told us in Luke 19:13 about tending in the garden.
Because you remember there, in Luke 19:13, Jesus says, you need to do business, you need to be about doing things till I get back. So taking care of the garden, tending the business, Old Testament, New Testament, we get it.
And it’s interesting that when you look today, this is kind of in what’s described as a seven mountains kind of thing. Because what is the Lord? What is this garden? What we’re told in the Scriptures, the earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof, everything in it.
Today, we say, well, that includes entertainment and education and media and religion and family and government business. We’re supposed to be taking care of his stuff in all of these areas. So we’ve gotten out of so many. I mean, even entertainment, you know that until 1968, Hollywood couldn’t come out with a movie unless church leaders signed off on it?
And the church said, oh, we shouldn’t be doing this, secular stuff, let’s get out of entertainment. How has that worked out over the years? I mean, what…
We recently came across an archive of 17 letters back when they did the academy award winning movie, “Gone with the Wind” 17 letters going back and forth, over whether they should use the one word, Rhett Butler as he leaves, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a… They had a massive outcry. You can’t use a curse word in a movie.
Got to take a quick break, friends, we’ll be right back. You’ve been listening to Biblical Citizenship in Modern America right here on WallBuilders Live.
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Moment from American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. The year after the American war for independence ended, we begin addressing the issue of Muslim terrorists in North Africa who were attacking American ships and killing and enslaving American seamen.
Congress dispatched John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to negotiate peace. And when they asked the Muslim Ambassador the reason for the unprovoked attacks, he told them that it was written in their Quran that it was their right and duty to make war upon them whenever they can be found. Sixteen years of negotiations failed.
And in 1801, America sent its military to crush the terrorists. When that war ended in 1805, the first American edition of the Quran was published, urging Americans to read the Quran to see for themselves that his teachings were incompatible with the safety and peace of non-Muslims. To see the first American Quran, and to get more information about America’s first war on Islamic terror, go to wallbuilders.com
Welcome back WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. We’ve been listening to Biblical Citizenship in Modern America. That is an eight week course that you actually do in your home and do it in your living room. Just invite friends and family over. You do it at your church, you get people together. And it’s a great time of fellowship.
The videos are fantastic. We have great guests. So you can share this with as many people as you want. Just go to Biblicalcitizens.com, get signed up, it’s entirely free, and we would love for you to be a part of that. Let’s jump in where we left off before the break, Biblical Citizenship in Modern America.
We used to be involved in all these, education, all of these areas. And so we’ve gotten out of them and how’s that working out for us? We got out of government. Hey, that’s one of the parts of his garden we’re supposed to be taken care of. So there is a biblical mandate, a biblical responsibility to do this. So civil governments, one of those areas were to operate in. And one of the easiest ways to do that is at least by voting.
Now, voting is very significant, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t tend to garden through voting. As a matter of fact, as you look at something like Los Angeles, and if you take Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the nation, and the mayor of Los Angeles announced that he had been elected with 2.9% of the adult vote in the city. Oh my goodness, 2.9%! There’s a lot more people that could have taken care of the garden of Los Angeles when you consider the policies they have and so much is out there.
Even in Texas, the city of Houston, the population of Houston is such that if you’re the mayor of Houston, there are 26 states, individual states in United States who have less population than the population of Houston. So being the mayor of Houston is like being a governor in 26 states and the mayor of Houston is elected with 6% of adults voting.
So one of the easy things we could do to tend the garden in the area of government is to be involved in elections. And that’s local elections and county elections and state elections and federal elections. But there’s more to it than that. There’s more that we can learn about the process and there’s more that we can do in the process.
And this is where a knowledge of constitutional process is important. And knowledge of American history is important. The more educated and informed you are, the more effective you are and the more you can make a difference in the system.
The Longest-Living Constitution
So let’s go to the American founding. When you look at the American founding, and you look at what these guys did in creating their Constitution, and by the way, there’s 5600 years of recorded human history. And when you look at that, a question ask is okay, they created a garment, but what’s the average length of a Constitution in the history of the world?
And history tells us 17 years. The Constitution we get from these guys is now over 200 years old. It is the longest ongoing Constitution in the history of the world. Every year on Constitution Day, we sit another world’s record. We’ve set so many world’s records on civility, we don’t even think about anymore. It’s natural normal to us.
But the question is, okay, everybody had access to the same set of ideas they had in their day, because they were political writers. You have millions of books. You have thousands of years of history. You have a lot of political writers. Where did they get the ideas that created our government to be so different?
And that question was asked by political science professors at the University of Houston, who said, why don’t we go back and collect writings from the founding era and see who they quoted, because if we can find out who they quoted, we’ll know what’s important to them? So they did that.
Biblical Citizenship in Modern America – The Separate Spheres Of Government
The results were released in this study called the Origins of American Constitutionalism. They went back and found those 15,000 writings that they thought were representative. And as they went through them that found 3,154 direct quotes out of those writings.
They said, now, let’s find out where that quote originated. And so it took them 10 years, but they tracked every single quote back to its original source. And at the end of 10 years, they released the report and they said what we now know is the number one most cited individual in the American founding was a French philosopher by the name of Baron Charles Montesquieu.
Alright, friends, that’s all of our time for today. We will finish this out tomorrow. On Friday will be the conclusion of our whole week of Biblical Citizenship in Modern America. You don’t want to miss it. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.
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