By Michael V. Wilson
Have you ever noticed how the meaning of different words changes over time?
A few decades ago the word “cool” referred exclusively to temperature. Today, depending on the context it can also mean “very good, excellent, interesting, groovy, or far out”. (I'm probably dating myself by using the word groovy.)
There are also some unwritten assumptions at work in our language. It's like when Detroit is building a car; the underlying, never spoken, unwritten assumption is that gravity works. If it didn't, why would you bother putting tires on cars? If gravity didn't work or didn't exist, there'd be no need for tires.
The same type of assumption underlies our language; we assume everyone understands the definitions of the words we're using. Unfortunately, we also assume our definition is the only one that ever existed or will exist. It's like when kids think their parents are weird for not knowing the latest slang.
When we're referring to historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and trying to order our nation by them, this kind of language changes over time and their associated assumptions can have deadly consequences.
The Founding Fathers made some assumptions. They assumed everyone in America was a Christian and always would be. They realized there would always be a few outliers who rejected Christ, who rejected religious faith, but they never foresaw the kind of wholesale denial of faith America is witnessing today. For the Founders, that was a bridge too far and they never imagined it happening. It was simply outside their worldview.
When something is outside your worldview it leaves you blind to it, completely and totally oblivious. This is as true of us as it was of them.
The Founding Fathers also assumed everyone knew what they meant by the words in the Declaration and the Constitution. Neither document contains a glossary of definitions because the Founders never thought there'd be a need for one. They assumed, like all of us, that the definitions they used would be the only ones anyone would ever need. They were just as subject to human failings as we are, and we're just as subject to shortcomings as they were.
One of the words in the Constitution especially, that the Founders never defined is “religion”, but we can get a sense of what they meant by their other writings.
President Thomas Jefferson explained to Samuel Miller, Jan. 23, 1808: “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted (prohibited) by the Constitution from inter-meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline or exercises.”
I don't have time to provide an exhaustive list of quotes – you can look them up yourself if you're interested – but it quickly becomes clear that the Founders used the word religion the same way we use the word denomination. Their underlying assumption was that everyone was Christian, just simply divided into different denominations, or religious institutions, as Jefferson puts it.
Once you realize this, Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution suddenly takes on a different hue and meaning. It says,
. . . but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Many of the original 13 States had requirements in their State Constitutions that individuals must be members of the State Church in order to qualify for elected or appointed office, and none of the Founding Fathers raised the slightest objection! They regarded the individual States as sovereign within their borders and thus free to do as they pleased. The religious test restriction in the Constitution only applied to United States offices because they knew many States did have religious – denominational – requirements and they didn't want any State crying foul if their State denomination wasn't favored. So in an effort to be fair to all the States, they simply eliminated any denominational test at the national level.
But – and this is important – they still assumed the vast majority of Americans were Christians. The Declaration talks about people being created by God, and the Constitution closes by saying,
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven . . . [emphasis added]
The Founders assumed everyone was a Christian, everyone knew that “religion” meant “denomination”, and none of that would ever change.
Today we make equally erroneous assumptions, particularly on the political Left. The political Left assumes only weirdos and cranks are Christians, that “religion” means even the smallest hint or whiff of Christianity, and that anyone who is smart agrees with them.
On the political Right are three groups – Christians, Conservatives, and Republicans – who sometimes overlap, but increasingly don't. These three groups have imbibed the teachings and beliefs of Leftists. They've “drunk the Kool-Aid” as the saying goes. In so doing, they've hobbled themselves into using definitions that are at complete odds with the worldview they claim to espouse.
I'm registered as a Republican only because I can't stomach the Democrats and none of the other parties have a snowball's chance of accomplishing anything. However, I certainly don't agree with most of what the Republican Party stands for in the last 20-30 years, especially the leadership. Technically, I suppose that makes me a RINO.
I'm certainly not a conservative in the conventional sense of the word because these days most conservatives seem to be weasels with spines made of Jello. I'm not sure what they think they're conserving, the ever-changing status quo maybe, but mainly it seems like they're just treading water. That's fine for keeping your head above water, but it doesn't get you anywhere.
I definitely am a blood-bought, born-again Christian saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, since May 1st of 2002.
Unfortunately, most of the major denominations have long since abandoned that kind of old-time religion in favor of being “seeker friendly” or “inclusive” or any one of a thousand other mushy, mealy-mouth variants. In most cases, strong Biblical Christianity has gone the way of the Dodo bird.
I said all this to work up to something I read in the Bible this morning.
My church publishes a Bible Reading Guide. Each day it directs me to a chapter in the Old Testament and one in the New. Today, for instance, we were reading Psalm 50 and 1st John 4. But when I was first saved I developed the habit of reading the Bible cover-to-cover, a habit I've continued with little or no interruption.
Since then, I've read the Bible 3 times in the King James Version (KJV), once in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), twice in the New International Version (NIV) and 3 times in the New King James Version (NKJV). If you're keeping count that's 9 times through the Bible, and I'm currently working my way through it for the 10th time, again in the New King James.
So in addition to the Bible Reading Guide our church puts out, I do my own reading, and this morning I was in the Book of Proverbs when I saw something I'd never noticed before, which is to say, I'd read it but hadn't paid attention to it. It's Proverbs 22:10,
Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease.
Antifa. Planned Parenthood. Transgenders. Homosexual “marriage”. Common Core. The deep state. The media. Google. Twitter. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Most politicians. George Soros.
I could go on and on, but scoffers who reject Christ and laugh at anyone who doesn't, are everywhere. They vehemently deny the existence of God, ridiculing the very idea of such a being. They cozy up to Islam only because it stands so staunchly opposed to the Cross, but they certainly don't believe in Allah, and they'll drop Muslims like a hot potato the moment they think they don't need them anymore. They don't like Muslims or even care about them, they're just using them.
Everywhere these scoffers go, trouble and strife follow in their train. They twist and corrupt everything they touch. For instance, they claim God's 7-colored rainbow, strip out one of the colors to make it 6 (what a surprise), and assign it to homosexuals whose sexual habits are an abomination before the Almighty. Then they claim anyone who doesn't go along with and celebrate this abomination is “intolerant” and deserves to be publicly ridiculed, stripped of their job, home, and reputation, and driven out of society as an outcast. Ask Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado if you don't believe me. Or ask Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to issue a marriage license to some homosexual men who tried to make an example of her. Those are just two examples out of hundreds of Christians being targeted. Believe me, more cases will be coming.
It's time for Christians (not Conservatives or Republicans) to go on the offensive. It's time for us to declare that enough is enough. The results of not casting out the scoffers are becoming clearer by the day. If we don't do something soon, they'll be casting us out. They're already trying.
Christians need to demand, not ask, demand that anyone running for public office, elected or appointed, present a written justification for their moral positions. If they're a Christian, they can simply hand in a single page saying so and everyone will automatically know what their moral positions are based on. If not, they'll have to write down a lengthy explanation for their position(s) on:
Obviously, there could be more. Feel free to add to the list. This is a belief requirement for office as opposed to a religious one. All laws are based on someone's belief about right-and-wrong and we need to know what a person's beliefs are before we entrust them with political power.
If they refuse to answer or give us pagan answers that rely on anything other than Christ, they're scoffers and we need to cast them out. Vote them out of office or deny them entrance to politics in the first place, but either way, they're not fit for office and we should be bold enough in Christ to say so, publicly and without hesitation.
When dealing with “non-political” groups like Antifa and the media, publicly call them out as scoffers who've rejected Christ. Accept no explanations. Reject all attempts at arguing or changing the subject. God is right. If they reject Him, they're wrong. Period. End of story.
As long as scoffers and other pagans remain, strife and contention will remain. If you want peace in our country again be bold enough to stand up for what you believe.
Will it be hard?
But so what? Being nailed to a cross was probably kinda hard too, but Jesus did it anyway.
Now it's payback time. Take a stand for Christ. Cast out the scoffers.