The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

July 21, 2009

NEW ADDITION TO SGI!

By Jeff Ziegler
President SGI

Below you will find a new “action’ column written by Whitney Ann Dotson. Whitney’s action points will become a regular feature in both our newsletters as well as our website. Whitney is dedicated to making applications to the theology and vision we proclaim at SGI. We know you will find her communications efficacious.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

whitneyx2 By Whitney Ann Dotson

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is, after a seemingly silent period, emerging into public notice once again. Established two decades ago as an ambitious charter with the stated purpose of ensuring children’s rights around the globe, nearly every government throughout the world has embraced its terms—that is, with the exceptions of Somalia and the United States. Certain Americans, however, feel compelled to voice their acceptance of the charter. Prominent figures such as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Hillary Clinton comprise perhaps two of its most unabashed and motivated supporters. The document is attractive because of its claim to preserve the domestic and public safety of children; what is often overlooked by casual readers, however, is the convention’s imbalanced perspective regarding governmental authority and familial rights.

Should the United States submit to the convention’s terms, children ages eighteen and younger would possess, upon the authority of States Parties, “a standard of living adequate for the child’ s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development (Article 2,1), ” the right to mandatory education involving primary levels (Article 28, 1(a)), the right to moral and religious liberation as indicated by law (Article 14, 3), and protection against imposition in consideration of privacy (Article 16, Section 1). Within this frame of order, the child’s welfare would ultimately originate and progress from the consciences of politicians. According to these assertions, parents are not to interfere with their children’s moral convictions or privacy—a factor which could encourage minors’ access to abortions independent from parental knowledge, access to pornography, and state-regulated education. Parental direction in morality would be limited by governmental insistence of privacy rights. Social workers—and others deemed worthy by the convention—would inherit the business of supplementing parental authority according to their discernment, becoming familial spectators and wedging imposition whenever parents are considered insufficient providers.

The major defect with this convention is not a question as to whether or not the child is entitled to certain rights. As a Christian, I firmly believe that all children are inborn image-bearers of the only true God, and are entitled to every God-given privilege to humankind. No, the matter within dispute rests in a proper analysis of whether or not the government should be given access to: our families, familial rights, and parental authority. In short,why should States Parties perceive themselves more capable of parenting than the parents themselves?

The two purposes of government were intended primarily to reflect justice in punishment, and to preserve what our forefathers regarded as certain unalienable rights. These rights were viewed not as legalities discharged by any earthly rulers, but characterized liberties imparted by the Creator. These liberties equate what are simply known as natural rights—rights which are instilled from conception, and cannot be denied. Our forefathers derived their understanding of natural rights from the principle underlying Genesis 1:26—that men are created reflections of God. Within this principle, God simultaneously instituted marriage and parenthood, demanding the sexes to procreate. Parenthood is a natural right—a right not to be impinged upon by man, but a covenantal responsibility to God. Any transcendence of such a right signifies a deified and misrepresented comprehension of government. It may surprise some people to know that Scripture always connects training and educational duties with the children’s parents. The writings of King David and Solomon repeatedly endorsed parental guidance in order that future generations might know God (Proverbs 1:8). How is this freedom of child rearing to continue when parents are no longer sole executors in guiding their children?

When examined, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests a socialistic undertone. A socialist government asserts the desire that everyone be treated in corporate measure, and that government assumes the position as sole Benefactor and Sovereign over men. Note Sir Thomas More’s infamous work, Utopia; its pages envision a society in which everyone is endowed equally. Every person is directed in both personal and religious life by their governing factors. This ideology may strike the reader as an advantageous concept—especially when the less fortunate are considered. Think again, however, about the ultimate result of such living: the government would own all, distribute all, and decide all. This is nothing short of communism in which all free and individual thought is suppressed and discouraged.

The prohibition of this charter depends upon the action and voice of the people. In order for parents to maintain familial rights, the senate must be notified. If you also respect the foundation of the family unit, contact your US senators, requesting that they oppose the statements posed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

www.s-g-i.org


THE IMAGE OF GOD, THE INCARNATION, AND THE SPIRIT OF HEROD IN WASHINGTON!

July 18, 2009

By Jeff Ziegler
President SGI

Matthew 2:1-8; 13-18

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. . . . And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

St. Matthew’s gospel depicts the infamous Herodian persecution of his own people. On the surface, Herod’s murderous rampage would seem just another ruthless political ploy the likes of which have been habitually played out upon the stage of world history. However, what is at stake, in these all too familiar verses, moves far beyond mere political intrigue. The spirit of Herod is the spirit of resistance, recalcitrance, and rebellion to the rule of God. (See Obama Barack) This insolence is always manifest in one form or another in attempts to destroy “the image of God” on man. The Incarnation, “God becoming flesh”, represents the ultimate expression of “the image of God” resting on the perfect man, even the God-man, Jesus Christ. In Christ, the power, grandeur and absolute authority of the other world is revealed over and against every temporal earthly realm and authority. Ergo, Herod is caught up in the great conflict of the ages and moves to exterminate the One who is both fully God and fully man, at the same time, yet diminished in neither aspect. Herod, whose god is his belly would not have the celestial image of the Christ eclipse his own pathetic existence and hence defiles his nation in a bloody holocaust of the innocents.

This was not the first time the battle over “the image of God” was fought. In fact, it is a battle that still rages across all spheres of government whether it comes to self-governance, familial, ecclesiastical or familiar civil forms.

IN THE BEGINNING

Genesis 1:26 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

In the creation, God makes man in His image. Immediately connected to this act rests the idea of mans dominion over every aspect of life. Authority and earthly governance is exhibited by the image of God upon man. In Genesis 3:1-6; Satan tempts man with the offer of even “greater power”. No longer contented with the status of “image bearer” a delegated administration, Adam succumbs to the offer of becoming as a god himself. Adam attempts to breech the creator-creation distinction resulting in the annulment of the perfect communion between God and His created “image bearer.” Nonetheless, in Genesis 3:15; God initiates a war that will reestablish “ the image of God” through successive generations of faithful people or “the seed of the woman” culminating in the new Adam; Jesus Christ, the definitive “image bearer.” Theologically termed the “protoevangelium” its promise ordains the crushing of the serpents power and the complete suppression of his seed or offspring. Herein the conflict is fixed. God’s image resting upon His people, exercising authority in terms of His inscripturated will against the usurpers of Satan and their maniacal quest to extirpate the witness of godly rule in the earth.

THE ORDER OF BATTLE

The narrative of Genesis 4:1-2 renders a tragic accounting of this battle on a familial level. Cain and Abel offer their sacrifices before God. Abel’s devotedness and love for God marks his sacrifice as superior to that of Cain. Undergirded with the vitality of faith toward God, Abel presents the greater testimony, exhibits the greater favor of God and with it, a greater authority that according to Hebrews 11:4 speaks even to this day. Cain is eclipsed and provoked to jealousy. He singles out his brother for murder in order to remove his righteously provocative deportment. The way of Cain is alive and well in the hearts of men. Such lives are marked by bitterness, envy, slanderous mischief and scape-goating, and when the lust for illegitimate power is at full song, are more than capable of murder. Suppression of the “image of God” can and often does become very personal and familial resulting in whole households being thrown into chaos.

This familial fury is again illustrated in Genesis 37 as Joseph’s brothers seek to silence “the dreamer” first by leaving him for dead in a pit and then by selling him to the “Ishmaelites.” The image of God upon a man signified in earthly dominion is again the pivotal issue around which these heinous acts of envious suppression revolve. Genesis 37:8; And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. Unlike Abel, Joseph’s testimony is not destined for martyrdom, but instead rises to administrate Pharaoh’s Egypt, and subsequently, exercises rule and authority over his less than admirable brothers.

Less dramatic, but perhaps more typical, is the narrative of Hannah found in I Samuel 1:1-14. Hannah, desirous of a son wholly dedicated to God, entreats the Lord with an indomitable spirit and strong crying and tears. She will not be comforted. She is zealous for the testimony of God. Yet, she is faced with continual harassment and cruel mockings both from within her family and the current ecclesiastical regime. Hannah’s husband Elkanah, was married also to Peninnah, who had born his only children. Of Peninnah, the Scriptures tell that she set herself against Hannah and “ …. provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.” Elkanah, though he loved Hannah added absurdity to Penniniah’s cruelty when he exclaimed “…. Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”

Then, it follows that Eli the priest of the Lord, apparently unaccustomed to such inspired, passionate, and purposeful praying as demonstrated by Hannah, adds insult to injury as he observes Hannah’s intercession. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

While no violence is done to Hannah, her testimony and her desire for a greater testimony through her son is scorned, undermined, and lampooned, both by her husband and the priest. The lesson of Hannah teaches, that at the end of the day, all those who would compete with the Lord for attention have lost the race before it starts. All who mock or seek to efface the image of God upon redeemed humanity are destined to declension and final destruction.

GOVERNMENT AND THE USURPATION OF THE IMAGE OF GOD

While it has been explained that unregenerate men, and even regenerate, but obstinate men, strive against the “image of God”, such conflicts are not confined to personal relationships. The spirit of tyranny exemplified by Herod against Christ, has always found fertile ground in civil government.

Governmental wars against the authority of Christ and His image bearers generally fall into two hellish stratagems. The first, hinges upon blatant tyranny and persecution. Biblically, this is best portrayed by Pharaoh’s oppression of the Hebrews as found in Exodus 1:7-22. Persecution, enslavement, and the murder of innocents are all driven by Pharaoh’s fear of the might, power, and multiplication of God’s chosen and blessed image bearers. Again, we see the modern Obamaites enacting policies that will ensure Americans like their Hebrew forbears will be “making bricks without straw”.

Again, at the civil level, this same madness is demonstrated in I Samuel with King Saul’s ever increasing jealousies and hatred for David. Political machinations against the anointed man of God abound including attempted murder, as Saul seeks to hold on to power. Machiavellian political thought undoubtedly benefited greatly from Saul’s example and both of our major political parties would rather see “Tea Parties”, pro-lifers, Second Amendment activists, and anti-tax movements all disappear lest they loose control and power by the witness of liberty!

As our theme anthem from St Matthew’s Gospel declares, Herod was driven by the same devilish designs as Pharaoh even adopting the tactic of generational genocide though, in his case, such designs were forged against his own people. The spirit of Herod is the spirit of tyrannical totalitarianism and has been manifest in the civil realm throughout world history. Whether this took on the form of Roman Imperial persecutions, various dictatorships and pagan empires warring against Christianity, or the modern exemplifications of such evil, Fascism and Communism, all sought the eradication of the image of God in order to establish their rebel claims to ultimate authority. Again the messianic delusion of Obama and his abortion at all costs policies stand as a clarion witness that those who refuse to learn from history are indeed destined to repeat it!

Still, it is the stratagem of dilution which poses the greater threat to God’s people. That seduction comes from the power of governmental coercion based upon false doctrines pertaining to man and his perceived sense of autonomy from God. No better example of this can be found then in the building of the tower of Babel as found in Genesis 11:1-6. Mankind is of one voice, collectively banded together, blinded by the lust to make themselves a name in the highest places of heaven, so as to dethrone God and place man in His stead. The desire to be as God brings contempt for the mantle of “image bearer” and hence, man corporately repeats the singular original transgression of Adam and for the same purpose! TO BE AS GOD! Such is the toxic bile spewed from the United Nations and their global cabal of humanistic think-tanks! The humanistic notion (practically deployed in Communism, Fascism, and Obama’s hubris) elevates the state to the place of God and positions it as the author and protector of life. Ergo, from beginning to end, man is to be dependent on the state.

Humanistic thought wars against the image of God in the political realm through coercion. Such states erode or confiscate private wealth so as to take away the power of dominion and governance from individuals and transfer the same to the state. Less personal liberty means more political license for the state. The state places itself as the final defining authority over life and death and thus seeks to take on god-like transcendent qualities. Such regimes redefine ethics, and wars against the immutable truth of God’s will subsequently moving to expunge all reference to the God of the Scriptures and the “image bearers” who follow in His name.

NO RETREAT

Luke 11:29-33 – This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

The Incarnation addresses how we are to live. To be an “image bearer” practically means we cannot hide our testimony “under a bushel.” We must know Christ as greater than Jonah. Meaning we are to know the power of the forgiveness of sins, of victory over death and the fear of the same. (Jonah is a prophetic symbol of life from death especially as displayed in the finished work of Christ)We must know Christ as greater than Solomon. Meaning, we are to know and have confidence in His imperial reign demonstrated on earth as it is in heaven. (Solomon’s kingdom was used here as an example of the pinnacle of earthly power and to show the superiority of Christ’s authority and reign).

We must resist those who would seek to destroy the image of God upon man in whatever sphere they may be found. We must not heed the siren song of humanism. But we dare not retreat into the cultural ghettos of anti-intellectual, anti-cultural, semi-agrarian, naively nativistic forms of religious monasteries. We must embrace the “proto-evangelium” delineated in Genesis 3:15, subsequently ratified and ennobled in Christ’s finished work (Romans 5:17) and applied to His glorious church (Ephesians 1:22-23) Anything less denies the Incarnation in time and history and allows the way of Cain, the spirit of Herod, and the way of Obama to ply its wicked trade in the earth.


OF CHURCH, SEPARATISM, AND AMERICAN RENEWAL

July 15, 2009

By Jeff Ziegler
President: SGI

Galatians 5:1 exhorts the saints of God to stand fast! That is, to stand resolute, and undaunted in the redemptive liberty wrought in Christ, and to not again be entangled in the yoke of religious, legalistic, will-worshiping bondage. In some ways, it may seem odd that saints, having once known the release of the forgiveness of sins, of faith toward God, and of the righteousness of Christ being imputed to their bankrupt account, would then seek to perfect themselves with always sincere, yet, nonetheless self-righteous legalisms. But, due to sin nature, the inherent difficulty of obedience, the attacks of the enemy, and the noxious poison of bitterness, many a saint has fallen prey to the trap of legalistic separatism. That snare portends ill not only to the individual, but also in the decline of The American Republic.

Orthodox depictions of Christianity traditionally hold to an advanced and high regard for both the authority and application of God’s Word. Meaning that the counsel of God’s Law-Word contained in both the Old and New Testaments and interpreted through creedal-confessional confines becomes the chief source of ethics, social interaction, and societal formation. Individually we find our solace, our code of conduct, and the promises of grace, mercy, and provision to act as “our daily bread.” Yet, applying the Word is not always clear or easy. We can and are often blinded by our own sin, our lack of knowledge or inexperience, or the real temptation of a pharisaical, litigious-mind that can never quite understand the inter-workings of grace, and law. The result? A tragic separatism evolves steeped in extra-biblical, extra-confessional morality, and accented by unskilled, childish, and graceless usage of the Word which brings death, rather than life. (II Corinthians 3:1-12). This is true for the individual believer, as well as the family, The Church corporate, and finally in the civil realm.

To best illustrate the difference between an orthodox view of “law-keeping” or the way of righteousness, and the way of man-centered separatism, I will delineate a point-counter point comparison of the two positions as they relate to the main spheres of God-ordained governance.

Man

The Biblical view of man, sin, redemption, the Church catholic, and culture; places its hope in the eventual triumph of the Kingdom of God. This view holds Christ as “the transformer of culture” and therefore is not fearful of the power of sin, nor its manifestation in individuals or institutions. Faith is placed in the power of Christ to redeem sinners, reform men, and change nations. The Law is seen as a beacon of hope, a standard of renovation and blessing that will attract the elect, and even reform the unrepentant to a more peaceful existence.

The separatist, is fundamentally afraid of sin. While there may be an acknowledgment of Church victory in time and history, the separatist tends by his actions, to be inward and perfectionistic in his understanding. Sin, along with its seductive power, is perceived as invincible. Hence, the inclination is toward withdrawal. The separatist views the word of God as an exclusionary tool, rather than an evangelistic light of hope.

The Church

The true Christian is confident in the mission of the Church as the embassy of God to sinners. The saints are not afraid to dine with sinners, for they look to their eventual salvation and reformation. The orthodox man sees the Law-Word of God as “power projection” to attract, convert, and restrain sinful men. The Church visible is the trumpet of the gospel. Sinners are called from the highways and byways to hear the Word of God preached. Granted, the unrepentant are not allowed church membership, nor participation in Eucharistic celebration. However, they are to be welcomed to hear and observe the function of the people of God as they worship and administer the sacraments. Only if the unrepentant become seditious or seeks to destroy the church, would they be barred from services. This view sees the Church as an embassy. She actively proclaims the Crown and Covenant of Christ in every sphere of life.

Separatists are very uncomfortable with what they deem “mixture.” The Church for them is exclusive to those already redeemed. This is certainly true regarding formal membership, but the separatist extends this exclusivity to church attendance as well. Hence, the separatist is frightened by sinners defiling the sanctuary. In this sense, separatists are less like the Church and more like John Wesley’s “Holy Club.” This model regards the Church as a monastery endeavoring to evade evil rather than confronting and vanquishing it!

The State

Mature Christians understand that both the Church and the state are established by God as separate institutions, that are not to undermine, nor interfere with each other’s jurisdictional duties. They are separate from each other but are not separate from God. The Church is given the “power of the keys” to bind into fellowship and instruct its members, and when necessary sanction and excommunicate the unrepentant. The state is given the “power of the sword” to promote and reward righteousness, and to punish and restrain wickedness. Therefore, the Church and the state held in juxtaposition, are to be viewed as augmentations one to the other, in the honoring of Christ and His Crown.

It is also important to note the particular Scottish notion of church polity that led to a revival of both the prophetic (contemporaneous application of Biblical Law) and the Levitical (instructional) role of the Church. The prophetic role is especially important to the notion of political activism. Scottish firebrand John Knox the father of Presbyterianism, insisted that if the circumstances were right, Christians had both the right and the obligation to revolt against an evil and tyrannical monarch. Previously, with the entrenched insidious doctrine of the “Divine Right of Kings,” the idea of revolt was considered sin. Knox’s notion of political resistance related to his belief in corporate resistance to sin. Knox, with firm understanding of God’s sovereignty, argued that a nation, because of the covenant obligation to live according to God’s law, incurred corporate guilt for tolerating evil and tyranny in the civil realm.

The prophetic lessons of Knox and Scottish Presbyterianism were not lost on future generations. In fact such was the force and vitality of this fiery brand of Calvinism on the American colonies, their fight for independence was viewed in England as “The Presbyterian Revolt.”

Separatists and Legalists reject the lessons of civil responsibility and instead withdraw from politics in that it is characterized as “dirty and sinful.” There is little confidence in the power of God to restrain the wicked, and thus, they strive to sequester themselves, and retire. In the course of their disengagement, they cede the ground to the very thing they feared, chiefly wickedness! At the same time, very little grace is given by legalists to their own brothers and sisters who are activistic in the political realm. They avoid practical debate in favor of destructive criticism. They cynically work sedition behind the scenes, or prey on weaker brethren ensnaring them with their closed-loop thinking that holds retreat in esteem and mocks the vision of victory in the civil realm as naive.

Conclusion

As we approach Obama’s Fascistic eighth month in office, I call upon our readers to reenter the civil fray with confidence in who we are as the Church of God! Not with the failed message of nativistic by-gone nostalgia on our lips, but instead the trumpet of our revolutionary forebears! Christ’s Crown and Covenant is the supreme mandate that cannot and will not fail. It is our responsibility to both work and fight to raise this ensign again. Raise it in your town councils and newspapers. Organize around it at the precinct level. Shout it aloud in your county government. Stand for it at your state capitol and with it lifted high upon the battle scarred standard, storm the ramparts of Federal power. This is the clarion call of the saints who hold Christ as transformer of culture and trust His word as alive, binding and efficacious! Separatists need not apply!


%d bloggers like this: