Fear and Tyranny

‘Fear not Tyranny but the lack of courage to stand against.’

Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It’s selfish ignorance, and it’s exactly why totalitarian governments are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people’s rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own. – Tony Lawrence (apl@world.std.com) 12/28/95

In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was nobody left to speak up. – Reverend Martin Niemoller, Germany, 1930’s

No constitution, no court, no law can save liberty when it dies in the hearts and minds of men. – John Perkins

“In the United States Senate, one of the things I observed in the early days – and it’s still used – and that is that you take someone’s argument and then you misrepresent it and misstate and disagree with it. And it’s very effective. I’ve done it myself a number of times. But eventually, eventually people catch on.” -Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington

Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom. – Alexis de Tocqueville – “Democracy in America” (1835)

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do. It is the freedom to refrain, withdraw and abstain which makes a totalitarian regime impossible. – Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, p 176, 1955

The people of Asia were slaves, because they had not learned how to pronounce the word ‘no’. – Winston Churchill (citing Alexander the Great), in a radio address – 10/16/1938

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
― Karl Marx

Courage, also called fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into “physical courage” — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and “moral courage” — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.

“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”
― Veronica RothInsurgent

Courage is also known as fortitude, it is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation! It can be divided into physical courage in the face of physical pain, hardship and the threat of death and moral courage in the face of shame, scandal and discouragement.  As a virtue, courage is covered extensively in Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics, it’s vice of deficiency brings cowardice and it’s vice of excess brings recklessness.

True courage…has so little to do with Anger, that there lies always the strongest Suspicion against it, where this Passion is highest. The true Courage is the cool and calm. The bravest of Men have the least of a brutal bullying Insolence; and in the very time of Danger are found the most serene, pleasant, and free. Rage, we know, can make a Coward forget himself and fight. But what is done in Fury, or Anger, can never be plac’d to the account of Courage.

Discovering our inner courage is something which presents a different challenge to every one of us because we are all unique and different; we have different fears, different strengths and different weaknesses.   Contrary to popular opinion, courage is not the absence of fear; it is the decision to take action in spite of your fears.  By the way, most of the fears which people have are nothing more than an undeveloped skill set which we have yet to master.  There are good fears, such as those which make us cautious when faced with people, places or things which pose a legitimate danger; and there are unfounded fears such as the fear of failure which can be overcome by taking intelligent action.  Weakness is nothing more than a mental ability or physical muscle set which is undeveloped; weakness can be overcome with exercise in the form of taking action!

“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people–they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
― Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

“I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear” Great men and women throughout history have understood courage: I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”– Nelson Mandela

The shot heard around the world: United we stand

Ocala, Florida, Tuesday May 14, 2013, the shot heard around the world, united we stand the vision of a promised land upon the field of dreams, still known as the United States of America today. What some may call a mission has become a way of life for local governments, communities and motivated individuals throughout the nation. In recent news, and surrounding many current events, there has been much to discuss with ongoing debates about the United States Constitution, and its proper application.

Downtown Ocala
However, some communities such as Ocala, appear to be remembering the foundations of that document, and its purpose to facilitate a future filled with success for a more perfect union.

J. Kirk, B. Mosley and Melisaa Townsend

J. Kirk, B. Mosley and Melisaa Townsend
Photo credit:
The Objective Review / Joseph Sardinas

Today in Ocala, the foundations of freedom are enshrined by the everyday actions of local residents and government alike. Free to voice thoughts and an opinion, Ocala is a city of dreams that really do come true. Brought forth by a dream, the vision of freedom became a reality ‘the constitutions’, just as the dreams and vision of Ocala citizens have in recent news. It appears the city of Ocala has put forth a common senseapproach to politics and set aside all therhetorical nonsense. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is a phrase in theUnited States Declaration of Independence which gave way to the birth of the United States Constitution. The ‘unalienable rights’, with which all human beings are endowed by their creator, facilitate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are protected by the institution of governments.

The Objective Review recently met withMelissa Townsend for an interview about the local government, programs, art, music, culture, economy and the unity of the over all community in Ocala. Open government is a government of the people, for the people and by the people in a free thinking society. Ocala’s local government is no stranger to the people, actively encouraging its members and communities to participate in bothgovernment and community events. Before we reveal the facts of the events surrounding the purpose and inquiry of the interview it is only appropriate to first observe the following.

‘It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’ ~Abraham Lincoln, 19 November 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

A government of, for and by the people, sounding out like the shot heard around the world so many years ago, can be found in the city of Ocala, located in America‘s southeastern state of Florida. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal’, and the city of Ocala is resounding that truth as an example for its citizens and communities abroad.
America is a nation of nations, separate yet equal, united as one to the world just as each and every one of its citizens. Such a profound example on an incredibly large scale, that originates from the people throughout those nation states and their local communities. A government of ‘we the people’, crafted for freedom and born for liberty, a society so inspired, creative and motivated they left their mark in the hearts and minds of the many. Through the innovation and ingenuity of a single idea, a nation of nations rose above the conflicts and answered for freedom as one.

In 1776, the American people wrote the declaration of independence that lead to the drafting of the United States Constitution in the year 1787, later adopted in the year 1789. In the year 1957, philosopher and freethinker Bertrand Russell wrote: ‘What makes a freethinker is not his beliefs but the way in which he holds them. If he holds them because his elders told him they were true when he was young, or if he holds them because if he did not he would be unhappy, his thought is not free; but if he holds them because, after careful thought he finds a balance of evidence in their favor, then his thought is free, however odd his conclusions may seem.’

‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’ ~Preamble United States Constitution

Article VI of the United Sates Constitution is clear about the purpose behind the constitution:
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

So why is the social and economic status of Ocala increasing with success? The answer is almost as simple as the words spoken by Ocala’s Community Cultural Arts Manager, Melissa Townsend. ‘That comes from the very top, from our city council, and our city cabinet which is comprised of our city manager and the city’s executive staff, they’ve all worked very hard to change the culture of our local government. I would say many folks think of government as.. its a culture of you know well you need to play with or along these lines and when you ask questions you’re often told no.’ said Ocala’s Community Cultural Arts Manager, Melissa Townsend ‘Well when folks ask us questions we should be thinking like how can we facilitate this? Maybe there is some rules we need to play within, but its a maybe or lets work together and find a solution to make this happen.’

Inspiring and encouraging communities to achieve success is not only a personal goal but a cultural goal rooted deep into free thinking societies throughout history. Marion County is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Marion County has five municipalities and despite Ocala being the largest, it has an equality for all outlook and many open doors of opportunity for all.
In a sustainable community, success is achieved by unifying its members, as public events and social gatherings can easily accomplish this task. However, the community of Ocala, through local government, organizations and individuals have taken another step toward the pursuit of facilitating both economical and social success.

The Ocala / Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership and the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corporation have joined forces to address attracting cutting-edge businesses and the expansion of local businesses. The partnership continues with the exploration of establishing a strong business and workforce development atmosphere in Marion County. The story doesn’t stop there though, Marion County fully comprehends the diversity of this nation and its local citizens, and although individually each person is unique and presents a variety of cultural differences. Marion County and its citizens successfully stimulate and facilitate unity through a universal common ground. A universal culture and line of communication for all so to speak, a voice of expression to exchange new ideas or a vision of an entrepreneur rising to success tomorrow.

Ocala has many resources for its residents and youth to be educated, motivated and inspired. Which can be found at one of the many websites such as ocalafl.org. The programs offered consist of a multitude of groups involving government, non-profit organizations and volunteers. One project was the origin of the discussion, started by an individual many years ago, called The Art Walk. That individual later moved to New York and started another art walk there.

However, not only does The Ocala Art Walk continue today but Ocala’s Community Cultural Arts Manager, Melissa Townsend, helps facilitate that today with the help of organizations and community volunteers. ‘First Friday Art Walk was started by an individual who came to the city with a vision… the city partnered, we understood his vision, and pulled the permits because like Bronson sometimes you have the vision but not the means’said Ocala’s Community Cultural Arts Manager, Melissa Townsend. Who also revealed ‘this gentleman’s name was Michael Brey who took the ball and ran with it’. Economical growth resulted not only in Ocala, but also in Saratoga, located in America’s northeastern state New York, where he currently conducts another Art Walk.

That spark of creativity lives on according to Melissa Townsend ‘it has, so now we have a steering committee and its comprised of individuals representing the downtown business alliance,Marion Cultural Alliance, Fine Arts for Ocala, individual gallery owners and downtown proprietors…’ When Micheal left he apparently left a mark of success, as the community as a whole came together and formed that steering committee. In fact when he left the community, local artists and organizations came together and said:’look we want to keep this going we think it has great potential and if we can get everybody to be vested in the program we can grow it and make it bigger and better but we need to work together. So it’s a great example of a unified front to build a program and enhance the community and it’s a huge economic driver, not only does it showcase our creative talent both visual and performing arts but it drives business downtown and it’s a walk so folks get to discover our history downtown, our unique boutiques, gift shops and restaurants that we have here.’

Upon our review it is understood that the peaceful, warm and welcoming downtown Ocala is not only growing economically, but has a high public moral due to many factors including the positive effects of these constructive and creative events for individuals to express themselves on a more personal level. ‘I believe that’s true, I believe that they bring folks together. Art gives us a moment to pause and look at ourselves for self discovery, it makes us become insightful’ said Melissa Townsend and then commented on the high public moral ‘it does especially when it comes from collaboration, I think as a community we work really well together and we are seeing that grow even more over the past couple of years.’

Melissa was then told one of those members of the community was present at the interview taking place at the Ocala City Hall. Bronson Mosley, with the community video project Only Another Day, was asked about his thoughts on some of the local community programs and events and how it affected his life and the community. He responded with much appreciation: ‘As far as the programs that have had a direct effect on me I have to go back to the first Friday Art Walk … as it impacted us … having that program once a month and knowing that a number of the communities photographers…’ (such as Joseph Sardinas & ‘Robofoto Bob‘) ‘…painters, artists of different shapes and forms that you have makeup artists out there even .. knowing that everyone is there, knowing that all this is guaranteed once a month to be in one place with good energy and the people are there for a positive reason, … I’ve never missed it I’m always there … because there is a resource … a lot of beautiful people that are willing and want to do something valuable with there time … for the artists especially there is so much talent in this town. I’ve seen it day in and day out for the last 30 years growing up in this town and to have a venue to gather up all those people you know’, understanding without it, ‘I couldn’t have been successful with what I did. I couldn’t have extended off of it if there had not been something like this to draw everyone together… and its a big thanks to see that type of thing going on… the square and the social responsibility of the local businesses is like a hundred and eighty degrees from what it used to be.. it shows not just in the programs that happen once a month but also those events that happen everyday of the year.’

Bronson Mosley started a community film project, based on a vision and a dream, with his sisterDarian Mosley. Inspired by the Art Walk he managed to make that dream a reality with the Only Another Day film project. The Art Walk inspired Bronson, Darian and the local community ‘to do something valuable with their time’ as Bronson said. Remarkably the videos made are reported also as being used to raise funds for children with needs and autism. The Historical Ocala Drive-In Theater provides a place for the films to be viewed publicly and has sparked talks about a film fest being started.

Bronson Mosley and volunteers filmed at multiple locations throughout Marion County. These locations included local businesses, downtown Ocala and including the city hall. When asked about his experience with seeking permission to film at city hall Bronson had this to say: ‘It was like a Cinderella Story.. like a magical here you go… I never had the pleasure of working with Melissa directly before but she just gave us the opportunity and said here is the chance for you guys to film at this location’, Ocala City Hall, 10 May 2013, ‘she supported us and helped open doors for us, she gave us a window to where all we had to do was show up with the want and the people and respectfully we could film here.’ The Only Another Day project is filming its second movieafter completing its first in under 77 days due to the hundreds of volunteers and community support.

Selfles, a local band, who contributed to some of the music used in the project, being inspired, made a new album. Blake Abney, Selfles lead vocalist, present at the city hall filming said: ‘This is great having a place to do this and it gives people the courage and strength to be involved and knowing that were supported plus it gives the community something positive to do’.Standing next to Blake a makeup artist said it was great to get hands on experience towards a future career. ‘Only Another Day has been an amazing project. It has reached people in all walks of life in all parts of Ocala. It has opened a lot of peoples eyes to places around the city that people didn’t know existed … so economically speaking it has boosted people’s realization about all kinds of things like the Appleton Museum for example … and its especially important as a community project because we support local businesses.’ said Darian Mosley. Tuesday Glenn another volunteer said ‘it has enlightened me it has inspired me we even supported kids like march of dimes. I always wanted to be on the big screen and my father drove 10 hours all the way from Tennessee to see it.’Another Volunteer by the name of Becky Syn said ‘being on the big screen was wonderful, I never thought I’d see myself on the big screen growing up in Ocala. Another volunteer said it shows her to never give up on your dreams and all things are really possible.

What else has the overflowing opportunities for Ocala created? Institute for Human and Machine Cognition designs and researches a prosthetic to help the disabled rehabilitate into a quality life again. They also provide services and learning experiences to the youth in the community. Science Saturdays is a hands on science program for kids in grades 3, 4, and 5. They are held one Saturday a month during the school year. Each session is led by an IHMC researcher. Past activities have included lemon batteries, roller coasters, bridges, slime, and secret codes.

Which brings us to the Marion Cultural Alliance and what it accomplishes for the community and its youth. West Port high school and young individuals throughout the community are sponsored by M.C.A. The West Port High School Senior Art Exhibition at Brick City Center for the Arts, one of their many endeavors, helps inspire and support the West Port High School artists succeed in the world today. The raw talent of those very gifted students can be seen at the Brick City Center for the Arts. Having the pleasure of speaking with M.C.A. Administrative Assistant, Terry Miller, The Objective Review toured the gallery and viewed some of that art created by those high school students. As the art was vast in its variety of form, varying in its medium from simple to complex, the pieces were admirable, unique, creative and expressed the overflowing abundance of talent found in the students of West Port High School. Brick City Center for the Arts provides a place for these young artists to show and express their art for people to admire or give notice to an artist by acquiring one of their pieces, which is clearly a foot in the doorway to a new career.

‘Being a member of M.C.A. and having the opportunity to work with its Board of Directors over the past few years has been very rewarding. I have experienced Ocala’s diverse community participate in one of the most successful public art projects, Horse Fever 10th Anniversary. The success of this project I feel was a community success. Starting with the Board of Directors of M.C.A. who put the project together, the artists that competed to put their design on the horse statues, of course the city, its businesses and the horse farms for providing venues for related events, and most of all the citizens of Ocala/Marion County supporting those events. Thankfully it does not stop there. Everyone looks forward to the First Friday Art Walk each month, the Culture Builds Juried Art Series, and many more activities that are provided by local art organizations’ said M.C.A. Administrative Assistant, Terry Miller.

There are many programs that inspire and drive the community, even Horse Fever with an anniversary of ten years. However, these events not only inspire the artists but also the volunteers. What does M.C.A. Administrative Assistant, Terry Miller, get from all this? It is best said in her own words:

‘I appreciate each of the artists and supporters of the arts and I am proud to be able to contribute to and be a part of the mission of making culture a greater part of our community.’

The gallery is located in downtown Ocala which also creates a great economical driver for the community. Astronaut Neil Armstrong said one small step for man was a larger step for mankind. It would appear in Ocala, one small step for an individual is a larger step for the community and also individual success.

Because the United States economy is driven by perhaps the best example of a consumer-based society and a capital-driven citizenry, it is important to understand and interpret what role the government plays in the operations of our economy. Historically, the degree to which the government has played a role in the economic structure of the country has defined the large differences in the outlook and well-being of the citizens. Whether this meant the institution of greater social programs and economic safety-nets, the role of the government in the acquisition and redistribution of money in society is central to understanding the relationship between resources and the citizenry.

How does the government affect the economy?

How does the community affect the economy?

How does the unity of a community affect the economy?

Answer: Government is like a balancing act between having enough money to provide the basic services that should be provided and making sure that the public keeps as much money as possible to keep the economy growing. In really general terms, it imposes monetary and fiscal policies that either have a contraction effect on the economy, resulting in slower economic growth, or an expansion effect that encourages economic growth. As for the community, people facilitate the government and the government facilitates the prosperity of the people.

Let us review:

In the words of Melissa Townsend: ‘It is so rewarding to hear stories like Bronson’s .. I feel very fortunate to be in my position to be able to help facilitate for Bronson … we have had artists in the First Friday Art Walk that started out as Amateurs who have been able to change careers and are successful.’ Art is needed for many careers such as advertising, web design, architecture and even landscaping.

In an interview, 13 May 2013, Ocala Mayor kent Guinn said ‘we all have a role to play. Even the Chamber and Economic Partnership …they engage us as they need us.’ When a new business looks to develop in Ocala, ‘they contact us and say we need to get the city plugged in, we need to get the county plugged in, we need to get workforce or whoever it is, we all understand the goal is to create economic growth and jobs.’ The mayor agrees 100 percent that unity in the community is a key factor to the success of a community. ‘There are so many charitable organizations in this community everyone helps out in there own particular way … whether it be someone signing a check, donating their time, construction or whatever it is folks come together and like I said that’s what makes Ocala great .. it really is a special community’ said Mayor Kent Guinn.

Ocala’s social and economical success can be found by Bronson’s inspiring quote: ‘to create something that can be treasured’ as it has a marketable value.

The people of Marion County, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity have indeed founded it upon unity.

This is another objective review about the city of Ocala where it apparently is not just Only Another Day for some but the reality of liberty and justice for all.


“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone
understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24

If a Proverb is of wisdom …….
1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth —(Young in Spirit)
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What is a man’s steps?

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; (but) male and female he created them.

What is a child of God?

Did he create them male and female?

Then what are the footsteps of mankind directed by?

Where does one find this knowledge?

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned.

Ancient Warfare – A Very Short Introduction

We are all familiar with that picturesque incident of the conflict between Israel and Amalek, which ended in victory and the erection of this memorial trophy. Moses, as you remember, went up on the mount whilst Joshua and the men of war fought in the plain. But I question whether we usually attach the right meaning to the symbolism of this event. We ordinarily, I suppose, think of Moses as interceding on the mountain with God. But there is no word about prayer in the story, and the attitude of Moses is contrary to the idea that his occupation was intercession. He sat there, with the rod of God in his hand, and the rod of God was the symbol and the vehicle of divine power. When he lifted the rod Amalek fled before Israel; when the rod dropped Israel fled before Amalek. That is to say, the uplifted hand was not the hand of intercession, but the hand which communicated power and victory. And so, when the conflict is over, Moses builds this memorial of thanksgiving to God, and piles together these great stones—which, perhaps, still stand in some of the unexplored valleys of that weird desert land—to teach Israel the laws of conflict and the conditions of victory. These laws and conditions are implied in the name which he gave to the altar that he built—Jehovah Nissi, ‘the Lord is my Banner.’

Now, then, what do these stones, with their significant name, teach us, as they taught the ancient Israelites? Let me throw these lessons into three brief exhortations.

I. First, realise for whose cause you fight.

Antisemitism – A Very Short Introduction

The Crusades – A Very Short Introduction

Crusade: defined: according to circumstance, either a toxic byword for conflict between Christians and Muslims or a shorthand for what people believe to be a good and worthy cause. In the former context one might quote Osama bin Laden or, in parallel, the allegations made against Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security company, in Iraq: ‘[he] views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.’ In a more secular arena, any western politician asking for a cut in hospital waiting lists might call for a ‘crusade’.Yet such utterly divergent meanings originate with an idea conceived over 800 years ago, a concept that has produced one of the most long-lasting and adaptable legacies of the Middle Ages. Tracing how ‘crusade’ has evolved, mutated and been appropriated by individuals across the broadest possible spectrum is to follow an intriguing and often surprising trail.

The History of Time – A Very Short Introduction

The Spanish Civil War – A Very Short Introduction

The Renaissance – A Very Short Introduction

In nearly every nation, proceedings in courts of law often involve written documents. Things like receipts, letters, contracts, confessions and written statements by witnesses are used as evidence. But everyone knows that it is not enough simply to have such documents available to the court. For them to be used effectively, lawyers, judges, and juries have to know certain attributes or characteristics of their documents. Much time is often spent learning and establishing things like who wrote a particular document, who received it, when it was written, why was it written and what it states. Knowing these attributes is crucial to using these documents properly.

We have similar concerns when we do Christian ethics. No matter what the ethical question, we always have at least one document that we need to take into account, namely the Bible. But what impact the Bible has on our decision varies from person to person. Some Christians rely almost entirely on the Bible as the unfailing and authoritative source of perfect answers to moral questions; others value its advice, but take its words with a grain of salt; and still others disregard it as irrelevant and out of touch with the modern world. And all these different perceptions of the Bible’s usefulness in ethics have one thing in common: they are all based on an assessment of the Bible’s attributes.

This lesson is the third in our series of lessons on Making Biblical Decisions. We have entitled this lesson, “The Attributes of Scripture.” In earlier lessons we established that ethical judgments always involve a person applying God’s Word to a situation. And this outlook led us to see that there are three essential considerations that must always be taken into account as we make ethical decisions: the standard of God’s word, the particulars of the situation, and the person making the judgment. We have identified these three considerations as the normative, situational and existential perspectives in ethics. In this lesson we will address the normative perspective again, looking for the proper standards for ethical decisions.

As we have seen in the previous lesson, God’s own character is our ultimate standard, whereas his Word is our authoritative revealed standard because it infallibly teaches us about God’s character. In this lesson, we will focus on the attributes of Scripture in order to see more clearly how the Bible reveals God’s character to us. We will divide our discussion of the attributes of Scripture into two parts: First, we will investigate the attributes that Scripture possesses primarily by virtue of its Divine Authorship, namely, its power and authority. Second, we will explore the attributes that Scripture possesses primarily because it was written for a Human Audience: that is, its clarity, necessity and sufficiency. Let’s begin by looking at the Divine Authorship of Scripture.


When we speak of the divine authorship of Scripture, we are referring to the fact that the Biblical authors were inspired by God and authorized by him to deliver his message. We are looking at the Bible as God’s word to his people and emphasizing the fact that it is “God’s word.” As we explore the attributes of Scripture that derive primarily from its divine inspiration, we will touch on two matters: the power of Scripture and the authority of Scripture. Of course, most evangelical Christians instinctively recognize that the Bible is God’s powerful, authoritative word to every generation. Yet, most of us have never thought through many of the issues related these attributes of Scripture. But we can use the Bible more effectively in ethics if we understand these characteristics in further detail. So, let us turn our attention to the power of Scripture.

Power of Scripture

As Christians, when we approach the subject of ethics, we are not merely interested in figuring out which things are good and which are evil. We are also interested in applying that knowledge by acting, thinking and feeling in ways that are morally praiseworthy. But where can we find the strength to carry out what we know to be right and good? In this pursuit, we are greatly aided by Scripture’s power. As God’s living and active word, the Bible does not just tell us what to do; it also empowers us to believe and to live in ways that please God and lead to his blessings. Let’s unpack this concept first by looking at some examples of the power of God’s Word in its various forms, and second by turning to the implications that this power has for ethical decision-making.


As we have seen in our prior lessons, God’s Word may take many forms. And the Bible indicates that God’s Word is powerful even when it does not take the form of Scripture. As we seek to demonstrate the power of Scripture, we will begin by looking first at the power of God’s Word over creation. Next, we will touch on the power of his prophetic word, and then on the power of the preaching of the Gospel. Finally, we will explore the power of God’s written Word or Scriptures. Let’s begin by investigating the power of God’s Word over creation.

When we consider the power of God’s word, it is often helpful to think first about how his word is powerful over the creation. Perhaps the place where this is most easily seen is the creation account of Genesis 1, where God spoke the world into existence. Throughout the entire chapter, the only action that God performs is speaking. And by his spoken word, he creates, orders and fills the entire universe. As Psalm 33 verses 6 and 9 comment regarding this account:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth… He spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalm 33:6, 9)

God’s declaration had great power in the days of creation, so much power that his word brought the creation into existence. It is not that the words have innate power that God manipulates. Rather, God uses his declarations as vessels that transmit his own power. God’s words are the means he uses to accomplish his ends, much as any human being might use a hammer to drive a nail into place.

In the second place, the Scriptures also make it clear that God’s word has power when it comes through the mouths of inspired prophets. Isaiah chapter 55 verses 10 and 11 confirm this idea. There the prophet wrote:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Although this passage speaks of God’s word going out from his mouth, in the context it is apparent that God was referring to the preaching of the prophet Isaiah. The people of Judah heard this word of the Lord not directly from God’s mouth, but from Isaiah. Even so, the message was still powerful when Isaiah spoke and wrote it; it had God’s power to accomplish his purposes.

A third way in which we may see the power of God’s word is through the uninspired preaching of his word or the gospel. The New Testament frequently confirms this idea when it says that God works through the preaching of the gospel, even when the preachers are not infallibly inspired. For instance, in Romans chapter 1 verses 15 and 16, Paul directly stated that the preached gospel carries God’s power:

I am so eager to preach the gospel … because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:15-16)

The gospel Paul had in mind here was not just a set of truths about what Jesus had done, nor was it the power of God represented by the statements of the gospel. He did not mean that the gospel is about the God who has power, or about the things that God has done with his power. Rather, Paul meant that the act of preaching the gospel is powerful because God uses preaching to bring people to faith.

Paul made a similar statement in Colossians chapter 1 verse 18, where he wrote:

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (Colossians 1:18)

Notice again, that Paul was speaking about the message itself, not just about the historical facts related by the message. After all, people do not accept the truth of the gospel’s claims while, at the same time, condemning God as foolish for saving humanity. Rather, people count the gospel message as foolish because they do not believe that its statements are true. To them, it sounds like a fanciful tale or even a lie, and they think that no right thinking person would believe it. It is for this reason that the gospel seems like foolishness to unbelievers. But to people who believe the message, the preaching of the gospel is the power of God because it is the means by which God brings them to a saving knowledge of the truth.

Realizing that God’s word is powerful over creation, in the prophetic word, and even in the fallible preaching of the gospel, we are in a position to understand the power of the written Word of God, the Bible.

Jesus himself pointed to the power of the written word when he told the familiar story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. You will recall that when the rich man died, he looked up from hell to see Lazarus being comforted by Abraham. The rich man, worrying that his family would also perish in hell, asked Abraham to raise Lazarus from the dead and to send Lazarus to preach repentance to the rich man’s family. In Luke chapter 16 verses 29 through 31 we read Abraham’s answer:

“They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:29-31)

At least two elements of this passage pertain to our discussion. First, Abraham was speaking about Scripture. He referred to Moses and the prophets not as living people who continued to speak in person, but as authors who continued to speak through the Bible, God’s written Word. And just as the words of Moses and the prophets were powerful when God inspired them to speak during their earthly lives, they continued to be powerful in written form.

Second, Abraham said that the written words of Scripture, written by God’s inspired prophets, have as much power to bring people to repentance as does the tremendous miracle of seeing someone raised from the dead. In many respects this passage is one of the most astounding statements about the power of Scripture found in the Bible. We all realize that witnessing someone raise the dead would be a tremendously influential experience. It would potentially have life-transforming power. But here Jesus actually indicated that reading the Bible has even more power than witnessing a resurrection from the dead

The apostle Paul affirmed this idea in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 15 when he wrote:

The holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

Studying Scripture is like preaching because it is a means through which God gives people the understanding and faith necessary for salvation. Just as surely as the preached word carries God’s power, so does the Bible.


With such an understanding of the power of the Word of God in creation, inspired prophetic speech, fallible preaching, and the Bible, we are in a position to reflect briefly on the implications of these matters for the process of making ethical decisions.

One passage that touches on the practical implications of the power of God’s word is Hebrews chapter 4 verses 12 and 13:

The word of God is living and active… it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Notice here that the writer of Hebrews speaks of God’s word as living and active. It is not a mere collection of inert information that has no potency. On the contrary, when we approach God’s word, we are to view it as an active living thing, full of power to accomplish what God desires. And what does the Word of God do in the area of ethics? As this passage says, the word of God judges our hearts. It is able to penetrate and to evaluate our deepest thoughts and motives. And it has the power to save us from condemnation and to enable us to live holy, moral lives. Listen to how Paul continued the passage in 2 Timothy that we read a moment ago. In 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 15 through 17 he wrote:

The holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

The Bible’s power is not just in leading us to our initial faith in Christ. As God’s voice, Scripture also has the power to equip us “for every good work.” The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures to give us faith and wisdom, and to mold our characters in such a way that when we are confronted with moral choices, we are able to choose the good and refuse the bad.

Many times Christians find themselves frustrated by their attempts to live ethical lives. They feel helpless and impotent to do what is right and good. In such situations it is a great encouragement to know that learning the Scriptures, reminding ourselves of them, even meditating on the Scriptures, is not an exercise in futility. It is much more than simply reading an ethical guide. Instead, the word of God in Scripture actually empowers us to live for God. Constant learning and meditation on the word of God brings us into contact with the power of God that will always accomplish his purposes. In this way, the power of Scripture is of essential importance to Christian ethics.

Authority of Scripture

A second attribute of the Bible that derives from divine inspiration is the authority of Scripture. Because the Bible is divinely inspired, it carries God’s authority. In one sense, we have already proven this authority by demonstrating that Scripture is God’s voice, his living, active word to every generation. God has all authority. Therefore, whenever and however he speaks, all who hear him are obligated to obey him. This is the idea we put forth in our first lesson when we said that all revelation is normative because it teaches us about God, who is the ultimate standard for morality.

Nevertheless, it is still valuable to see how the Bible speaks about its own authority, as well as to look at some moral implications of this authority. We will turn first to the Bible’s claim of authority, and then to the implications of this claim for our lives.

Claim of Authority

The Bible claims divine authority for itself in at least two ways. First, it provides historical examples of its authority. And second, it explicitly claims authority. We’ll address the historical examples of the Bible’s authority first.

When we remember the close connection between the spoken word of God and the written word of God that we have already seen in this lesson, we can see many ways in which the Bible gives us examples of the authority of God’s word that apply to the Bible itself. In the earliest history recorded in the Bible, God spoke directly to humanity, and his speech carried authority. For example, in the account of the creation and fall in Genesis chapters 2 and 3, God commanded man to cultivate the Garden of Eden and not to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve, however, chose to listen to the spoken word of the serpent instead of to the spoken word of God, and thereby rejected the authority of God’s word. Adam, in turn, listened to Eve’s spoken word instead of to God’s word, also rejecting God’s authority. But the authority of God’s word was not thereby destroyed. Rather, God enforced his spoken word’s authority by punishing Adam and Eve, and all creation with them.

Later, in the days of Moses, God encoded his spoken word in written form. Instead of simply telling Moses what the Ten Commandments were, he carved these laws on stone tablets. He also gave Moses many other laws, and commanded Moses to record those words in writing. These records comprised the book of the covenant that we read about in Exodus chapter 24. They were the stipulations of God’s covenant with his people, and they carried not only God’s authority, but also his promise to enforce these laws with power, both by blessing the obedient and cursing the disobedient. Listen to this account in Exodus chapter 24 verses 4 through 8:

Moses … wrote down everything the Lord had said… Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:4-8)

In this record we find that God’s spoken word is the basis for his written word, and that the written word is God’s authoritative covenant document that his people are obligated to obey.

Many centuries later, when God’s people had rejected the things written in Scripture, God sent foreign nations to afflict them in war. Isaiah ministered during this time, and wrote these words in Isaiah chapter 42 verse 24:

Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law. (Isaiah 42:24)

God did not hesitate to enforce his word in Isaiah’s day, just as he had not hesitated to enforce it in the Garden of Eden. But this time, the word that was violated was God’s “law.” It was Scripture, the written words of the covenant between God and his people. Just as God’s spoken word is authoritative revelation, so is his written word.

The New Testament also confirms the authority of Scripture through its examples. For instance, Jesus frequently appealed to Scripture to justify and explain his actions, as in John 17 verse 12 where he prayed these words:

“I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

Jesus here contrasted his eleven loyal disciples with Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. And in this contrast, he indicated that both his protection of the eleven and his losing of the one were done in accordance with Scripture.

The apostles also demonstrated their belief in the Bible’s authority. For example, Paul appealed to the Scriptures as proof that Christians ought not to be vengeful. In Romans chapter 12 verse 19 he wrote:

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

Paul’s argument here assumes that the Old Testament carries authority when it assigns vengeance to God. So, by placing his readers under moral obligation to the Old Testament, Paul demonstrated his belief that the Scriptures are God’s authoritative word that binds even New Testament believers.

Besides proving its authority through examples, the Bible also proves its authority through explicit statements to that effect. One of best known statements claiming authority for the Bible is found in 2 Peter chapter 1 verses 19 through 21, where Peter wrote:

We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it… For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God… (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Here Peter indicated that the Old Testament prophetic writings continue to be authoritative in our day. Because these prophecies were inspired and authorized by God, they form a binding moral standard to which we must “pay attention.” That is, we must believe what the prophets wrote, and obey what they commanded.

James also made it clear that the Old Testament is still God’s authoritative command to us. As he wrote in James chapter 2 verses 10 and 11:

Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” (James 2:10-11)

Notice how far James went in emphasizing this point. First, he insisted that the written law is still binding. Those who break it are guilty. Second, James based the ongoing authority of Scripture on the authority of the one who gave the command, namely God. Because the Bible is still God’s word, it still carries God’s authority.

We also find claims for the authority of the New Testament. For instance, Jesus gave his apostles authority when he said in John chapter 13 verse 20:

“I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” (John 13:20)

The apostles used this authority not only in speaking, but also in writing the documents we now have in the New Testament. This is evident throughout the New Testament in every instance in which they issued written commands, as in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 6, where Paul wrote:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle. (Thessalonians 3:6)

Here Paul issued a direct written command that carried his delegated authority from Jesus Christ. This approach was typical of the apostles; they frequently used their authority to transmit their instructions in written form. Because the New Testament consists of documents that the apostles either wrote or approved, it carries the authority of the apostles, which is the authority of Christ himself.


Now that we have seen that Scriptures proves its own authority, we should touch briefly on some implications of this idea. Most simply, because Scripture carries God’s authority, we are morally obligated to conform all our choices, actions, thoughts and feelings to it. We might say that ethical behavior equates to “keeping the word of the Lord.” And keeping the word of the Lord must be done in at least two ways: We must conform to Scripture’s breadth by obeying all of its commands, and we must conform to its depth by obeying these commandments with commitment and conviction.

On the one hand, God’s people must keep the breadth of biblical instruction. Followers of Christ are not to obey what we like and ignore what we do not like. Now, we should admit that some things the Bible requires of us are more difficult to accept than others, but we are still called to submit to all that God has commanded in Scripture. Listen for instance to Exodus chapter 15 verse 26, where the Lord told Israel these words:

“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians.” (Exodus 15:26)

At a time when the people of Israel were receiving God’s commands in written form, God equated keeping all his decrees with doing what is right. In essence, we do what is right when we obey all of the Scriptures.

The breadth of our obligation to submit to Scripture comes out even more clearly in 1 Kings chapter 11 verse 38, where God said these words to Jeroboam:

“If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands … I will be with you.” (1 Kings 11:38)

You will recall that in our first lesson in this series, we defined moral goodness as that which God blesses. Here, God promised blessings on Jeroboam if Jeroboam did what was right, and God explicitly defined “what is right” as whatever he commands. Goodness is not found in keeping just some of the law of God while rejecting other parts.

The fact that God calls his people to observe the authority of all of his word without exception should challenge us in our own day, just as it challenged God’s people during biblical times. Sadly, sometimes believers respond to this challenge by imagining that God does not mind if they follow only some of his moral directives. They wrongly think that God has given them liberty to ignore those commands that they find uncomfortable or difficult.

But even if we do not try to justify our rejection of some of Scripture’s moral teachings, we need to realize that we all fall into the trap of unconscious selectivity. For this reason, we must constantly return to Scripture to be reminded of those commands we may have overlooked or forgotten.

In the second place, God’s word has authority over us not just in the full breadth of its teaching, but also in the depth of obedience it requires of us. For example, in both the Old and the New Testaments, the Bible connects obedience to Scripture with love for God. Moral goodness is not obtainable through begrudging obedience, or even through a love for goodness itself, apart from a love for God. Rather, the basis of duty is the fact that God has called us in love and authority to be his willing servants. Listen to the way Moses expressed this idea in Deuteronomy chapter 7 verses 9 and 11:

The Lord your God … is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands… Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today. (Deuteronomy 7:9, 11)

Because God has called us into a loving relationship with himself, we are obligated to obey his commands, which are set down for us in Scripture.

Jesus himself repeated much the same idea in the New Testament. In John chapter 14 verses 15 and 21 he told his disciples:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command… Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:15, 21)

And by his example, he demonstrated that we must also render this type of loving obedience to the Father. As Jesus said in verse 31 of John 14:

“The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)

Time after time Scripture indicates that the moral requirements God places on us are based in his love for us and are to be fulfilled in our love for him.

So we see that according to the Bible, we cannot do the right thing unless we have the right motive. Or to put it another way, only when we embrace the Scriptures deeply, from the heart, can we rightly submit to the authority of God’s word.

Now that we have looked at power and authority of Scripture, those attributes that Scripture has primarily by virtue of its divine authorship, we should turn our attention to our second topic, those attributes of Scripture that relate more closely to its human audience.


When God inspired and authorized the writers of Scripture, he had a particular goal in mind. Specifically, he wanted to give his people clear revelation concerning his will and his character in order that they would be better able to conform themselves to him. So, at this point in our lesson, we will focus our attention on the attributes that Scripture possesses primarily by virtue of the fact that God inspired it for his people. This aspect of our discussion will cover three of Scripture’s attributes: its clarity, its necessity, and its sufficiency. Let’s look first at the clarity of Scripture.

Clarity of Scripture

When we say that Scripture is “clear,” we do not mean that everything in the Bible is easy to understand, or that everything in the Bible is stated plainly and directly. Instead, we mean that the Bible is not obscure. It is not filled with hidden meanings that can only be discovered through mysterious means, or through special spiritual gifting, or by those who hold special offices in the church.

As we approach the subject of the Bible’s clarity, sometimes called its “perspicuity,” it will help to look at two matters: The nature of the Bible’s clarity, and some implications of the Bible’s clarity. Let’s think first about the nature of the clarity we find in Scripture.


The Westminster Confession of Faith offers a good introductory summary of the nature of the clarity of Scripture. In chapter 1 section 7, it states:

All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Here the Confession addresses two aspects of the clarity of Scripture. First, it speaks of “all things in Scripture,” and second, it focuses on “those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation,” namely, the gospel. Let’s take a closer look at both of these ideas, beginning with the relative clarity of the gospel.

Simply put, Scripture speaks so plainly about the gospel that every mentally competent person should be able to figure out that salvation comes through repentance and faith in Christ. This does not mean that everybody does figure out the gospel. As the Confession points out, we have to make “due use of the ordinary means” if we expect to take advantage of the Bible’s clarity. That is, we have to read responsibly and diligently, not carelessly, and not with an agenda that twists what Scripture tries to teach us. In reality, many factors complicate our reading of the Bible, not the least of which is our sin. If we fail to handle the Bible reasonably, or twist it according to our sin, we will not discover the gospel. But again, this is our failure; it does not result from any lack of clarity in Scripture.

Notice also that the Confession does not say that a person can read any portion of Scripture and discover the way of salvation. Rather, it says that the gospel is made clear “in some place of Scripture or other.” That is, the Scripture as a whole presents a clear gospel message. A person who does not read the whole Bible may never come across the passages that present the gospel in a way that he could easily understand. Nevertheless, taken as a whole, the Bible does present the way of salvation with enough clarity that any competent person is capable of learning them directly from Scripture.

Although the Scriptures are particularly clear about the gospel of salvation in Christ, the Confession of Faith also makes some observations about all of Scripture. It says that matters other than the basic Christian gospel are “not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all.” In other words, Scripture may not be very plain regarding some of its teachings. In fact, there are many things in the bible that are not as clearly taught as the revelation of the way of salvation.

Still, God gave Scripture to us in order that we might understand the things he revealed in Scripture, and apply them to our lives. As Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy chapter 29 verse 29:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

In this passage Moses made a crucial distinction that we should remember as we explore the use of Scripture in Christian ethics. He distinguished between secret things and things revealed. God does keep some secrets from us. He does not tell us everything he knows, nor does he tell us everything we might want to know. There are matters — even matters of ethics — that God keeps to himself. Even so, what God has told us in Scripture is not a secret. The Scriptures fall into the category of “things revealed.” As Moses said, they are shown to us in order that we might “follow” and obey them.


To one degree or another, God has revealed his will to us with sufficient clarity to guide us in ethics. He has given us the Bible so that, through “due use of the ordinary means,” through reading and studying, we can come to know God’s will for all areas of our life. As Paul exhorted Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16:

All Scripture … is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

All Scripture is clear enough to be useful, if we apply ourselves to study it diligently.

For this reason, each one of us must be ready to search the Bible to discern its teaching in ethical matters. Now, again, we are not saying that Scripture is easy to understand in every respect. In fact, some portions of Scripture are quite a bit less clear than others. And beyond this, some people have a greater ability than others to understand the words of Scripture. As Peter wrote in 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 16:

Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16)

Not everyone has an equal ability to understand the Bible. And not everyone makes equal effort to study it. Nevertheless, if we apply ourselves sufficiently, we can all come to know God’s will well enough to conform ourselves to his standard for morality.

Now that we have explored Scripture’s clarity, we are ready to look at the second attribute that Scripture possesses primarily because it was written for a human audience: its necessity.

Necessity of Scripture

When we speak of the necessity of Scripture, we have in mind that people need the Bible, especially for ethical decision making. As we explore our need for Scripture, we will touch on three matters: the necessity of Scripture for salvation, the necessity of Scripture for faithful living, and the implications of our need for Scripture.


In the first place, Scripture is necessary for people to find the way of salvation. As we saw in a prior lesson, general, special and existential revelation overlap greatly, but general and existential revelation only provide human beings with sufficient information to condemn them for failing to keep God’s standard. Only Scripture provides sufficient information to secure salvation. Listen to the way Paul touched on this in Romans chapter 10 verses 13 through 17:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? … Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13-17)

Paul’s point here is rather clear: The gospel message is the normal means by which God delivers faith to individuals. And apart from the word of Christ, people have no access to the gospel message. This makes the word of Christ a necessary means to salvation in all but the most exceptional circumstances. The only exceptions theologians typically recognize are cases involving infants or other mentally incompetent individuals.

But what is this word of Christ? In the tenth chapter of Romans, Paul primarily had in mind the preaching of the gospel. But he also had in mind the Scriptures themselves as source of the gospel message. For instance, the words, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” are actually a quotation from Deuteronomy chapter 30. Paul’s use of Scripture in this way follows a pattern that appears throughout the Scriptures. Specifically, in the Bible the gospel proclamation is closely associated with the written word of Scripture. For example, in the Old Testament, God often delivered his messages directly to prophets who spoke God’s word to the people. But God also insured that the prophetic word was written down so that it could be learned by those who were not present at the proclamation. Following this Old Testament pattern, the apostles first learned the gospel directly from Jesus, and then delivered it not only through preaching, but also through their writings in the New Testament.

The practical outworking of this process is that human beings by and large receive knowledge of the gospel, and thereby come to faith and salvation, from the Scriptures, either through their own reading of the Bible or through preaching based on the Bible. Of course, there is an important difference between the written word of Scripture and preaching based on Scripture. Scripture is inspired by God, infallible, and absolutely authoritative in every case. Preaching is not. Insofar as preaching is faithful to Scripture, it is true, authoritative and powerful. But because we are fallen human beings, preaching is never fully true to Scripture. Unlike preaching, Scripture is stable and unchanging, it is a fully reliable and trustworthy standard. Preaching, church tradition, theological instruction, and many other sources of information are all helpful. But all of these contain a mixture of truth and error. Only Scripture is absolutely, unfailingly, unquestionably reliable. Therefore, Scripture is necessary both as a record of the gospel, and as a basis and criterion for the preaching of the gospel.

Faithful Living

In the second place, Scripture is also necessary for ethical living. You will recall that in a previous lesson we established that general, special and existential revelation are all true and authoritative. Why then do we set apart Scripture as a special case of necessary revelation? The answer is that while general and existential revelation are infallible and authoritative, they are much harder to interpret than Scripture is. Sin has corrupted nature and humankind, so that we no longer see only a pure reflection as God intended it. As a result, it is often very difficult to know how to interpret general and existential revelation. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell if what we are seeing is the result of God’s intention in creation, or the result of sin’s corruption of creation. But the words of Scripture are presented with tremendous clarity in this respect.

And in addition to this, our fallen minds are prone to twist, repress and resist the truth of general and existential revelation. Scripture speaks much more clearly and directly than do general and existential revelation, making our ethical determinations based on Scripture more secure and more reliable than those based on other forms of revelation. This is why the Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 1 section 10 insists on the primacy of Scripture over other sources of information:

The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

The Confession‘s point here is that all these other sources are valuable, but that the Bible is the most valuable of all because it is through the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit speaks most clearly.


What, then, are some moral implications of the necessity of Scripture? Although there are many ways in which the necessity of Scripture carries moral implications, we will focus on two. One, that we must read and rely on scripture if we are to have the ability to do what is morally good. And two, that we must read and rely on scripture’s comprehensive treatment of morality in order to gather ethical information that is not revealed in either general or existential revelation.

There is a very important sense in which we simply cannot be moral without attending to the teaching of Scripture. You will recall from our prior lessons that only those who are in Christ are capable of true morality. And as we saw earlier in this lesson, learning and believing the basic content of Scripture is necessary to salvation, whether we study the Bible directly or learn its central teachings from others. In short, without Scripture, salvation is not possible, and therefore morality is not possible. People who think they can ignore the teaching of Scripture and still be moral are seriously mistaken. In this sense, Scripture is necessary to our ability to behave morally.

In addition to this basic need for the word of God, Scripture is also necessary for human morality because it contains information that is not included in general and existential revelation. It is not uncommon for Christians to depend heavily on their experiences of life, the opinions of others, and their own moral intuitions as they make ethical decisions. And as we have seen, these and other features of general and existential revelation are important to consider. But we must also recognize that in many circumstances, general and existential revelation are not clear enough to show us the proper course of action, whereas Scripture reveals God’s will in sufficient detail to teach us what is right.

For instance, Acts 15 records that a controversy arose in the early church when Gentiles began to be converted to Christianity. Some within the church believed that Gentiles ought to be instructed to observe the Law of Moses in the ways that Judaism of the time had come to observe it. That is, they wanted Gentiles to be circumcised, and to offer the appropriate sacrifices at the temple, and to apply the Law to their lives in the ways that had become customary for Jews of the day. On the other hand, men like Paul and Barnabas argued that God did not expect Gentiles to live as first-century Jews. The issue was so problematic that the apostles and elders met to discuss and investigate the issue. During the council, both sides presented their arguments. We can speculate that those who wanted the Gentiles to adopt customary Jewish applications of the law appealed to Scripture itself, perhaps arguing that the law did not offer exceptions for believing Gentiles. The Apostles, however, looked at the general revelation of redemptive history to argue that God now received Gentiles unto himself without requiring them to adopt traditional Jewish customs. To solve this controversy, James, the brother of Jesus turned to Amos chapter 9 verses 11 and twelve. In Acts chapter 15 verses 16 and 17, James quoted Amos as follows,

“After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things.” (Acts 15:16-17)

From this text, James understood that God would include many Gentiles when he restored His Kingdom. More importantly, these converts would remain Gentiles even after they had been called to the Lord. In the Old Testament, Gentiles who converted became Jews and followed traditional Jewish practices. But, Amos indicated that when God restored His Kingdom in Christ the Gentiles would be included without having to follow Jewish traditions.

In this case, opinions of some people came into conflict with the reality of the Holy Spirit’s ministry among uncircumcised Gentiles. And these sources of information were not sufficient to provide a satisfactory solution. But once James appealed to Scripture that addressed this problem, the church united behind his position. Scripture was necessary because general and existential revelation were not sufficient to answer this moral question.

And the same applies today. Although general and existential revelation are always true, they are not always sufficient to give us clear moral guidance. Thus, in Christian ethics we must rely more heavily on Scripture than we do on general and existential revelation. We must devote ourselves to learning the teachings of Scripture as best we can because Scripture always speaks adequately to moral issues even when other forms of revelation do not.

Having this understanding of the clarity and necessity of Scripture in mind, we are now in a position to explore the sufficiency of Scripture.

Sufficiency of Scripture

Most basically, to say that Scripture is “sufficient” is to say that it is able to fulfill the purposes for which it was written. But not surprisingly, this simple idea becomes complicated because it is hard for Christians to agree on what the purpose of Scripture actually is. So, as we investigate the issue of Scripture’s sufficiency, we will begin by looking at Scripture’s purpose in relation to its sufficiency. Next, we will address some common misunderstandings of sufficiency, and finally we will speak about the popular but mistaken idea that Scripture is silent on certain matters.


With regard to the relationship between Scripture’s sufficiency and purpose, it will be helpful to look again to the Westminster Confession of Faith, which contains a very good summary of this idea in chapter 1 section 6. The Confession states the matter this way:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

The Confession rightly concludes that Scripture’s purpose is manifold. It mentions that the Bible was written to teach us how to glorify God, to bring men and women to salvation, to instruct believers regarding the content of their faith, and to guide us in Christian living. These ideas of the Bible’s purpose come from Scripture itself.

For instance, the Bible teaches in many places that Scripture has been given to us in order that we might glorify God by obeying his commands. One place this can be seen rather clearly is in the covenant curses in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 58 and 59, Moses pointed out a striking correlation between obedience to the written commands of God and the glorification of God.

If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name — the Lord your God — the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants… (Deuteronomy 28:58-59)

The Bible is designed to teach us how to glorify God, and it is sufficient to accomplish this purpose. Scripture contains all the standards that we need to know to glorify him.

Regarding “man’s salvation, faith and life,” Paul instructed Timothy to remain steadfast in his study of Scripture in order to gain these benefits that Scripture was designed to deliver. In this context, in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 15 through 17, Paul explicitly taught the sufficiency of Scripture. He wrote these words in verse 15:

The holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

When Paul said that Scripture is “able” to make us “wise for salvation” he meant that by studying the Bible, we can learn the things that are necessary for us to know if we are to be saved. Paul believed this to be true because he knew not only that the Bible was powerful, as we saw earlier in this lesson, but also that it was designed to provide these specific benefits. Because the Bible is able to accomplish this purpose, it can rightly be called sufficient for salvation.

In much the same way, Scripture is also sufficient for “faith.” Look again at Paul’s words in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 15 through 17. Paul said that “the holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The content of saving faith is revealed in the Bible as the means through which we are justified and receive our salvation from God.

Finally, the Bible is sufficient to guide us through “life,” the ongoing practice of our saving faith in Christ. Paul’s well known statement in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 make this clear:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Besides being intended to bring us to faith in Christ for our salvation, Scripture is also intended to prepare us for “every good work” — not just for some good works, but for every good work. Because it is intended to prepare us for “every good work,” and because it is powerful to accomplish its intended function, it is right to say that Scripture speaks sufficiently about every good work. If we rightly understand the whole Bible, then we will know God’s standards sufficiently to make proper determinations about any given ethical issue, as long as we also have a sufficient understanding of the persons and the situation.

Now, understanding the sufficiency of Scripture for life raises a serious question: How can any book, even one as large as the Bible, cover every conceivable moral problem, equipping us for every good work? Well, in truth, the Bible does not address every conceivable moral issue directly. Scripture speaks directly only to a limited number of issues in life, such as the fundamental content of our faith, and our basic responsibilities toward God and other people. But in so doing, Scripture lays down principles that we can extend and apply beyond the specifics mentioned in the Bible. This is why the Confession distinguishes between what is “expressly set down in Scripture” and what must be deduced from Scripture by way of “good and necessary consequence.” In all cases, however, Scripture provides us with the information we need in order to discover God’s ethical standards.

The last point we should note in the Confession‘s explanation of the sufficiency of Scripture is the qualification that Scripture is complete, so that:

… nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Scripture contains all the norms we need as Christians. Human traditions and authority structures, such as civil and ecclesiastical governments, are to be obeyed for the Lord’s sake, but they are never to be counted as absolute or ultimate norms. And insofar as these institutions require obedience to human norms that are not found in Scripture, the Christian has freedom to disregard these norms. The decision to follow or not to follow human norms must be guided by Scriptural norms, and human norms will always be defied when they conflict with biblical norms.

We see this demonstrated in Scripture time and again. For instance, in Jesus’ day the established Jewish leadership allowed moneychangers and vendors in the temple area. But when Jesus saw this, he became angry and drove them from the temple because the human leadership had allowed violations of scriptural norms within the temple grounds. We read this account in Matthew chapter 21 verses 12 and 13:

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there… “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” (Matthew 21:12-13)

Jesus rightly understood that Isaiah chapter 56 verse 7, which he quoted, revealed the biblical norm that the temple was to be dedicated to prayer. But the Jewish leadership had permitted the temple grounds to be profaned by secular transactions. Jesus’ condemnation that they were making the temple a “den of robbers” is actually incredibly strong. That phrase is drawn from Jeremiah chapter 7 verse 11, where it refers to idolaters and violent criminals who pay lip service to God at his temple. By his actions and words, Jesus demonstrated that following any human law or tradition is sinful when the human norm contradicts Scripture.

In every case, Scripture is sufficient to establish all moral norms. The ethical ordinances of men, however, are valid and binding only insofar as they echo biblical norms. But when human norms contradict biblical norms, the Christian is obligated to defy them.

With a proper understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture in mind, we should now turn our attention to some common misunderstandings of the Bible’s sufficiency.


We will group these misunderstandings into two fairly general categories: first, views that overestimate Scripture’s sufficiency; and second, views that underestimate Scripture’s sufficiency. Let’s begin with views that overestimate Scripture’s sufficiency.

Typically, those who overestimate the sufficiency of Scripture have very strong commitments to the Bible. But they frequently lack proper commitments to general and existential revelation. As a result, they wrongly believe that they can properly apply Scripture to ethical questions without having much knowledge, if any, about specific situations and people. They believe that making ethical decisions is as simple as reading the Bible and obeying it. But in reality, before we can obey or apply the Bible, we must also know something about the people and situations to which we are applying it. God has provided us with this information in general and existential revelation. If we ignore these other forms of revelation, we are ignoring the tools he has given us for interpreting and understanding Scripture.

But not all errors are based on overestimating the Bible’s sufficiency. Many more errors come from underestimating it. This error generally appears as an insistence that the Bible is sufficient to guide us only in limited areas of life, that it gives us moral instruction only on certain topics. For instance, Thomas Aquinas argued that general and existential revelation are sufficient to teach many moral principles, and that Scripture supplements this knowledge by giving us information regarding those subjects that natural and existential revelation do not cover, such as the way of salvation. In recent years, others have argued that the Bible does not address matters such as so-called monogamous homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia.

As we have seen, however, either through explicit or implicit teaching, the Scriptures provide us with a comprehensive system of ethical norms. In this sense, the Bible’s sufficiency is unlimited when it comes to revealing the will of God for his glory, and our salvation, faith and Christian living. General and existential revelation also contain some of these norms, but they contain no additional norms beyond those found directly or indirectly in Scripture. Now, it is important to stress once again that Scripture does not explicitly or exhaustively comment on every detail of life. We have a great need for the information that general and existential revelation communicate

The point is simply that the Bible speaks sufficiently to every area of life, so that our true duty toward God is always an application of Scriptural norms.


At this point, we should address what is perhaps one of the most common ways that well-meaning Christians underestimate the sufficiency of Scripture: the popular but mistaken idea that Scripture is silent on certain matters. Specifically, Christians frequently teach that some issues of life are morally “indifferent” because Scripture does not provide us with sufficient information to know God’s will on these matters. Historically, these have been known as “adiaphora.” This typical position has been that indifferent things are neither right nor wrong in and of themselves.

For example, the church fathers taught that eating meat was neither right nor wrong, and during the Reformation, Martin Luther applied the term “indifferent” to certain Roman Catholic forms of worship that he felt were neither commanded nor forbidden by Scripture. Although many people throughout the history of the church have held to such positions, this position actually runs contrary to the teachings of Scripture. To be sure, the Bible does not comment directly on many aspects of life, but it also denies that anything is morally neutral. For example, whereas theologians speak of impersonal objects as indifferent or “neutral,” the Bible speaks of them as being good. We find this principle first in Genesis one, but even after the Fall of mankind into sin, Paul still insisted that everything was good. As he wrote in 1 Timothy chapter 4 verses 5 and 6:

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:5-6)

Paul spoke specifically about food in this context, but the principle is far broader, extending to all creation, just as God himself proclaimed at the end of the creation week. For this reason, even impersonal objects are not “indifferent”; they are good.

Some theologians have also applied the term “indifferent” or adiaphora to choices between two or more good options. They have suggested that when all the choices are good, then Scripture is indifferent as to which we choose. But Scripture teaches that God blesses some good choices more than he blesses other good choices, and that Scripture sometimes praises one good option over another good option.

For instance, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 38, Paul wrote:

So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better. (1 Corinthians 7:38)

Now, it should be noted that scholars are not agreed as to the precise circumstances Paul addressed here. But his words are clear enough to demonstrate that marrying and not marrying were both good options, and that not marrying was the better option. In this sense, the Scripture is not really “indifferent” even when we have to choose between good options. Rather, Scripture always has much to say about our actions. Even if we were to find a situation in which the Bible praised two options equally, it would still be misleading to suggest scriptural indifference on the matter, as this would seem to imply a sort of moral neutrality regarding the decision. And Scripture never takes the position that anything is morally neutral.

You will recall that in our first lesson, we defined “good” as being that which receives God’s blessing, and “evil” as that which does not receive his blessing. By this definition, aspects of human beings and their lives are either good or evil; nothing and no one is indifferent or neutral. Either God blesses or he does not — there is no middle ground. If he blesses, it is good; if he does not bless, it is evil.

That being said, it is true that there are some words, thoughts and deeds that are good in some situations, but evil in others. For example, sexual relations within marriage are good, but sexual relations outside marriage are evil. But this does not mean that sexual relations in and of themselves are neither good nor evil. Rather, they are good, just as God created them to be good. But unmarried partners misuse sexual relations so that in their situation such relations are evil.

Finally, some theologians use the category of adiaphora to cover matters where we cannot determine what choices are good or evil. But because we know that the Scriptures touch on every aspect of life, at least indirectly, we must not treat matters about which we are uncertain as indifferent. It is true that we often feel as if we cannot know which particular choices, thoughts, actions, or attitudes are good and which ones are evil. But such situations occur not because God’s word is insufficient, and not because the Bible takes a neutral stance, but because we fail to recognize or to understand how to apply the truth that the Bible has disclosed.

This failure to reach an ethical judgment may take any number of forms. As you remember, the biblical model for making ethical decisions may be summed up in this way: “Ethical judgment involves the application of God’s Word to a situation by a person.” We must act on a proper understanding of our moral standard, our goals, and our motives, or to put it another way, on normative, situational and existential concerns. Failure to reach a proper ethical judgment can be caused by a failure properly to assess any of these perspectives. We may fail because we overlook or misunderstand the passages of Scripture we are dealing with. We may fail because we overlook or misunderstand the situation associated with the ethical question. And we may fail because we overlook or misevaluate the existential and personal aspects of a matter. In all cases, when we cannot come to a firm conclusion on an ethical decision, it is not proper to conclude that God has not revealed the information necessary to make the decision. And it is not proper to say that the matter is indifferent, that there is not a right course to follow. Rather, we must continue to read, study, pray and investigate the question, doing the best we can with our provisional judgments, but reserving final judgment until the normative, situational, and existential issues become clear.


In this lesson we have looked at several important attributes of Scripture. We have seen that because Scripture is divinely inspired, it is powerful and authoritative. We have also seen that because Scripture is written for human beings, it is clear, necessary and sufficient. As we progress in our study of Christian ethics, remembering these attributes of the Bible will help us come to biblical conclusions.

God and America What If?



If you pray to God, to whom — or what — are you praying?

When you sing God Bless America, whose blessing are you seeking?

This Nation was built by the God Fearing and Moralistic people who have ethics, values and long standing foundations of truth. What truth is can not be surreal or imposed it is self evident in our lives and our families and friends. As statistics and polls say most Americans believe in God.

Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. Ephesians 4: 25

Charlotte North Carolina Democratic Convention booing God CNN

Booing God

Ancient Warfare – A Very Short Introduction

We are all familiar with that picturesque incident of the conflict between Israel and Amalek, which ended in victory and the erection of this memorial trophy. Moses, as you remember, went up on the mount whilst Joshua and the men of war fought in the plain. But I question whether we usually attach the right meaning to the symbolism of this event. We ordinarily, I suppose, think of Moses as interceding on the mountain with God. But there is no word about prayer in the story, and the attitude of Moses is contrary to the idea that his occupation was intercession. He sat there, with the rod of God in his hand, and the rod of God was the symbol and the vehicle of divine power. When he lifted the rod Amalek fled before Israel; when the rod dropped Israel fled before Amalek. That is to say, the uplifted hand was not the hand of intercession, but the hand which communicated power and victory. And so, when the conflict is over, Moses builds this memorial of thanksgiving to God, and piles together these great stones—which, perhaps, still stand in some of the unexplored valleys of that weird desert land—to teach Israel the laws of conflict and the conditions of victory. These laws and conditions are implied in the name which he gave to the altar that he built—Jehovah Nissi, ‘the Lord is my Banner.’

Now, then, what do these stones, with their significant name, teach us, as they taught the ancient Israelites? Let me throw these lessons into three brief exhortations.

I. First, realise for whose cause you fight.

Religion?What about it?

Religion is as if you do something so much it becomes a religion.

Sound familiar?

It is the truth and message behind religion that has purpose a system of rituals to remind us by ceremonies and practices not to forget God’s message. We as Americans must never forget that and resolve our differences and seek true Unity once again in our lives, our homes and our nation. Division was not God’s message like unruly children are separated so has America become but even unruly children are reunited. So what of this new age? Can all God’s children learn to get along again? One person to the next can be a small miracle and as the saying goes it is the little things that count. So what if? America found God through religion once again or just found God? During the Reagan years America was at a climb and deeply rooted in God. Why not give it back to God and change our attitudes on economics, justice, social morality, war, natural disasters, science, politics, love and more. Once again a time has come to recognize blessings by God or the mass insanity of falling away.

Most of her first settlers came for the purpose of being free to express their Religious beliefs in accordance with their own consciences. Yet it is undeniable that America has changed greatly since that time, forsaking moral values, and grower colder and colder towards God and Religion. Throughout the centuries, there have been many events which have been turning points of decline, decline which has occurred in mainly the churches and schools of America.

Three men that lived and worked in the nineteenth century would have a profoundly detrimental effect on America; Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Julius Wellhausen. The publishing of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, in 1859, laid the foundation for the an even greater corruption of thought in America through the theory of evolution. No longer was it necessary to believe in a Creator, for things could somehow “create” themselves out of nothing! Sigmund Freud went on to develop his own ideas based on logical conclusions from Darwin’s theory, and building these ideas into the sciences of psychology and psychiatry. 2 From this man came the notion that we can understand ourselves through our feelings, and this still impacts society today, as we are told to do what makes us feel good. Thus, we wouldn’t want to believe in a God who hates sin, because sin can be pleasing to us.

Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Psalm 85: 11

Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. Psalm 51: 6

Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Ephesians 4: 15

God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). John 4: 24

In 1963, prayer was removed from schools in yet another attempt to rid America of any reference to God.6 President Ronald Reagan recognized the danger of this act when he said:

“Our Pledge of Allegiance states that we are ‘one nation under God,’ and our currency bears the motto, ‘In God We Trust.’ The morality and values such faith implies are deeply embedded in our national character. Our country embraces those principles by design, and we abandon them at our peril. Yet in recent years . . . Americans . . . [have] for the sake of religious tolerance . . . forbidden religious practice in the classrooms. The law of this land has effectively removed prayer from our classrooms. How can we hope to retain our freedom through the generations if we fail to teach our young that our liberty springs from an abiding faith in our Creator?”

Thus if we look to the words of the early founders, we see that their desire and conviction was to build a nation who would fear and honor the Lord. However, soon the people of America would forget their reasons for coming to the new world. With each passing generation, America’s people became less and less God fearing. Tolerance lead to acceptance of many Christian denominations and sects, and this in turn laid the foundation for tolerance of many non-Christian religions. J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, a late eighteenth century author, described America as a land where “religion demands little of [one]” and as a place where all manner of religions could blend together smoothly. He notes how “Children will therefore grow up less zealous and more indifferent in matters of religion than their parents,” and concludes by proudly acknowledging how “all sects are mixed together as well as all nations; thus religious indifference in imperceptibly disseminated from one end of the continent to the other. . .”

And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. John 8: 32

It is interesting to note that early Americans were facing a land of emptiness; their future and all their well-being held no security. Therefore, these people recognized their daily need for God, and their circumstances kept them dependent on Him. However, we may note that as America grew more established and economically stable, her people began to forsake God, not recognizing their constant need for Him. The words of Jesus ring true, as he stated that “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”10 More importantly, they began to disregard their need for a Savior, and turned away from God. Now religion is yet another thing that people may seek to make themselves happy, and thus is may be pursued in any way shape or form. Scripture makes it quite clear what must be done to reverse the tide of evil, yet many Christians wonder why America is in such a dire situation, while at the same time disregarding God’s admonition. “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, the I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

So what Happened America? What happened to the values morals and ethics from the time of prosperity?

Brett Baier on DNC GOD vote Fox News

Watch Me Click Here

On July 17, 1980, Ronald Reagan accepted the Republican Presidential nomination.

Thank you very much. We’re using up prime time. Thank you very much. You’re singing our song. Well, the first thrill tonight was to find myself for the first time in a long time in a movie on prime time. But this, as you can imagine, is the second big thrill. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-President-to-be, this convention, my fellow citizens of this great nation:

With a deep awareness of the responsibility conferred by your trust, I accept your nomination for the Presidency of the United States. I do so with deep gratitude. And I think also I might interject on behalf of all of us our thanks to Detroit and the people of Michigan and to this city for the warm hospitality we’ve enjoyed. And I thank you for your wholehearted response to my recommendation in regard to George Bush as the candidate for Vice President.

I’m very proud of our party tonight. This convention has shown to all America a party united, with positive programs for solving the nation’s problems, a party ready to build a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words: family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom.

Now I know we’ve had a quarrel or two but only as to the method of attaining a goal. There was no argument here about the goal. As President, I will establish a liaison with the 50 Governors to encourage them to eliminate, wherever it exists, discrimination against women. I will monitor Federal laws to insure their implementation and to add statutes if they are needed.

More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values.

Never before in our history have Americans been called upon to face three grave threats to our very existence, any one of which could destroy us. We face a disintegrating economy, a weakened defense and an energy policy based on the sharing of scarcity.

The major issue in this campaign is the direct political, personal, and moral responsibility of Democratic Party leadership – in the White House and in the Congress – for this unprecedented calamity which has befallen us. They tell us they’ve done the most that humanly could be done. They say that the United States has had its day in the sun, that our nation has passed its zenith. They expect you to tell your children that the American people no longer have the will to cope with their problems; that the future will be one of sacrifice and few opportunities.

My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view. The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a better world for others by moving backward ourselves. And those who believe we can have no business leading this nation.

I will not stand by and watch this great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose. We have come together here because the American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust our nation’s highest offices, and we stand united in our resolve to do something about it.

We need a rebirth of the American tradition of leadership at every level of government and in private life as well. The United States of America is unique in world history because it has a genius for leaders – many leaders – on many levels. But back in 1976, Mr. Carter said, “Trust me.” And a lot of people did. And now, many of those people are out of work. Many have seen their savings eaten away by inflation. Many others on fixed incomes, especially the elderly, have watched helplessly as the cruel tax of inflation wasted away their purchasing power. And, today, a great many who trusted Mr. Carter wonder if we can survive the Carter policies of national defense.

“Trust me” government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us. But my view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs-in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact.

Three-hundred-and-sixty years ago, in 1620, a group of families dared to cross a mighty ocean to build a future for themselves in a new world. When they arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, they formed what they called a “compact,” an agreement among themselves to build a community and abide by its laws.

This single act – the voluntary binding together of free people to live under the law – set the pattern for what was to come.

A century and a half later, the descendants of those people pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to found this nation. Some forfeited their fortunes and their lives; none sacrificed honor.

Four score and seven years later, Abraham Lincoln called upon the people of all America to renew their dedication and their commitment to a government of, for and by the people.

Isn’t it once again time to renew our compact of freedom; to pledge to each other all that is best in our lives; all that gives meaning to them – for the sake of this, our beloved and blessed land?

Together, let us make this a new beginning. Let us make a commitment to care for the needy; to teach our children the values handed down to us by our families; to have the courage to defend those values and virtues and the willingness to sacrifice for them.

Let us pledge to restore, in our time, the American spirit of voluntary service, of cooperation, of private and community initiative; a spirit that flows like a deep and mighty river through the history of our nation.

As your nominee, I pledge to you to restore to the Federal Government the capacity to do the people’s work without dominating their lives. I pledge to you a Government that will not only work well but wisely, its ability to act tempered by prudence, and its willingness to do good balanced by the knowledge that government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.

You know, the first Republican President once said, “While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.” If Mr. Lincoln could see what’s happened in these last three and a half years, he might hedge a little on that statement. But with the virtues that are our legacy as a free people and with the vigilance that sustains liberty, we still have time to use our renewed compact to overcome the injuries that have been done to America these past three and a half years.

First, we must overcome something the present Administration has cooked up: a new and altogether indigestible economic stew, one part inflation, one part high unemployment, one part recession, one part runaway taxes, one part deficit spending seasoned with an energy crisis. It’s an economic stew that has turned the national stomach.

Ours are not problems of abstract economic theory. These are problems of flesh and blood; problems that cause pain and destroy the moral fiber of real people who should not suffer the further indignity of being told by the Government that it is all somehow their fault. We do not have inflation because – as Mr. Carter says – we’ve lived too well.

The head of a Government which has utterly refused to live within its means and which has, in the last few days, told us that this coming year’s deficit will be $60 billion, dares to point the finger of blame at business and labor, both of which have been engaged in a losing struggle just trying to stay even.

High taxes, we are told, are somehow good for us, as if, when government spends our money it isn’t inflationary, but when we spend it, it is. Those who preside over the worst energy shortage in our history tell us to use less so that we will run out of oil, gasoline and natural gas a little more slowly.

Well, now, conservation is desirable, of course, but we must not waste energy. But conservation is not the sole answer to our energy needs. America must get to work producing more energy. The Republican program for solving economic problems is based on growth and productivity. Large amounts of oil and natural gas lay beneath our land and off our shores, untouched because the present Administration seems to believe the American people would rather see more regulation, more taxes and more controls than more energy.

Coal offers a great potential. So does nuclear energy, produced under rigorous safety standards. It could supply electricity for thousands of industries and millions of jobs and homes. It must not be thwarted by a tiny minority opposed to economic growth which often finds friendly ears in regulatory agencies for its obstructionist campaigns. Now make no mistake. We will not permit the safety of our people or our environmental heritage to be jeopardized, but we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our people is a fundamental part of our environment.

Our problems are both acute and chronic, yet all we hear from those in positions of leadership are the same tired proposals for more Government tinkering, more meddling and more control – all of which led us to this sorry state in the first place. Can anyone look at the record of this Administration and say, “Well done”?

Can anyone compare the state of our economy when the Carter Administration took office with where we are today and say, “Keep up the good work”? Can anyone look at our reduced standing in the world today and say, “Let’s have four  more years of this”? I believe the American people are going to answer these questions, as you’ve answered them, in the first week of November and their answer will be, “No – we’ve had enough.”

And then it will be up to us – beginning next January 20 – to offer an Administration and Congressional leadership of competence and more than a little courage. We must have the clarity of vision to see the difference between what is essential and what is merely desirable; and then the courage to bring our Government back under control. It is essential that we maintain both the forward momentum of economic growth and the strength of the safety net between those in our society who need help. We also believe it is essential that the integrity of all aspects of Social Security be preserved.

Beyond these essentials, I believe it is clear our Federal Government is overgrown and overweight. Indeed, it is time our Government should go on a diet. Therefore, my first act as chief executive will be to impose an immediate and thorough freeze on Federal hiring. Then, we are going to enlist the very best minds from business, labor and whatever quarter to conduct a detailed review of every department, bureau and agency that lives by Federal appropriation.

And we are also going to enlist the help and ideas of many dedicated and hard-working Government employees at all levels who want a more efficient Government just as much as the rest of us do. I know that many of them are demoralized by the confusion and waste they confront in their work as a result of failed and failing policies. Our instructions to the groups we enlist will be simple and direct. We will remind them that Government programs exist at the sufferance of the American taxpayer and are paid for with the money earned by working men and women and programs that represent a waste of their money – a theft from their pocketbooks must have that waste eliminated or that program must go. It must go by Executive Order where possible, by Congressional action where necessary. Everything that can be run more effectively by state and local government we shall turn over to state and local government, along with the funding sources to pay for it. We are going to put an end to the money merry-go-round where our money becomes Washington’s money, to be spent by states and cities exactly the way the Federal bureaucrats tell us it has to be spent. I will not accept the excuse that the Federal Government has grown so big and powerful that it is beyond the control of any President, any administration or Congress. We are going to put an end to the notion that the American taxpayer exists to fund the Federal Government.

The Federal Government exists to serve the American people and to be accountable to the American people. On January 20, we are going to reestablish the truth. Also on that date we are going to initiate action to get substantial relief for our taxpaying citizens and action to put people back to work. None of this will be based on any new form on monetary tinkering of fiscal sleight-of-hand. We will simply apply to government the common sense that we use in our daily lives. Work and family are at the center of our lives, the foundation of our dignity as a free people. When we deprive people of what they have earned, to take away their jobs, we destroy the dignity and undermine their families.

We can’t support families unless there are jobs; and we can’t have jobs unless the people have both money to invest and the faith to invest it. These are concepts that stem from an economic system that for more than 200 years has helped us master a continent, create a previously undreamed of prosperity for our people and has fed millions of others around the globe and that system will continue to serve us in the future if our Government will stop ignored the basic values on which it was built and stop betraying the trust and good will of the American workers who keep it going.

The American people are carrying the heaviest peacetime tax burden in our nation’s history — and it will grow even heavier, under present law, next January. We are taxing ourselves into economic exhaustion and stagnation, crushing our ability and incentive to save, invest and produce. This must stop. We must halt this fiscal self-destruction and restore sanity to our economic system. I’ve long advocated a 30 percent reduction in income tax rates over a period of three years. This phased tax reduction would begin with a 10 percent “down payment” tax cut in 1981, which the Republicans in Congress and I have already proposed.

A phased reduction of tax rates would go a long way toward easing the heavy burden on the American people. But we shouldn’t stop there.

Within the context of economic conditions and appropriate budget priorities during each fiscal year of my Presidency, I would strive to go further. This would include improvement in business depreciation taxes so we can stimulate investment in order to get plants and equipment replaced, put more Americans back to work and put our nation back on the road to being competitive in world commerce. We will also work to reduce the cost of government as a percentage of our gross national product.

The first task of national leadership is to set realistic and honest priorities in our policies and our budget, and I pledge that my administration will do that. When I talk of tax cuts, I am reminded that every major tax cut in this century has strengthened the economy, generated renewed productivity and ended up yielding new revenues for the Government by creating new investment, new jobs and more commerce among our people.

The present Administration has been forced by the Republicans to play follow-the-leader with regard to a tax cut. But in this election year we must take with the proverbial “grain of salt” any tax cut proposed by those who have already given us the greatest tax increase in our nation’s history.

When those in leadership give us tax increases and tell us we must also do with less, have they thought about those who’ve always had less – especially the minorities? This is like telling them that just as they step on the first rung of the ladder of opportunity, the ladder is being pulled out from under them. That may be the Democratic leadership’s message to the minorities, but it won’t be our message. Ours, ours will be: We have to move ahead, but we’re not going to leave anyone behind.

Thanks to the economic policies of the Democratic Party, millions of Americans find themselves out of work. Millions more have never even had a fair chance to learn new skills, hold a decent job or secure for themselves and their families a share in the prosperity of this nation. It’s time to put America back to work, to make our cities and towns resound with the confident voices of men and women of all races, nationalities and faiths bringing home to their families a paycheck they can cash for honest money. For those without skills, we’ll find a way to help them get new skills. For those without job opportunities we’ll stimulate new opportunities, particularly in the inner cities where they live. For those who’ve abandoned hope, we’ll restore hope and we’ll welcome them into a great national crusade to make American great again.

When we move from domestic affairs, and cast our eyes abroad, we see an equally sorry chapter in the record of the present Administration:

-A Soviet combat brigade trains in Cuba, just 90 miles from our shores.

-A Soviet army of invasion occupies Afghanistan, further threatening our vital interests in the Middle East.

-America’s defense strength is at its lowest ebb in a generation, while the Soviet Union is vastly outspending us in both strategic and conventional arms.

-Our European allies, looking nervously at the growing menace from the East, turn to us for leadership and fail to find it.

-And incredibly, more than 50, as you’ve been told from this platform so eloquently already, more than 50 of our fellow Americans have been help captive for over eight years – eight months by a dictatorial foreign power that holds us up to ridicule before the world. Adversaries large and small test our will and seek to confound our resolve, but we are given weakness when we need strength; vacillation when the times demand firmness.

The Carter Administration lives in a world of make-believe. Every day, drawing up a response to that day’s problems, troubles, regardless of what happened yesterday and what’ll happen tomorrow. But you and I live in a real world, where disasters are overtaking our nation without any real response from Washington. This is make-believe, self-deceit, and, above all, transparent hypocrisy. For example, Mr. Carter says he supports the volunteer Army, but he lets military pay and benefits slip so low that many of our enlisted personnel are actually eligible for food stamps. Reenlistment rates drop and, just recently, after he fought all week against a proposed pay increase for our men and women in the military, he then helicoptered out to our carrier the U.S.S. Nimitz, which was returning from long months of duty in the Indian Ocean, and told the crew of that chip that he advocated better pay for them and their comrades. Where does he really stand, now that he’s back on shore?

Well, I’ll tell you where I stand. I do not favor a peacetime draft or resignation, but I do favor pay and benefit levels that will attract and keep highly motivated men and women in our volunteer forces and back them up with an active reserve trained and ready for instant call in case of emergency. You know, there may be a sailor at the helm of the ship of state, but the ship has no rudder. Critical decisions are made at times almost in comic fashion, but who can laugh? Who was not embarrassed when the Administration handed a major propaganda victory in the United Nations to the enemies of Israel, our staunch Middle East ally for three decades, then claimed that the American vote was a “mistake,” a “failure of communication” between the President, his Secretary of State and the U.N. Ambassador? Who does not feel a growing sense of unease as our allies, facing repeated instances of an amateurish and confused Administration, reluctantly conclude that American is unwilling or unable to fulfill its obligations as leader of the free world? Who does not feel rising alarm when the question in any discussion of foreign policy is no longer, “Should we do something?” but “Do we have the capacity to do anything?”

The Administration which has brought us to this state is seeking your endorsement for four more years of weakness, indecision, mediocrity, and incompetence. No. No. Americans should vote until he or she is asked: Is the United States stronger and more respected now than it was three-and-a-half years ago? Is the world safer, a safer place in which to life? It is the responsibility of the President of the United States, in working for peace, to insure that the safety of our people cannot successfully be threatened by a hostile foreign power. As President, fulfilling that responsibility will be my No. 1 priority.

We’re not a warlike people. Quite the opposite. We always seek to live in peace. We resort to force infrequently and with great reluctance – and only after we’ve determined that it is absolutely necessary. We are awed – and rightly so – by the forces of destruction at loose in the world in this nuclear era. But neither can we be naive or foolish. Four times in my lifetime America has gone to war, bleeding the lives of its young men into the sands of island beachheads, the fields of Europe and the jungles and rice paddies of Asia. We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, it is when they are weak that tyrants are tempted. We simply cannot learn these lessons the hard way again without risking our destruction.

Of all the objectives we seek, first and foremost is the establishment of lasting world peace. We must always stand ready to negotiate in good faith, ready to pursue any reasonable avenue that holds forth the promise of lessening tensions and furthering the prospects of peace. But let our friends and those who may wish us ill take note: the United States has an obligation to its citizens and to the people of the world never to let those who would destroy freedom dictate the future course of life on this planet. I would regard my election as proof that we have renewed our resolve to preserve world peace and freedom. That this nation will once again be strong enough to do that.

Now this evening marks the last step, save one, of a campaign that has taken Nancy and me from one end of this great nation to the other, over many months and thousands and thousands of miles. There are those who question the way we choose a President, who say that our process imposes difficult and exhausting burdens on those who seek the office. I have not found it so. It is impossible to capture in words the splendor of this vast continent which God has granted as our portion of His creation. There are no words to express the extraordinary strength and character of this breed of people we call Americans. Everywhere we’ve met thousands of Democrats, Independents and Republicans from all economic conditions, walks of life bound together in that community of shared values of family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom. They are concerned, yes, they’re not frightened. They’re disturbed, but not dismayed. They are the kind of men and women Tom Paine had in mind when he wrote, during the darkest days of the American Revolution, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” Nearly 150 years after Tom Paine wrote those words, an American President told the generation of the Great Depression that it had a “rendezvous with destiny.” I believe this generation of Americans today also has a rendezvous with destiny.

Tonight, let us dedicate ourselves to renewing the American compact. I ask you not simply to “trust me,” but to trust your values – our values – and to hold me responsible for living up to them. I ask you to trust that American spirit which knows no ethnic, religious, social, political, regional or economic boundaries; the spirit that burned with zeal in the hearts of millions of immigrants from every corner of the earth who came here in search of freedom.

Some say that spirit no longer exists. But I’ve seen it – I’ve felt it – all across the land, in the big cities, the small towns and in rural America. It’s still there, ready to blaze into life if you and I will stimulate our economy, increase productivity and put America back to work. The time is now to limit Federal spending; to insist of a stable monetary reform and to free ourselves from imported oil. The time is now to resolve that the basis of a firm and principled foreign policy is one that takes the world as it is and seeks to change it by leadership and example, not by harangue, harassment or wishful thinking. The time is now to say that we shall seek new friendships and expand others and improve others, but we shall not do so by breaking our word or casting aside old friends and allies. And the time is now to redeem promises once made to the American people, by another candidate, in another time and another place.

He said:

“For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that government – Federal, state and local – costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching. As an immediate program of action, we must abolish useless offices. We must eliminate unnecessary functions of government.

“We must consolidate subdivisions of government and, like the private citizen, give up luxuries which we can no longer afford.”

And then he said:

“I propose to you, my friends, and through you, that government of all kinds, big and little, be made solvent and that the example be set by the President of the United States and his Cabinet.”

That was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s words as he accepted the Democratic nomination for President in 1932.

The time is now, my fellow Americans, to recapture our destiny, to take it into our own hands. And to do this it will take many of us, working together. I ask you tonight, all over this land, to volunteer your help in this cause so that we can carry our message through out the land.

Isn’t it time that we, the people, carry out these unkept promises? That we pledge to each other and to all America on this July day 48 years later, that now we intend to do just that.

I have thought of something that’s not a part of my speech and worried over whether I should do it. Can we doubt that only a Divine Providence placed this land, this island of freedom, here as a refuge for all those people in the world who yearn to breathe free? Jews and Christians enduring persecution behind the Iron Curtain; the boat people of Southeast Asia, Cuba, and of Haiti; the victims of drought and famine in Africa, the freedom fighters of Afghanistan, and our own countrymen held in savage captivity.

I’ll confess that I’ve been a little afraid to suggest what I’m going to suggest. I’m more afraid not to. Can we begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer?

God bless America.

Thank you.