Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Without Christ

The following is a guest post on my blog by my good friend Det Bowers.

There has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.[1]


Cultural Christians celebrate Christmas without Christ.  They have read the story of Christ’s birth and they understand the season. They appreciate the holiday from work or school and they welcome the good cheer.  Nevertheless, they have no personal relationship with Jesus. 

The season of Christ’s birth has become more of a “man-mas” than a “Christ-mas.”  Gold, frankincense, myrrh, busyness and stress have replaced the simplicity of a peasant’s womb, an unadorned manger, and God’s holy Son cloaked in humble humanity so that you might be draped in His gown of righteousness.  The God who resided in a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day determined to tabernacle in the flesh of His people.

Jesus’ incarnation fulfilled Scripture and humanized godliness.  He is the Seed of the woman (Eve).  Jesus is the One descended from a particular nation (Jews), a particular tribe (Judah), a particular family (David), a particular mother (Virgin), and in a particular place (Bethlehem Ephrathah). 

While the world slumbers in its sleep, you approach Bethlehem deliberately, expectantly and humbly.  Bare cupboards and empty pockets cannot keep you from your Lord Christ.

WHEREAS, there was a night like no other, and a child like no other; and
WHEREAS, God did bespeak His desire to have you good gentlefolk attend to the tidings of His Son; and
NOW, THEREFORE, GOD SPEED you in your pursuit of the Holy of Holies. 

O come, let us adore Him … We’ll praise His name forever…

We’ll give Him all the glory … For He alone is worthy … Christ the Lord.[2]

Though Christians think of Christmas as a peaceful time, it was birthed in conflict.  Christmas began in Eden with God’s promise to Satan that One coming from Eve would be the devil’s demise.[3]  The record provided by the sacred chroniclers of Christmas’ foretelling and happening is an immense understatement. 

The God of all creation, moved by holy mercy that births unconditional compassion, sent Himself (Immanuel) to a people who refused to receive Him.[4]  Abraham rejoiced to see His day and he saw it and was glad – Moses esteemed Christ’s reproach as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt – Job knew that his Redeemer did live and at the last He would take His stand on the earth.[5]  Immanuel, whose former condition was glorious, came amidst the censure of your world.[6]   

The decree of the pagan King Augustus moved Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem in Judea where the prophecy of the ages would be fulfilled.  The world that was taxed with death would now be blessed with the only One able to remove the death-tax.  God did what man could not do and He accomplished His desires in ways designed to confound man’s imaginings.

No birth has ever been more humble yet glorious.  Consider a new star, myriads of angels declaring their hosannas, and wise men attending Jesus’ early childhood.  Simeon’s gnarled and spotted hands held eternity’s rest and peace.  Anna offered thanksgivings to her God and spoke of Immanuel to all who were interested in being redeemed. 

The Church was not ready for Christ’s first advent.  Humanity will not be ready for His final advent.

What is Christmas for you?  Family parties, clusters of ceiling-hung mistletoe tempting you, caroling, gifts, hearths with blazing fires and feasting on the finest meats, the freshest breads and the plumiest puddings.  Perhaps remembrances of your first bicycle, your prettiest doll or your favorite baseball glove capture your mind, or laughing about weddings and crying about funerals. 

Christmas affects people in varied ways.  O. Henry’s wife sold her beautiful hair to buy her husband a watch fob, while he sold his watch to buy her an expensive comb.  Christmas is the season when giving affects the giver more than the receiver because he realizes that God gave what cannot be wrapped in green and red paper – God’s gift, Immanuel, was wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

Christ’s teaching has influenced more people than all the potentates, parliaments and presidents the world has known.  For you, Christmas is a day of hope when Christ reclaims the center of life, the schedules of men and hearts of the godly.  Mary declared, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”[7]  Your soul also magnifies your Lord.  Though you cannot improve God’s awesomeness, you do recognize, appreciate and practice His glory. 

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, a promise was made to the people who walk in darkness that they would see a great light, and to those who live in a dark land that light would shine on them?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, a promise was made to a burdened people that the yoke of their burden, the staff on their shoulders and the rod of their oppressors would be broken?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, a Child was born?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, a Son was given?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, the government of your life rested on the shoulders of this Son who was given?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, the name of this Child who was born was called Wonderful Counselor?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, the name of this Son who was given was called Mighty God?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, the name of this Child who was born was called Eternal Father?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, the name of this Son who was given was called Prince of Peace?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, you were promised there would be no end to the increase of His government or of His peace?

WHAT  IF a long time ago in a land far, far away, these promises and these occurrences were all accomplished for you?

When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman,
born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law,
that we might receive the adoption as sons.[8]


During your life, you receive few glimpses into heaven.  God leaves much to your study of Scripture.  Nonetheless, earth was allowed to pierce the heavenly veil when “suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”[9]

Your Lord’s company of angels praised God and their praises have been shouted down to humanity throughout the ages.  This angelic doxology was paralleled nearly three decades later when Jerusalem’s multitudes praised this same Jesus singing, “Hosanna to the son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!”[10]

The praises to God offered in the earth’s hearing bear a unique blessing.  The multitude of the heavenly host announced that peace would be the commonwealth of those “with whom He is pleased.”  The question of the ages is: “Who pleases God?”

Most people search for a better job, a better spouse, better children, better friends, and the list continues.  Nevertheless, you will not.  Your desire is to please God so you daily pray for a God-shaped conformity to the image of Christ.  You desire a resemblance to Simeon, Anna, and Joseph of Arimathea.[11]  Christmas is your season for recapturing the Christlikeness you have forfeited amidst the press of life.

During this season of your life, may your Lord Christ bless you and keep you; make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.[12]


God, You are the Holy One of Israel.  You alone have made glorious Zebulun, Naphtali and Galilee of the Gentiles.  In Your Light I see light.

I confess I am a person who walks in darkness and I live in a dark land.  I have rejected the increase of Your government and of Your peace in my life.  I have mocked the throne of David with my feeble practice of Christianity and confess that the zeal of the Lord of hosts has not become my own. 

I live in a land knowing no scarceness except the scarceness of holiness.  Strangers to the commonwealth of heaven, those ungraced with Christ, have yoked their lives with ruin.  Cause Your goodness to pass before me in order for me to witness Your holy glory.  Make me an uncommon vessel – uncommon because Christ perfumes my walk.

Will You increase my gladness by bringing me into Your presence?  Break the yoke of my burdens – remove the staff from my shoulders – spare the rod that scourges my back – free me from my love for this present darkness.  Fragrance me now with trusting eyes that I may more fully harness and practice the Lordship of my Immanuel Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen and Amen. 

[1] Lk. 2:11
[2] Traditional; Wade’s Cantus Diversi, 1751.
[3] Gen. 3:15
[4] Jn. 1:11
[5] Jn. 8:56; Heb. 11:26; Job 19:25, respectively.
[6] II Cor. 8:9
[7] Lk. 1:46f.
[8] Gal. 4:4f.
[9] Lk. 2:13f.
[10] Mt. 21:9
[11] Lk. 2:25, 38; Mk. 15:43
[12] Nu. 6:24-26

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Connecting the Dots for The American Church

I've been pondering the receding / retreating global missionary footprint of the American Church. Have we considered the impact of our out of control, burgeoning federal leviathan outside its Constitutional fence upon the mission efforts of the American Church? Bear with me for a minute...for those that will be honest with history, it is indisputable that your America was founded with the purpose of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide. She grew into the largest, most powerful, and most prosperous nation on the face of the earth primarily due to Christian influence and Biblical principles of government and economics. That prosperity was used to launch the largest organized missionary works known to man in modern times. Bar none, America in the 19th and 20th century was the launch pad for more foreign missionaries than any other nation in the world. Unfortunately this history and truth has had little voice in America's pulpits.

That said, today, the foreign missionary works of major denominations that have led the way for decades are receding and in retreat due to lack of funding. Giving to foreign missions is on the downgrade. This is not an excuse for those that might have dropped off on their giving to missions, but it stands to reason that the growth of the federal leviathan has had a direct impact on giving. It would behoove the American Church to wake up from its slumbering funk and begin to connect the dots between the inaction and lack of engagement of the Church of Jesus Christ in America and the receding American foreign missionary footprint globally. Make no mistake about it...that lack of engagement by God's people in your country's government affairs has had a direct impact on policy's that have an indirect as well as a direct effect upon the blessings that we have taken for granted, in this instance the work of taking the gospel of Christ worldwide.

In this humble servants opinion, it is high time that Christian leaders begin to connect the dots between lack of engagement and direct loss of impact in the culture and indeed the world. It is not enough to begrudgingly prompt believers to go "vote". The time for encouraging folks to simply cast a vote is long gone. It is time for God's people to become like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32 and gain an understanding of the times in which they live. It is time for believers to understand who is making policy, what policy is being made, and begin to impact the making of that policy to the Glory of Almighty God!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

How do we rein in Washington D.C.?

There are seven Articles that make up the content of the United States Constitution. Article V is very short and is solely there for the purpose of outlining how our government manual can be amended (changed). We don't have to wonder about the intent of the framers (those who debated and drafted the document) as to how we interpret the text. The text has one meaning...the meaning intended when it was written. This is just like the things you might write today, you mean what you write...and you desire and expect others to interpret them as you wrote them...not as they wish to interpret them. Only when dealing with the manual for our government...the need for interpreting according to original intent is obviously much more crucial. The alternative to interpreting the Constitution according to original intent...is to have it interpreted according to whatever you want it to mean....therefore negating the need for the document all together. That said, the framers were not idiots, they understood that over time, there would be a need to be able to make changes...in order to adapt the document to either it's own shortcomings or changes due to technological advances. One of the things that also becomes crystal clear when studying those framers is also the need to be able to change the document to correct those portions that might be abused due to misinterpretation over time (see Madison's letter to Edward Everett dated Aug 1830).

This brings us back to Article V....Article V of the Constitution as I stated previously, contains the mechanism for amending the content of the Constitution. When Article V was being debated and drafted during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 (referred to by modern historians as the Constitutional Convention), initially in the draft there was only a single process for amendments that involved only the new "National Legislature", what you and I refer to today as the United States Congress. In other words, only the federal government would be able to propose amendments to the Constitution which would then have to be sent out to the states where it would require 3/4th of the states to ratify (agree) to them before any amendment would be binding on all the states. Again, just to be sure....that first draft only contained a way for Washington D.C. to propose changes to the document....and to be plainer...only the fox guarding the hen house could make changes that might affect the fox.

One of those framers, a Virginian by the name of George Mason vehemently opposed the idea of only giving the fox the power to propose amendments. He stated the following on June 11th, 1787 during the Convention: “Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence.  It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account.” Mason was describing EXACTLY what we see today....an abusive federal government that refuses to do the things necessary to correct itself and roll back it's amassed usurped powers.

On September 15th, 1787, just two days before the Philadelphia Convention adjourned (that's why we celebrate Constitution day on September 17th) Mason and others that were leary of investing too much power into a central government convinced the other convention delegates to adopt a 2nd mechanism into Article V that would provide an alternate means to amending the Constitution....the alternate method would permit the states to propose amendments to the Constitution just like Washington D.C. This provision that Madison referred to as the 2nd "mode" would require 2/3rds of the states to "apply" in their own legislatures for an amending convention that would involve only the states, thereby end running the National Legislature (Washington D.C.) altogether. Those amendment proposals would then in turn have to be sent back to all the states for ratification just like the first mode in Article V. This was a brilliant addition to our Constitution that again points us to the hand of Almighty God....for without it....today...the states would have no recourse for what is going on in our country due to the ever growing, out of control, staggering power drunken cartel that has been created in all three branches of our federal government.

So....that brings us to where we are today. Did you realize...that our founders....those fallen, fallible, but brilliant men that framed our Constitution had the God given wisdom to insert a process so that today....in the early 21st century....we....you and I....the people in the states....we have a recourse through our state legislatures....the elected representatives that are closest to us....we have a recourse. It ought to be clear to ANY living, breathing, thinking American citizen today....that the party of Washington D.C. is NEVER going to do the necessary things to rein itself in....it also should be clear by now that elections ALONE....cannot reverse the amassed power structure that has accumulated in the federal government through decades of twisting, contorting, and perverting of the original meaning in the text of our Constitution that was designed to LIMIT the size, scope, and powers of the federal government.

It is time...it is time to use this provision that God providentially gave us in late September of 1787...it is time to get our state legislators to understand the expedient need to pass the Convention of States resolution so that we can get to the requisite 2/3rds (34) states required to get to an amending Convention for the specific and limited purpose of proposing amendments that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, amendments that will limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and amendments that will impose term limits on Congress and the federal courts. It is time! Let's move beyond ALL the misinformation, diversions, fear of using this God given provision that can actually try to rein in our out of control federal government.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving History and The Glory of God

The Man Named Squanto

As we prepare for our traditional holiday dedicated to the giving of thanks in our nation, permit me to share a fascinating thing that we see from the historical account provided by William Bradford, about the people we refer to today as the "Pilgrims". God's hand of provision for this small groups dwindling numbers in the early part of year following their arrival at what they called "New Plymouth".  Their first encounters with native American Indians are interesting and nothing short of miraculous. Keep in mind that the "frontier" of North America would have been literally at the beach line on the east coast. This group of Pilgrims was desperately in need of help in how to survive this new land with its unknown wildlife and other unforeseen dangers and hardships. With that in mind, let’s look at this account from Bradford's journal in the first months after landing at the northern tip of Cape Cod in November of 1620:

"All this while the Indians carne skulking [sneaking] about them, and would sometimes show themselves aloof [remote, unapproachable] off, but when any approached near them, they would run away. And once, they stole away their [the Pilgrims’] tools where they had been at work, and were gone to dinner. But about the sixteenth of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marveled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some English-ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted, and could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language. He became profitable to them in acquainting them with many things concerning the state of the country in the east-parts where he lived, which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number, and strength; of their situation and distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them."

"His name was Samoset; he told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself. Being, after some time of entertainment and gifts, dismissed, a while after he carne again, and five more with him, and they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their great Sachem [chief, tribal leader], called Massasoit; who, about four or five days after, carne with the chief of his friends and other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto."

Interestingly enough, what followed is not talked about much today, the next part of Bradford's journal records an agreement that was reached between these two groups. The journal records that "they made a peace with him [Massasoit]" (which continued for 24 years). This is important to note due to revisionist historians today that try to paint a distorted picture of the relationship between these early settlers and Native American Indians.  Just like depravity resides in all men today, it resided in all men at that time too. Just like there are "peaceful" people today, there were "peaceful" Indians back then.  Just as there are "wicked" people today, there were "wicked" people back then (both European and Native American Indian).  One cannot lump all of history into one sock so to speak. When we look at history from a Biblical Worldview, we ought to look at all of it; the good, the bad, and the ugly!  However, what we see in Bradford's account is God's hand at work bringing a group [tribe] of peaceful native Indians to the rescue of this group of English Separatists looking for the early vestiges of religious freedom in a new land. Take note of the items agreed to in Bradford's journal:

"1. That neither he nor any of his, should injure or do hurt to any of their people.

2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.

3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs [the Pilgrims’], he [Massasoit] should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.

4. If any did unjustly war against him [Massasoit], they [the Pilgrims] would aide him; if any did war against them, he [Massasoit] should aid them [the Pilgrims].

5. He should send to his neighbor’s confederates, to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace. [That is, different tribes should share members to prevent warfare or serve as hostages in case of war.]

6. That when their [the Indians’] men came to them [the Pilgrims], they [the Indians] should leave their bows and arrows behind them."

"After these things he [Massasoit] returned to his place called Sowams, some 40 miles from this place, but Squanto continued with them, and was their interpreter, and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died. He was a native of this place, and scarce any left alive beside himself."

Don't miss the significance of this, nothing short of miraculous is the fact that this group of English Separatists were originally bound and chartered for a settlement in Virginia but were blown off course and landed in a desolate location unknown to them.  A harsh winter is awaiting them, and they desperately need help from someone knowledgeable of the local area. Into this God sends an Indian that speaks broken English [Samoset], but who knows another Indian that speaks fluent English [Squanto].  Ask yourself what the chances are that this group of Pilgrims accidentally landing in a location with one of the few if not only friendly English speaking Indians in North America? Coincidence or the providential hand of God?  Today we have all kinds of revisionists historians that have tried to rewrite our nation’s history and rewrite the hand of God out of it...look closely at this and decide for yourself.  Recall Bradford's words that I quoted above, Bradford referred to Squanto as "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation".Bradford records that in late September of 1621, a group from New Plymouth set out to help another group that had settled in a nearby area, that in Bradford's terms had "made havoc of their provisions" and realized that "want [or need] would press them" in the coming winter months. In other word's this group had made unwise choices for their provisions and needed help. So they set out with this group to help them. Bradford records the following:
"All things being provided, Captain Standish was appointed to go with them, and Squanto for a guide and interpreter, about the latter end of September; but the winds put them in again, and putting out the second time, he [Captain Standish] fell sick of a fever, so the Governor went himself. But they could not get about the shoals of Cape Cod for flats and breakers, neither could Squanto direct them better, nor the master durst venture any further, so they put into Manamoyick Bay and got what they could there. In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose (which the Indians take for a symptom of death), and within a few days died there; desiring the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven, and bequeathed sundry of his things to sundry of his English friends, as remembrances of his love; of whom they had a great loss."
God had used this incredible man, Squanto. God through His marvelous works had ordained for Squanto to be taken to England years before by an earlier north Atlantic fishing expedition. This Indian had learned fluent English, and miraculously had been returned to his native land a few years later. Think about that...think about the time we are talking about...do you realize how utterly incredible those events are?  Then this group of Separatists from the Church of England set out to cross the Atlantic bound for a colony in Virginia...the end up in a place far from their intended destination.  They end up in a place where maybe the only fluent English speaking Native American Indian resides! God uses this man to train and help these early settlers and seekers of religious liberty.

The words of the Mayflower Compact tell us why these Pilgrims crossed the foreboding and dangerous north Atlantic ocean: "Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith".  These words tell us that they came to engage God's creation in a new world, they came to take God principles to the rest of His creation.  Let me be sure about one thing as I bring this to a close; these men were not perfect men, they were flawed men. But God was using them to take baby steps towards the liberty that we see written into the Bible. Lastly, don't miss what happened to Squanto! By all indications God used these Pilgrims to draw Squanto unto Himself, Bradford tells us that Squanto's last dying wish was to know this great God of these Englishmen and I am sure they were more than happy to share the good news of salvation with their Indian friend!

My hope is that you will read this incredible story of God's goodness to your families as you observe our great national tradition and gather for a Thanksgiving meal. Pass on these great historical events that point to the great guiding hand of Almighty God. Give thanks for all our Great God has done for us in this incredible nation, founded for HIS PURPOSES and for HIS GLORY!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The 230 Year Old Message From Col. George Mason

Permit me to share a very Important Constitutional history lesson with you. The delegates to the Philadelphia Convention (today referred to as the Constitutional Convention) had been going over every section of every article in the final months of the Convention in 1787. 230 years ago, on a Saturday, just two days before the Convention in Philadelphia completed its work, we find a gem in the notes of James Madison, who took extensive notes just about every day of the convention. This item that I refer to as a “gem” is little known and hardly talked about today. On September 15, 1787, George Mason of Virginia (referred to in Madison’s notes as Col Mason), was alarmed that in the text of Article V (the provision for making Amendments to the Constitution), Congress would have sole power to propose amendments; Mason insisted, as he did earlier in June, that the states have authority to call for conventions. Mason explained that an oppressive Congress would never agree to propose amendments necessary to restrain a rogue, tyrannical legislature.

"Col. Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.” (See Madison’s notes 15 Sep 1787).

To make sense of that, you must understand that earlier in the summer when the issue of even having an Amendment process was first brought up as a provision in the Constitution, many of the delegates thought it unnecessary. Madison’s notes record the following on June 11th: “Col. MASON urged the necessity of such a provision [Amendments]. The plan now to be formed will certainly be defective, as the Confederation has been found on trial to be. Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account…”.

Then by the time the convention reached its final days in mid September, the Amendment provision had been added as Article V, and the provision had two methods; the national legislature (Congress) could propose Amendments and the states could request that Congress propose specific amendments. However, both methods were left in the hands (power) of the national legislature, that’s what Mason meant when he referred in the first quote above as “both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress”. Mason had objected to this back in June and now as the convention drew to a close, he rose to his feet to forcefully object with his reasons stated above (“It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account”). Madison’s notes of 15 Sept tell us that Mason’s motion was accepted and the language was changed in order to require [mandate] Congress to call a convention upon application of 2/3 of the states.

It is noteworthy to point out that this process does not call for a Constitutional Convention; the language specifies calling a convention for the purpose of “proposing amendments”…to the existing Constitution…it would still require 3/4ths of the states (38) to ratify any amendment proposed in this convention.

We owe George Mason and the other framers a huge debt for this...they had the foresight to understand first of all, that we needed an orderly process in which to amend our Constitution (“regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence” – Mason 11 June). Secondly we owe them a huge debt for recognizing and understanding the depravity of man and the extremely intoxicating effects of years of power in the hands of the same people (hence a need for term limits) and that these power intoxicated occupants of the United States Congress would “abuse their power, and refuse their consent” (Mason 11 June) to any amendments that would “injure” themselves and return powers never intended for the national legislature or any of the other branches for that matter, they would never take steps to return that power on their own to the rightful owner, the states/people (“no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive” – Mason 15 Sep).

The least we can do as citizens of this great nation today, citizens that do not seem to want to be bothered with taking the time to understand the underpinnings of their liberty, the least we can do is take the time to understand what the framers of this amazing document did for us. When the framers agreed on September 15th, 1787 to change the text in Article V, they in effect were telegraphing a message to us in 2017, a message to us showing us the way back inside the fence of the Constitution, a way back to what Thomas Jefferson called the “chains of the Constitution”.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Conversation With Senator Graham about Supreme Court Qualifications and Nominations

If you are interested in a civil but profound exchange I had with Senator Lindsey Graham in early January 2015....read on. If not....keep scrolling

On the night of January 9th, 2015 while attending the South Carolina Citizens for Life annual dinner in Columbia, SC I had the opportunity to have a fairly long and in depth conversation with United States Senator Lindsey Graham.

I have seen Senator Graham many times before but have never had the desire to speak with him. I'm pretty hard on Senator Graham and I think for good reason. But as the evening went on at last nights event, and I realized that he was sticking around for the whole event, I was overcome with the sense that once and for all I wanted to have an in depth conversation with him about what I think is his most egregious position as a United States Senator. To be fair, Senator Graham has been a consistent supporter of national defense and our military. And has shown consistency as a "pro life" voter.
Getting time to have more than a surface/meet and greet discussion is usually difficult at an event like this...I understand that and do not expect it. But last night, God provided a really good opportunity. After the event was over and folks were departing, I walked over to Senator Graham and asked him if he had a few minutes to discuss something. I explained that I have had areas of disagreement with him but one was so important to me that I really wanted a one and one conversation and to be able to hear from him how he might explain his position.

I have written extensively in the past about the serious error with Senator Graham's philosophy of the Constitutional provision under Article II, Section 2. But let me summarize for you here. Much of the work done by conservative activists in the trenches is being undone every single day by rogue federal courts. Senator Graham fails the founders miserably when he votes to put Justices on the Courts that openly refuse to hold to Original Intent in their interpretation of the Constitution. Senator Graham did that with both of the Presidents appointees. He's batting 1000 % on giving us years and years more of ungodly court decisions. Those court appointees will be there on the SCOTUS terrorizing little unborn children long after those conservative bones Lindsey threw us wear off. Basically Senator Grahams position is that unless a Judicial nominee is an axe murderer, they will get his vote for confirmation to the Supreme Court because as he likes say (said it again last night) "elections have consequences".

So, it was with that in mind ....and all the years I have been writing about and ranting about Senator Graham in this area...and this horrible error in judgment and thinking when it comes to his role as a United States Senator in the Constitutional responsibility that is given to him for "advice and consent" more commonly referred to as the  Confirmation Process". It is with that in mind that I approached him for a discussion last night.

I will not remember every word that we exchanged in our discussion....but I do remember my jaw dropping at one point in our discussion and that is what I will focus in the interest of relating to you accurately and fairly what he told me. After exchanging pleasantries and greetings I got down to business and asked him if he would give me a few minutes to explain the one area that really has caused me so much consternation with him as a United States Senator. He obliged and indicated that he wanted to hear what it was that I had such a big issue with.

I explained pretty much what I explained above and asked if he didn't think that his role was more than abject approval of any candidate for the SCOTUS that a President nominated as long as they had done nothing criminal or noteworthy. He clarified my statement by saying that he was only interested if they were "qualified" and if they were "qualified" than the President deserved to have his choices confirmed in the Senate. I had a feeling that is what he would say so I then dug further and asked him if he thought that philosophy of interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Original Intent was paramount for qualification. He responded by laughing and asking/telling me "so you think all judges have to agree with you"....to which I responded "of course not, Original Intent does not mean that they would always agree with me or vice versa, only that they would believe that the original text had meaning and that the job of a SCOTUS judge would be to do their best to determine Original Intent". I explained that sometimes even Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas (both are Originalists) sometimes disagree but both of them are striving to be faithful to Original Intent.

He continued to laugh....I was beginning to get the feeling that he did not put much weight on interpretation philosophy at all which I did not expect....so I asked him again, "do you think that Original Intent is an important qualification for anyone being appointed to steward our Constitution" to which he flat out said "No". I have to be honest, I was stunned.....I know that he doesn't make that a requirement already from his actions....but that response is not even the response of a "moderate"...or a RINO as he is called sometimes....that is a flat out liberal position. He then made the comment that "no where in the Constitution does it say that a judge must hold to "Original Intent"". That was such an incredibly lame comment that I had to pursue it....I explained to him that he and I both know that the Constitution contains Powers and Rights...and specific requirements for certain aspects of our government. The Constitution would not tell us how to interpret it. The philosophy of Original Intent was written about by the framers in many places but logic would tell us that words have meaning and their meaning must be adhered to otherwise you have everyone "doing what is right in their own mind"....sort of like what we see today with the Courts. The federal courts today from the SCOTUS on down through the Circuit Courts of Appeals and down to the District Court levels are no longer anchored to Constitutional text....and we are reaping the whirlwind of the decisions of men and women that are appointed for life and have no concern for the Rule of Law and the meaning of the text in the Constitution.

We continued for a bit...and then someone came by to shake his hand and I thanked him and walked off....literally shaking my head. To my astonishment....a few minutes later he came back over to me and wanted to know who I was and wanted to press the discussion further....which we did. But pretty much he wanted to tell me that nothing was going to change his mind on that....now mind you....I had walked away....he came back to me....he laughed and shook his head that he said something to the effect that he was right and nothing was going to change his mind. He reiterated his earlier point that "you want judges that think like you" and I reminded him that I didn't say that and that he should understand what I was saying when I told him that I was talking about interpretational philosophy, not my personal preferences in every issue or case. Ten minutes later...finally leaving the dinner....I enter the restroom...and who am I standing next to....Senator Graham....he looks at me....and starts up again. Unreal. In the past I would have told you here that I give him credit for talking to me about it....but I have come to realize that he is paid to talk to me about his positions. That should not be something we praise a Senator or Congressman for....that is the minimum we should expect.
I don't say this to be intentionally disparaging of Senator Graham, those of you that know me know that I can be pretty caustic on him and our other local congressman....but I will say this about my encounter with him....the guy has an arrogance about him...that communicates loudly to me that he understands that he is not going anywhere. He believes that he simply holds the high ground and cannot be removed from office.

I ended the nights conversation by asking him if he knew what the Convention of States was......

Sunday, May 10, 2015

JBS Rescinds Right To Life Article V Amendment Proposals

A little bit of history to provide context and info for those that care about the unborn. Time to expose a dirty little secret that few know about. The image you see here is a chart that shows the 19 states that fully passed Article V applications for a Convention of States limited to proposing a single "Right to Life" amendment between 1974 and 1980. They began doing this right after the abominable Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade in order to have the states end run the feckless and pathetic United States Congress in order to propose a single specific "Right to Life" amendment to the United States Constitution. This was moving along and gaining a lot of steam....remember....35 states had abortion statutes erased with the single stroke of Roe. What I want you to know...is just like they are doing today....they did back then....the fear mongers in the John Birch Society initiated a massive campaign of fear and successfully convinced state after state to rescind their Article V applications.

Think about this....how many babies would have survived the holocaust that has butchered over 60 million little children in the ensuing years? We will never know....with the sentiment in the states immediately following Roe....it is very possible that there would have been a successful Article V COS and we would have passed a Right to Life amendment reversing Roe the way the founders intended for our system to work. But we will never know....next time someone tells you they are associated with the John Birch Society...."thank them" for what they have done.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Pastors Perspective - Article V and The Convention of States

Guest Blog - By my friend Pastor Kevin Baird

I have been asked numerous times about my "take" concerning the Convention of the States (COS) movement catching steam and momentum across the land. Honestly, I am not as proficient in the intricacies of the discussion as others but after reading, listening, and studying some myself I find myself a supporter of the movement. The 5 reasons I will list below are probably simplistic, but they became the foundational place for my decision.

Let me be clear...I believe our American Constitution along with the Declaration of Independence are two of the most remarkable documents in human history with the exception of the Bible being in a category by itself. I lament the fact that as a nation we have ignored it and circumvented it on more occasions than can be illustrated. That, along with the foundational revelation that this nation was established with a Christian ethos and culture, is the reason we are spiraling into destruction and irrelevance.

That being said, I have watched the posts and discussions concerning the COS that it would open a "Pandora's Box" and we might be in a worse place than we are now because once you open the Constitution "anything" could happen. While I appreciate those who are making the argument because I understand that for many of them they too, are working to reverse the course of this nation, I support the COS for the following reasons:

1. The COS is clearly in the Constitution. How can we be for the Constitution and fight against its application and usage? Hasn't that been the problem? If we esteem the founder's insight, wisdom and work, then it seems like we would still defer to their judgment even if might produce personal anxiety.

2. Currently, we have a federal judiciary that is what I call the COO (Convention of the oligarchy). The Constitution is opened up for reinterpretation every time a case goes to the appellate level. We have a small minority of unaccountable and unelected people who are opening up "Pandora's Box" constantly. Why would we continue to trust them to change their current course instead of trusting the people of this land to change our current course? I am no longer convinced that the American structure of governance and the judiciary is capable of correcting itself. Our rulers and judges, by and large, have been deceived by power, money, and ego.

3. The COS abides by the Biblical precept of "rule of law". It appears to be the last, peaceful means by which a highly polarized nation can resolve it's worldview collision which is currently taking place. I am not an advocate for violence, but our current trajectory and cultural dynamics are indicating that unless an objective standard of law can be reestablished there is an eruption in our future.

4. To resist the concept of the COS is in some ways to resist the very concept of freedom. I understand that ultimately and foundationally we must trust that God is at work in our nation, however; why would we continue to trust an increasingly tyrannical, convoluted system of governing instead of trusting what God might do in a freedom loving people? I understand that if the people are not prepared for that discussion then the demise of America is almost certain. But if our current trajectory as a nation remains the same then all the question becomes is "when" not "if" our nation collapses. For me, I would rather try saving it with a different playbook than doing what we have been doing over and over again. God has not called me to continue that type of insanity.

5. We cannot be captive to our fears. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7 NKJV) The COS is a courageous movement in my opinion. It has risks. It seems to me that to change the course of a nation would inherently demand some risk. You cannot accomplish great vision without risk. There are no guarantees whichever path is chosen. However, expecting God to move as we maintain the status quo appears to me to be the least Biblical option.

There you go...whether that helps anyone else or not, it is where I land. I encourage Pastors do your research and if you want to be connected to some people I know who are really well versed in the COS, I can get you connected.

It's time for a new playbook...

Dr. Kevin Baird
Executive Director at South Carolina Pastor’s Alliance
Sr. Pastor Legacy Church
Charleston, South Carolina

Monday, February 23, 2015

Truth and Scholarship Matters

The National Association for Gun Rights has recently undertaken a campaign to smear hundreds of thousands of great patriots around the nation that are responding to the clarion call of the founders to use the single most powerful tool given to us to save our nation. This group contemptibly refers to the lawful, orderly, and Constitutional process in Article V as “snake oil”. 

It is very important for us to understand that the Article V Convention of States process was specifically inserted into our Constitution on September 15th 1787, just two days before the draft was completed because of a flaw discovered by the great Virginian, George Mason. Mason observed that the states might someday require recourse from an “abusive” and “oppressive” (his words) national government and successfully argued for the insertion of this self governing process. Contrary to what those that fear-monger this process tell us, the framers gave us this process intentionally to defend the Constitution when its words would become twisted and perverted from their original meaning to expand the scope and jurisdiction of the federal government. 

While this group purports to defend the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution. Its smear campaign and fear-mongering of the Constitutional process designed to defend the 2nd Amendment calls them into question. It is precisely the inaction and fear of using the “check” designed to resist growing government power that will truly be the undermining of our 2nd Amendment liberties. The Article V Convention of States effort is precisely the tool needed to stop the staggering power drunk and ever growing leviathan federal government that will inevitably undermine not only our 2nd Amendment liberties but all of the rest of the bill of Rights. 

In the National Association for Gun Rights most recent mailing, they hold up a statement from former Chief Justice Warren Burger speaking out against the use of an Article V Convention of States. I have to wonder if they are either ignorant of whom Chief Justice Warren Burger was or if they are intentionally trying to deceive their readers and followers. Burger is responsible for presiding over the 7 member majority Supreme Court opinion in the most abhorrent Supreme Court ruling in our nation’s history (Roe v Wade), the decision that has left us with 60 million butchered unborn children. That decision was the most radical departure from Originalism in the history of the Supreme Court. So this group to holds up Warren Burger as their anti Article V poster child, one of the most radical, left wing SCOTUS Justices in our nation’s history that twisted and perverted the Constitution in order to arrive at the most abominable decision a court could make under our Constitution. Thinking people would ask why a Judge, whose normal mode of operation was to subvert the Rule of Law and pervert the Constitution...thinking people would ask why would he NOT oppose the use of Article V by the states since it's very use would potentially strip him of his power to pervert our Rule of Law? 

They also invoke the names of men like James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, and they refer to the date of the Philadelphia Convention as being 1789 when in fact the Philadelphia Convention was held in 1787. Now some might excuse that as a simply typographical error, but we would submit that in a discussion of a serious matter like this that involves matters of grave national importance, scholarship matters. The invocation of Madison’s name to somehow imply that men like James Madison would oppose this effort is nothing short of preposterous if not disingenuous. It was James Madison himself in a letter to Edward Everett in August of 1830 that told us “Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed be found not to secure the Government and rights of the States against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States the final resort within the purview of the Constitution lies in an amendment of the Constitution according to a process applicable by the States.”. Madison knew that the Article V COS process was the rightful remedy for an out of control federal government. 

Missouri COS State Director Keith Carmichael really said it best when he recently wrote that scholarship matters in an Article V discussion. 

"Scholarship is important. We tell our kids that it is important. We tell them to do their homework, study hard and pay attention on things that matter. Responsible and informed parents who want to foster success actually go a step further when they demand that their children apply themselves because learning is important – Knowing the difference between the truth and fiction is important. 

Those that wrote and signed the Constitution believed that it was essential for this document to be able to be amended peacefully by the states in order to maintain federalism or a balance of power. On September 15, 1787, they voted unanimously to give the states’ equal power in the process along with Congress. They saw this then as a ‘life or death’ issue for the republic. That has not changed – it still is one today. 

In a discussion about our Constitution – specifically Article V which is the part which allows the document itself to be amended, we can’t afford to not do our homework. We must resist the temptation to trust some of the inaccurate, incomplete, and agenda-driven scholarship that has been regurgitated for so long on this topic. Those unwilling to make an honest, complete investigation into the most recent, more reliable, serious scholarship on this issue place their own credibility at risk”. 

The Supreme Court decision in Heller was a razor thin 5-4 majority upholding the original intent of the 2nd Amendment as being an individual right. This decision could have easily gone the other way and eviscerated the 2nd Amendment in one fell swoop. It is time to rein in the federal government using the wisdom and courage of the founders. By opposing the states rightful use of Article V, the National Association of Gun Rights opposes the Constitution and the most powerful “Check” given to the states by the founders. This group and others like them stand resolutely for the progressive and growing tyranny of the status quo. 

For a more in-depth and scholarly look at this issue that explains most if not all of the common misrepresentations of Article V and the Convention of States please read this article that I wrote a few months ago. 

You will not find anyone more “2nd Amendment” than myself and it was a bill that I singlehandedly wrote in 2013 that restored much needed liberty in South Carolina’s CWP statute. This bill (S 308) was strongly supported by the NRA who dubbed it the “restaurant carry” bill.