As our visitors paused for a moment, I asked them, how does this all tie in with the challenge of Democratic self-government in our day?
Pilate picked up.
He said, first, let us remember what James just said: sound teaching driven by genuine godly wisdom (not the sort of dirty power games while wearing clerical robes that I so often had to deal with) is the foundation of all else, and poison spread by the tongue can set a destructive blaze that comes straight from Hell.
Paul, didn't you have an experience with that on your voyage to Rome, in the Autumn of AD 59, as an appeals prisoner?
Paul began, Yes --
Just then, there was a sound of the fluttering of huge bird wings outside, and a horse's whinny.
Pilate said, Pegasus, I know that whinny and those wing-beats anywhere!
Jesus must have sent his white horse. Y'know, that is how John here and I became friends. I asked Jesus for the privilege of being groom for his horse, ad he graciously permitted it. John would come by and tickle Pegasus' ears and pass him an apple or carrot or two. We fell to talking. And so we became friends, especially after his head fell off and I ran to fetch it.
Let me go out to see what is happening.
Just like that, he walked right through the wall, and soon came back with a distinguished looking C1 figure and a mid C-20 professor in tow.
He beckoned to me and said, go out the door for a moment.
I was shocked, there was a huge white winged horse with an angel standing by.
I'm Gabriel he said.
Jesus sent these two by quick courier service, but that meant we have had to mount a defense up in the heavenlies to get them through. This could not be done quietly.
Just then two bright shooting stars went down off to the North, whoomph, whoomph. Splash, splash.
Looks like Michael has his work cut out tonight, Gabriel said.
That's two uppity demons going down. Gone to chains extra early.
If this continues, we can't stay too long, it is not quite time for the kick-off of the final conflicts. But the pace of things in the North and in the East has those demons running a little hotter than usual. And, they are pushing things hard in the Caribbean too.
Streak, another angel appeared next to Gabriel.
Gabriel bent his ear and listened. Okay, maybe another hour and a half max, then we have to take the visitors back. Tell Luke and Kurt Godel for me. And hand them this, from George Washington. And with an enclosure for Frank Morison too. Dr Luke will know what to do with it.
He handed me a parchment, wrapped and tied with a red ribbon, and sealed with wax.
I'll be standing here with Pegasus and Michael will continue to hold things together up above.
And, your Aunt XXXXX and sis ZZZZ over in Barbados are up extra late praying for you. Not to mention your big sisters VVVV and BBBB over in Jamaica. Real prayer warriors all, they were specially prompted to pray for this.
That sort of covering artillery fire by prayer makes a big difference here under the peculiar circumstances of earth.
He turned to the messenger angel and nodded.
With that, the messenger angel next to Gabriel pulled out a sharp- looking, flaming white sword, then went zoom, back up to the fight. He had a pretty grim but confident look on his face.
Whoomph, streak, splash, another demon down. This time, off to the East. The direction the angel had gone in.
Gabriel nodded and murmured, good one, that. A real solid fighter of an angel.
I went back inside, to see our guests making room for Drs Luke and Godel.
I handed the scroll to Luke, and told him it had come from George Washington.
He smiled and nodded.
I also said, Gabriel told me we have maybe an hour and a half, things are rather hot up in the heavenlies. Two demons splashed up North and another one off to the East.
John the Apostle nodded and said, I know just what you are talking about.
Paul looked across and said, Luke, I think you had better pick up on the voyage to Rome that ended up shipwreck off Malta as an illustration of how democracy can go wrong.
But first, you have a scroll .
That has got to be pretty urgent news if they fought it through to get it to us.
I handed the scroll to Luke and said, there is an enclosure for barrister Morison too.
Luke broke the seal, pulled the red ribbon, and unwound.
He handed over a smaller sheet that had been rolled up inside the bigger scroll to barrister Frank Morison. It looked like an Internet print-off. (I wonder how they have an Internet hookup in heaven.)
Frank said, looks like things are urgent even in the "soon come" Caribbean.
There is an urgent development in Belize that I think we need to address, before we even get back to Luke on that voyage to Rome in AD 59 that got into so much trouble at Fair Havens, Crete.
And, we are not going to have a lot of time.
Frank then began reading:
'Evolving standards' of international law should overturn anti-sodomy law: Belize lawsuit(C-FAM.org) - Ten years ago, the late, great American jurist Robert Bork wrote a short book entitled Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges. He described how the “American disease” of judicial legislating—activists using constitutional courts “to outflank majorities and nullify their votes” on controversial social issues—was becoming a global phenomenon.Among other examples, Bork noted a conference held in London in 1999 “to consider ways of making homosexual conduct a constitutional right in various nations.” As happened with abortion—a phenomenon documented in Susan Yoshihara’s and Douglas Sylva’s Rights by Stealth—a coterie of “experts” in the field of “human rights” tasked themselves with refashioning norms in the area of “sexual orientation and gender identity” and exporting such novel norms to countries that adhered to old-fashioned principles such as rule of law and constitutional separation of powers.On May 7-10 at the Supreme Court of Belize, in the case Orozco v. Attorney General, a fascinating legal clash occurred when the proponents of the “new rights” brought their traveling roadshow to this small, English-speaking Central American nation.Claiming that “international law” required the striking of a facially neutral statute prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” Lord Peter Goldsmith, Q.C.—the former Attorney General of England and Wales, acting for the intervening Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Human Dignity Trust, and the International Commission of Jurists—appealed not to the language of a specific treaty, nor to customary international law (properly understood), but rather to his own obiter dicta and a variety of non-binding “soft law” declarations by United Nations Committees and personalities pointing to “evolving standards” of “international jurisprudence.” . . . .Counsel for a coalition of Belizean Churches, Eamon Courtenay, S.C.—the former Attorney General of Belize—rebutted Goldsmith’s Toonen claims, pointing out that even a State participant to a proceeding under the optional protocol was free to reject its Views, as Peru has done in the matter ofKaren Llontoy. In that proceeding, the HRC exceeded its authority by opining that Peru should alter its laws to allow eugenic abortion in the case of fetal abnormality; as with sodomy, abortion is not a “right” found in the ICCPR.Moreover, as Belize never acceded to the Optional Protocol, Toonen could only be of academic interest.Going to the heart of the issue before the Court, as well as the issue raised by Robert Bork a decade prior, Courtenay then raised a fundamental question: in a constitutional system of self-government, who gets to make the laws, a judge or the people through their elected representatives?Put another way, if standards truly are “evolving” and constitutions are to be considered “living documents,” with non-binding transnational “soft law” norms coming into play, who determines the substance and the pace of such an evolution? If the law should be revised to reflect changed societal mores—the elevation of what was once universally considered an objective wrong (such as sodomy) into a “right”—is such change to be imposed by a court, or should judges exercise restraint and defer to the legislature? If it is a role of judges to fashion new rights, in what sense are a people self-governing? While the façade of representative democracy may remain, has not an unelected oligarchy arisen, and the separation of power principle been rendered meaningless? . . .
Frank rolled the print-off back up, and said, that's serious.
Within ten years of pushing through decriminalisation of Sodomy, the USA began to push through homosexualist distortions of marriage, at the first coming from the Judicial bench and then, after heavy propaganda barrages in the media, through legislatures in states and then popular votes in some states.
That's a watershed, as the Bible is clear that sexual perversion is rebellion against God's creation order, and a mark of a society that turns its back on God is that such begins to spread far and wide. As is happening now.
If that gets entrenched under false colours of law, sooner or later the Word of God will be smeared and censored as hate speech and those who peacefully stand by the Word of God rather than the rebellious and unjust judgements of men will be targets under false colour of law.
That's beginning to happen already, but the trend is speeding up dangerously.
Paul looked grim, and nodded.
He turned back to Luke and said, but you have the other scroll.
Luke looked at it and said, it's from George Washington, as spokesman for the Founding Fathers of the USA, the nursery plot of the modern form of democracy.
He sent his farewell address of 1796 that is still read year by year in the US Senate as a tradition.
I wish, they would really listen and heed.
I'll have to read excerpts as there is not a lot of time, given what else needs to be said at this kairos that reminds me of the one in AD 50 in Athens I wrote about in Acts 17:
[George Washington:] . . . a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people . . . .
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed . . . .
Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes . . . .
[Y]ou have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support.Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.He paused, and looked up.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion . . .
That's pretty much what was happening in Fair Havens on that ship, in the Autumn of AD 59. It ended in shipwreck.
He then scrolled down:
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown.Frank Morison and Simon Greenleaf nodded together and said as one: that is what is happening, and that is what the attempt to sneak into law in Belize the agendas of factions inimical to the interests of the community and the wider region and world, were about.
You must be vigilant, and you must stoutly resist the inducements, manipulations and intimidation that would undermine the very foundations of stable society and turn those who stand by godliness into marginalised, even criminalised scapegoats.
Peter and John spoke as one:
Acts 5:29b . . . “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” [ESV]They shook their heads.
With a tone of sadness, Peter said for both -- for all the apostles, really. We are witnesses, eyewitnesses of the truth. Truth -- not cunningly devised fables, that Jesus died for our sins and was buried, then rose again, fulfilling the Prophecies of Isaiah and ever so many other prophets in the scriptures, is bedrock foundation truth.
No sound civilisation can be built on a lie, and no sound civilisation can be built by willfully defying God and his order for creation.
People of the Caribbean, we must solemnly warn you that that goes as much for fornication, adultery and web porn as it goes for the attempt to homosexualise law and culture.
Let me quote my beloved Lord:
Matt 19: 4 . . . “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” [ESV]Do you think that you can succeed as a civilisation by defying the very order of creation, by fornication, by adultery, by widespread divorce and remarriage, or by spreading that which is inherently twisted, unhealthy and disordered, on some pretence that it is inevitable, unchangeable and inherited so it is beyond control and must be beneficial and a right?
He turned to me.
Isn't there a whole free for download book out there by knowledgeable experts on how such notions are utterly mistaken?
I said, yes: My Genes Made Me Do It. [Here.]
Paul then spoke:
1 Cor 6:9 . . . do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?The apostle to the nations paused, then spoke again:
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you.
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [ESV. Cf. here for practical steps.]
Eph 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.He spoke a third time:
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!-
21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. [ESV]
Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32
Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. [ESV]
He shook his head (gently), sadly.
He said, so often willfully rebellious, deluded men insist on excluding God from their base of knowledge, profess themselves wise and end in folly and ruin.
Do they not see that it is folly to refuse to look at the evidence of the world without and reasoning, knowing mind and conscience within, and to then further refuse to acknowledge the good God who made the world and gave us minds, hearts and consciences? Which all point straight back to Him?
Kurt, I know you have something to say to that as a spokesman for theistic and Christian intellectuals, but I think Luke has somewhat more to read from Washington.
Luke nodded, then read from Washington's Farewell Address of 1796, the words that are so famous:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.He rolled back up the scroll and said, I am a Greek, a physician by training, a Christian by conviction, a historian and educator by dint of having seen the need to set out for my good friend Theophilus, an accurate multiply attested summary in order of the history of our Saviour and Lord, and that of the apostles he sent out by his Spirit.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.
A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ?
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.
The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government.
Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
As your archaeologists for over a century have confirmed, my history is just that: history not myth, even down to incidental details.
Why then do your elites so stubbornly resist the most important part of enlightening the public, for the good of the community -- the gospel, even as George Washington reflected on across a long life and distinguished career and gave forth as his political last will and testament?
Ah, but maybe I need to bring back to mind that story from the voyage to Rome in AD 59.
How easily we can fall into the march of folly at the instigation of unscrupulous factions and manipulators, needs to be underscored. Democracies often die by suicide, assisted by factions and manipulators.
(I think Socrates, Plato and Alcibiades will have more to say to that.)
But, let me say the story:
Acts 27: 1 And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.
2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3 The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4 And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5 And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia.
6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.
9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast1 was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda,2 we managed with difficulty to secure the ship's boat. 17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear,3 and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.” . . . [ESV]
And, we ended up shipwreck on Malta, but not before the sailors tried to abandon us to our fate and make escape in a boat.
When trouble comes of folly, the very ones who get us into it, are ever so often the ones who try to get away from the consequences.
Paul, it was a good move to inform Julius, who had the boat cut away. It would have been nice to have had the boat when we went aground, but it was too much of a temptation to those who got us into so much trouble in the first place.
The lesson is plain, the people have a duty of care to be alert to the factions and manipulators, and must be enlightened, genuinely enlightened.
Starting with the gospel, and with gospel ethics.
Or, democracy is unsustainable.
Oops, we are out of time again this morning, we will continue, soon. It was an action-packed hour and half, I assure you. END