There are so many spurious charges and broad brush statements made in Laurence Vance’s speech that I almost do not know where to begin in addressing the outright errors present. Perhaps then, after answering some outright erroneous statements, it would be best to concentrate on a few certain things the Bible states about war and the relationship of the Christian to civil government.
In beginning, I think it essential to separate out the fact that, like Jeremiah Wright, Laurence Vance uses the Scripture as a cloak for his actual agenda, in which he attempts to legitimize his claims with out of context and partial quotes from Scripture. In going through his speech, and then perusing his other writings, it is quite apparent that Mr. Vance, despite his claims to the contrary, has another agenda besides trying to turn Christians back to a stricter adherence to Scripture. The essence of that agenda is found in the closing statements of his June 8th speech:
It is high time for Christians who still defend the state, its leaders, its military, and its wars to wake up and open their eyes and recognize some cold, hard facts:
* The United States has become a rogue state, a pariah nation, an evil empire.
* The United States’ military is the greatest force for evil in the world.
* The United States is the arms dealer to the world.
* The United States is not the world’s policeman.
* The United States cannot redeem the world through violence.
* The United States is not the God-anointed protector of Israel that enjoys a special relationship with God.
* The United States government is the greatest threat to American life, liberty, and property – not the leaders or the military or the people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, or Venezuela.
Our republic is crumbling. It is imperative that we return to the noninterventionist foreign policy of the Founders. Christians, of all people, should be leading the way.
Now, is it really the purview of Christians to direct the society of the United States, and thus its government to return to the Constitution?
Moreover, is it absolutely true that the United States has become “a rogue state, a pariah nation, an evil empire.”?
Is it true that “The United States’ military is the greatest force for evil in the world.”?
Is it true that “The United States is the arms dealer to the world.”?
Is it true that “The United States is not the world’s policeman.”?
Is it true that “The United States cannot redeem the world through violence.”?
Is it true that “The United States is not the God-anointed protector of Israel that enjoys a special relationship with God.”?
Is it true that “The United States government is the greatest threat to American life, liberty, and property – not the leaders or the military or the people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, or Venezuela.”?
The problem with so many of these statements is that they sound just like known communists and propaganda straight from the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. One would have to be a fool or totally ignorant of the statements and publications of the Soviet Union, the PRC, and their agents and front men to not be familiar with the theme espoused in the above statements.
However, the real question is:
As a Christian, whose purpose it is to serve the LORD God and put forth the gospel every day, what does any of this really have to do with me and my service to God?
In answering that, which must be done to thoroughly answer the rest of Mr. Vance’s assertions, we must understand the Christian’s relationship to the world, and to the nation in which the LORD God put them. However, before continuing, a brief answer to the above questions are:
No, it is not the responsibility of Christians to force or “lead the way” to a return to constitutional government. Please note the use of the word “force” in the answer. It is the duty of the Christian to witness and testify of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel, and uphold the constitutions, State and Federal, as they were framed.
No, the United States is not “a rogue state, a pariah nation, or an evil empire.” If you think so, try living in Russia, the PRC, Cuba, or North Korea. Now, while we are not that bad, we are certainly not following the Constitution, or the spirit and intent of it. We do need to return to what the Founders intended as they did understand how a nation ought to function in this world.
No, it is not true that “The United States’ military is the greatest force for evil in the world.” If it is, then it is worse than the FSB (formerly KGB), Islam (which sends people to Hell every day), the Catholic Church (ditto), Buddhism (ditto), Taoism (ditto), Jehovah’s Witnesses (ditto), Mormonism (ditto), etc. etc., and a host of other false religions. The greatest force for evil in this world is our own individual hearts. If you doubt that, then you call the LORD God a liar — and I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.
No, it is not true that “The United States is the arms dealer to the world.” Try China and the former Soviet satellite states for that one. The most common combat small arm in the world is not the M-16 or its variants. Rather, it is the AK-47/74 and all its variants. By the way, who did produce the most tanks, combat aircraft, missiles, ships, bombs, etc. all those years of the Cold War? Moreover, just where are those weapons now?
Yes, it is true that “The United States is not the world’s policeman.” However, it is also true that the United States should be an influence throughout the world. We simply do not need to, and should not “impose” our form of government on everyone else. Education is far more effective at demonstrating the superiority of the American system.
Yes, it is true that “The United States cannot redeem the world through violence.” However, it is also true that no one else can either. This statement displays nothing but ignorance of the Scripture, and presents a straw man to be destroyed by Mr. Vance. The fact is, this world will never be redeemed by any method — violent or otherwise. No, the LORD God is interested in redeeming individual souls through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone (which, by the way, was a violent act). This world will be, in the end, destroyed — not redeemed. Did the Lord Jesus Christ die for the world (all the people in it)? Yes, He certainly did. However, the Scripture does not lie, and it plainly states that the vast majority of people in this world reject the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel, and consign themselves to eternal damnation.
Yes, it is true that “The United States is not the God-anointed protector of Israel that enjoys a special relationship with God.” However, to say that we should not stand by Israel, is to fly in the face of Scripture. Mr. Vance ought to know this as well. Israel, whether they currently follow the LORD God or not, is still the apple of God’s eye, and they will not depart from His presence. When the United States is long gone, Israel will still be around. Why? Because they are the physical children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which the LORD gave certain promises to, which said promises are not yet completely fulfilled.
No, it is not true that “The United States government is the greatest threat to American life, liberty, and property – not the leaders or the military or the people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, or Venezuela.” However, this is not the “us versus them” shallow issue that Mr. Vance makes it out to be. In fact, again Mr. Vance has set-up a straw man to knock down. The truth is that the American People are the greatest threat to their own liberty — not the American Government. There are approximately 300 million people in the United States. Of that, over half own some sort of firearm (most own several). In fact, there are probably enough firearms in private possession to equip every man, woman, and child in the United States with at least one firearm, and ammunition to boot. Plainly, the liberty of the American citizen is in their own hands, and not in the hands of the government. Moreover, the majority of individuals in the U.S. Military believe in liberty, and in private possession of arms. While they may disagree over the extent of the right, they do agree that private possession of arms should be the case. Now, whose fault will it be if the American citizen loses their liberty? The problem with the American Government arises from a problem with how American citizens think and behave, and what they allow the American Government to “get away with,” and not with the government itself. I would remind Mr. Vance of the truth of the following statement by Samuel Adams:
“A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy…. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader…. If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.” — Samuel Adams
The problem with the American people is one of a loss of virtue and accountability. Thus, the American people do not demand those in government be virtuous, nor do they demand accountability from their government. If they did so, America would not have the problems she has.
This, interestingly enough, brings one right back to the duties of a Christian in civil society, and what a Christian’s view of war ought to be.
To be continued . . .