Conservative vs. Conservative
Copyright 2002. All scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 edition. This article may be copied and used without permission of the author, provided it is copied and used in its entirety
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverb 23:26)
It did not start out as an argument. In fact, neither party of the conversation intended for it to become an argument. Both individuals held the same views on so many subjects. Both are extremely conservative, at least they both thought that — until the argument.
What was the argument about? Of all things, especially between conservatives, property rights. One of the individuals lives in town, the other out in the county. In town there exists a much greater degree of infringement upon the rights of property owners. Ostensibly this is for the good of all. Out in the county the rights of property owners are only infringed upon to the extent of taxation, and rights of way or easements.
The professed doctrine of property rights for conservatives is as follows: The owner of the property has the right to do whatsoever they please on their own property, so long as it does not harm their neighbor. Aesthetics are not considered in the equation as there exists no right to have property values always increase, or even stay the same. Besides, natural disasters do an incredible job of destroying aesthetics. Furthermore, you don’t have to look. Items such as noise would bear on the equation, as would toxic runoff, etc., etc., for obvious reasons. After all, if you spray grass killer on your property so heavily that when it rains it kills your neighbor’s grass, then you are doing harm to your neighbor. By the same token, if you require your neighbor to keep their property in a certain condition just so your property values are maintained, or because it suits your definition of beauty, that places a burden upon them and does them harm. There are two sides to this coin. You cannot have one without the other.
This is the ground that the argument sprang from. It seems that the in-town person had a neighbor on the corner of her street, plainly visible from her house, that parked his tractor-trailer rig (minus the trailer) in his front yard on the weekends. Sometimes he would work on it as well. She did not like this. Why? It was unsightly, and drove down her property values. She proclaimed the virtues of zoning (an egregious infringement upon the rights of property owners) in complete contradiction to her avowed conservative beliefs.
“Not so,” was the reply to her statements “you cannot have it both ways. Zoning is wrong as it destroys property rights and places an undue burden upon the property owner. Besides, where in the Constitution does it guarantee that your property values should be maintained, or even increased?”
The reply back was furious. Now she was caught in her own hypocrisy. Something in her doctrine had gone against her personal desires. Instead of reconciling the difference, and either changing her doctrine to match her personal desires (which liberals do), or changing her personal desires to match her doctrine; (the right thing to do) she had lived with the conflict of principle versus her application of that principle for many years. It had become intrenched in her mind that this is how it is. She had come to believe an irreconcilable difference as being the norm, and thus acceptable.
So it often is with most, if not all, individuals. But it is certainly not Christ-like.
A prime example of this among the children of God in the New Testament church is the issue of universalism. The biblical doctrine of the local, visible, New Testament church is mutually exclusive of the Protestant doctrine of the universal, invisible church. (I cannot call it “New Testament” as it is not found in the New Testament.) Yet, those in covenant with the Lord seem to miss the fact that these two doctrines clash, and that one must hold to one or the other. It is a dichotomy to proclaim the local, visible doctrine, and yet partake of those in “Christendom” that hold to a universal, invisible doctrine and preach it through everything they do. Universalist doctrine and principle inherently attacks the proper biblical doctrine of the local, visible New Testament church. Ultimately, universalist doctrine leads to the one-world church under Satan. Yet, this end is either not seen by the Lord’s people, or it is ignored because of the siren song the universalist brings. What is inescapable, even if it is not spoken of, is the hypocrisy of the situation. What are the children to believe? For that matter, most adults would have trouble distinguishing which “truth” is real:
What is preached? — Or, what is done?
Much the same can be said of the doctrine of Eternal Security of the Believer. It does no good to preach the Biblical truth of eternal security to the children (and others) if every time they turn around they find their parents and other adults around them always holding up those that do not believe in eternal security. What should they take from such an example? What should they believe? What should we tell them: Believe the word of God, the Bible? Will they not answer: “Why? You don’t!” It will not matter to the child that they are answerable to God for their attitude and rebellion. It is of no consequence because it is not real to them. Their rebellion has no eternal significance for them because they do not know which “truth” to believe. Should they believe a book that the adults claim to believe, but will not follow wholly. Or, the more real (albeit unbiblical) actions of those same adults?
There are many other examples that can be used as well. Things such as holding “church” in the parking lot. Finding more “convenient” places to be on Sunday or Wednesday evening. Displaying modest dress in the Lord’s house, but a different standard everywhere else. Even going so far as redefining the terminology so the hypocrisy is not so evident. etc., etc.
It is the failure to be consistent in application of principle. If our children hear the principle and commandment taught and preached, but then see their teachers ignore the principle in application because it is inconvenient or doesn’t fit personal desires, then the children will ultimately discard all the teaching as well. Not only will they not inwardly learn the doctrines and the principles contained therein, they will not obey the commandments that stem from the doctrines and principles. It is going to be a rare child (or adult) that does not do this.
This is primary way we make hard-hearted children. Outwardly they will conform to the rules for the most part. But inwardly, they despise everything they are being taught, and the teachers that instruct them. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, they are gone. Often, never to return. Again, they will justify their hardness of heart by the living example before them: The adults in authority over them.
This is one of the prime ways we lose the next generation, and thus contribute greatly to losing the war. We are our own worst enemies. Is this the reason every child departs? No, not likely. Some will depart simply because they choose to depart. However, we cannot say within ourselves that we were not hypocrites in the things we did. And thus; strong factors in driving them away from the truth of the word of God.
In every one of us there are hypocrisies that exist. Without doubt, this does not please the Lord. We are to grow and cleanse these inconsistencies out of our lives. This is one of the primary prerequisites for living righteously and conforming to the image of our Lord and Saviour. But this will not happen unless we are ready to face some ugly truths about ourselves, repent, and truly change. We will not win the war otherwise.
Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: (Psalms 144:1)