“Beam me up Scotty”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
You may remember those words spoken by the captain of the Star Ship Enterprise. This phrase has been used to indicate a denial of reality or other questionable circumstances. When descriptions of events contradict common sense or ignore reality Kirk’s line fits. The recent announcement of an Executive Action that seemed to clearly usurp authority, the rioting in a community that occurred when evidence was lacking to indict a police officer and the release of men suspected of terrorist activities who will likely return to those activities strain our common sense. More than straining common sense, these decisions and actions demonstrate a refusal to submit to the “Rule of Law.”
The Law was and continues to be a blessing from God. The Law given on Mount Sinai reveals the character of God. God blessed His people with the Law and declared to them that submission to it was the true path of blessing.
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” Deuteronomy 11:26-28
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions…” Galatians 3:19. He called believers to “walk by the Spirit, Galatians 5:16. Believers live by the Spirit by applying the word of God in their lives.
He later wrote to the church in Rome, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad…” Romans 13:3 He reminded the members of the church that God is the one who ordains all authority. Those who are in authority are His ministers for the good and welfare of all people.
Christians receive the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible, clear and sufficient word of God. We know that God ordains all authority. Concerning civil authority, God’s provides for an ordered society. When society and its leaders refuse to submit to the Rule of Law that society will not survive for very long!
To understand the importance of the Law the Protestant Reformers recovered three uses of the Law as they are revealed in Scripture. The first use of the Law is to point to man’s hopelessness and his desperate need for a Savior. The second use of the Law is to restrain men who are untouched by any care for what is just and right unless compelled by hearing the dire threats in the law. The third use of the Law is to guide the life of a believer in pleasing God. These descriptions of the three uses of the law have been paraphrased from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2, chapter 7, sections 9 and 10. John Calvin articulated what the Bible teaches concerning the Law, Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Galatians 3; 5 and Romans 13.
The intersection of the blessing of the Law and Civil authority is the second use of the Law. It is the means given by God to put bounds around sinful mankind. It is this use of the Law that is the foundation of every society.
It is accurate to say, “All truth is God’s truth”, especially when speaking of the rule of law. The incidents I mentioned are examples of the disregard of the Rule of Law.
Apparently we have laws that don’t apply to all. Those who have been charged by the people to execute and enforce our laws only do so selectively. This makes for a dangerous time.
But we are very blessed in that our country was founded upon a principle that our government is by the people and for the people. Our founders understood God’s blessing of Law. I pray that all our citizenry would recognize our current situation. May we all devote ourselves to elect men and women who understand the necessity of the universal application of the rule of law. May we once again understand that it is because of God’s blessing of law that we will be able to guard those rights that He has given all men: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
May the rest of Captain Kirk’s line not be said of our society, “Beam me up Scotty, there’s no sign of intelligent life here.”