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Tag Archives: the Bill of Rights

The Utmost Freedom of Speech

Oswald Chambers named his daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Following his death in 1917, Chambers’ widow published this collection of sermons designed to reach students and soldiers in 1927. Prior to modern technology, you could find a copy of My Utmost for His Highest in churches across the country. Whether at a Church Office, Foyer or Welcome Center, free copies were often made available to guests to deepen the spiritual growth of believers.

This is in keeping with my own eager desire and persistent expectation and hope, that I shall not disgrace myself nor be put to shame in anything; but that with the utmost freedom of speech and unfailing courage, now as always heretofore, Christ (the Messiah) will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person, whether through (by) life or through (by) death, Philippians 1:20.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul refers to “the utmost freedom of speech.” Paul isn’t referring to the Bill of Rights or the United States Constitution. Rather, this expression is based upon the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of apostles eager to share the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. Fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, conceived in Paul a desire, expectation, and hope to tell the world about Jesus.

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity], Philippians 1:21.

Out of this utmost freedom of speech spawned one of the most famous sayings in the New Testament. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Paul proclaims to live is Christ and to die is gain. Like a foreshadowing of his future death as a prisoner of Christ, this utmost freedom fueled Paul’s spiritual intensity. In today’s age of Cancel Culture, many Christians are muzzled, afraid of the blow back from social media. Instead of becoming a prisoner of fear, snap out of it so that you too can experience the utmost freedom of speech.

by Jay Mankus

What the World Needs

One of the favorite weeks of the year as a teacher was attending the annual youth leadership conference. As a member of the Spiritual Life Committee, serving as chaperone for this event gave me the opportunity to recognize and encourage student leaders to follow God’s calling. These events introduced me to cutting edge curriculum designed by Summit Ministries. During one decade, I was blessed to participate in work shops led by Dr. Jeff Meyers and John Stonestreet. During my final year of attending, I was challenged to stop judging the world by engaging our culture with the living Word of God.

Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped there, and in the marketplace [where assemblies are held] day after day with any who chanced to be there, Acts 17:16-17.

Stonestreet’s best lesson focused on the apostle’s initial visit to Athens. Despite being discouraged and grieved by a city full of idols, Paul tried to find something positive. Based upon the passage below, Paul identified a point of reference, an altar dedicated to an unknown god. Following a similar method of apologetics used by C.S. Lewis in the second portion of Mere Christianity, Paul establishes a common ground. Instead of preaching a message of condemnation, Paul compliments the citizens of Athens, referring to them as religious. Paul also quotes a poet who refers to being an offspring of God. This is what the world needs to hear.

So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], said: Men of Athens, I perceive in every way [on every hand and with every turn I make] that you are most religious or very reverent to demons. 23 For as I passed along and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. Now what you are already worshiping as unknown, this I set forth to you, Acts 17:22-23.

In the aftermath of the George Floyd’s unnecessary death at the hands of a white police officer, buildings, local businesses and vehicles have been set ablaze in Minnesota. As riots continue to spread to other major metropolitan cities, anger over Floyd’s death has fueled this outage. As African Americans, minorities and protesters seek justice for this hate crime, time will tell what the future holds. As for now, cooler heads must prevail. If this country wants to continue it’s reputation as the great American melting pot, we must come together to discover what we have in common. When common beliefs and ideals are embraced, Americans can unite over the freedoms laid out in the Bill of Rights.

by Jay Mankus

The Fundamental Basis for Law

Prominent founding fathers argued that the United States Constitution should not be ratified as it failed to protect the basic principles of human liberty.  This led James Madison to propose amendments to the constitution.  These amendments known as the Bill of Rights were inspired by George Mason’s 1776 Virginia Declarations of Rights, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, works during the Age of Enlightenment pertaining to natural rights and the Magna Carta, 1215.  Ironically, the Magna Carta would inspire American colonists a few hundred years later to declare independence from Great Britain.  Roughly one-third of the provisions in the United States’ Bill of Rights draw from the Magna Carta, particularly from its 39th clause.

“The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings that we get from Exodus and St, Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul, ” President Harry S. Truman, 1950.

The 33rd president of the United States goes one step further, claiming that the foundation upon which the United States has based its laws comes directly out of the Bible.  As a World War I veteran and the Vice President to FDR, Truman who took office following Roosevelt’s death.  Under Truman’s leadership, World War II ended following the use of two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Less than a month after dropping these bombs, Japan surrendered.  Sometimes you have to use drastic measures to end worldly conflicts.  While Truman is still criticized today for this controversial decision, few will remember this president for his quote listed above.  Although modern historians glance over, ignore and suppress biblical influences on the founding of America, the Bill of Rights borrows from civil law within the ten commandments.

“Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].16 “You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).17 “You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor,” Exodus 20:12-17.

The ten commandments contain two separate categories, loving God and loving your neighbor, Matthew 22:36-39.  The first four provide instructions on how individuals can honor and please the Lord.  The final six focus on civil laws or as Jesus details in Matthew 22, loving your neighbor as yourself.  This is the foundation of the Golden Rule, “treating other people as you want to be treated.”  In this day and age, educators, lawyers and politicians often try to make the simple complex.  Yet, Jesus simplifies the fundamental basis for law so that even a young child can understand.  Every day God offers free will, giving people the option to love or hate, forgive or hold grudges, overlook offenses or magnify sin.  The choice is yours, but I pray that the Holy Spirit inspires you during this Christmas season to develop an overwhelming desire to love God and those you come in contact with daily.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Ready for Some… Persecution?

Hank Williams Jr . (HankJr.com) MONTGOMERY Alabama – Many men have gone to extremes to escape the...

 

For twenty years, Hank Williams Jr. and Monday Night Football went hand and hand.  This country music icon began singing his famous pregame song in 1991 for ABC and ESPN.  However, when asked his honest opinion about President Obama on Fox News in October of 2011, his gig came to an abrupt halt.  Instead of singing are you ready for some football, Hank has changed his tune to, “Are you ready for some persecution?”

On December 15th, 1791, the first amendment was adopted as part of the Bill of Rights.  This amendment was designed to protect American citizens against government intrusion.  This portion of the United States Constitution is suppose to protect a person’s faith, speech, religion and right to assemble.  However, in recent years if your opinion is not politically correct or you don’t possess the right party affiliation, persecution follows.

The Martyr

Similar conditions greeted the apostle Paul during the middle of the first century AD.  Based upon Luke’s account in Acts 17:22-24, Paul and Silas were stripped, publicly flogged and thrown in jail for freeing a slave from her greedy owners, Acts 17:16-19.  Despite being Roman citizens, they were accused without a trial, found guilty by the court of public opinion like Hank Williams Jr.

If the Bible is truly a glimpse of the future, every Christian should be prepared for persecution.  Jesus recounts details of the final days on earth in Matthew 24:4-25.  According to this account, the days of entertainment, fun and watching NFL football games will be over.  Like the Left Behind series, the world will be at war with Christianity.  Followers will be forced to join the new world order or flee for their lives.  I hate to be negative, but this is what will be coming in the end days.  Ready or not, persecution may already be here!

by Jay Mankus

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