The rise of oppression in our culture is obvious to us all. On the 100th episode of the Liberty Cafe, we discuss the true source of oppression and consider how we as individuals and a nation can turn away from oppression on our march toward liberty.
Transcribed by Otter.ai:
Welcome to Liberty cafe, where oppression is on the menu. As you just heard, the tagline of liberty Cafe is where oppression is on the menu. I’ve been working in Texas government in and around Texas government. I’ve been studying theology, and been teaching government and economics for quite some time now. And one of the things that has been very evident to me, and I’m sure to all of you as well, during the last few years, but even before that is that oppression is all around us. And particularly the oppression that we see in government, the civil government, the federal government, the state government, the local government. And so I thought on this the 100th episode of liberty Cafe, and explain a little bit about oppression, what it means, and particularly what it looks like in government, and how our government was designed to avoid it. And wait a little bit about why that’s not working that way now. So, welcome to the Liberty cafe. I’m Bill peacock. This is the 100th episode. I’m very excited about that. And I’m glad that you’re with me today on that, blessed to have you here and also blessed to have Texas scorecard as our sponsor. What does it mean then? oppression? Well, of course, if we look at the Bible, the first place it points to oppression is the oppression of our sinful nature, right? We are slaves to sin when we’re born. And we are oppressed by arson. Right? The devil introduced that into the world. Well through that was introduced in the world from the devil through even then into Adam. And from that time all, we have been oppressed by our own sinfulness. But then Jesus Christ came, and to the world, to rescue us from our oppression, to save us from the oppression, but not just from our oppression, of course, but from the wrath of God. Who, because of our sin, was going to carry out the punishment that he told us about in the Garden of Eden, that death was a result of disobeying God, eating of the fruit, of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So since that time, we’ve had to deal with this. But thanks be to God, Jesus Christ is here. And for those of us who come to faith, through His grace, through the knowledge of Jesus Christ and calling Him as Lord and Savior, we can be free from that eternal oppression. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where there is sin, and we still have sin within ourselves, we’re not fully perfect and complete, lacking nothing good. Until we get to the new heavens and the new earth when they are completed and Christ has returned. Yet we have to deal with oppression today. So the first thing, of course, we have to do is repent of our own sense, because if we don’t do that, nothing around us is going to get better if Christians aren’t walking in repentance, the world isn’t going to see what repentance look like, and the gospel is not going to be as attractive to them. And it’s likely that they don’t come to Christ like they should. So I want to put that as the backdrop for all this because I can talk about government oppression, but we can’t get rid of government oppression until we start repenting of our sins through faith in Jesus Christ. All right, so that’s the backdrop for oppression and how we have to deal with it. But what I like to do here on the Liberty cafe, particularly is, from that backdrop, point to what oppression looks like in our daily live. And we see all around us from you know, there are criminals who are process, you know, they break into our homes, they steal our cars, some people might be murdered, because of the oppression from those around us. But I think the main role, the main place we see oppression coming from in the world today is from government. And it used to be that we could look to governments across the world, or maybe just down into Mexico and South America but certainly around the world. We look at Sub Saharan Africa, we look at the the Islamic countries, we look at Southeast Asia. Asia and China and Russia, older into into Nazi Germany, places like that. But, unfortunately, oppression is on the rise in the United States. And I’d suggest that the reason for that is that people have turned away from the acknowledgement as Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And as people started turning away from that, they have sought something else as Lord and Savior. So you have conservatives who aren’t Christians who kind of turn to the free market. And libertarians, if we just had free markets, everybody would be in great shape. But of course, that’s not the case, because we’re still senators. But unfortunately, for the most part, what we see people turning to is government. Even folks who necessarily aren’t liberal, progressive, turned to government for a lot of things, but the liberals and progressive have turned to government as the new god. And of course, if the government is the new God, then what we have, then is, the government has all powers because there’s nobody above it. And thus, the government can do to us what they want. So that this was the issue that was going on, back in the years up to the founding of our country. If you go back to the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, that area, a little bit before that, and after it, what we saw was a renewal of the understanding that God was the governor of all things that Jesus Christ was the Lord and King of all things. All authority, it tells us in Matthew 28, had been given to Jesus Christ, and he rolled over all kingdoms, and all kings, and he would rule over all these kings and kingdoms until his last enemy death was defeated. In the meantime, he’d be putting his other enemies under His feet. And one of the key issues here, with all that was this concept of covenant, God created us, he made all things he made the world, and he put us in it, to go out and do His will to be fruitful, and multiply, to fill the earth, and to subdue it and have dominion over that. And he made a covenant with us to do that, if we would go do this, as he called us to do, then he would watch over us and guard us and protect us, and bring us to success in these things. So of course, we failed in that miserably. But Jesus Christ again, came along, and has brought that task back to the realm of possibility. And so that’s what Christians are all mankind, in one sense, today, are still in the Dominion business. But Christians in particular, are in the business of exercising dominion over the world, in covenant with God, and doing it to please Him. And so that was the concept of civil government, that the Reformers came up with that man was in covenant with God. And we saw this first, for instance, in the Mayflower Compact, which was probably the first document drafted government drafted for America when the Pilgrims came over. And it was done here on the on the ship over and applied here. And it starts with the name of God, it says in the name of God, that’s where the Mayflower Compact starts. What happened though, in the 100, or so years, leading up to the American Revolution, is that secularism started to rear its ugly head in the world, through the through the what was known as the enlightenment. Of course, it was called the enlightenment because the people who were pushing the enlightenment, were thinking that Christianity was part of the darkness. And so they needed to shine light into the world, into the darkness of Christianity. Of course, we all know that the opposite is true, but that didn’t stop them. And there were thinkers like Hobbes, and Locke, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Rousseau, who came up with the concepts of social contract theory in what that did, was replaced essentially, God with man, and God with government. So there was no longer this covenant between man and God. And then the rulers also were in covenant with God because they were, as we see in Romans 13, they were put into do their jobs as rulers to protect God’s people and to carry out God’s will. But with the idea of social contract theory, then government just became a contract a social contract between the citizens and the sovereign over them, whether that was a king. In the case of Hobbes, he would have suggested that the king had absolute authority over the citizens once they had entered into this contract. Or with Locke, he still was probably not a believer, but still acknowledged God up there as a creator, and and recognized him as the some ways ultimate authority, but he still put this contract between man and the governed. He did believe we had inalienable rights. But he wasn’t quite exactly clear how they got here in a lot of ways. And so we come to the situation where we get to the Declaration of Independence. And Thomas Jefferson, who was also not a believer, clearly has a scriptural perspective on things a biblical perspective when he says that God created all men, and that he put in men in certain unalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Lockwood have said, life, liberty and property. And then, and this is where we get to the crux of the matter in a lot of ways that Jefferson said, and this is absolutely correct, still, that. He said that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men. So according to Jefferson, in the declaration, but also think also in the Bible, we have the situation where God gave us inalienable rights, and they were being abused by certain people. And then therefore, government was formed. And it was formed by God, civil government was formed to one of three different forms of government that God gave us civil government, family, government and church government, and along with self government, which would be self control. And so God gave us the civil government to secure our rights. Unfortunately, Hobbes and Locke and then later Rousseau mess this up. Because they came along with this rationale that said, That man is free, they both use a state of nature and said that man is free in the state of nature. And Locke actually pointed back to the, to the Garden of Eden Mises said, they’re free in the state of nature, to do whatever they want to do, including protect themselves against others, and that includes killing and enslaving others if that was what was in their best interest. But of course, man has never been free to do what man wants to do, because we’re the creature creature, and God is a creator. So we’ve always been subject to him, just like Adam and Eve were when they were told not to eat the tree of the knowledge, of good and evil. So because of this view, of the state of nature, Hobbes and Locke and Rousseau said that man had to give up some of its rights, some of our rights, the right to do anything, and give up some rights in order to secure the protection of government. But that is wrong because of this premise. That that we just talked about, that man was free in the state of nature to do anything, but we know that’s not the case. So instead, when governments are instituted among men, it was to secure all their rights. We don’t have to give up any rights as people and as citizens, when we come under a government, in fact, our rights are be to be protected and enhanced, they’re not given to us because we already have them they’re inalienable, but they are to be enhanced and protected by the government. Unfortunately, this view of have inalienable rights and that we need to be protected. They need to be protected rather than given to us or that we have to is not out there and it’s not seen Today rather, it’s more of this hopsie In lexington view locking in view that we have to give up some rights in order to be secure the blessings of government protection. And so that’s why we see all around us today. That in the legislatures and the courts, we have all these tests, particularly in court decisions and court rationale and reasonings and, and decisions that they do like a rational basis test. It’s okay, if the government takes away a right over here from us if it’s in the public interest for everybody. And that’s straight out of Hobbes and Locke, right? It’s okay to take some rights away from this group of people as long as you don’t take away too much of them, because it’s in everybody else’s best interest. But that’s not the way the Bible works. That’s not the way the Bible talks about these things. That’s not even the way the Declaration of Independence talks about these things. And in fact, if you look at how the Constitution was set up originally, that’s not even how the Constitution was set up. Now, unfortunately, by the time we get to the Constitution, it’s more much more of a social contract theory than a covenant document, it’s still Christian roots, and those who would say that the founding of our country was not Christian or just absolutely wrong. But we have in the Constitution, there’s only one mention of God directly. And that’s in the date, in the year of our Lord, was that 1788, I think, when it was signed, and so it has a social contract theory, but still, the structure of it recognized. And this is where we’ll get back to oppression, that oppression was inherent in government, and that people who joined together to form a government would inevitably seek to use that government to further their power, and they would be become corrupted by it. And so. So there’s a couple of questions I’d like to read here from Pastor Douglas Wilson, he wrote a document called the Liberty catechism. And it helps explain what our government should look like from a biblical perspective and how we would deal with the oppression that comes from government and how our founders actually tried to deal with that. And let me read question 19 to you, how should we guard against this kind of abuse in the civil realm? The answer, we must adopt a constitutional order based on two sources, first, from the scriptures, as God’s special revelation to us, second from natural revelation, how God created the natural world, together with our consciences, then instinctly recognize how he made the world. So if we want to deal with oppression and government, the first thing we have to do is look to God, His Word, Jesus Christ, when He tells us about how government should be organized, how we should act within our government, how we should repent of our sins, and then also to natural revelation, because the Bible said that is written every man’s heart and then just looking around the world around us, but that there is a God, and that there are right or wrongs, all that needs to be put into the foundations of government. Second, he asked her, the 20th question is, what are the basic limitations that should be placed on civil government? The answer is there. They are the limitations of Scripture against absolutism, including constitutional limitations of enumerated powers, the separation of powers between the legislative, judicial and executive, and the hierarchy of powers and federalism. So if that language sounds familiar, it should, because that is the language of the founders of our country who set up our constitution with all those things in place. Unfortunately, they also put some provisions in the Constitution that allowed those to erode over time. And, of course, just the sinful nature of our society, and particularly our legislative leaders and our executive leaders and our judges have just turned the rest of the Constitution upside down, reading into things reading into it, things that aren’t there, and ignoring things that are there. So, the bottom line here is, if we are going to deal with oppression in this world, we need to deal with it, first and foremost, by looking to God to Jesus Christ. And how he came to set us free from all of our sins. This is the Only way to overcome oppression in the world is through Jesus Christ. And so just to close this week, I’d like to read two things. First, I’d like to read just a short passage from the Declaration of Independence, talking about rights. We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with us with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, very clear exposition of biblical truths in there. We need to turn to this biblical truth and turn away from the social contract theory in the state of nature of Hobbes and Locke and Rousseau who who’ve led us down a rabbit hole into oppression. But even more than that, if we’re turning away from Hobbes and Locke, and Rousseau, we need to turn to something and as I mentioned, that is Jesus Christ. And so let me just finish by reading this quick passage from Luke and this is when Jesus began His ministry, he went to Nazareth, where he was born. And he went into the synagogue, as was his custom, on a Sabbath day. And then he, when he was in there, he picked up the scroll. That was the reading of the day, it was from the prophet Isaiah, that was given to him. And then as it says, Here, he unrolled the scroll and found the place where he’s written, and this is what he read. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovering those sight of the blind, to set at liberty, those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. So there isn’t a nutshell, folks. So when Jesus Christ finished reading that passage, he sat down, he said it down and then told to the people here in your site, this passage has been fulfilled, because that was a passage proclaiming the coming of the Savior of the world, not just the savior of the Jews, but the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. And the Jews had been waiting for it for 1000s of years, the world had been waiting for it for 1000s of years, ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden, and finally, after 4000 or so plus years, the promise of God had been fulfilled the promise of God to to relieve us to protect us to to guard us from oppression and take away all oppression from US has come. In that passage, I think it’s one of the most amazing passages of Scripture. And so I would just encourage all of us today, first of all, to look to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, to repent of our sins, and eliminate that oppression from us as much as we can in a fallen world. And then take that idea of Jesus Christ as Lord and keen, and take that to everything we do. In the public policy world. If we’re passing laws, we ought to be thinking and talking about Jesus Christ, if we’re making court decisions, we ought to be thinking, and quoting Jesus Christ and all of His Word. If we’re discussing a school board meeting down the street, we ought to be looking and talking about that in the context of God’s word, and Jesus Christ because that, my friends, is the only way for us to truly overcome oppression in this world. Well, thank you for once again coming and listening to the Liberty cafe, especially coming to the 100th episode of the Liberty cafe. Been a blessing. And thanks once again also to our sponsors of the Liberty cafe, Texas scorecard. Thank you for listening to the Liberty cafe with Bill peacock. This show is produced by Texas scorecard. You can learn more about this show and find other shows at Texas scorecard.com. 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