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Old Things New Again

There is going to be a lot of loud conversations regarding the US Constitution. Most of us do not spend time discussing “substantive due process” which is the umbrella under which the supreme court in the past has “found” certain “rights” including abortion, same sex marriage and other controversial matters. In short, “’substantive due process’ is a term used in constitutional law discussions when the court has chosen to ‘protect’ certain rights even when those ‘rights’ are not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote recently that “’substantive due process’ is an oxymoron that lacks any basis in the constitution.”

Some people believe government has the right to do anything the constitution does not specifically prohibit. Others argue that the government only has the authority to act where the constitution has granted it authority. The exact same arguments are used regarding the Bible. So do we have a right to go beyond what is written? Well, concerning the Bible we have some rather specific guidance.

(Dt. 17:2-5) “If there is found among you... a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God... who has gone and served other gods and worshipped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, and it is told you... then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones.”

(Jer. 32:35) “And they built the high places of Baal ... to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination...”

Clearly God did not tell the people everything they could not do, item by item. He also noted that by telling what they should do, everything else was excluded. That also applied to not only practice but also preaching.

Prophets were to teach the words of God and only the words of God. Those who exceeded their authority by saying “thus says the Lord” when the Lord did not, were condemned. (Dt. 18:20) “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak... that prophet shall die.”

Those who preach and act beyond the authority of God today are not likely to be put to death on the spot, as once occurred, but it is clear what God’s law and desire was regarding authority.

- Tim Orbison


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