Following is the introduction to my book: New & Ancient Justice.
People everywhere seek fulfillment in life. Although we seek after happiness and satisfaction, our experience often falls short of our dreams. When we become confused by our passions or ideas, we tend to look for fulfillment in the wrong places. There are so many facets to human life, no matter where we look for answers, we can often find problems instead.
A popular mindset today believes the best strategy to enhance safety, peace, and prosperity throughout society is if lawmakers can invent and impose the right matrix of “laws.” With few exceptions, faith in civil government’s ability to engineer justice is enthusiastically supported at all levels of society. After all, if citizens cannot have faith in their government’s ability to fix our social problems, what hope remains for mankind? But there is a serious problem with this approach. All attempts at social engineering that emanate solely from mankind’s imagination is built upon the shifting sands of legalistic philosophy and utopian faith.
As people elect and follow humanistic leaders, they hope everything will finally work together to usher in justice, peace, and prosperity. But their actual experience becomes increased frustration as lawmakers and governments move further away from doing justice. People increasingly doubt if good will ever come from the invention, prosecution, and enforcement of innumerable laws, rules, and regulations. Can all this legalistic political activity ever improve our social experience? This book will show that confidence and faith in any legalistic process is unwarranted at best, and evil at worst.
Because of factious division and strife, people are beginning to wonder if there are laws that can reliably lead us to find true justice and liberty. Well, there are laws that will promote justice and liberty in our lands. But these are not laws social engineers can invent. They are eternal laws. They come to us from outside of mankind’s experience in time and space. They come from God.
God has revealed true law to all people and nations. God’s law is discovered by mankind, but it is not in any sense an invention of man’s imagination. To assume the words of politicians are of greater value than God’s commandments is foolish. Mankind simply does not have the authority or ability to create true laws out human experience alone. It is false to believe any creature can ignore his Creator’s Word and substitute his own words to determine what is good and evil for everyone. To force a free people to obey any laws invented by politicians is vain at best and at worst, evil. When political leaders legislate, they should repeat God’s laws and apply them to present language and circumstances. Teaching and enforcing true laws will bless and sanctify any nation and its political rulers.
Legalistic Capitalists and Socialists appear to be locked a struggle with one another. They superficially appear in perpetual opposition, but behind their posturing, they maintain a love-hate union. In their mutual covetousness, they come together to produce regulatory corporatism, or what can be most simply described by the word “legalism.” The outcome of this relationship can only produce a godless, legalistic social expression.
Rather than establishing justice and peace within a nation, the bad fruit of legalism will only manifest tyranny, strife, and injustice. It is like mankind’s experience with another tree, the fruit of which our first parents were forbidden to eat. This fruit is lethal to all who satiate themselves with its deadly poison.
As nations give in to legalism, political leaders are stripped of honor, dignity, grace, and this renders them incapable of leading by righteousness. But people are God’s creatures and as such, they have no authority or power to invent decrees for others, decide for themselves what is good and evil, or what all free adults must do with their lives. Legalistic “laws” will never improve social relationships in a free society. Instead, they will only confound justice and produce social dysfunction. Consider the following examples of epic failures of legalism:
- Legalistic nations create so many laws, rules and regulations that no one – including judges – can know enough to compile a complete list of them. Nevertheless, hypocritical judges proudly talk down to defendants and lecture, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
- So-called lawmakers often do not read the laws they pass and cannot coherently explain in all cases how they should be applied. Yet, ever hoping for a better result, citizens fight for their politicians to invent and enact even more laws.
- In an attempt to construct a legalistic utopia, Americans now imprison well over two million men and women violators in concrete and steel cages that are inappropriately named “correction facilities.” Just what do these facilities correct? New laws condemn these poor souls to an unproductive existence separated from family and friends and with little hope they can be repatriated to society to lead a fulfilled life. Once they are sentenced, very few of them will ever experience a productive normal life with joyful family relationships and engage in loving service toward their neighbors. Such people are named and classified as “criminals.” Criminals are shunned and effectively disenfranchised from society, often for the rest of their lives.
- Many caged convicts have no proven record of harming any person. Criminals who have actually harmed others rarely compensate their victims or make peace with them. Those who are innocent of actual crimes against any person are enslaved and caged along with those who may be guilty of true crimes. These law enforcement schemes do not lead to reconciliation and peace between people.
- New laws are invented and taxes are exacted in the hope that more legalism and stronger compliance will strengthen banking, crony corporatist interests, and the bureaucracy of government. The oppression that legalism introduces grinds down productive citizens and future generations are now said to owe so much government-induced involuntary debt it can never be fully paid. When a nation seeks to establish a legalistic utopia, it will descend into debt-slavery and the social strife we now see before us.
- The belief that mankind can replace God as lawmaker is a false belief. In their arrogance, usurping lawmakers have imposed upon the nation more than a million criminal and commercial laws, rules, and regulations. Nevertheless, the public demands even more of the same. An idolatrous public seeks to erect an utopia that rejects or ignores the commandments of God. Like those who tried to build Babel so many years ago, they seek to establish a nation to reach into the Heavens, to establish its own will upon the Earth. But God will confuse their tongues so their language will only cause arguments, strife, and even war between them.
- New laws are passed to protect the public from external threats while their own government displays an arrogant contempt for God, His people’s property, and their liberty.
- Expansive new laws and regulations extend government control over health care for the said purpose of making the healing arts widely available and affordable, but such laws actually deliver less care at substantially higher costs. When a legalistic bureaucracy seeks to manage everyone’s personal affairs, the utopian dreams become a nightmare for all.
This list could go on and on without including any trivial matters, but I have already made the point. The problem with social legalism is not simply a partisan matter related to factions that are right or left, feminist or traditionalist, capitalist or Marxist, libertarian, conservative, or progressive. Despite the many evangelists promoting faith in legalism, an honest inquest will render a sure indictment: legalism is an evil failure.
It is commonly said, a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The imposition of increasing legalism will not yield a good result. In this sense, experimental legalism is a kind of insanity. But then, all idolatry is a kind of insanity.
More legalism means less prosperity, happiness, love, grace, and peace in society. The wildly popular practice of lawmaking is perhaps the largest factor that destroys social cohesion and results in social breakdown. Make-it-up-as-you-go-along laws are no substitute for obeying God’s laws that were given to promote justice, reconciliation, and peace.
Ancient standards of justice have always been available to us so together we might know how to recover from crimes and create a social environment that promotes goodwill. To do justice and to love mercy ensures communities will function more like Heaven on Earth instead of a legalistic hell where there is no liberty or peace.
We may think of all of human life in terms of four broad categories: 1) the personal life of the individual, 2) family life, 3) the life of voluntary institutions like churches and other social organizations, and 4) the life of the whole civil society. This book is concerned mainly with the fourth category. These are matters of civil society wherein a civil government should enforce true law and administer justice. Matters arising in the first three categories are very important and must not be neglected. Indeed, there is much written and spoken about how to administrate and resolve problems that involve personal, family, and church life. The reason the focus of this book is upon matters of society and civil government is because in teaching and practice, civil justice has been neglected by contemporary Christian leaders.
Some of the problems we face in civil society, such as environmental pollution and gun violence are unique to the modern age. Other problems such as government debt and social corruption are as old as the hills. What is common to all problems of civil society, past and present, is that people turn away from following the Lord and attempt to engineer society on their own. Nations reap what they sow. A focus only upon the accumulation of personal goods and money cannot overcome the damage done to society by an idolatrous faith in a legalistic utopia.
Much of the information you will find in this book is not to be found in the curriculum of what are regarded to be the best colleges, graduate schools, and seminaries of today. This book is about how faith in the Lord Christ and obedience to God’s commandments should direct the full range of public policy issues. It starts with the theological foundation of redemption, law, and how people must do justice.
What is proposed here will seem to most readers like a paradigm shift in social theory. It will fundamentally challenge the typical American’s perception of regulation, taxes, war, monetary policy, economic exchange, and criminal law. Because this message is not taught in universities or seminaries, it is a major reason for today’s social dysfunction and why this author believes it was necessary to write this book.
This book is about the social necessity to do God’s justice. The reader will come to understand how justice is like social medicine, how it functions to heal relationships in a sick society, and how it creates a state of social homeostasis. Justice is like plowing the ground for the preparation of a seed bed. It is like a balance sheet where all things are revealed and reconciled. But justice alone cannot cause the growth, it cannot produce fruit any more than financial reconciliation alone can inform a business about what to do with its capital. However, accounting and a financial balance must be achieved before a sure and constructive course of action may be taken. Justice brings peace to society, but as wonderful as peace is, a creative and expansive life is far more than the mere lack of conflict. A growing life involves faith, hope and love within the context of redemption and peace.
In the totality of social interaction, justice is only useful to mitigate damage and recover from the effect of crimes. The magnitude of resources required by civil government to implement justice is directly related to the frequency of criminal acts. As civil ministers do their God ordained work and justice is advanced, crime related costs will be reduced and civil government will diminish. This is the progress of Heaven on the Earth.
He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
For all people walk each in the name of his god,
But we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
Forever and ever. (Micha 4:3-5)
Eventually, the need for a civil government that dispenses justice will pass away leaving only a memory of its once important activities. What remains will be a body of people who are led by the Holy Spirit and live in liberty, peace, and the fellowship of love between God and mankind. There shall be no administration of justice in Heaven because there will be no sins, no social disease to cure, and no need for any such medicine. As society does justice and implements God’s sanctions, then peace and interpersonal redemption will be advanced until the prescribed justice-medicine will no longer be needed in the land. Having done its job, the prescription of justice will have run out.
The proposals within this book are not novel because they are rooted in ancient justice. Justice is never out of date because its established standards are given for all times and these must be applied to new situations every day. Social situations may change and difficulties may arise, but new and ancient justice resolves them all. The message of this book is only a reiteration of the Word given from the beginning and its conclusions are all contained in the premise of orthodox faith in God. If the contents herein seem new to the reader, it is only because today’s social dialogue about justice has deviated so far from the law given by Moses and the Apostolic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that was once and for all delivered to the saints.
The first part of this book sets forth the work of Jesus to free mankind from condemnation and to confer liberty upon all who believe and follow Him. After explaining the foundation of justice and the proper role of civil government, this book goes on to explain righteous responses to challenges presented by legalism, natural law, tyranny, terrorism, human rights, war, ownership of property, and stewardship of the environment. What follows are several essays about practices that must change before Heaven’s righteousness and peace can be realized in daily social life. The reader will see repeatedly how God’s laws are complete, divinely organic, integrated, sustainable, and how they support material and spiritual blessings.
This book does not argue for any kind of humanistic utopia. Utopian schemes are invariably based upon legalism, central planning, and the enforcement of made-up laws. Utopian systems always compromise liberty and lead society away from justice. No man-made utopian system of government can replace the standard of God’s law that leads to justice and liberty for every person.
Rather than a legalistic utopian plan, the Kingdom of Heaven is the only basis for a truly free and righteous society. There is simply no way a nation can build a society of goodwill and peace without a network of people who love God and their neighbors. In a nation ruled by God’s justice, lawless actions are curtailed, criminals who have not committed capital crimes are redeemed to society, and a social fabric is developed wherein free people find creative ways to exhibit love for their neighbors.
Jesus taught us to pray, Your kingdom come. Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. The Apostle John assures us, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, … we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (I John 5:14-15) Since our prayers are directed to the eternal God, they reach beyond time and space. There is great power and authority in any effort to advance God’s will upon the Earth. A multitude of Christians have gone before us to advance the Kingdom of Heaven in the Earth. Although they have succeeded to some extent, much work remains to be completed in our age. Since some of the past gains have been neglected and because many more good works remain to be done, we now face serious social, economic, and political issues that demand our immediate attention.
God’s standard of justice has not changed. In our day, as in all days past, our prayer must be for God’s will to be done on Earth. Since much of society has slipped so far from a godly standard of justice, doing God’s will in civil society may seem like it is a new idea. But godly justice is really an old idea that is passed down to us from the dawn of human society. God has always spoken to His people and His righteousness is more powerful than any evil. All people may have confidence if they do justice and love their neighbors, their future social experience will be blessed. New and ancient justice can surely heal the social, political, and economic ills that perplex us today.
If this introduction has spiked your interest, David extends to you the opportunity to download the book New & Ancient Justice for free from this web site. Just go to the DOWNLOAD page and select the format that is best for you. Feel free to pass it on!