Give Up Your Rights

Constitutional RightsChapter 14 in my book, Close Your Church for Good, is called “Give Up Your Rights.”

In this chapter, we look at the unalienable rights and the constitutional rights which are listed in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and ask if these are guaranteed in Scripture. Are these rights something worthy fighting for and dying for, or are they contrary to the values of the Gospel and goals of the Kingdom of Heaven?

We will see that while there is much inherent good within these rights, when they are divorced from accountability to God, they become little more than ways to justify our abuse and mistreatment of others. Furthermore, sometimes the values of the Gospel and the example of Jesus will lead us to voluntarily give up our rights for the sake of others. If churches really want to spread the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of God, we may be required to give up our rights.

Please note that due to some of the feedback I receive on these posts, this chapter might be radically revised for the final edition of the book. These changes will only be available in the print or eBook version when it comes out.

Here are the blog posts that form this chapter:

To see other chapters in this book, see the Table of Contents post.



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Comments

  1. Larry Smith on Facebook says

    ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS ARTICLE. Try this, if the ‘followers’ of Christ want to ‘save’ more souls, start by not hiding behind income tax protection and take a stand on something.

  2. says

    “…when they are divorced from accountability to God, they become little more than ways to justify our abuse and mistreatment of others.”
    The Founders agreed with that. So did Edmund Burke (see below).

    Jeremy, here is something I’d like you to consider on this: we do not protect these rights for ourselves only but for our neighbors as well. In other words, it is an aspect of loving our neighbors. I agree that we can become too solicitous of our own rights, and that that is not the way of a disciple. However, we live in society in which it is difficult if not impossible, IMHO, to give up our “own” rights without endangering the rights of our neighbors. I don’t want to be a Christian whining about my rights, but if they go away, what will happen to my neighbor who belongs to vulnerable minority? I look at our freedoms as blessings that we must guard, not take for granted, and remain worthy of.

    “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” Edmund Burke, 1791

    • says

      Steve,

      That is a great quote from Burke. Yes, I have been reading and studying a lot of the founding fathers, and agree with your point.

      I will try to tweak the argument of this chapter to show that the rights are valuable for defending and protecting others, especially when used together with the mission of God on earth, but not for protecting and defending our own power structures and personal goals.

  3. says

    Yes, I see where you’re going. I wonder though if history would indicate that surrendering rights puts them in peril for everyone. Here, I think I need to find a way to retain my (everyone’s) rights without always standing on them. I think of Paul, who was not above claiming his rights as a citizen, yet at other times said nothing. What was the difference? Perhaps it is, as you say, the mission.

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