Thursday, September 28, 2006

Response to Tony Campolo on Marriage, part II

Undoubtedly, Campolo believes that the application of true moral principles by government is impractical because he thinks our society is fundamentally immoral. In some ways he may have a point here. Our use of pornography, abortion, adultery and divorce clearly indicates that our society, even the Christian portion of our society, is a long way off from what a truly good society would look like. But this is not to say that we should abandon all hope of reforming or improving society.

Jesus said that the people of God are like salt. They are “the salt of the earth.” As many pastors have pointed out before me, salt has a sterilizing and preservative effect as well as making things taste better. Jesus asks “if the salt has lost its savor,” is it good for anything? If Christians fail to have a purifying and preserving influence on society, they have lost one of their major functions. God has left Christians in the world not only to share the Gospel with others, but to be a preserving influence and a light to those in darkness. If God merely cared about our eternal well-being, He could use the Holy Spirit to bring people to salvation and then remove them from the world as soon as their eternal security was secured. But God does not do this. He leaves Christians in the world to be both salt and light, to be a positive influence and a beacon of hope. If we give up attempting to influence society through laws, customs and ethics, it will not only be bad for society, but perhaps God will not judge our omissions kindly or we will have forfeited one of our major purposes in the world.

This is not to say that there is an identity between the kingdom of God and government. There is not. The kingdom of this world is always a compromise and is never in full submission to the kingdom of God. But this is not to say that the kingdoms of this world cannot be influenced positively by the people of God and by the kingdom of God moving in and among those involved in the business of government.

If Campolo’s desire is put into action, the result will not be good. If marriage is entirely under the auspices of religious organizations and has no legal effect, the practical results will be devastating for both families and children. Not only will the rate of marriage plummet in the United States, but it will create a crisis in deciding who is properly entitled to a role in a child’s life, care and education. The end result will strengthen the state’s claim over children because there will be no authoritative God-ordained institution (the family) recognized in human law that has a countervailing claim against the artificial claims of the government. Eliminating marriage from the law will necessitate the elimination of the Judeo-Christian family from the law, and this will in turn necessitate an ignoring of the claims of the family. The result will be something entirely different from what our society has hitherto experienced.

Marriage has a long history in the West. In the ancient world, such as ancient Greece and Rome, marriage was a civil as well as a religious institution. There were human laws which governed marriage. But of course there was not true separation of church and state. The gods of the Greek and Roman religion were the gods of the state. Some cities emphasized some gods while people worshipped others, but the official religion was the one sanctioned by the state. After the growth and expansion of Christianity in Europe, Christianity became the dominant religious force in European life up until the 18th century. During the Middle Ages, the church was responsible for the law of marriage. The state largely recognized the dictates of the church in regard to marriage, family law, child rearing and education. The church had its own courts, its own legal system, its own legal rules, and the state backed up their enforcement. Ironically, the church’s powerful quasi-legal status made it in some ways more separate from the state than it has ever been. The church was like a giant empire over all the Christians of Europe transcending state boundaries and borders and enforcing a common family law throughout Western Europe. In the Reformation this all began to change. Many of the reformers believed that the church had overstepped its bounds by becoming a legal authority. Martin Luther, for example, believed that the business of the church was grace and that the business of the state was law. He did believe that the law of God should guide, enlighten, and inform the law of the state. But he did not believe that the church should be in the law and coercion business. As a result, family law in German principalities and Scandinavia came to be governed by the state with advice from the church. In England, Henry VIII divested the church of its ability to govern the family through a variety of parliamentary legislation designed to allow himself to obtain divorces unobtainable in the church. Eventually, in England a situation in which the Anglican Church was the official church of England under the king of England came to pass. The state was ultimately responsible for finalizing and enforcing laws regarding marriage and child care, but the church had a great deal of say in it. In 1552 and 1557, the church published revisions of the church laws governing issues related to marriage. The state and the church worked in cooperation with one another. In colonial America, we inherited the British approach to the relationship of church and state. But that approach did not last. Over time, the colonies got rid of their own established churches. The United States under its Bill of Rights was to have no established church. But the founders would have been shocked by the claim that principles of morality have no place in government because of a “separation of church and state.” Such a principal has never been the law of the United States. Even during the most liberal years of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court never enforced such a notion. So should we now divest the state of all rule in marriage in order to strengthen it as a religious institution among religious believers?

House Bill on Military Tribunals for Terrorists

At the link is a copy of the house bill passed with 160 democrats voting against the bill (see Hugh Hewitt's blog).

After a quick review of the text of the bill I am impressed. The bill if very well written. It correctly recognizes and expounds a correct understanding of the law of war and provides the unlawful combatants to be tried with appropriate due process safe guards while not compromising security or making a trial impossible for practical purposes. What amazes me is that anyone could find a reason to vote against the bill. Exactly what provisions did the nay voters object to and why?

I suspect the nay votes show a dangerous lack of connection with reality. The standards in this bill are more than our own troops would get as POWs accused of war crimes in almost any nation. The definitions of war crimes and torture are really the same we apply to our own military. The triable offenses are all evil unlawful acts that violate the true laws of God and the standards and customs of the law abiding members international community. The due process provisions are as great as possible without making the trials impracticable.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tony Campolo on Laura Ingraham

On Friday, September 21, Laura Ingraham had the well-known academician, pastor and public speaker, Tony Campolo, on her show. Dr. Campolo is trying to start a new movement which he calls “Red Letter Christians.” Campolo says that the movement is meant to be a joining together of Christians to apply the teachings of Jesus to life and to both political parties. Campolo emphasizes that Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat.

There was quite a struggle between Campolo and Ingram because each has a radically different vision of how Christianity applies to American politics. While they agree that Christians should help the poor and discourage abortion, they each advocated a different emphasis on how to accomplish those tasks. On the one hand, Laura Ingram tried to say that it is the obligation of individuals to aid the poor and to do acts of charity and the charity is less appropriate for government. By contrast, Campolo wanted government to raise the minimum wage and provide greater welfare benefits and better medical care for poor women as a way to discourage women from having abortions and encourage them to carry their children to term. Campolo is also in favor of the distribution of additional birth control in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Ingram emphasized that unwanted pregnancies occur in our society despite the widespread availability of birth control. She doubted whether there was any real difficulty in anyone obtaining adequate access to birth control. And indeed, a survey of the world would seem to back her up on this. Women in the poorest countries in the world are much more likely to have large families than women in wealthy societies. Overall, access to birth control may encourage women not to get pregnant, but it does not prevent pregnant women who are poor from choosing to carry their children to term. Instead, access to abortion and contraceptives allows wealthy women to avoid having children at all. If anything, abortion is certainly more expensive than contraceptives not only in cost to the user who may obtain it for free, but also in terms of opportunity cost, social cost and cost to conscience. I do believe that it is very appropriate for the church to do more to help women who are pregnant outside of marriage or poor women who are pregnant. The prevalence of crisis care centers in our society is wonderful, but they could use more support and more publicity.

Abortion, however, was not the main topic of the discussion. The main subject was marriage. Campolo thinks the state should be completely removed from the marriage business. Marriage is a divine institution ordained by God. Because marriage is a religious institution, Campolo argues that the state has no business being involved in it. He said that he thought it was odd that when he performs a wedding, he uses all sorts of religious language and talks about God and commitment, etc. but then concludes the marriage saying “by the powers vested in me by the state of ………” Campolo thinks that our current situation in marriage mixes church and state to too great a degree. He then prescribes that the state should have civil unions for any two people (would he agree to a civil union for a group of people?) who want to be committed to one another legally. By contrast, actual marriage would become purely religious and have no real effect in law.

Laura Ingram pointed out that the vast majority of Americans disagree with Campolo on this and see no problem in mixing the state and marriage.

Campolo’s argument is based upon a radically political liberal view of the relationship between church and state. Radical political liberalism includes the idea that the church’s activities are religious and based on faith, while the state’s activities are not religious, and are based on reason. Campolo apparently believes that it is improper for the state to be involved in enforcing rules that come from religion or morality or special revelation, while at the same time the state is required to base its activities upon rigid utilitarian and egalitarian principles. In other words, the state must do what makes the most people think they are happy and treat everybody the same way regardless of morality or faith. Radical Political Liberalism assumes virtue and morality are either not what make people happy, or are so unknowable and contentious that the population of a country cannot agree on what is virtuous and moral and what is not.

Campolo indicated that he thought that one of the practical problems with the current view of marriage is that since marriage is limited to men and women, homosexual couples are being deprived of their “civil rights.” Does Campolo assume that under a proper view of government, homosexuals have a right to the life style they want? Campolo seems to be saying government must treat homosexuals exactly like heterosexuals or it is in some way violating their civil rights. Nay, government, under his conception must treat them as more than equal because the heterosexuals and homosexuals are both already allowed to marry a person of the opposite sex. Campolo wants to add to this that everyone should be allowed to marry someone of their own sex because some people want to marry someone of their own sex. In other words, government must allow us to all have what we want whether it is moral or not.

There are many problems with Campolo’s view. It may seem attractive to some people because of its radical separation of church and state. But the truth is that such a radical separation is in no way practical, nor biblical.

To begin with, all actions of the state really are based upon some kind of moral principles. Even if you believe that radical egalitarianism or utilitarianism should be the basis of the state, that is in reality a choice of a motivating moral principle for government. There is no overriding divine law or inherent principle that says that government must be based upon materialistic, utilitarian or radical egalitarian principles. If we are to look at divine principles, the Bible clearly teaches that the purpose of government is to reward good and punish evil (as I have pointed out many, many times in this blog). This means that the business of government is very much enforcing certain principles of morality. While it is true that because we are all sinners, government cannot enforce all morality and must always compromise in what moral principles it enforces and how, it is still the business of government to reward what is good and to punish what is evil. It mustn’t do the opposite. So if Campolo believes that homosexual activity is not biblical and is sinful, it is an option for him to argue that government should not outlaw it, but it is not really a viable option to argue that government should reward it, sponsor it or promote it. To do so would be to reward evil. And since government will have to use its coercive power to force people to treat homosexuals like everyone else, they will, in effect, be discouraging and punishing good as well as rewarding evil. It is in this way that Campolo is turning the purpose of government on its head and choosing the immoral morality of radical libertarianism over the application of actual moral principles by government.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Joe Carter's Open Letter to the Religious Right

Joe Carter, of Evangelical Outpost, has an interesting open letter to his fellow Christian "conservatives." Many good points.

Good Article on the Term Islamic Fascism

At the link is a good article by Victor Davis Hanson on way it is appropriate to call the radical Islamists "fascists."

I might add that the Islamists vision for managing economies, business and education is also comparable to the fascists of WWII.

There are also historical and philosophical ties of admiration, cooperation, and education.

Foundational Law Quotes XXIII

“[T]he prince is said to be an absolutely binding
law unto himself . . . But who in public affairs may
even speak of the will of the prince, since in such
matters he is not permitted his own will unless it
is prompted by law or equity, or brings about
judgments for the common utility?”

- John of Salisbury

Foundational Law Quotes XXII

“… Clare is – or would be if she thought it out – a classical moralist after the style of Thomas Aquinas, Grotius, Hooker and Locke. She believes that behind the laws of the state there is a Natural Law. I agree with her. I hold this conception to be basic to all civilization. Without it, the actual laws of the state become an absolute, as in Hegel. They cannot be criticized because there is no norm against which they should be judged.”

“By the natural light He has shown us what means are lawful: to find out which one is efficacious He has given us brains. The rest He has left to us.”

“We never start from a tabula rasa: if we did, we should end, ethically speaking, with a tabula rasa.”

"[I]t is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects - military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden - that is what the state is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc. are simply a waste of time."

- C.S. Lewis

Foundational Law Quotes XXI

Justice is to politics what beauty is to art; indeed, beauty and justice become almost identical at the highest levels of human aspiration.

- Raymond English

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sex Selection of In vitro Babies

At the link is an article on the increasing use of DNA tests of embryos fertilized in vitro, not for medical purposes, but to choose the sex of a couples next child.

There are several moral problems involved.

An embryo is a human being at a very early stage of development. But there is no scientific or moral basis for denying either that human embryos are alive or that they are human. So, techniques that risk or kill an embryo, risk or kill a living human being.

First, in vitro fertilization normally involves the creation of Multiple embryos and the use of only one or a few. The other are usually frozen and slowly die of molecular deterioration.

Second, the technique used to test the DNA of embryos carries a risk with it. In order to perform the test, a single cell is removed from the embryo. Because the embryo is so small, this test posses a significant risk to the life of the embryo. A tiny slip, and the embryo can be killed or damaged. Performing the test, even to detect medical problems is problematic because, in the general population, the probability of accidental harm to the embryo is as significant as the probability of many of the genetic diseases the test is being used to scene.

And third, in the case of sex screening, not only are humans subjected to an unnecessary risk to life and limb in the performance of the test, but the test is being performed with the intent to kill or freeze the embryo for slow death if it is not the desired sex.

Technology can be a wonderfully good thing. But it can also be used to make it easy to kill and wound people without ever seeing them or being confronted with the killed and wounded. We must learn to look to the results of our choices in the use of technology and learn not to do things that kill and harm others, or put others at unreasonable risk, even though it may be easy to ignore the problems our choices cause. Human embryos are among the weakest and most powerless of all human beings. They have no voice and, no one sees them, except, with in vitro fertilization, the lab lab workers who bring them into life or take that life away. But like people downstream from a spill of deadly chemicals, or the baby subjected to an abortion, they suffer and are robbed of life by the choices we make. Because they are human we cannot claim to own them. We should not treat other human beings like property. May God have mercy on their souls and on ours.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Foundational Law Quotes, XX

"Inasmuch as the power of ruling and the right of administering laws has come to us from God, we must begin with Him. When his nature has been defined rightly and in due order, the provision of the remaining laws will be easier.

. . .

The authority of Divine Scripture is believed to be such that no excellence of any creature whatsoever should be preferred or equaled to it.

. . .

[The Anabaptists] deny that it is licit for Christians to hold the office of magistrate as though on that account Christ had come down to earth in order to abolish the administration of public affairs. For indeed the Holy Spirit has established princes and magistrates to be the ministers of God so that they may impart his favor to those who do well and restrain evil actions with punishments. For if these two should be absent in human affairs there would follow the greatest confusion of all things."

- Commission for Reformation of Ecclesiastical Laws of England, 1552

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Response to John Frame on Natural Law, part VI

Within the ninth part of his argument, Frame not only expresses his doubts about the means of the revelation of natural law, but then disparages natural law arguments because of the examples provided by the Roman Catholic Church. It is true that the Church of Rome is often guilty of providing “natural law arguments” that are stilted and odd. They frequently create difficult problems in their results and ignore scriptural provisions that are clearly to the contrary. A good example is the current argument by the papacy against the application of capital punishment even though the Old Testament and New Testament alike make it clear that capital punishment is in no way forbidden or discouraged by God Himself. This is not because of a problem with the natural law. Rather, it is because of the Roman Catholic Church’s attitude toward Scripture. The Catholic Church has elevated the reasoning of their magisterium above the authority of Scripture. They have made their traditions more powerful than the authority of Scripture by making the magisteium and tradition the “infallible” interpreters of Scripture. By contrast, the reformed Protestant view is that we are, as individuals, able to understand Scripture and God revealing Himself through Scripture precisely because of the Divine Light. It is general revelation that makes it possible for us to understand the words on the printed page and to import into our minds the significance of the universals referred to in the biblical text. It is through God’s saving grace, in and through the work of the Holy Spirit, that those who believe are drawn to God and able to understand and accept the truths of Scripture whose belief is required for salvation. While common grace may make it possible for us to understand the text of Scripture, it is only through the Holy Spirit working in us that we can overcome our hostility to God and accept the actual salvation offered in Scripture. But the fact that non-Christians cannot accept God’s salvation without God’s activity does not mean that the unregenerate are utterly incapable of knowing what God expects of them. This is why they are morally accountable.

Using proper natural law arguments, enlightened and calibrated by the Scripture as properly understood by Christians, gives us a persuasive power far greater than that of the distorted use of natural law. But there is no reason why we should reject God’s tool of the natural law simply because it is misused or misapplied by others. There is no need to argue from nature alone or from Scripture alone, but rather to use whatever tools come to hand and are appropriate in the circumstances. For Frame admits, “non-believers, of course, won’t usually accept Scripture as authoritative, but they may at least respect an argument that is self-conscious about its epistemological and metaphysical presuppositions.” Why should we suppose that they will also reject an argument based on a biblical view of natural law?

The tenth numbered paragraph in Frame’s article says “Jesus Christ rules all spheres of human life including politics.” Here we have no argument. Jesus does rule all spheres of human life. But his rulership is not merely through the written Word of God. Jesus is the Logos of God, the source of the divine light. He rules through all of the kingdoms of the world through natural law as well as through Scripture. Jesus is King, and the natural law is His regent. When He returns, He Himself will rule directly, but until that time He rules through the “rule of law.” The rule of law has been understood by Augustine to be similar to that already recognized by Cicero and Plato. Calvin recognizes the same principles adherent in the natural law view of the rule of law in the quotes we’ve quoted above.

In Frame’s eleventh paragraph, he says “the Gospel will transform the whole creation.” This is again true, but is also a non sequitur with respect to the issue of whether or not non-Christian human governments or partially Christian human governments can be influenced through natural law arguments.

The twelfth clause in Frame’s argument is “Christians should seek the glory of God in all areas of life.” Indeed, there is agreement here as well. Christians should seek the glory of God in all areas of life including human government. We should “bring every thought captive to Christ.” But we do so not only when we submit human government to Scripture, but when we submit human government to God’s will as revealed in the natural law.

Frame’s thirteenth and last numbered principle is that “so natural revelation is insufficient in our witness to the lordship of Christ.” Again, as a statement this would be true. Natural revelation does not tell us enough about Christ for the Gospel to be fully and clearly presented. Instead, we need the Scripture to complete the testimony of the Gospel by describing the ministry of Christ in time and space including His death and resurrection for our sins and the clear articulation of its significance. But the fact that natural revelation is insufficient as a witness to the Gospel does not mean that it is useless or has no rule in human government. This last conclusion simply drives home the original false dichotomy and is an additional non sequitur if the real argument is about whether or not there is a role for natural law in human government. Clearly, there is a role for natural law in human government. Human government is directed to our temporal good rather than to our eternal good as even Aquinas said. But a good human government should be under the rule and authority of God. God has revealed Himself in Scripture as well as in the natural law. So a good human government should be willing to follow the Scriptures as well as the natural law. But the Scripture and the natural law testify to the same truths. The one helps us calibrate the other. The natural law has a reach to those who reject Scripture. But perhaps we can also say that it is a good thing for the government of Christian countries that we have the Scripture since Kuyperians reject the natural law.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Reply to John Frame on Natural Law, part V

In his eighth paragraph, Frame says “God has never authorized any social institutions or activities to govern themselves without the use of His written words.” While it is true that all present societies are under constructive notice of God’s indirect commands hidden in the language of the Noahide Covenant, that hardly constitutes a thoroughgoing basis for a detailed set of human laws. Nevertheless, one can say that because of the covenant with Noah, no government is run purely on natural law as opposed to natural law and special revelation. But this is really quite a stretch. I don’t think that the government of ancient China asked itself whether or not its laws were in accord with the Noahide Covenant. Instead, they were governed by the knowledge that God had revealed to them through general revelation. But not only do I believe Frame’s argument is incorrect here, but the argument he attributes to Kline is also in error. God has not created any special category of nations that are required to only abide by natural law and not by whatever they know of special revelation. There is no distinction made in Scripture, for the nations, between God’s revelations to them of one sort and another. They must abide by all of God’s truth. As Frame notes, God does judge the pagan nations for their failure to abide by God’s law. But this is not merely a failure to abide by His spoken words. God clearly judges them for a failure to abide by natural law. In Amos, chapter 2, God judges Moab because they “burned, as if to lime, the bones of Edom’s king.” There isn’t anything about treatment of dead human bodies mentioned in the Noahide Covenant, nor is there any special revelation in the Scripture concerning this question. Instead, natural law teaches us that there is a question of proportionality and respect for human dignity. From Revelation, we can add that human beings are made in the image of God and therefore deserve special treatment even when deceased. It might not be wrong for one nation to kill the king of another in war or in judgment, but to burn his bones into lime is clearly unnecessary and cruel. But Moab was probably not consciously aware of this truth from Noah’s experience with God.

Frame’s ninth argument is that “natural revelation is not sufficient for our public dialogue with non-Christians.” If non-Christians do not accept the Scripture and become Christians, there is no reason to believe that they will accept the testimony of Scripture about morality. Nevertheless, many non-Christians do accept the testimony of natural law. This is the difference between common grace and saving grace. All human beings have a certain amount of moral knowledge revealed to them by God despite their efforts to distort it. But this does not mean that they are willing to accept God’s revelation of Jesus Christ for salvation. Yet even though human beings steadfastly choose to rebel against God with respect to salvation, the majority of human beings still recognize that some kind of human law is necessary and that these human laws should be in accord with moral laws. The moral pagans, like Plato and Cicero, are clearly good examples of how sophisticated moral arguments and government can be even without special revelation. Obviously, special revelation can go much further. Plato and Cicero were very wrong compared to Augustine who had the benefit of special revelation. But this does not mean that natural law is useless in communicating with those who do not agree with Scripture.

The Bible is clear about where our knowledge of natural law comes from. Sadly, many philosophers have repressed or rejected the biblical testimony concerning natural law. Romans chapter 2 clearly says that we do have an innate understanding of the moral law built into us or instilled into us. John’s gospel is thought to hint this impression is made by the divine lightof the Logos, the second person of the Trinity. J. Budziswewski refers to this as the witness of the conscience. Budziswewski is also correct in identifying in Romans 1 that there are also witnesses to the natural law from the design of creation, from the design of the human being and from natural consequences of actions and inactions. There are, according to Budziswewski’s reckoning, four witnesses to natural law. I believe that Budziswewski still does not do justice to the witness of the conscience. Gordon Clark, Ronald Nash and Carl Henry have presented a more thorough understanding of the source of deep conscience in their exposition of the divine light and the Logos doctrine. This doctrine is the same as was believed by Augustine of Hippo and, judging by our quote from Calvin above, by John Calvin himself. It is not necessary to rely either on the post modern view that man can know nothing because God’s revelation to him is totally indeterminate, or the Catholic view that God has given man reason and man is able to reason out morality and everything else. The Logos doctrine provides that through the work of Christ as the divine light, human beings, made in the image of God, are aware of God’s existence, logic, the basics necessary for human language, universals, and the basic principles of the moral law. This same position was argued in greater detail by Philipp Melancthon, Luther’s well-known systematic theologian.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It Can Happen Here

At the link Melanie Phillips discusses an incident in the UK were a man has been arrested for distributing Bible tracts gently critical of homosexuality.

The legislature in California keeps threatening similar pressure. Most people think it will never happen. But it is happening in England. And it could happen here.

More Contextualization Run Amok

Albert Mohler has excellent commentary on an Anglican priest in India who has converted to Hinduism without any affect on his employment.

The priest says Hinduism accepts Jesus. The priest seems unconcerned that real Christianity rejects the gods and world view of Hinduism.

May God deliver us from the tendency to take the pressures of post modern culture more seriously than the Word of God.

Homeschooling in Europe - problems

At the link is a story from earlier in the summer about homeschooling in Europe (h.t. Anna Venger). The article notes that families are required to assure compliance with he UN treaty on the Rights of the Child. This is a problem as applied.

Many conservative in the US have been concerned about the treaty and oppose ratification.

Many of my Human Rights conscious friends are embarrassed that the US has not ratified the treaty.

Even if a treaty is not ratified, some judges and international law experts try to claim it can apply as "customary international law" and become binding on the US without our approval. There are good arguments against this idea, but there are many high level educators and judges who believe in the strong version of customary international law - that if lots of countries say they do it, we have to do it too.

The one way to protect a country from the undesired affects of a treaty is to ratify the treaty WITH RESERVATIONS. The reservations expressly say what applications or provisions of the treaty the ratifying nation refuses to accept. This puts a refusal to make the treaty mean certain things right in the law of the treaty. Perhaps this could be done with the treaty on the Rights of the Child. There are however, still two problems. First, some international law wonks still want to constrain the meaning and role of reservations. Second, how can we trust the Senate of the US to put in the right reservations and protect the freedom to educate our Children in the Christian faith and to discipline our children in reasonable ways, both of which are potentially threatened under some interpretations of the UN treaty on the rights of the Child.

Foundational Law Quotes XIX

"A good man will temper civil constitutions with right and justice, that is, with both the divine and natural laws. Anything that is enacted contrary to divine or natural laws cannot be just. . . Divine laws are those which have been established by God through the canonical Scriptures. They have been divided into three categories: moral, judicial, and ceremonial. The moral laws are those which are prescribed in the Decalogue; the student will relate to them all laws concerning morals that are given forth in the entire Scripture. For how often is the same law repeated in the Scriptures! We must beware here, however, of explaining the Decalogue with regard to external acts only and of dividing the commandments into precepts and counsels in the Scholastic fashion.

. . .

For the duty of civil magistrates and laws is nothing else than to punish and prevent wrongs. For this reason, laws are passed concerning the division of property, forms of contract, and penalties for crimes. For the magistrate is a minister of God, a wrathful avenger of the one who has committed a crime. Furthermore, a magistrate is not permitted to make decrees contrary to divine law, and he ought not to be obeyed contrary to divine law . . . "

- Philip Melanchthon

Foundational Law Quotes XVIII

"Natural equity and duty, therefore, demand that princes be armed not only to repress private crimes by judicial inflictions, but to defend the subjects committed to their guardianship whenever they are hostilely assailed. Such even the Holy Spirit, in many passages of Scripture, declares to be lawful."

- John Calvin

Response to John Frame on Natural Law, part IV

The fifth numbered paragraph in Frame’s article says “The only remedy for the distortion of natural revelation is God’s grace.” This argument is true, but is a non sequitur with respect to the issue of the relationship between human law and natural law. As we have just said, the direct purpose of human law and government is not our salvation. Yet human government must exist even among non-Christians. To say that non-Christians’ view of the natural law or of God’s requirements is so distorted by sin that they cannot know good from evil at all, is to say that human governments, other than those run by Christians, are completely useless. While such governments are not as good, they are clearly not useless. Luther, of course, is famous (infamous?) for saying that he preferred governments by a wise Turk to a foolish Christian. Yet Luther certainly could not be accused of not being a reformer. Luther’s view of natural law was actually weaker than John Calvin’s. Calvin often referred to the natural law as “the moral law.” He saw it as identical with the law of God revealed in Scripture. For this reason, Calvin said these things about natural law: “The moral law…being contained under two heads, the one which simply enjoins us to worship God with pure faith and piety, the other to embrace men with sincere affection, is the true and eternal rule of righteousness prescribed to the men of all nations and all times. …Each nation has been left at liberty to enact the laws which it judges to be beneficial, still these are to be tested by the rule of charity, so that while thy vary in form, they must proceed on the same principal. Those barbarous and savage laws, for instance, which conferred honor on thieves, allowed the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, and other things even fouler and more absurd, I do not think entitled to be considered laws, since they are not only altogether abhorrent to justice, but to humanity and civilized life. …as it is evident that the law of God which we call moral, is nothing else than the testimony of natural law, and of that conscience which God has engraven on the minds of men, the whole of this equity of which we now speak is prescribed by it. Hence it alone ought to be the aim, the rule, and end of all laws. Whether laws are formed after this rule, directed by this aim, and restricted to this end, there is no reason why they should be disapproved by us, however much they may differ from the Jewish law, or from each other.”

In Frame’s sixth paragraph he says “God’s grace comes to us through God’s special revelation, Scripture.” This is true. But God’s grace also comes to us through His general revelation. This is why it is often referred to as “common grace.” It is just that common grace is not grace unto salvation; it is merely grace for temporal life.

Frame’s seventh clause is “so we cannot understand natural revelation without distortion, unless we view it biblically.” There is no question that it is true that we cannot understand natural revelation without distortion unless we calibrate our understanding with the Word of God. But again, this is really a non sequitur if our argument is about the role of natural law in human government. Sin distorts everything that human beings do. Nevertheless, this distortion does not prevent our temporal survival nor does it make the order of God for the functioning of creation moot. Sin distorts hunger, but we still must eat. Sin distorts human relationships but we must relate to one another. Sin distorts our understanding of language, but language is still quite useful for practical purposes and allows us to communicate all sorts of subtle thoughts in great detail. Sin distorts our use of logic. Sometimes we insist that two plus two equals five, even though it is not so. But this does not mean that logic is wrong. Logic flows from the Logos of God. When our use of logic is in error, it is because we are not really being logical, not because there is any flaw in logic. We often distort God’s law, but we are more than aware enough of the requirements of God’s law to be utterly condemned for failing to keep what we know. God’s law provides us with more guidance for human government than we are capable of putting into practice. It is more than adequate for most practical purposes. While God’s law is revealed outside of Scripture will not lead to perfect or ideal governments, it is adequate for a much better government than any human government currently available for an example. Natural law with Scripture, however, is even better. There is no reason why it is not logical to use Scripture when our listeners will be willing to accept Scripture and to use natural law when our listeners are not willing to accept Scripture. If you cannot persuade a man that he should not cut off his arm because God has told him in the Old Testament not to mutilate his body, perhaps you can still persuade him not to cut off his arm because it will be painful. It is not wrong to make the second argument simply because the first is better. There is not a choice between special revelation and general revelation. Rather we use both when appropriate. Special revelation calibrates our understanding of general revelation. But general revelation is still of great use, especially when arguing with or influencing pagans. While the Scripture and the Holy Spirit clear up our understanding of natural revelation to the extent we’re willing to let them, natural law is still useful even among those who do not understand it clearly. If it were not, God would not say that human beings are made morally accountable by the knowledge of natural law.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another Response to Frame on Natural Law

At the link is Christopher Neiswonger's blog with another response to Dr. John Frame's attempt to discount the use of Natural Law.

Response to John Frame on Natural Law, part III

Frame’s third argument is that “natural revelation is not sufficient for salvation.” With this point of Frame’s I must agree, if by not sufficient he means that it is extremely unlikely that human beings will be saved without the Scriptures. We do know from the Scripture that Abraham and others came to salvation without the Scripture. So it apparently is possible for human beings to have faith in what God has revealed to them unto salvation. This faith would have to be accounted by God as saving faith in Jesus Christ so that the person could be saved “in and through Christ.” Because, of course, the Scripture teaches that there is no salvation apart from Christ. But we know that Abraham, Job and others in the Old Testament who did not know the name of Jesus and lived prior to His incarnation on earth were nevertheless saved because they put faith in God for the salvation that was to come. It is undoubtedly theoretically possible for a human being who has not heard of Christ to recognize his moral inadequacy, to admit the existence of God, and to acknowledge that it is only through God providing an atonement that he can, in fact, be reconciled to God and enter into eternal life. The problem is that it does not appear that many people go through this process. It nevertheless is certainly not beyond the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin or lead them into righteousness without the Scripture if God wills to do so. But we know that men have a far more certain assurance of salvation if they hear the full gospel of God and believe in it, committing their lives to God in Christ. I have heard someone compare it to using a map to journey from one place to another. If I am attempting to walk from Los Angeles, California, to Hudsons Bay in Canada, I might be able to find my way on my own by following the signs of nature. But it is far more likely that I will arrive successfully at my destination if I have use of a map and other specific revelation of the geography and topography between California and Hudsons Bay. In the same way, the Word of God can be revealed by God apart from His written Word. But how much more safe, sure and certain is the revelation of God’s written Word. All which is said to be of the Spirit must be judged and evaluated in light of the Bible. Clearly, it is necessary to have Scripture to evaluate our thoughts about God’s means of salvation in Christ. Clear knowledge of Jesus and His death and resurrection comes only from Scripture and not from natural law or general revelation. In Natural revelation we find only our need and God’s ability, not the actual time and space solution to the problem. But saying that Natural Law cannot save us does not mean that it has no purpose in God’s economy. The Bible testifies to the existence of the Natural Law. God would not give man the revelation of the Natural Law without a purpose in mind.

Frame’s fourth argument is that “natural revelation is not sufficient for pleasing God in any sphere.” Again, this is true, but irrelevant. The point of natural law is not for human beings to please God: the point of natural law is for human beings not to all kill each other before God has an opportunity to reveal Himself to them and save some of them. Natural law is for human temporal government, not for human righteousness. The law doesn’t make anybody righteous. That doesn’t mean that natural law does not have a role in human government. Without the natural law, human governments that do not have access to Scripture either by historical situation or choice would have no means of knowing the difference between good and evil. Hence they could not carry out their obligation as an ordination of God to punish evil and reward good. Natural law is necessary for the functioning of human government. And without this role of government, and God’s common grace, humans would be even more violent and destructive than the already are. Natural Law may not make us righteous, but it is a tool of God to keep us from being even more evil.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Suit Case Nuclear Weapons?

At the link a great article by Dean Barnett, on Hugh Hewitt's site, discussing the myths and realities of the alleged "suitcase nuke" threat by terrorists. He says don't feel safe, but do feel safer.

Response to John Frame on Natural Law, II

Frame’s second argument is that “natural revelation was not sufficient after the fall.” Again, if by “sufficient” you mean that God would find no reason to say anything else, then Frame would be correct. But I believe that the real issue is whether or not natural law is important in governing human beings through human government and law. If the “insufficiency” of natural law means that natural law has no role in human government, then Frame’s argument is incorrect. After the fall, natural law still plays a huge role in God’s governing of human beings. In Romans 13 and I Peter, we see that God says the purpose of human government is to act as His servant, rewarding good and punishing evil. God makes this statement of all human governments. But very few human governments have any conscious knowledge of the Scripture or God’s special revelation. Between the time of Adam and the time of Noah, the Scripture records very little of God’s special revelation. When God speaks to Cain, He does not provide an explanation to Cain of why Cain’s sacrifice is unacceptable. Instead, He indicates that Cain knows what the right thing to do is—he just needs to do it. This seems to support the existence of adequate moral knowledge in Cain for him to be accountable to God and to know what God wanted him to do. Frame seems to want to separate moral accountability and moral knowledge. But unless the moral knowledge is accurate enough to convict us of sin, it cannot bring moral accountability. While our moral knowledge is distorted by sin and repressed by our sinful willfulness, it is still accurate enough for practical purposes. We know enough for God to be just in judging us for not doing what we know we should do or abstaining from that which we know we should not do. The fact that human beings repress moral truth does not mean that general revelation is inactive or valueless. As we alluded to above, the majority of human governments throughout human history have not been aware of special revelation and have been governed almost exclusively by general revelation or the natural law. Even today many human governments such as those in the darkness of Islam and other false religions refuse to consult the Scripture and are practically unaware of its statements. Yet they have human governments, and those human governments are still God’s servants to reward good and punish evil. It is through the moral knowledge provided by the natural law that they are able to do so. While governments would undoubtedly do a better job of caring out God’s service if they abided by the more clear and understandable statements of Scripture, there is no question but that the natural law is still effective and a helpful guide. Without common grace or general revelation, human government could not be said to serve God in the way Scripture indicates.

Foundational Law Quotes XVII

“There are two men who are a great danger to human law. Both refuse to admit the sins they commit.

The first is the man who, weighed down by guilt for sins he will not confess as such, tries to make government declare his dark deeds to be light, so his conscience may be soothed with the balm of public approval.

The second is the man, who thinking himself nearly perfect in word and deed, passes laws for the republic that the citizens cannot keep. It is of such men that Jesus said ‘Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.’”

- Anonymous

Foundational Law Quotes XVI

“That is the best government which most effectually restrains the dissocial passions, prevents crimes, and, with the least restriction of natural liberty, preserves order, dispenses justice, and procures to the whole the greatest happiness. To these ends the fundamental principles of every government, and all the laws of the state, should be adapted. The government, whose object or tendency is any other than the public good, or whose administration is guided by other motives than the general interest, neither comports with the design of heaven, nor merits the esteem and confidence of men.

But such is the imperfection of man, that nothing depending on human authority only is adequate to the proposed end of civil government.

. . .

If such a system [of government] is to rest solely on the authority of human laws, and to be the result of human wisdom only, its fitness will be always liable to doubts, and a violation of its principles and rules thought no great crime. It being, as I think it must be conceded that morality is essential to the support and due administration of government, let it be considered whether the laws of morality must not have some higher origin than the consent of political bodies, and be enforced by other authority than that to whose aid they are deemed necessary. Nothing is gained if they are not supposed to proceed from some superior power, to which human beings are amenable. This can be no other than God. Religious faith, or sentiment, must then be called in to the support of that morality, which is essential to the order and well being of society; and is, therefore, the basis on which good government ultimately rests.”

- Samuel Kendal (1753 – 1814)

Thanks to Charles S. Hyneman and Donald Lutz’ book American Political Writing during the Founding Era.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Response to John Frame on Natural Law

Recently one of our graduates and staff members who writes extensively on the internet and appears on the radio and pod cast show, Christopher Neiswonger, brought to my attention an article posted Saturday, September 2, 2006, by John Frame on the question of natural law. Because the view that I have of natural law is very different from either of the possibilities set out by Dr. Frame, I thought it might be useful to create a responsive post. At the link you can find the original article for comparison.

First, Dr. Frame says that the key natural law debate among Reformed commentators is “between Kuyperians and Klineans. Kuyperians argue that Scripture governs all aspects of human life. Klineans believe that politics and general culture are governed by natural revelation and common grace. In their view, “Christians should not urge distinctively biblical principles upon institutions of the broad society.” My first reaction was the same as Chris Neiswonger’s when he brought the article to me: this is a false dichotomy. It is not correct to say either that human governments must rely on Scripture and nothing else or that human governments must rely on natural revelation and common grace and ignore Scripture. And this dichotomy assumes that the content of natural revelation and common grace is somehow different from the content of Scripture with respect to moral law and government. But this is not so. The traditional Reformed view held by John Calvin and others is that the natural law and general revelation or common grace are all reflective of God’s nature. The Scripture, likewise, is reflective of God’s nature, so natural revelation and common grace, as correctly understood, cannot contradict Scripture. In fact, because of the fallibility of our human understanding we must always test our understanding of natural revelation and common grace through the Scripture. It is the Scripture that testifies to the existence of general revelation. It is the Scripture that gives Natural Law a role in governing the nations. So even if we are to rely on Scripture alone, we must accept a role for natural law.

Dr. Frame makes an argument of 13 points against “natural revelation” and the Klineanian position. The first point is that “natural revelation was not sufficient before the fall of Adam.” If by sufficient, Frame means that God saw no need to speak to Adam and Eve, then this is obviously not true. God has always added special revelation to general revelation and is undoubtedly all wise in doing so. But this is not to say that general revelation did not have an important role. If we look at what the biblical account reveals to us of what God said to Adam and Eve, we discover not an infinite amount of information explaining all of life and conduct, but rather a very limited number of specified communications. God did not have to tell Adam not to torture the animals. He did not have to tell Adam not to play cruel tricks on Eve. God did not have to tell Adam that he must eat or that he should not walk off cliffs. Instead, God installed in the human mind moral knowledge, reason, logic, the ability to understand language and the faculties necessary to make relative sense out of the universe. This was accomplished through the divine light of the divine Logos. Gordon Clark, Carl Henry and Ronald Nash have already written extensively on the Logos doctrine. But it is God’s general revelation and common grace that made it possible for Adam and Eve to naturally do what was right, in their best interest, and in accord with the will of God, prior to the fall. They did not need extensive instructions from God as to what to do or not to do. Before sin entered the world they did what was righteous naturally.

With the fall came the new problem that Adam and Eve no longer thought clearly, no longer acted rationally and no longer were righteous. From then on, human beings have had trouble with suppressing the truth that God has revealed to them. But that does not mean that they are not aware of the truth; it means they try to ignore it and they distort it. When we humans discus God’s rules we often communicate the law inaccurately to other human beings. But human beings are aware of God’s existence, the basics of God’s nature and God’s moral demands. Humans are also aware of their own shortcomings in relation to God’s moral commands. This is why man is morally accountable to God. A main point of Romans chapters one and two is that all human beings, whether Jew or Gentile, are morally accountable to God because they are aware of God’s law.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Today we remember the people who lost their lives on 9/11. We celebrate the heroic sacrifice made by those who fought against the hijackers and those who responded to the crisis, dying, suffering, and risking all to save others. And, we recommit ourselves to the war against islamo-fascism; the struggle to save the world from the anti-Christian ambitions of would be Caliphs.

The physical conflict is important. If our armed forces, intelligence, and law enforcement do not continue to kill, out think, and thwart the islamo-fascists, the islamo-fascists will continue to kill, deceive, and oppress as many people as they can. The war is essential. Any theater where islamo-fascists can be lured to fight and die instead of focusing on terror in the west is advantageous for the war against islamo-fascism.

But the end game of this struggle will be spiritual. We cannot commit genocide to end the conflict. And, as long as there are new islamo-fscists the conflict will continue, even if it disappears for decades as it did in the 1900’s. The root causes of the conflict are spiritual. It is not really Western sins or Eastern poverty that motivates the islamo-fascist. It is erroneous faith in a violent and bitter version of a false religion that motivates the islamo-fascist.

How can we win this war? We must never give up the struggle or loose hope or perspective. We must learn about and understand our enemies instead of believing the secular platitudes of the media. We must not hate Muslims. We must pray for God to break the hold Islam has on much of the world. We must somehow get the gospel to the Islamic world. And, we must pray that God will cause the message of the gospel to bear so much fruit that it will choke out the thorns and thistles of islamo-fascism. Democracy will not hurt the Islamic world. It may take some pressure off the west. But only Christ can really change the hearts of the people so they no longer fall prey to the poisons of the false teachers and propagandists of islamo-fascism.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Foundational Law Quotes XV

“The words which we have sung must be rather hearkened to by us, than proclaimed. For to all men as it were in an assemblage of mankind, the Truth crieth, ‘If truly indeed justice ye speak, judge right things, ye sons of men’. For to what unjust man is it not an easy thing to speak justice? or what man if questioned about justice, when he hath not a cause, would not easily answer what is just? Inasmuch as the hand of our Maker in our very hearts hath written this truth, ‘That which to thyself thou wouldest not have done, do not thou to another.’ Of this truth, even before that the Law was given, no one was suffered to be ignorant, in order that there might be some rule whereby might be judged even those to whom Law had not been given. But lest men should complain that something had been wanting for them, there hath been written also in tables that 230which in their hearts they read not. For it was not that they had it not written, but read it they would not. There hath been set before their eyes that which in their conscience to see they would be compelled; and as if from without the voice of God were brought to them, to his own inward parts hath man been thus driven, the Scripture saying, ‘For in the thoughts of the ungodly man there will be questioning.’ Where questioning is, there is law. But because men, desiring those things which are without, even from themselves have become exiles, there hath been given also a written law: not because in hearts it had not been written, but because thou wast a deserter from thy heart, thou art seized by Him that is everywhere, and to thyself within art called back. Therefore the written law, what crieth it, to those that have deserted the law written in their hearts? ‘Return ye transgressors to the heart.’ For who hath taught thee, that thou wouldest have no other man draw near thy wife? Who hath taught thee, that thou wouldest not have a theft committed upon thee? Who hath taught thee, that thou wouldest not suffer wrong, and whatever other thing either universally or particularly might be spoken of? For many things there are, of which severally if questioned men with loud voice would answer, that they would not suffer. Come, if thou art not willing to suffer these things, art thou by any means the only man? dost thou not live in the fellowship of mankind? He that together with thee hath been made, is thy fellow; and all men have been made after the image of God, unless with earthly coverings they efface that which He hath formed. That which therefore to thyself thou wilt not have to be done, do not thou to another. For thou judgest that there is evil in that, which to suffer thou art not willing: and this thing thou art constrained to know by an inward law; that in thy very heart is written.”

“we ought not to give up music because of the superstition of the heathen, if we can derive anything from it that is of use for the understanding of Holy Scripture; nor does it follow that we must busy ourselves with their theatrical trumpery because we enter upon an investigation about harps and other instruments, that may help us to lay hold upon spiritual things. For we ought not to refuse to learn letters because they say that Mercury discovered them; nor because they have dedicated temples to Justice and Virtue, and prefer to worship in the form of stones things that ought to have their place in the heart, ought we on that account to forsake justice and virtue. Nay, but let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master; and while he recognizes and acknowledges the truth, even in their religious literature, let him reject the figments of superstition, and let him grieve over and avoid men who, ‘when they knew God, glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.’”

“It is the duty, then, of the interpreter and teacher of Holy Scripture, the defender of the true faith and the opponent of error, both to teach what is right and to refute what is wrong, and in the performance of this task to conciliate the hostile, to rouse the careless, and to tell the ignorant both what is occurring at present and what is probable in the future.”

“For who but God has written the law of nature in the hearts of men?—that law concerning which the apostle says: ‘For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness,
and their thoughts
the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another, in the day when the Lord
shall judge the secrets of men.’
And therefore, as in the case of every rational soul, which thinks and reasons, even though blinded by passion, we attribute whatever in its reasoning is true, not to itself but to the very light of truth by which, however faintly, it is according to its capacity illuminated, so as to perceive some measure of truth by its reasoning”

-Augustine of Hippo

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Foundational Law Quotes XIV

"As promulgated by reason and the moral sense, it has been called natural; as promulgated by the Holy Scriptures, it has been called revealed law. As addressed to men, it has been denominated the law of nature; as addressed to political societies, it has been denominated the law of nations. But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same divine source; it is the law of God. . . . What we do, indeed, must be founded on what He has done; and the deficiencies of our laws must be supplied by the perfections of His. Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. . . . Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law as discovered by reason and moral sense forms an essential part of both. The moral precepts delivered in the sacred oracles form part of the law of nature, are of the same origin and of the same obligation, operating universally and perpetually."

"Wise and Good Government . . . instead of contracting, enlarges as well as secures the exercise of the natural liberty of man."

- Justice James Wilson

(hat tips Restore Chrisitan America and Hadley Arkes)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Religion and the Iraqi Constitution

Liberty Magazine

At the link is an article by one of my former students from Simon Greenleaf, the earlier incarnation of the law school that is now Trinity Law School. I cannot agree with the views of some of his interview subjects, but it is an interesting article.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Forced Conversion to Islam and the Media

A Conversion
You Can't Refuse

Dr. Paul Marshall of Freedom House has a good article in the Weekly Standard on the forced conversion of the kidnapped reporters etc. Marshall will be speaking here at Trinity Law School on the "Dynamics of International religious Freedom" on Friday October 5, 2006 at 7 PM and on Saturday October 6, 2006 at 10 AM. The speeches are a free open house.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Foundational Law Quotes XIII

“[T]he English Church shall be free and shall have its rights entire and its liberties inviolate.”

“No widow shall be forced to marry so long as she wishes to live without a husband.”

“Common pleas shall not follow our court, but shall be held in some definite place.”

“No sheriff, constable, coroner, or other bailiff of ours shall hold the pleas of our crown.”

“No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take grain or other chattels of any one without immediate payment therefor in money, unless by the will of the seller he may secure postponement of that.”

“No sheriff or bailiff of ours, nor any other person, shall take the horses or carts of any freeman for carrying service, except by the will of that freeman.”

“Neither we nor our bailiffs will take some one else’s wood fro castles or for doing any other works of ours, except by the will of him to whom the wood belongs.”

“No bailiff shall henceforth put any one to his law by merely bringing suit without trustworthy witnesses presented for the purpose.”

“No freeman shall be captured or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

“To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice.”

“All merchants may safely and securely go away from England, come to England, stay in and go through England, by land or by water, for buying and selling under right and ancient customs and without and evil exactions, except in time of war if they are from the land at war with us. And if such persons are found in our land at the beginning of a war, they shall be arrested without injury to their bodies or goods until we or our chief justice can ascertain how the merchants of our land who may then be found in the land at war with us are to be treated. And if our men are to be safe, the others shall be safe in our land.”

“Every one shall henceforth be permitted, saving our fealty, to leave our kingdom and to return in safety and security, by land or by water, except in the common interest of the realm for a brief period during wartime, and excepting men imprisoned or outlawed according to the law of the kingdom and people from a land at war with us and merchants, who are to be treated as aforesaid.”

- Magna Carta (1215 A.D.)

Foundational Law Quotes XII

"The human race is ruled by two things, namely, Natural law and usages. Natural Law is what is contained in the Law and the Gospel. By it, each person is commanded to do unto others what he wants done to himself and prohibited from inflicting on others what he would not want done to himself. SO Christ said in the Gospel: 'Whatever you want men to do to you, do so to them. This indeed is the Law and the Prophets'."

- Isidore of Seville