Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 6, 1969
NUMBER 43, PAGE 8b13a

Law And Order

Thomas F. Shropshire

In recent political campaigns we have heard a great deal about law and order. Our difficulty along this line as a nation, is not a matter of a lack of sufficient laws. It is a matter of a lack of proper respect for laws which already exist. There are several areas where such lack of respect for existing laws is apparent.

The basic laws, contained in the constitution, are there because our fore-fathers recognized the fact that a body of laws was necessary in order for the nation to survive. This fact is set forth in Rom. 13. Civil law was and is ordained of God and designed to protect the majority of the people of a nation from a minority who have no personal regard for justice and right nor for the welfare and rights of others. This minority have to be controlled by law and the fear of the penalties provided in the law, to prevent them from running rough-shod over each other and the rest of the people of the nation.

In this nation, the matter of law and order is divided into three branches, according to the constitution. They are: the judicial, the legislative and the executive.

In the judicial branch is found the first area of disrespect for law and order. When men in this branch of government, read into the law things which are obviously different from what the law says, it shows a disrespect for the law itself. When the law is interpreted in such a way to protect a minority who have no regard for the welfare or the rights of others, to run rough-shod over the majority, there is either something wrong with the law or the interpretation thereof.

The second area in which a disrespect for law (the basic law in the constitution) is apparent, is in the legislative branch. When this branch of the government enacts laws which give the minority the right to encroach upon the rights of others, instead of these laws contributing to order, they tend to contribute to anarchy and chaos.

The executive branch of government is the third area of disrespect for law and order. In this it is a matter of the lack of enforcement of the laws which are and have been in the statute books for a long time. In many instances, instead of the laws being enforced, law-breakers are encouraged to disregard them. When the laws are not enforced and law-breakers go unpunished, the laws themselves become weak and useless. Since the fear of the penalty provided in the law is the only thing which will control the corrupt minority, when that is removed by a lack of enforcement, there remains no more controlling influence.

Spiritual Law And Order

The law and order about which we have been speaking concerns civil law, the existence of which God has ordained. But we find a parallel, in many respects, in regard to law and order from a spiritual standpoint. So, let us give our attention to law and order under divine law.

While civil law is ordained of God, these laws are not divine laws because they are enacted by men. But spiritual laws were divinely enacted and therefore constitute divine law. "There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and destroy." James 4:12. Spiritual law, being divine, is perfect (Ps. 19:7) and cannot be changed or improved upon.

But in handling or making application of the law, many have taken into their unholy hands the judicial authority to interpret the law according to their own desires and wisdom. Peter said, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation." II Peter 1:20. Men who take it upon themselves to read into the scriptures that which is obviously lacking in the divine text, or to wrest the scriptures by making a false application according to their own liking, demonstrate a complete disrespect for the divine law.

Some have been disrespectful enough of divine law to suggest that the law is incomplete (imperfect) and then proceed to enact laws of their own to govern them in spiritual matters. They are such as the Pharisees, to whom Jesus said, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." Mt. 15:6.

When the people of God, the citizens of Christ's kingdom, choose to disregard the laws of God and live according to their own lusts, deceiving themselves into believing that God will hold them innocent, they show an utter disrespect for the divine law.

This disrespect for divine law has brought about a break-down of law and order in the religious world in general and in the church of the Lord in particular. Where there is no respect for divine law, only spiritual anarchy and chaos can be the result. What can be done about it? We might well give heed to the admonition given by God to the Israelites of the age past. "If people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chron. 7:14.

— 1210 Elsa Jane, Boosier City, La. 71010