Politics & The Bible–The Courts and the Question of Ultimate Power in a Nation

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

In chapter 5 of his new book Politics & The Bible, Wayne Grudem states, “The most basic issue regarding any system of government is this: Who will have the ultimate power to control the nation, and how will such persons be selected?” 

Our nation’s founding fathers clearly established a system of check and balances in which elected legislators made laws subject to the Constitution of the United States.  If a law was challenged by a citizen or group as unconstitutional then the Supreme Cour would have to decide if the law violated the original vision of the Founders. 

Yet, the Supreme Court, which founder Alexander Hamilton referred to as “the least dangerous branch,” has become a super legislature for the left.  The Court has created laws such as the right to an abortion. 

So, what’s wrong this you may ask.  Grudem writes, “If they [the Supreme Court] both wrote the laws and judged them…they would be judging their own work, and there would be no impartiality and no separation of powers or check against the abuse of power.”

Well, that’s a strong logical argument but is it a Biblical?

Grudem believes it is.  He argues first from Romans 13:1 that “every person should be subject to the governing authorities” and authority in the U.S. is the Constitution.  Thus, if they are ignoring the document or twisting its interpretation in a Machiavellian attempt to reach a desired result then the Supreme Court is refusing to be subject to the very system they swore to uphold.  Grudem then asserts that the separation of powers is biblical in the sense that Scripture presents undivided human power as too susceptible to abuse. 

Thus, Grudem writes that THE most important public policy issue facing Christians is curbing the runaway Supreme Court. He urges believers to vote only for those candidates who will support the appointment and confirmation of justices who subscribe to “orginalism” (i.e., interpreting the Constitution as it was written by the founding fathers). 

One may disagree with Grudem as to whether Romans 13:1 should apply to those outside the Body of Christ but I believe he is absolutely right that Scripture and experience teaches that checks and balances are necessary to curbing the abuse of power and that the Court has transformed itself from “the least dangerous branch of government” to the most powerful one.  Among the sad product of this transformation is the death of millions of pre-born children. 

Grudem is certainly right that returning the Court to the role the founder’s envisioned is absolutely crucial.

Next, we will begin looking at how Grudem sees individual issues in light of the Bible.

Until then, grace and peace.

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