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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Restrainers of the Mighty

Celtic Christians changed their world.

For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been saying to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her."

  - Matthew 14.3, 4

Cure all harmful ailments through the power of the good Lord, establish peace among the people, restrain the noble kings.

  - Anonymous, Rule of Carthage (Irish, 9th century, from an earlier ms.)

Early Irish ministers and monks were not reluctant to bring their considerable persuasive powers to bear on the task of restraining "noble" kings and magistrates. They wielded the civilizing power of the Gospel in ways that led to the codifying of Irish law where previously only the whim of the king had been the governing principle of the territory.

John the Baptist understood that believers have a duty to hold the civil magistrate to the standards of God's Law - whether or not that magistrate is a believer. John evidently felt that Leviticus 20.21 applied as much to the pagan Herod as to anyone else. Breaking God's Law is breaking God's Law, no matter who you are.

Believers need to gear up these days to restrain the ambitions of the government as it tests it ability to command religion. The HHS ruling requiring religious institutions to offer insurance which provides for birth control and a form of abortion is a direct affront to the cherished beliefs and moral convictions of many Christian folk. It's not so much the mandate itself, although that's bad enough; it's the very idea that government can require, on pain of punishment, religious people to act in a manner contrary to their convictions and the teaching of Scripture.

Where are the pastors and church leaders who are speaking out to restrain the civil government from this and further such actions? Have churches become so separated from matters of civil government and the freedoms bestowed by our Founders that they simply don't know how to react? Or don't believe reacting is necessary?

Believers understand that government is God's servant for good (Rom. 13.1-5). But "good" is defined by the Law of God, and God has given us His Law, at least in part, so that goodness and justice might obtain wherever it is obeyed. When the Law is ignored or blatantly disobeyed, we cannot expect the blessing of God. Where we are silently about what God requires of His "good" servant, the same result will ensue.

We cannot make our noble kings and governors obey the Law of God. But we can tell them what God requires of them and call them to function within the parameters He has indicated in His Word.

They may not like us for insisting on this. But that's the risk we have to take. "The lion has roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?" (Amos 3.8).

Celtic Christians brought civilization, culture, and spiritual abundance to pagan lands that had never heard of the Law of God. They did this by faith, in obedience to God's Word, and without regard for personal convenience or comfort. They changed their world.

We have an opportunity to change ours. But to do so, we need to speak up.

T. M. Moore, Principal

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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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