Vol.XX No.II Pg.4
April 1983

No "Rights"

Robert F. Turner

Have you ever seen anything like it? It seems that everyone nowadays has certain "rights." This generally means either the "right" to believe whatever you please or to practice anything you please wherever or whenever it pleases you, regardless of how offensive, obnoxious, and conscientiously objectionable it may be to others, or even if the exercise of those "rights" infringes upon or deprives others of theirs.

While most of the "rights" under discussion are one's Constitutional "rights," some have turned to the Bible as well to establish various "rights" and, in the process, have gotten some things confused.

There is a difference between Constitutional rights guaranteed by government, and the moral and spiritual rights given by God. Also, the forms of "government" under which we have our rights are quite different. Our earthly citizenship is in a democracy and we may amend the Constitution, lobby our leaders, and demonstrate in order to bring about a change in the rights we have.

But God's kingdom is not of this world (Jo. 18:36; Phil. 3:20). His rule is not democratic. His is not a republic but an autocracy ("absolute power or authority of one person over others"), and one's rights are not acquired as they are in a democracy. We haven't the prerogative of drafting a "We the people..." resolution. God tells us what our rights are and are not.

At least two groups in our country haven't learned this. Some, in the women's lib and homosexual movements, wanting to maintain a semblance of "Christianity" and yet have "rights" God hasn't given, think God heads a republic and His will is a constitution to be amended at their whim.

But there are some "rights" that homosexuals simply do not have. They have no right to practice unrighteousness (1 Jo. 5:17). That is, they have no right to call "normal" what God has called perverted (Isa. 5:20; Lev. 20:13). They have no right to expect forgiveness from God (1 Jo. 1:9), eternal reward (Rev. 21:8), or to be accepted as God's children by God fearing people (Eph. 5:11) as long as they persist in their sin.

And, women are also denied a few "rights." They have no right to engage in lawlessness (1 Jo. 3:4). They have no right to assume the same positions of leadership, authority, and function that God has given men in the home (Eph. 5:22-23) or the local church (1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Cor. 14:34). They have no right to expect acceptance of such lawless acts (2 Jo. 9). And, they have no right to expect forgiveness (1 Jo. 1:9) or reward (Matt. 7:23) as long as they insist upon exercising rights" that God hasn't given them.

"Give me liberty or give me death" takes on new meaning in the spiritual realm if by "liberty" we mean "rights" to practice what God forbids. God's sovereignty precludes such impudence. King Saul found out the hard way (1 Sam. 13:8-14; 15:1-ff.) that there are certain areas in which we simply have no rights. David Smitherman