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Influencers for Christ

Dear Friends:

The following is an Open Letter response to a recent article about WCF/S in the Washington Post.

We Have Here No Continuing City

–by Gary L. Cox

On 04NOV22, the Washington Post published an article entitled, The Christian home-schooling world that shaped Dan Cox. Peter Jamison, a WAPO staff reporter, wrote it as a background piece on Dan, who is the Republican Gubernatorial candidate for Maryland. The article was mostly reasonable and objective in describing the homeschool background of Dan and of his participation in WCF/S as a student, staff member and as a father. While it is impossible for the most objective reporter to accurately relay all of the nuanced context of any story being researched, it is far more difficult to be accurate when the bulk of the research is primarily taken from a website.

In this regard, my hat’s off to Jamison who had little else to go on even though he attempted to interview many people.

There is a long history of advocacy that WCF/S and I have engaged in – primarily in the public forum of family and educational policy development and parental advocacy regarding the important issues of family and education law. The American system is built on citizen advocacy, at the legislative level, the regulatory level and at the appellate level as well.

WCF/S’s advocacy has been exclusively focused on influencing the laws and regulations that directly affect our church and school and the families and students who attend our church and school – as protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. In this matter, let me plainly state that we are not advocates for making the civil government “acknowledge the Lord of Scripture”. This is an important clarification as it relates to the (perhaps unintentional) assertions to the contrary by Jamison.

Jamison attributed a quote to me, “that the United States’ civil government should ‘acknowledge the Lord of Scripture and be reconstructed according to His demands’”, although he later properly attributed the quote to one of the textbooks we have used in our government course, God and Government, by Gary DeMar. The quoted text appeared to Jamison to argue that WCF/S believes, “that the United States is a Christian nation and that ‘civil government must be called upon to acknowledge the Lord of Scripture and be reconstructed according to His demands.’” That has never been the WCF/S ministry’s position, nor mine. Let me clarify and explain.

America is not a Christian nation per se, Scripturally, it is considered a Gentile nation that has been significantly influenced by men and women of strong Christian convictions and practices. The search for religious freedom was a founding principal of our forebears. The First Amendment provides that, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Simply put, America is not a Theocracy of any sort – that is forbidden by our Construction which is the basis of all our laws. Thanks to our Lex Rex form of government (ie. the Law is King), the US Constitution provides for all individuals to practice their religious beliefs without fear of interference from the government or any other institution or individual.

Scripturally speaking, the duty of the Christian is to participate in government, which begins with prayer for that government with the petition to freely practice one's faith in quietness and peace – to the object of influencing, ie. making disciples of all nations through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1Ti 2:1-6 KJV)

Personally, I like to call Christian participation in government the Daniel Effect, speaking truth to all people, including governmental authorities, out of one’s conviction of faith towards God, and obeying Him above all others, not loving our lives to the death. (See Daniel 1-3)

In this light I feel it helpful to correct the false perception and rebut the misspoken accusation that, “‘[WCFS has] been very explicit that their point is to create people who can enter public life so they can take the country back for Christ,’ said Samantha Field, government relations director at the Coalition for Responsible Home Education.’” (Jamison, paragraph 15, The Christian home-schooling world that shaped Dan Cox)

As Christians we are not called to “take back our country for Christ,” we are called rather to go before Him as ambassadors, inviting all people to share in the liberating free grace of redemption and to encourage everyone to seek after God’s glorious Kingdom which will appear when Christ returns. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2Co 5:20 KJV)

Governmentally speaking, there is nothing to take back. All power in heaven and earth has already been vested in Jesus Christ. That happened when he rose from the dead. (Matt 28:18-20) Today we are living in the time period where the long-suffering of God is extending full and free reconciliation to all men through Christ. (Romans 2:4; 1Timothy 1:16; 1Peter 3:20; 2Peter 3:9, 15)

Scripture teaches that Christ will replace all human government (not take them over) when He returns – and that includes the United States. “And in the days of these [last kingdoms] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and this kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but He] shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44 KJV)

It is my belief that we are still living today in the Scriptural “Time of the Gentiles” period as outlined in Daniel 2. This period will not to be completed until the Messiah returns (see Daniel 7-9, Matthew 24:15ff and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). During this “Time of the Gentiles”, Conviction of Faith is the greatest single influence on human government and society at large. The hallmark of the believer is that “we love not our life to the death”. (Rev. 12:11) We have this confidence because we have no fear of death. As the Scripture says, “Whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:26 KJV) The old adage, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” is still true today. Christians are not afraid to die because they have the hope of life after death and that creates a strength of conscience against coercive overlords whose only power is to threaten to kill the body. Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28 KJV) As Jamison referred to Dan’s 2015 WCFS Commencement Address, “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom 14:8 NKJV)

Christians are influential because they are fearless. Jesus has delivered us from that fear – the fear of death!

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, Jesus also likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 KJV)

And that’s part of the untold story of The Christian home schooling world that shaped Dan Cox. At WCF/S, we do not look to “take back our country for Christ.” We follow Christ and implore our fellow citizens to be reconciled to God. When God’s purposes for America and the many other Gentile Nations are fulfilled, Jesus will come again; He will not need our help.

So how does the Christian interface with government? We ought to have clearly explainable beliefs that we both practice sincerely and are able to meekly give an answer to anyone that asks for an explanation of the hope that lies within us. (1Pet.3:15-16) In America, our form of government provides an open forum for all citizens to engage in advocacy. And we obey governmental authorities – but only up to the point when that authority demands that we cease from obeying God – for “we ought to obey God rather than man.” (See 1Peter 2:13-17; Acts 5:29)

However, in America, we also are invited to participate in holding governmental offices as well as any other citizen. This is part of the Daniel Effect that I mentioned earlier. God’s Theocracy, the nation of Israel, has ended, and God has ordained that the Gentiles rule over the kingdoms of the earth for a season. That season is not fulfilled yet.

Now what happened to Israel, the people of God’s Theocracy? They were carted off as slaves to serve the interests of the new Gentile kingdom known then as Babylon. Like Joseph who was sold as a slave to Egypt, Daniel and his friends served the king’s wishes in every matter except where such obedience violated their sincerely held religious beliefs. – They were winsome in their appeal process also. Their attitude won the favor and affection of their overlords. On one occasion, they even negotiated a religious exemption from governmental requirements that they believed would defile them (see Daniel 1).

On another occasion, three of them openly defied the government whose agent, the king, attempted to destroy them in a rage (Daniel 3). However, the king himself described the political impact of those three faith-filled believers whom he then appointed to high levels of government office.

[Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:28-30 KJV)

The Daniel Effect is Christian Social Influence arising from obedience to God and speaking truth to power – even though you are an absolute nobody. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:13-14 KJV)

The Christian has a unique position in society. The heavenly kingdom is the kingdom we serve, pray and wait for. (Have you ever prayed The Lord’s Prayer?) Politically speaking, we have nothing that we seek to gain except our liberty of conscience before God; therefore, we have nothing to lose when we engage in every lawful device of citizen involvement in our government. This allows us to have great confidence of conviction coupled with meekness of spirit – and as often can be the case, we may win more concessions than we lose. But even when we are ridiculed, we don’t lose heart, nor do we take up arms. For, as Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from here.” (John 18:36 KJV)

And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. (1Peter 3:13-18 KJV)

So how did our homeschooling world shape Dan Cox? Jamison wrote, “In his 2019 News-Post interview, Cox said he first traveled to Annapolis at age 7, and at 12 received an ‘ovation’ from state senators after he testified at a committee hearing.” Those are fond memories of our family advocacy. My wife, Sally, and I went to Annapolis on occasions when there were important pieces of legislation that needed the input of concerned citizens. We took our children with us when we could. From around 1982 onward, I was a frequent visitor to Annapolis and Baltimore as I sought to have Maryland’s good laws and regulations that provided exemptions for “educational institutions operated by a bona fide church organizations” upheld in the Maryland Legislature and the Department of Education. Daniel was at my side a considerable amount of the time and did on at least one occasion testify on a bill before a Senate committee. That was part of our homeschool plan. Taken from John 5, I caught the vision from Jesus.

But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." ... Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. (John 5:17, 19-20 NKJV)

Jamison also noted that, “In 2002, [Dan] obtained a bachelor’s degree in government and politics through University of Maryland University College.” That was a very memorable day for me as well. Daniel graduated 50 years to the day that his grandfather, Enoch L. Harlan graduated as an Air Force ROTC, Civil Engineer from the same college. University of Maryland University College awarded Daniel 21 pre-law credits for the legislative advocacy work he did in high school with me in Annapolis and Baltimore, along with his later experience on staff overseeing our WCFS legislative arm, Family Heritage Matters. It was during this time that Daniel also taught the God and Government class at our monthly home school workshops which are still being held today.

Regarding advocacy of parental rights, Chief Justice Harlan of the post civil war era is a distant and admired relative of Dan Cox (through Dan’s Grandfather, Enoch L. Harlan) – admired especially because of his championing of parental rights. Parental rights were assumed in that day so much so, that it took the egregious overstepping of Maryland slave holders and corrupt government officials to sound the alarm that parental rights needed protection. Thankfully, their collective treachery was overturned by the SCOTUS of the Chief Justice Harlan era. The problem? Maryland slave holders did not allow their slaves to take their own children with them when they were emancipated. They recited a crazed child neglect narrative that the ignorance of the parents made them unfit to care for their own children. So the slave holders kept their slaves’ children as child slaves until they would be legally emancipated at age 21. That folly was overturned, and Parental Rights are now clearly encoded in the Constitutional amendments from that era. Our ministry has not only cherished Dan's Justice Harlan's heritage, but we are stalwart advocates of Liberty and Justice for all. WCFS believes that it takes the full advocacy of all citizens to preserve the vital continuance of our Constitutional Republic. And that’s The Christian home-schooling world that shaped Dan Cox

For the Constitutional Republic,

Gary L. Cox, Director,

Family Heritage Matters

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