third leg

Expanding The 3-legged Gospel

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Law without liberty is slavery.

Liberty without law is anarchy.

Liberty with law is Christianity!

Words mean things. What is “Christianity”?


The religion of christians; or the system of doctrines and precepts taught by Christ, and recorded by the evangelists and apostles.

Whilst politicians are disputing about monarchies, aristocracies, and republics, christianity is alike applicable, useful and friendly to them all. [Paley]

[Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary] (emphasis is mine)

Thus – “Liberty with law is, ‘the system of doctrines and precepts taught by Christ, and recorded by the evangelists and apostles.’

“Christianity” is not found in the Bible – However: “Christian” appears twice –

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, ‘Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian’. [Acts 26:28]

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf. [1 Peter 4:16]

In both Biblical references, “Christian” is associated with the choice to be governed by the teachings of Christ.

NOTE – The only alternatives to being governed by the teachings of Christ are slavery (external rule by another man), or anarchy (internal rule by your own will and appetite). In either case you will be ruled by a tyrant!

In my last column, “The third leg”, I opined that whereas the Colonial American church was aflame with the concept of liberty under God, today’s American churches are ignorant, even hostile, to Biblical principles of government.

Christ taught us to love God (vertical) and love our neighbor (horizontal) as the whole essence of Biblical law. [Matthew 22:37-39] Liberty rests upon family-, church-, and civil-government (direction, regulation, control, restraint) as taught by Christ.

HOWEVER – “Liberty” is NOT “license”. That is why Colonial churches taught “Liberty under God”. It was not lawless freedom to run wild. Human nature is ever at war with what is right! The American war for Independence was won by people who honored chrstian principles. Later the French Revolution, also focused upon individual liberty, neglected the limits of Christian principles. It ended in a blood bath.

I yearn to see America’s churches alive with a message that includes Christian liberty. Their ignorance and apathy toward creeping socialism in their homes, churches and government is producing sheep that are governed by wolves!

Some will object that the church must focus upon “salvation” (turning from rebellion, to conformity with God’s law of liberty). “Loving God and loving neighbors” is more than a heavenly insurance policy!

Will teaching “liberty under God” be well received by individuals? Yes indeed. Will it be welcomed by civil authority? Not at all. Civil and Church authority nailed Christ to a cross! England did her best to compel American submission. Today’s news shouts about the same conflict.

What about “Liberty under God” added to the Christian missionary message overseas? I suspect it would resonate and perhaps overturn many tyrants. On the other hand —

“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf.” [1 Peter 4:16]

— Is Christian liberty worth the price? It was to Peter!

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Expanding The 3-legged Gospel Read More »

The Third Leg

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God seems to deal in 3’s; Solid, liquid, gas; body, soul, spirit; mind, will, intellect; Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

One of my mentors often pointed out that a 2-legged stool will not stand. Always look for the third leg. I find only three human organizations in the Bible, recognized by God and through which He deals: Family, Church, State.

The building block of every human society is the Family. Every human society develops a corporate concept of a higher power (a god, or God). In turn, that concept will always determine the relationships within the society.

We call the vertical relationship of families with that higher power, “Church.” We call the horizontal relationship of families with families, “State” or “Civil-Government.”

Attached to this post is a time line documenting the source of events that led to the founding of the first civil government in human history specifically designed to enhance Biblical principles of government.

“Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of political institutions of that country; … it facilitates the use of free institutions. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief … I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole of the nation … “

[Alexis De Tocqueville “Democracy in America” 1835]

De Tocqueville was a Frenchman who traveled America to discover what was happening.

American pulpits featured three kinds of special sermons; Fast-Day sermons, Artillery sermons, and Election sermons.

In times of distress a community would be called to fast and pray. Pastors would preach on the Biblical source of, and the Biblical response to, the distress at hand.

Artillery sermons were preached to military groups, presenting the Biblical authority for their military service and to the citizens regarding their responsibilities.

Election sermons were preached to newly elected politicians, seated in the front row of a worship service. They were taught the Biblical authority and limits of the office to which they had been elected by the people.

Sermons by the thousands are easily available from that period. They document what the man in the pew was being taught. — Men were placed upon the earth by God. They were entitled to Life, the Liberty to sustain that life, and the Property necessary for that sustenance.

The world had been through eons of trial and error. Concepts of government (i.e. how people in a society were to get along with one another) had risen and fallen. Asia hosted the Egyptian, Medo-Persian, Oriental civilizations.

Alexander the Great introduced Greek civilization and language across much of the Mediterranean area and down toward India. Then Rome rose up and incorporated Greece and Europe along with the British Isles.

In the midst of all that was the advent of Christ. The seed of individual self-worth began germinating, The Bible was translated into common language. Men wanted to read God’s word and suddenly literacy exploded on society.

Great thinkers like Wycliffe, Luther, Locke, Montesquieu, Whitfield, Blackstone began to relate common sense (observation & reason) with Biblical principles – “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”. Literacy enhanced the Industrial Revolution. Printing Presses produced books and pamphlets.

In America, born free of those eons of tyranny and oppression, the seeds of God-given liberty took root. The Colonial churches were ablaze with Christ-centered liberty and justice for all men. They produced and supported the great men who formed our nation. It was a government the man in the pew was trained to understand and support.

Today, it appears to me, the American church teaches Biblical concepts of family and church government. They appear ignorant, even hostile, toward Biblical principles of civil-government – the third leg of Biblical society. It was our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said the whole of Biblical law rests in loving God and one another (vertical and horizontal).

If we are to survive — If we are ever to regain the God-given Liberty that once was America — I believe it must be founded upon individual and corporate acknowledgement of God as sovereign, and our obligation to live within the laws He has set for our happiness and prosperity. If God be sovereign, civil-government is not! Rather – Civil-government was created by free men to protect our liberty under God. Our Constitution sets limits on government, NOT Americans.

Let it begin with me. Let it begin with you. Let us restore the third leg to our Christian message. God created men to be at liberty to honor and obey Him. Let our churches once again be filled with the fires of Liberty under God!

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Downloadable File: Time Line Bible & Leaders

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Ben Gilmore 1929-2023

On March 30, 2023 Ben Gilmore, the co-founder of ACHStudyGroups (co-founded with his wife Fran), went to be with the Lord in Glory.

A Memorial: