Acton Institute Powerblog

PowerLinks – 11.16.12

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The Lessons of the Hebrew Bible
Jonathan Sacks, Foreign Affairs

The Israelites of the Hebrew Bible never quite figured out how best to arrange human political affairs.

Will Supreme Court answer monks’ prayers?
George Will, Washington Post

Shortly before 123 million voters picked a president, 38 Louisiana monks moved the judiciary toward a decision that could change American governance more than most presidents do.

The Cry of the Martyrs Webcast
Family Research Council

Yesterday, FRC, along with Voice of Martyrs, had a webcast on the threats to religious liberty around the world. “The Cry of the Martyrs: The Threat to Religious Liberty Around the World” featured many experts speaking on religious persecution and how to fight the attacks against religion.

Are You Ready? A Biblical View of Ayn Rand’s Life and Work
David Kotter, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

The Bible has significant areas of overlap with Rand’s Objectivist philosophy. Nevertheless, Rand’s mixture of capitalism, atheism, and misguided anthropology should give Christians pause before jumping completely on board.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • RogerMcKinney

    I just started reading “In God’s Shadow” yesterday, so I paid the $3 to get Sacks’ review of the book in Foreign Affairs. I’ll reserve judgment on the quality of the review until I finish, but if accurate, I think Walzer has a superficial understanding of the Bible. For example, he expects the writers to have opinions on everything God did. That is a very Western concept. Prophets and OT writers would never offer an opinion on what God has done or commanded.

    Sacks wrote “The Israelites of the Hebrew Bible never quite figured out how best to arrange human political affairs.” That’s not true. God gave Israel the perfect form for organizing society and government in the Torah. BTW, because God amended the law several times doesn’t mean that there are three separate sets of laws as Walzer suggests. It only means that God updated some commands based on changing circumstances.

    Christians forget that God designed the government of Israel in the Torah. So to say that it caused anarchy and that the state established with a king against God’s will ended anarchy is blasphemy. And it is factually incorrect. The period of the judges lasted about 400 years, roughly the same time period as the Kings. Israel under the kings was no less anarchic or evil than Israel under the judges.

    Personally I think the period of the kings was far worse than that under the judges. As Walzer points out, prophets arose at the same time as the kings in order to denounce the evil of the kings and their nobles.

    Under the judges, Israel had a government that consisted of God’s law and judges to interpret and apply it. With that structure, God was telling mankind that is all you really need for sound government. Anything more does nothing but provide the power to steal from others and oppress them in the name of the state.

    The Hebrews had the plan for perfect government because it came from God. They abandoned it for a king and brought upon themselves all of the evils that Samuel predicted.