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Among the gods

This article was published in the Presbyterian Standard, Issue No. 14, April-June 1999.

T HE Scottish Parliament has been resuscitated after a long dormancy. What it will accomplish remains to be seen but as far as one can tell the present body will have a quite different ethos from the one suspended in 1707.

Impeccably democratic the new model promotes the modern nostrums of 'plurality' and 'equality' - ideas now embracing the whole religious realm as well as the political. Instead of Westminster's christian prayers a weekly "spiritual time" for "meditation" has been suggested as a concession to those members who continue to believe in 'something out there'. To countenance all faiths and philosophies though is really to subscribe to none and is to adopt practically the same position as atheism without the advantage of being quite so honest. Such an outlook would doubtless give the parliament a welcome place among the institutions of this world but how does it appear to the eye of the one living and true God?

There is a divine prescription for magistrates or rulers which the nation should heed once again. At its head is the following fact: before politicians are servants of their party or even of the people they are servants of the Most High God (Rom. 13:4,6); their appointment is from Him and their accountability to Him. The simple acknowledgment of this truth would have a transforming effect upon the whole political process and our national life.

Intellectual ability is essential for those who would hold important office and such is not lacking among the present crop of politicians. However, neither is the spiritual and moral character of our leaders a matter of indifference. "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." (2 Sam. 23:3) We require governors whose knees are bowed to the One who is declared to be the "Lord of lords, and King of kings" (Rev. 17:14); we desire leaders whose righteousness is that revealed by the Word of God, not one invented by fallen man.

Scripture makes the link between the state of a society and the character of its rulers: "The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted" (Psa. 12:8) - a verse helping to explain our current woes. Immoral men in high place can become a terror to the good but God judges among these 'gods' (Psa. 82:1); our duty must be to pray that in mercy He will again set the truly pious over us in church and nation.