Welcome to In The Gates

Barry Sheets

Welcome to the inaugural issue of IN THE GATES, the journal of the Institute for Principled Policy. Our purpose is to bring to policymakers and citizens Biblically grounded wisdom on key issues affecting our culture. Our goal is to see a change in thinking in regard to the processes and policies of governing, a change which is self-consciously embedded in the unchanging, absolute truths of Holy Writ.

Why a new political magazine? It is because the timeless wisdom of God from his Word has been long ignored by those who are charged with the governing authority of the people. It is because our culture is dying from a lack of nourishment found in the moral and judicial soil of the Old and New Testaments. It is because the lie of secular humanism, with its intertwined intolerant political pluralism, has borne bitter fruit for individuals, families and communities for far too long.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

What constitutes principled policy? Principled policy is created when decision makers follow a simple standard for evaluating their initiatives; a standard that applies whether the policy is fiscal, familial, or institutional. That standard has five components:

1-Biblical Morality

The moral truth of Scripture is the beginning point of all valid and just policy decisions. All policy promotes a moral viewpoint; there is no neutrality. Either God and his standards are upheld, or they are rejected and supplanted by faulty human “reason” (cf. Romans 1:18-32).

2-Character and Honesty

Principled policy is of the highest character, seeking the greatest good under God’s righteous standards for law. It does not have embedded within it a hidden agenda which seeks personal self-fulfillment (pride and greed) in contradiction to God’s commission to man (Mt. 28:18-20).

3-Personal Responsibility

Principled policy is grounded in the proposition that individuals are responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions. Policy decisions seek to protect individual rights, but not to absolve individual responsibilities in favor of state-centered intervention. (1 Tim 4:8; Prov. 22:29; 24:21-22)

4-Constitutional, Limited Government

The founders of our country relied on the guidance of Divine providence to fashion a Republic whose cornerstones included the concepts of decentralization of powers and checks and balances. Principled policy is that which upholds, not destroys, these “ancient boundaries” (Prov. 22:28, 23:10-11), and seeks to honor God through adherence to Biblical standards of justice, mercy and truth.

5-Rule of Law

To uphold and obey just authority, and maintain the standard of absolute truth, is vital to the rule of law. This essential component of principled policy is clearly expressed and promoted through God’s word and through the examples of the great legal foundations such as the Magna Charta, the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“Establish judgment in the gates”

This directive from the prophet Amos is a clear clarion call to all who would don the mantle of governing authority. Whether rewarding the good or punishing evil, just men who rule in the fear of God are necessary at all levels of our government to uphold righteous and true judgment.

This standard seems impossible in our populist and pluralist political enterprise, until those who are placed by God, and in Whose hand their hearts are directed as water, remember the sage wisdom of Scottish theologian John Knox: “A man with God is always in the majority.”

The Institute for Principled Policy is committed to providing education and information to equip those in authority, and citizens who are subject to the operation of that authority, with solid, Biblically based wisdom on the issues of the day. Through our publications, events, research and direct contact with decision makers, we will seek to establish the wisdom of God’s word in the hearts of individual officials.

On behalf of the Governing Board of the Institute for Principled Policy, I wish to extend to you the offer to join with us in effecting this change for God’s kingdom. After reading this inaugural issue of In the Gates, please consider becoming a member of the Institute and share in our work to take the wisdom of God’s word into the public square.

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Promoting The Steady Hand of Biblically-Based Christian Statesmanship on Public Policy