- Kevin Hall
Strict Constructionist vs. Living Constitution
In political terms, a strict constructionist believes that the laws spelled out in the Constitution of the United States are not malleable; they are not subject to change to fit with current cultural climates or ideals. Some believe just the opposite; that the Constitution is “a living, breathing document”, that it is meant to be shaped to fit what society deems appropriate for the times. They proclaim that the founding fathers of this country could not have possibly written a set of laws that could apply to a civilization living more than 200 years later. Let’s put this in simple terms. Two people sit down to play cards. Before they begin, one says, “Here are the rules by which this game is to be played.” This person would be considered a strict constructionist. The other person, one who believes in a “living” set of rules, would say, “I think that the rules should be examined as we play, then we can determine if they need to be changed based on the circumstances of each hand.” Now which game would you want to play? Similar opinions have been formed in regards to the Bible. There are those who attempt to hold to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, believing that God’s word is timeless and that the commandments and doctrine found therein are as relevant now as they were when they were penned by the inspired writers (2 Tim. 3:16&17). Then there are those that believe that God’s word needs to be interpreted or amended to fit the current times. They maintain that God’s word could not possibly be able to address such modern-day concerns as homosexuality, the leadership roles of women, complex financial structuring of church sponsorship, among many other things. Sadly, many have been led astray by these kinds of false teachings; by men and women who sought to interpret, augment or abridge God’s word to fit their personal beliefs and convince people to follow their teachings. This is in direct violation of Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor. 1:10-13. There is no need to adapt God’s word to fit the current times. God’s word is, and ever will be, timeless (Matt. 24:35). Paul said in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel has the power to save our souls. Why should we think that the words that saved the apostle Paul cannot be the same words that can save us today? Are we in need of another dispensation of holy law in order to live our lives today? No. 2 Peter 1 verse 3 says, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (NASV) Most reasonable people would agree that playing a game by an established set of rules eliminates confusion and creates equality among the participants. How many more would agree to this if it was a “high stakes” game? Are there any higher stakes than one’s very soul? Make sure you read and understand the rules pertaining to life and godliness.