A higher law
The expenses scandal concerning UK MPs has even made it in the press here in Kenya. It’s interesting to read of the widescale outrage reported on the UK’s press web sites, and led by those same newspapers. Right across the spectrum, people of all shapes and stripes of ideological opinion are agreed that gross, iniquitous excesses have taken place.
But what I find especially interesting are the underlying assumptions behind the public comment. While many MPs protest that what they did was ‘within the rules’, there’s widespread agreement that, firstly, such an excuse isn’t good enough; secondly, the rules are unfair anyway; and, thirdly, MPs as public servants should achieve something even better than that standard.
In other words, they ought to obey a law higher than their own self-imposed rule book. Even parliamentarians are accountable to something higher.
Has anyone spotted the elephant in the room? What exactly is this ‘rule book to rule the rule books’? Where is the source of these higher values that can judge the highest body in the country? You probably know the answer, but the secularist UK press can’t bring itself to mention it – man is bound by the law of God; as found, summarised, in the Ten Commandments or the two great commandments to love God and love your neighbour as yourself.
This law is external to man and imposed upon him. He must ultimately bow to it, whether he pleases to do so or not, because it comes from God. Its echo is written on our consciences, and we all know that ultimately we as human beings are accountable.
Many of those MPs who stretched the rules to the utmost protest, ‘I was within the rules!’ They are 100 per cent right, judged by their own secularist principles. As good secularists, they are simply protesting on the same basis that they have previously governed by. According to them, the public sphere can’t be ruled by ideas about God or religion. Those are just ‘values’ that have to remain private.
But the bubble has now burst in Westminster. The idea that man is the highest being and can make his own laws just as it pleases him has met the immovable object within society’s conscience that tells it, ‘You shall not steal’. The secularist idea lost on this occasion.
And it is all a bit rich for the press, who have, by and large, left unchallenged those secularist principles, now to raise the spectrum of a higher law. But that’s the tragedy of unbelief – it can’t be consistent. Once you push unbelief too far in the real world, something has to give.
How can a nation be so angry about higher principles being broken when it has spent so many decades refusing to acknowledge their existence and trying to build a society without reference to them?
Even if Parliament cleans up its act and clears the decks of its worst exemplars of moral corruption, without a real change of mind and heart other unscrupulous people will step in to take their place. What the UK Parliament needs is far more than a change of faces. Both it and those governed by it need to turn in godly sorrow to the God whose laws we routinely despise but can’t escape from.
Jesus Christ is still a gracious Saviour, and will receive sinners – even us – still.
The author is an elder of Grace Baptist Church, Ebbret, Kenya