MARS Statement on Tied House Event Cancelation

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The Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society has been planning an event to discuss the original Pennsylvania Constitution and the role of government from a biblical worldview. The event was originally scheduled to occur at the Tied House Restaurant in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Joel Saint, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society, and The Lancaster Patriot’s Managing Editor, Chris Hume, were scheduled to speak.

The Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society is a group of Christians who recognize that God, in His love, mercy, and infinite wisdom has not only provided the means of forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ, but has also provided, in the Old and New Testaments, all necessary directions and instructions for a just, happy, and productive society.

The purpose of the event is to look back at the history of Pennsylvania and consider the foundational worldview beliefs that established our commonwealth. Furthermore, Saint and Hume will be analyzing the principles behind our founding documents from a biblical worldview. 

For those who know the history of our state and nation, it will not be a surprise to learn that William Penn sought to apply biblical law in society because of his love for neighbor and desire for justice in the commonwealth. Penn recognized that in a fallen world, there is a need for civil law to restrain certain sins in society. In 1682, he wrote, “Such as would not live conformable with the holy Law within, should fall under the Reproof and Correction of the just Law without, in a Judicial Administration.” Then, Penn quotes the Holy Scriptures and notes: “This the Apostle teaches in divers of his Epistles: The Law (says he) was added because of Transgression: In another place; Knowing that the Law was not made for the Righteous Man, but for the Disobedient and Ungodly, for Sinners, for Unholy and Prophane, for Murderers, for Whoremongers, for them that Defile themselves with Mankind, and for Men-stealers, for Lyars, for Perjured Persons.”

Penn believed in religious freedom within the realm of just laws based on God’s Word. People were free to believe anything they wanted, but the open demonstration of certain sinful behaviors were outlawed. For example, sodomy, blasphemy, fornication, and adultery were against the law. Penn’s commonwealth, based heavily on biblical law, attracted many people who were more than willing to live under such laws.

Nearly one hundred years after Penn, the original constitution of Pennsylvania was signed. It contained a clause that required civil magistrates (rulers) to affirm that they believed in God and recognized the Bible as God’s Word. This was not unique to Pennsylvania, nor was it a departure from Penn’s belief. The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania in 1682 included a law which stated that “deputies Shall be Such as profess and declare they believe in Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the World.”

Whereas some would prefer to ignore these historical facts, the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society affirms that there is value in considering our history and, even more importantly, in looking to God’s Word for direction for all areas of life.

Our history (as is the case with any nation) is not perfect. But the faithful application of biblical law has been a great blessing to our nation. Inasmuch as we have adhered to God’s law, our society has been blessed. And inasmuch as we have abandoned God’s law, our society has been cursed. 

Throughout our nation’s history, Christians have opposed unjust laws because they violate a higher law. For example, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 defied God’s law—it is against the law of God to return a runaway slave to his master. And yet in the name of racism and tribalism, God’s law was rejected by the federal government. The state of Wisconsin, to their credit, nullified the Fugitive Slave Act because it was unjust. Had God’s law been followed—which also outlaws kidnapping people to sell them into slavery—the chattel slavery of America would have never occurred. 

Furthermore, it was the principled application of the biblical worldview which motivated abolitionists in both England and America to end the slave trade. So, atheists and adherents of other religions can thank Christianity for the end of the Atlantic slave trade.

The Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society upholds the goodness, wisdom, and justice of God’s Law-Word. Our love for our neighbors compels us to declare that Jesus is Lord—indeed he is the Ruler of the kings of the earth.

The event is motivated by love—first for God and then for neighbor—and a desire to share not only the gospel message of the forgiveness available in Jesus Christ to anyone who turns from sin and trusts in him, but to also explain why the Christian worldview provides the only basis for a sane, just, and happy society. 

Ultimately, we believe the message of Christianity will succeed in changing people’s hearts and minds worldwide. Because Christ’s love compels us, we are determined to remain faithful and proclaim the truth, no matter how much hate or opposition we receive.

To that end, though the event has been moved from the Tied House due to practical considerations, it will still be held on June 23, but at an alternate location. 

Let it be known that we will never apologize for believing in Christ and the biblical worldview.

-The Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society

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