What about Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)?

The Bible does not teach rights.  There are no stated or implied rights anywhere in Scripture.  The Bible does teach, however, responsibility and privileges.  The Biblical argument is: “If you obey… then …; if you disobey … then …”  Privileges are withdrawn when responsibilities are not taken up.  It is possible, for a time, to claim privileges whilst shirking the corresponding responsibilities.  However, God is not mocked.  Sins committed in private will eventually be shouted from the rooftops, if not repented of.

The claim to rights, however, is to clamor for the privileges without reference to the corresponding responsibilities.  A rights orientation will always lead to conflict in the marketplace.  As one claims rights, then it will be at the denial of privileges to another.  For example, when a woman claims the right to control her body, and by exercising that right she has the baby in her womb murdered through the process called abortion; by exercising her right, she has denied the privilege of life to the baby.  None of us have a right to life, and the Bible indicates that there are instances where God will reclaim our privilege when we have neglected to fulfill our responsibilities (murdering – neglecting to show respect for another’s privilege to enjoy life – for example).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that … “parents will have the right to choose the type of education they want for their child” (article 26).  In a rights oriented society, this may be helpful, in the short term, to obtain liberty in home educating.  However, it is not a long-term solution to the problem of civil resistance to home-based education.  The long-term solution has to be through the conversion of the general population until there is a majority who upholds the sovereignty of God and accepts His sovereign will, as expressed through His Law.  Parents have a responsibility before God to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  This is accompanied with the privilege of choosing for themselves, under God, the method of fulfilling that responsibility – which may include home-based education; enrolment in a local, privately funded, Academy; or tapping into a network of experts throughout the community who assist with the God-given responsibility.  No one has a right to state-funded education.  The satisfying of that so-called right, is to deny others the privilege of stewarding the blessings that God has given them through labour (i.e. taxation to pay for state-funded education is stealing from parents the capacity to fund the education of their own children).

We have a lot of work to do, but we are to be encouraged by the promise that it is the “Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”.


5 thoughts on “What about Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)?

  1. ronald slyderink says:

    You are brave in challenging the common notion of ‘our rights’. It is hard for the average person immersed in a ‘me’ culture to understand that the only rights we can claim are the ones God gives us by his mercy and grace. God is good and righteous and imputes these to his children when they seek him and put their lives in his hands. Our rights and righteousness are only because of what Christ has done for us when we express faith in him.


  2. Ron, I am not sure that I have been able to find Scriptural references to rights. Maybe you can help me on that. I have found many on the requirement to fulfill responsibilities with corresponding privileges. The Sovereignty of God precludes rights. We have no rights before a sovereign God. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. It is only grace, and grace alone that extends to us privileges in Christ Jesus, and that also comes with responsibilities.

    Please help me, if I have missed something.


    • Hi Lance, I will try and give a deeper explanation of what I understand by ‘rights’ and I will give Scriptural support. With ‘rights’ we are entering a somewhat misunderstood and controversial area. I don’t pretend to know all about this as there are a number of facets and implications but I will give you my understanding from a personal yet I believe Biblical perspective. I think the confusion is in the lack of distinction between legal, social/cultural, moral and spiritual, God/human rights and the nexus between what is right, just, and righteous. Unfortunately and inevitably as with many words, humans assume different things and carry over more than what can be justified as is the case with the insipid ‘it is my right to ….’ mentality applied to just about anything. That I obviously do not endorse.

      The concept of ‘rights’ has different layers and meaning attached to it, depending where you are coming from. I am coming from a Biblical perspective (although other Christians would say the same thing and still arrive at different emphasis and beliefs!)

      I believe it is God’s nature, character (He is almighty, good, just, righteous, merciful, gracious, sovereign, compassionate, patient…) his laws/commandments/words that are significant in properly defining what is ‘right’ which itself is part of the ‘rights’ and part of righteousness which come into the picture with Jesus being the key. So for me the meaning of ‘rights’ goes far beyond just ‘human rights’ or legal rights but it does impact on them in a fundamental way and it is deeply rooted in the character of God.

      Personally, from a Christian biblical perspective as a sinner before a holy God, I don’t believe I have any rights in the sense of me being owed anything because of my credentials, position or assets, rather I deserve God’s wrath and punishment for my rebellious and sinful selfish, ignoring God, human nature. But, I have to qualify this in an important life changing way. I have been redeemed and restored by the blood of Jesus and he has made me a saint, a child of the living God and that changes everything. Although not perfect and still growing, I have been made right by the righteousness of Christ and have by grace been blessed and will continue to be blessed. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ( Romans 1:17 ESV ), “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4 ESV and “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” (1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV ). In this sense only can a born again Christian claim to receive what has been promised as a right by faith/obedience (they go together) and be confident in God through Jesus Christ. I did not merit it, or deserve it but God’s grace has imparted it and how thankful I am everyday for God’s faithfulness and love to give me of himself and all that is good.

      Now implicit with being a follower of Jesus, I am obligated to love just like Jesus and the Father, it is natural to do so because it is in the nature of God to do so and the gift of the Spirit of God in me compels and empowers me to do so. I now do what Paul says, “ Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:7-8 ESV , my underlined emphasis) This says we owe no man anything except the debt of love, that is what we owe people as it is God’s desire that we respect and love people, it is their right as a human being created in the image of God. The fact of it being the only thing we owe people implies that it therefore is the right of people to be treated that way, we owe it to them. If we don’t owe anybody to love them why should we be impelled or obligated to? Any other view would open up the tendency to dehumanise people and we would not be accountable to love them, care for them or defend them and we could justify any actions towards them, but God’s character and laws make us relate to them with respect and love and be accountable to do what is right, with consequences if we don’t. All this is further illustrated with the existence and establishment of authorities and legal entities to govern and execute justice and do what is right to promote order, harmony and peace. This validates ‘human rights’, without necessarily contradicting our inability to demand rights because of our sinful status and mercy of God, which I think is the confusing issue for some Christians. We can still have human rights and the mercy of God acting fully, indeed I believe human rights from God’s perspective is shown by his mercy, love and justice, albeit humans have abused and distorted its meaning in many cases.

      The following Scriptures supports the case of the rights of people and that justice is to be sought.

      “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.(Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV )
      “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” (Psalm 82:3 ESV)
      “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “(Isaiah 1:17 ESV)
      “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? “ Micah 6:8 ESV
      There is therefore a strong case to say that humans, particularly the poor, the disadvantaged, the needy, the vulnerable, the destitute require justice and love to be shown to them as a right as Proverbs 31: 8-9 and Psalm 82:3 directly show and other Scriptures indirectly imply. It shows both the love, mercy and justice of God and the implied acts of men and the accountability they incur in how they relate to their fellow human beings and ultimately God himself. It has little to do with the rights of the poor because they deserved it because of the good they have done or what they have, it is more about loving or not loving one’s neighbour as a primary principle or law of God. It is built into the fabric of life and this is why God has instituted authorities and governments to maintain and execute justice which includes the legal judiciary systems which precide over what is ‘right’ , ‘lawful’ and ‘just’ to maintain order, peace and harmony.

      This is why I consider valid in principle (there are conditions and exceptions as it can and has been abused) the legality of human rights, particularly as it relates to justice issues and what is right. Thus if the rights reflect God’s law and character of love and respect and building people up, not abuse and exploiting people’s worth and value, then they are connected to God’s way of governing and the authority he has given men to enable a measure of peace and harmony to exist. Paul exhorts Christians to respect governing authorities as being instituted by God and this is why, intrinsically they reflect God’s laws and justice and promote peace and harmony. Of course we know that many Governments and officials do not and are corrupt and Christians have to discern where they stand with obeying God or man, not an easy task as Satan exercises control over many areas of life including principalities and powers.

      I hope I have clarified my position and have not been misunderstood, and also that I have not misunderstood you either. Obviously, I have not discussed many aspects and stand to be corrected and informed further as well. If you would like to bring anything up I would welcome it.

      May the Lord be praised for who he is, for what he has done and what he will do. He is an amazing God, Almighty, full of love and mercy and gives abundantly to his children all they need. He is so faithful and truth is his banner. His word is eternal.

      God bless you Lance. Keep up the good fight. The Lord will win and overcome everything. To his glory we live and have our being.


  3. So, here is my problem. If, as you point out in the above, that the poor (simply because they are poor) have a ‘right’ to have “justice and love shown to them,” then it is my own personal interest to resign from my job, squander all my resources on selfish persuits, then camp on your front door and demand my ‘right’ to your justice and love (irrespective of my behaviour leading to my poverty). I have a really big problem with that. Really, really big. And I hope you do to. If not, I might come knocking on your door. 🙂

    God bless you


    • ronald slyderink says:

      I couldn’t help smile at your response (I hope to come back to the big problem at the end) although somewhat concerned with my apparent lack of communicating what I understand to be the case, although I did leave it open. I think the problem is the framing of the question involving ‘rights’. Asking a question like ‘do we have rights’ is open to misunderstanding and asking this does not necessarily mean it is valid and useful unless we are clear on what we mean. I understand the position of grace only and us having no rights as I explained before, and there is nothing we can do to earn God giving us anything. I accept that completely. But that is not all what I mean and understand by “rights” and what I suggest is actually meant by rights in its broader meaning. You seemed to have shut your mind to anything else and have made it a huge problem for yourself. That concerns me as your brother in Christ. First, may I repeat what God says about ‘rights’ and about us having only one debt and owing this to people. They are not my ideas, it is God speaking, so we have to understand what he is saying here:

      “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.(Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV )
      “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” (Psalm 82:3 ESV)

      How do you interpret these verses? It does say and suggest we are to be proactive for the rights of “all” who are destitute, poor, needy, weak, fatherless and the afflicted. So these people have rights. This contradicts your original statement that people have no rights, here it clearly says they do. There is no discussion about why they are that way, but we are to respond to their need and cry, we are to give justice and do what is right (and yes this requires wisdom).

      Now, to add to this, this is how God deals with me and and I would say other sinners who are or can be considered poor and weak; it is God’s initiative and act of love and mercy that cares, that opens the door. We are ‘poor’ (physically or spiritually) for a number of reasons – it could be self induced and an enslavement to sin, it could be due to completely uncontrollable circumstances, it could be because of direct injustice, abuse and exploitation by other humans. Regardless, we need the hand and touch of God to meet our need, and we have Jesus who is our Saviour and advocate. What is the purpose of God helping us, he doesn’t need to, he doesn’t owe us anything? May I suggest that it is that God desires to have fellowship with us and wants to restore us to be in union with him displaying the very character of Christ in us. What a gift and blessing! And once God makes us his children by faith, we will project God’s love and reach out to also bring others into union and fellowship with God and each other. Our only debt, is the continuing one of love, love for God, love for people. This is God’s command and will and imputes righteousness as we place our faith in Jesus.

      It seems you are struggling with how to express that love as you showed me with ‘my big problem’ scenario. I definitely do not consider it a problem for me, and do not think you need to make it a problem either. Thus:

      I don’t think resigning from your job and living selfishly and wastefully and then presenting yourself at someone’s front door expecting them to help you is a logical implication of meeting the rights of the ‘poor’ by Christians. Are you saying that Proverbs 31:8-9 and Psalm 82:3 are not relevant and to be followed? Are you presuming that all ‘poor’ people are able to look after themselves and shouldn’t require help? It appears you are judging the ‘poor’. Even if you did all of that (resigning etc), it shows how spiritually poor you are and you do need counselling and encouraged to repent and turn to God. And yes brother, I would owe it to you to love you wisely if you came knocking on my door and not give you simply what you ask for materially, but challenge you to turn to God for salvation and true riches and do what God says on how to live and love him and people.

      With all that I have tried to say, I have simply, perhaps not clearly enough, expanded and broadened the meaning of ‘rights’ as I understand it. I have engaged with you in discussion and questions and challenges but my motive is pure, I do it with love and respect without casting any judgment over you, and I still have much to learn. My desire is that we unite in our love and devotion to the Father and Jesus and seek ways of serving and exalting them through the Holy Spirit. I see much quarrelling over words and ideas amongst Christians and it saddens me no end when division not unity is the outcome. I would much rather focus on building on Christ and obeying him to the glory of God and benefit to all. If I have not explained things properly or said things which may be confronting, forgive me, I do not mean to cause confusion and problems to surface as a result, I would hope and trust that you take it in the right spirit and we both learn from each other and above all draw closer to our Lord.

      God bless you richly


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