The Ideology of Freedom (II)

Rebuilding a Christian culture…will involve a long-term view and the discipline of systematically following a well-executed series of Biblical steps. This process begins with a clear vision of who we are, what we are commanded to do and how we are supposed to do it.[1]

My mother lived for many years near a town in North-East England called Kings Lynn, which had originally been called Bishop’s Lynn. Why the name change?

Bishop’s Lynn in the time of King Henry VIII had a monastery, and the monks were responsible for feeding the poor from the Church’s tithe barns, particularly in winter. The tithe barns were a vital means of local charity. But when Henry had a long-running dispute with the Pope, anybody or anything remotely connected to the Pope became fair game. Under the guise of ridding the community of corrupt priests, he confiscated monastic property around England, and the town was thus re-named Kings Lynn. But the loss of the Church’s tithe barns created great hardship for the poor.

Of course no monk has been perfect, but Henry’s allegation about the sins of monks was certainly a case of the pot calling the kettle black, when he had a great number of innocent people executed, and kept his mistresses.

Why is this relevant in 2012?

Evil political leaders have loved to cite supposed evidence of corruption in others, with a view to using their political power to gain an advantage. This has been happening since at least as far back as Ahab and Jezebel. Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard, so Jezebel utilised to slander and murder. Ahab wanted it, Ahab got it! (See I Kings 21).

In the twentieth century, totalitarian leaders turned this into an art form. The Marxists made much of the supposed sins of the “capitalist exploiters of labour,” but as Rushdoony points out,

on June 23, 1851, Helene Demuth, the Karl Marx family servant, gave birth to a son. Marx had either seduced or raped her, and Payne [Marx’s biographer] feels the slim evidence suggests that “it was rape rather than seduction.” (Robert Payne: Marx, p. 260. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.) The Communists, having made much of the bloated capitalists ravishing working girls, worked to suppress the fact that their great theoretician is the best example of this kind of exploitation, as have been most other Communists.[2]

All this should teach us something. Individual corruption is in every human heart, but when corruption moves from mere individuals to become institutionalised in government, that corruption becomes much more destructive.

There has been no greater threat to life, liberty, and property throughout the ages than government. Even the most violent and brutal private individuals have been able to inflict only a mere fraction of the harm and destruction that have been caused by the use of power by political authorities.[3]

Political powers like Henry VIII arrogate power to themselves, claiming that individuals, families and private institutions are not up to the task of what government institutions can accomplish. But historically, this tends to take place in the context of the Church’s decline in responsibility and power. Now if Christians accept this status quo; if we say, Oh, we don’t have to do anything because the government will take care of us through our taxes,” we are effectively saying that we would prefer to be slaves.

One of the surest means of enslaving another person is through dependence…This is one of the major characteristics of our modern welfare oriented society. Few persons who have received monthly welfare for any extended period of time are any longer capable of taking care of themselves.[4]

This was what the children of Israel really would have preferred, when they complained to Moses, “…it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (Ex.14:12).

But Paul’s instruction was that “…you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal.5:13).

When governments keep making promises about how much they will be able to do for the community, and how good that community will be to live in the future as a result, it’s time the Church reacted by saying, “we don’t think so,” and started picking up the responsibility ourselves, as we should have been. That means tithing a tenth of all we earn to our local church; it means the Church caring for the poor, the widows, the fatherless and the alien, as the Bible commands; it means responsibly involving ourselves in the needs of the local community: not leaving it with government.

Then you will see real power coming back to the Church, as Jesus Christ intended.

Ready to get your hands dirty?

 

 


[1] Buddy Hanson, “Rx for Turning America ‘Rightside Up,’” Part 2, in “Faith for all of Life,” Jan/Feb 2012, p.18.

[2] Rushdoony, R., “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.829.

[3] Richard Ebeling, quoted on the Rockwell website, 16/2/2009.

[4] Powell, E., and Rushdoony, R., “Tithing and Dominion,” 1979, p.122.