Law and Society (VIII)

At the present time, the existence of law is being denied. Men no longer believe that there is such a thing as a law of God; and naturally they do not believe that there is such a thing as sin. Thoughtful men, who are not Christians, are aware of the problem that this stupendous change in human thinking presents to the modern world. Now that men no longer believe that there is a law of God, now that men no longer believe in obligatory morality, now that the moral law has been abandoned, what is to be put in its place, in order that an ordinarily decent human life may be preserved upon the earth?

It cannot be said that the answers proposed for that question are as satisfactory as the way in which the question itself is put. It is impossible to keep back the raging seas of human passion with the flimsy mud embankments of an appeal either to self interest, or to what Walter Lippmann calls “disinterestedness.” Those raging seas can only be checked by the solid masonry of the law of God…[1]

Nature always abhors a vacuum. When the Church decided that the law of God was unnecessary, and that we could get along well enough with the law of man whatever the form, the world didn’t stay warm and cosy. The degeneration set in straight away.

One of the outcomes was the outrageous political doctrine of the divine right of kings. England  fought a civil war over this in the 1600’s. What did Charles I believe? Well, it was essentially like this: “God made me king. Now do it my way, or else!”

Now, that was a convenient political doctrine, wasn’t it? Forget the Bible (which has clear restrains on rulers, see Deut.17:14-20), or the constitution, or the Parliament, or democracy. If a king or some other political ruler has absolute authority, then there are no absolutes to restrain him from doing as he will. And anybody who opposes this ruler, must be a rebel!

The seventeenth century’s absolute rulers were soon followed up by the even more absolute rulers of the French Revolution, and of the twentieth century. The lesson? You get rid of the law of God from the education of children, from the minds of people and from government, and you gain a new form of absolutes, centred in the State. It was Mussolini who claimed that so far as he was concerned, “Might is Right,” and as he soon plainly stated, in “Fascism: Doctrines and Institutions:”

The fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State.[2]

Mussolini’s doctrine was a new form of the divine right idea, adapted for the twentieth century. It led to police brutality, concentration camps, gas-chambers, genocide, the deliberate bombing of cities of innocent civilians, along with many other forms of abuse that were legitimised in the twentieth century. What does this show?

The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power, totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.[3]

These are the facts of life. It is no pleasure to speak of what men will do to men, when the knowledge and law of God are removed from their hearts. But we must recognise that there are consequences for all of our actions. And when the church in utter (or wilful) ignorance decided that the law of God was obsolete for the modern world, it didn’t take long for the world to come up with its brutal substitute: “all those who hate me [God] love death” (Prov.8:36).


The Lordship of Jesus Christ in a society is not merely some kind of spiritual ideal. It means real-life, practical changes to individuals, families, churches and other institutions, including government. It means decentralisation, and the restraint of power.

If “the government will rest on His shoulders” (Isa.9:6), and we are to be “the light of the world” (Mat.5:14), Christians have a lot of work to do to bring reform. It begins with us.

The mark of a community’s commitment to liberty is its commitment to Biblical law. God’s law must be enforced.[4]

[1]Gresham Machan, “The Importance of Christian  Scholarship,” (1932), p.41-42, and “Reforming the Christian Schools,” (1925), p.62-63). Quoted in “Theonomy, an Informed Response,” 1991, p.90-91.

[2] Quoted in Di Lorenzo, T., “Fascialism: The New American System,” Lew Rockwell website, 11/6/09.


[3] R. J. Rummel, “Death by Government,” 1994.

[4] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.4.