How to Get Government off Your Back

Once Christ is left out of the transformation of society, a new change-agent must arise. The state becomes the new civilisation builder, and we’re back to political pyramidism without the gospel. All that is wrong with the world must be cured by the omnipotent state. God is no longer seen as the Provider. Only the state can provide. The church is impotent. Wealth distribution can effectively restructure society so that justice prevails. The poor will be better off. Our children will receive better education. The idea of a Christian civilisation is abandoned.[1]

People have been getting upset about the excesses, blunders and waste of government, for at least 3,000 years. It happened in Biblical times, and it happens today. And for those complaining, I have a simple solution: go stand in front of the mirror.

Why? All true political problems have a spiritual and social root. God said to Israel, “I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath” (Hos.13:11). An evil, unfaithful nation got an evil, unfaithful, murderous king as a result, despite being warned by the prophet of God what he’d be like (see I Samuel 8).

People really do get the government they deserve. And when the community chooses irresponsibility and expects its government to be its Messiah and solve all its problems, they have no one to blame but themselves when it all goes pear-shaped. And believe me, it will.

Today, this is the story all over the world, and not just in democratic countries. In the democracies, the people want certain things, and they vote for those political leaders who say they’ll provide the answers to the problems. But they don’t.

Why?

Governments can actually provide very few solutions to people’s problems, because most of our problems are personal ones. Illness, lack of money, a need for greater education, I can’t get along with my neighbour. The list goes on. Personal problems require personal responsibility. If my room’s a mess because I’ve refused to clean it up and take out the garbage, no government program’s going to fix it. I must get off my backside and deal with my room and all my personal issues.

When people say, “I really need the government to help me,” it’s their way of saying, “I’m choosing irresponsibility. Solve my problems, Mr Government man!”

The best way to deal with this is to call it what it is: sin. And sin always leads to God’s judgment. This helps us understand why we are paying such high rates of taxation throughout the world. In Australia the top rate is 47%, and we’re still in debt.

And Australia’s a Christian nation? Don’t think so!

Biblical writers confronted personal irresponsibility. Paul declared to the Thessalonians,

         If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either (II Thess.3:10).

Our modern notions of Social Security have nothing to do with the Bible. They have everything to do with promoting godlessness and sloth, at the expense of others. True, Biblical charity (which the Bible speaks much of), never endorses laziness, but requires that people do productive work pleasing their employer, or doing everything humanly possible not to be a burden on others. Furthermore, it is personal. It never relies on government for its execution.

Governments seem to be on our back, because of personal irresponsibility: ours. This first requires the personal, Biblical responsibility of Christians. It requires that the church goes back to scripture for its marching orders, just as it has had to do every time God called for a renewing of His covenant.

All the accumulated beliefs and false doctrines we’ve tolerated over generations, even centuries, will have to be dragged out of the house of God and gotten rid of, as we ask ourselves, “How are we supposed to do this?”

Rushdoony made it clear, decades ago:

The simple fact is we are at a turning point in civilization. The course of Western culture shifted slowly after 1660 from a Christian to a humanistic foundation. With the French Revolution that shift became open and explicit. Since World War I, the world has been seeing the triumph of humanism, and the suicide of civilization. We are at a turning-point in the history of the world…

Our yesterdays led to our todays. Only the suicidal can afford non-involvement in the great task of a new foundation for civilization. The foundation must not be institutional; it cannot be either church or state without unhappy consequences. It must be theological, and it must be Christian.[2]

[1] Gary DeMar & Peter Leithart, “The Reduction of Christianity,” 1988, p.320.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.478.