Edging Away from Egypt (IX)

The family in Biblical law controls three central areas of life, the control of which governs society. Any institution or agency which controls children, property, and inheritance is the determining agency in any society. Not surprisingly, the modern state, in its totalitarian designs, has invaded all three areas in varying degrees, by means of property taxes, inheritance taxes, statist schools, and laws limiting the jurisdiction of the family. The state seeks to be the new family of man.[1]

The invasions of the modern state in our modern era are legion. But because they’ve been with us now for four generations, we rather tend to think nothing of them, for they seem normal.

Let me use an example. My paternal grandmother was born in 1881. In that year, control of education by the State was fairly new in Australia, but it was accepted. There were few voices of dissent that I know of. But control of education means control of the family, and the future.

If the church want to take its God-given charge seriously, we’ll have to think about this. We’ll have to debate this. We’ll have to deal with this. We’ll have to set about the task of progressively taking back those areas of responsibility that we’ve so foolishly but happily handed over to the state. It’s no small task.

Let’s think of education, health and welfare, because these are the biggest ones. These are massive responsibilities that soak up over 60 % of taxation in most Western nations, and require a massive army of bureaucrats to administer. And the Bible makes it clear that these are tasks reserved for the individual, the family and the church, not the state.

Think of health. The modern state sees itself as the answer, invading the realm of health with laws, subsidies and all manner of invasions of the free-market, all in the name of “caring” for the average person. And what we observe, is corruption of good health care, over-servicing by doctors (because it pays them well), excessive reliance on technology, and phenomenal waste of taxpayers’ money.

We should expect this, because there really is “nothing new under the sun” (Eccles.1:9). Make a government department responsible for anything, and the cost will go up, while the quality declines.

This is much more than some political difference over the funding for government agencies. We are talking here about deep ideological and religious issues, central to the Christian faith.  The state continually tries, but it cannot be our Saviour.

Am I minimizing the challenge? Not at all. It’s huge, and it won’t be accomplished overnight, by trumpet blasts, great fanfares or media blitzes, but by individuals, families and churches steadily taking up their God-given tasks. It’ll require generations.

It cannot be directed by any human agency, as though some new and grand bureaucracy was the answer. It isn’t. It requires individual, family and church responsibility, on a local, grass-roots level. Why? Because power flows to those that take responsibility.

All of this requires a Biblical vision for what must be done, followed by the willingness to start. We don’t have to master the complete vision to commence. What we do need to do, is understand that we’ve let so much slip by us, and now is the time to commence the recovery operation.

I think it starts in education, and in parents taking up the overall responsibility to educate their children. This seems daunting to many parents, but it actually is surprisingly easy for a person with no university education to accomplish. And every great journey starts with a few small steps.

God warns us, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10)

Of course it looks impossible, small and unlikely. Like the possibilities for the children of Israel as they marched out of Egypt. Like David when he ran down to meet Goliath, with what? 5 smooth stones. Like Jesus, a month after He’d been conceived. Everything of value to God begins as something small. That seems to be God’s common purpose, which we especially see with Gideon (see Judges 7).

We begin with the small, the apparently unlikely, and what seems impossible.

And what next? We act with obedience and faith in God. What other way is there to act?


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.478.