The Beginnings of Christian Reform (39) – Reforming Government (2)

II. A Bottom Up Hierarchy-We Must Render Appropriate Service:

The second point of a Biblical covenant structure, is the establishment of a hierarchy to enforce God’s authority on earth. Even before the giving of the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, Moses’ father-in-law (Jethro) challenged Moses to begin the process of delegation of his authority:

Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times: and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace (Ex.18:19-23).

What was Jethro really saying? “You are not God; you need help. Acknowledge your weaknesses and limitations, share in the authority of being a judge, and you will not wear out these people, nor will they wear you out…that is the way of destruction.” (R. N., p.28).

Political decentralisation means that no single institution has been established by God to bring about social justice. Freedom and order are realised when men throughout a society strive to follow the blueprint God has given for the reconstruction of all family, ecclesiastical, social and political institutions (R. N., p.30). There is no freedom without the government of God, which will always be hierarchical.

Government Under God:

Christians need to understand jurisdictional diversity. Romans 13:1 instructs us to subject ourselves “to the governing authorities,” each of which is “established by God.No single earthly authority is to have our total allegiance, but we must be obedient where obedience is required by God’s law. While paying tax is law, we should do so, for we are to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”(Luke 20:25).

This means that no one institution within society is ultimate. Reclamation of multiple authorities comes about when individuals assume their responsibilities before God, and begin to transform their family. Then, those individuals can begin the process of working with others to transform their church, their school, their community, their state, and ultimately their national government (R. N., p.33).

This is a process that can take years, or even generations. But the issue is that“power flows to those who take responsibility.”If we will take on tasks which according to scripture are clearly ours, and discharge them faithfully, we can expect God to add further tasks to us, along with authority, because “where responsibility rests, authority lies.”

All rulers are to represent God, and so we are prohibited from cursing a ruler (Ex.22:28; Ro.13:1).Our understanding of spiritual authority should always prevent us from doing so, for the same reason that David restrained himself from harming King Saul (I Sam.24; 26). Nonetheless, Christian citizens are under obligation to disobey those laws that prohibit worship and the proclamation of the gospel. Furthermore, laws that require people to commit evil must be disobeyed. The Bible shows that resistance to tyranny is legitimate and often commanded (R. N., p.102-103).

The people have the responsibility to support godly leadership. Moses chose leaders who had already come through the ranks of family, business and community leadership: “Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads”(Deut.1:13). Responsibility for choosing godly leaders rested with the people, and Christians have the freedom and duty to vote for responsible leadership using the standard of God’s law as the measuring device for their political choice (R. N., p.111).

III. Plural Law Systems-Plural Gods. Neutrality is a Myth:

The third part of the Biblical covenant structure, is a set of rules or laws man must follow in exercising his dominion over the earth. God will judge man by how he follows these rules.

In Biblical terms, there is but one Law and one Lawgiver. God thought enough of His law to send His Son to keep it in every detail. If the Son of God was required to keep the law, should anything less be expected of the sons of God? Jesus was tempted at every point with respect to obeying the commands of God, yet He remained sinless throughout His life (Heb.4:15). He kept the law perfectly, and was able to offer up Himself as a lamb without blemish, to cleanse us from our sins (Heb.9:14). (R. N., p.41).

In contrast to Jesus Christ, sinful men want to be a law unto themselves. They want to be their own lawmaker and make their own standard, so that the word of human authority becomes the new law.

Modern man seeks to create a humanistic justice by means of his social planning, laws, and education, to enable himself to establish a just order apart from God. History gives us the continuing shipwrecks of all such efforts. For all such men, their laws are attempts to force their particular doctrines of justice and order on men and societies. In so doing, they affirm the claim of the tempter in Genesis 3:5, that man is his own god and law, can determine good and evil, establish the true paradise on earth, and declare God to be irrelevant and wrong.[1]

One supposed system of law which has been popular, is natural law. Christians, when they have rejected God’s law, frequently succumb to the notion that natural law could be a just alternative. But natural law is of pagan, Greek origins. It assumes that nature is not fallen, that man’s reasoning abilities are not distorted due to the Fall, and that ethics are based on philosophy and not “religious precepts.” What makes Stalin’s murder of 60 million people wrong? What makes abortion wrong? The Bible says these are wrong, but “natural law” gives us no clear answers. Law legislates either morality or immorality. When Biblical law is rejected, the result is chaos.

The modern Protestant is a child of the Enlightenment in his political outlook. The political religious pluralism which was regarded as heretical by the church, East and West, for 1700 years is today universally accepted by Protestants as somehow innately Christian and, in the words of Unitarian sceptic Thomas Jefferson, “self-evident.” The modern secular State has issued its declaration of independence from God, and American Protestants have not only agreed, they have hailed this as the very work of God in history, their source of liberation.[2]

Any attempt to institute justice in a community without a scriptural base will be a perversion of justice, for the Bible says, “By Me kings reign, and rulers decree justice”(Prov.8:15). This was what the Queen of Sheba commented on when she visited Solomon: “Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness”(I Kings 10:9).

Godly Jehoshaphat commenced reforms in his era (II Chron.19:4-11) as did Josiah (II Kings 23). Religious revival and reform in a populace, reflected in civil government includes legislative, executive and judicial functions (see Isa.33:22). Criminal behaviour needs to be dealt with through restitution or capital punishment. Placing criminals in goal is not according to scripture. They either are made responsible to provide restitution to their victims, or if their crime is a capital one, they forfeit their life.

The mark of a community’s commitment to liberty is its commitment to Biblical law. God’s law must be enforced. The countenances of the citizenry must be set against the countenances of criminals. The citizenry represents God. Their ordained civil agents represent them before the face of God and represent God before the faces of criminals. Civil authority flows from God to citizens to the civil magistrate. They are judges insofar as they bring sanctions, positive or negative, against their ordained representatives. They are told not to fear the face of man.[3]

Christians should never be embarrassed about involvement in politics or government. Like the family or the church, these are aspects of God’s created order. God has instituted all governments. The question is not, “do religion and politics mix?” Rather, it is “which religion will be mixed with politics?” Israel was not judged because it mixed religion with politics, but because it mixed the wrong religion with politics. Today, it is no different, and the potential for judgment is the same (R. N., p.127).

The Bible never condemns political involvement. As Gentry comments,

It is God who ordained governments in the first place. He is the One who establishes particular kings (Prov.16:12; Ps.119:46; 82:1-2). Therefore, He commands our obedience to rulers (Ro.13:1-3). Rulers are commanded to rule on His terms (Ps.2:10-12)…Jesus urged payment of taxes to de facto governments (Mat.22:15-22). In response to reminders of King Herod’s political threats against Him, Jesus publicly rebuked the king by calling him a vixen (Luke 12:32). He taught that a judge is unjust if he does not fear God (Luke 18:2, 6). John the Baptist openly criticised King Herod (Luke 3:19-20). Peter refused to obey authorities who commanded him to cease preaching (Acts 5:29). The apostle John referred to the Roman Empire as “the beast” (Rev.13).[4]


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Romans and Galatians,” 1999, p.353.

[2] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.39.

[3] ibid., ch.4.

[4] Kenneth Gentry, “The Greatness of the Great Commission,” 1981, quoted in Demar, p.125.

Jesus, Guns, And Self-Defence: What Does The Bible Say?

By Gary DeMar (American Vision), Apr 30, 2019 

The following article was written in 2016. The debate continues on how houses of worship should defend themselves. Does the Bible offer any help?

Good Christian? Bad Christian? It all depends on who’s doing the evaluating. The reaction to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s comments on encouraging students at Liberty University to be armed in case there is an ISIS attack at the school has led to a great deal of theological and political angst.

Brian D. McLaren, described as “one of the most influential Christian leaders in America and . . . recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America in 2005” has written a long article condemning Falwell’s comments.

There have been others. Peter Enns has written a muddled article for the Boston Globe. I’m not sure if Enns is supporting the Bible or condemning it.

Jonathan Merritt, writing for The Atlantic, has also condemned Falwell’s comments. He at least uses the Bible in an attempt to make his case but does so selectively.

McLaren’s long article about Falwell’s gun-arming message didn’t spend much time actually quoting the Bible and arguing for his opinion based on engagement with specific passages:

“For us, authentic Christianity is the loving, peaceful, just and generous way of life embodied in Jesus. It is characterized more by self-giving than self-defence, by pre-emptive peacemaking rather than pre-emptive violence.”

“Authentic Christianity” includes the whole Bible. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not nullify our responsibility to be prepared with a good “self-defence” strategy if we are ever confronted with a San Bernardino type situation. Being armed and willing to defend ourselves, our family, and our neighbours is not being unchristian or even unloving. Self-defence can go a long way to protect the innocent from people who are intent on murder for whatever reason.

How “self-giving” should Christians in Paris or San Bernardino have been when confronted with the worst kind of human evil? Would it have been more “self-giving” by dying at the hands of murderers or would it have been more loving to stop those who were pumping bullets into people?

McLaren’s article is devoid of any actual biblical argument. Jesus tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9), but He doesn’t tell us what our response should be when someone, despite our best efforts to be peaceful, still wants to steal, rape, and murder. We need to look at other parts of the Bible for help since the whole Bible is God’s word and not just the words in red.

John Piper’s anti-Falwell’s comments made it all the way to the editorial pages of the Washington Post. The same is true of evangelical preacher Robert Schenck. All of a sudden the Post is interested in what the Bible says when evangelicals come out against arming for self-defence but have no use for the Bible on the subjects of abortion and same-sex sexuality.

There’s Jesus’ injunction to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:38-39). Jesus does not say to keep turning your cheek. His message is about not escalating the situation. There’s quite a difference between slapping someone across the face and someone wanting to take a baseball bat to your head or the head of your wife and/or children. Self-defence is a biblical option in such cases. Consider this passage from biblical case law:

“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Ex. 22:2-3).

The homeowner can assume that someone breaking into his house at night has nothing but bad intentions. He may be armed or not. The homeowner does not have to ask any questions to find out. The homeowner can respond by striking the intruder “so that he dies.” If this happens, even if the attempt was only theft (unknown to the homeowner), the homeowner is cleared of all guilt in the thief’s death.

Daytime is a different story because the victim can make a better assessment of intent. If two people enter a building with AR15s and other weapons, killing these people before they kill you and others is the right thing to do. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not apply. To put it simply, there’s no time.

James B. Jordan has some helpful comments on the issue of self-defence:

Under pagan influence, Western civilization has sometimes adopted a notion of ‘fair fighting.’ There is no such thing as a fair fight. The notion of a fair fight is Satanic and barbarous. If a child or a man finds himself in a situation where an appeal to arbitration is not possible, he should fight with all he has. If the neighborhood bully catches your child on the way home from school, and your child cannot escape by fleeing, your child should poke a hole in him with a sharp pencil, or kick him in the groin. If the bully’s parents will not restrain him, call the police.
“If you or your child has been trained in self-defence, of course, you may be able to dispatch your assailant with a minimum of force. Always realize, though, that the man who attacks you, or your wife, has forfeited all his rights to ‘fair’ treatment. Women should be prepared to gouge out the eyes of any man who attacks them. (James B. Jordan, 
The Law and the Covenant: An Exposition of Exodus 21-23(Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1984), 111-112.))

In the 1959 film Ben Hur, there is a discussion between Balthasar and Judah Ben Hur about seeking revenge, which is another subject altogether and not a self-defence issue (Rom. 12:18-21):

Judah: I must deal with Messala in my own way.

Balthasar: And your way is to kill him. I see this terrible thing in your eyes, Judah Ben-Hur. But no matter what this man has done to you, you have no right to take his life. He will be punished inevitably.

Overhearing their conversation, Sheik Ilderim says, “Balthasar is a good man. But until all men are like him, we must keep our swords bright!” If all those in the world had the heart of Balthasar, then there would be no need to discuss what the right response is regarding self-defense. That’s why Paul writes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18)

The story of David and Goliath is helpful since “five smooth stones” and a “sling” are the closest equivalent to a handgun we can find in the Bible. David seems to have been armed with his sling at all times. There was no way he could run home to get his sling when a lion or a bear was about to attack his flock (1 Sam. 17:31-3741-54).

It’s possible that Jesus had the Old Testament case law in mind when offered this injunction to His disciples:

“But be sure of this, if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matt 24:43).

But of course you rarely know when someone is going to break into your house, therefore, you must be on guard all the time. The same is true in situations like Paris and San Bernardino.

But being on guard are not enough if you are unarmed and have to face an armed intruder.

In another passage, Jesus is teaching by analogy:

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armour on which he had relied and distributes his plunder” (Luke 11:21).

A fully armed strong man is a deterrent to a thief. It’s the fact that the strong man is armed that protects the potential thief from being harmed. Another strong man will think twice about ever trying to rob or harm someone who is armed.

The two San Bernardino Muslims who murdered 14 and injured 17 never would have gone to the community center if they had known the people had followed something like what Jerry Falwell Jr. was calling on the student body at Liberty University to do.

Here’s what Falwell’s critics miss: Armed people save lives by making evil people think twice about attacking a person or place where there might be some armed push back. One could say that it’s loving to be armed since it might stop someone who has evil intent from not following through with an evil act.

The most famous New Testament passage is a command of Jesus for His disciples to sell their garments and buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38). Personally, I do not believe this is a good proof text for being armed, but it does show that being armed was a norm for that time, and Jesus does not object.

Peter impetuously uses his sword against a servant of the high priest (John 18:10Matt. 26:51Luke 22:50) who had come out with a crowd armed with clubs and swords (Luke 22:52). In biblical terms, his actions were impermissible and under biblical law would have required some form of restitution of which Jesus immediately made (Ex. 21:22-25). Under normal circumstances, swords were permissible for self-defence, otherwise, why did the “chief priests and officers of the temple and elders” have them? There is, however, something else going on here of biblical theological importance that has little to do with self-defense.

However the sword passage is interpreted, at no time did Jesus condemn anyone for having a sword. The disciples lived in dangerous times (Luke 10:29-37). Furthermore, the Romans didn’t seem to have a problem with their subjects (the Jews) owning swords.

The Importance And Sacredness Of The Here And Now

By Gary DeMar, Jun 19, 2019 

On June 5-7, 2019, I spoke at the Biblical Worldview Student Conference held at Milligan College in Johnson City, TN. Two of my messages were on eschatology. I emphasized the importance of biblical optimism during attack and persecution. Young people need to believe there is a future waiting for them, that not everything is gloom and doom and escapism.

This is not a popular opinion. Prophecy writers and worldview dualists often dismiss the importance and sacredness of the here and now. Everything God created is good (Ge. 1:311 Tim. 4:4) when approached in a spirit of prayer and conformity to God’s Word.

We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Christians who had an optimistic eschatology even if they could not articulate how they obtained it.

Many Christians err by asserting that this life and the world in which we live count for very little. But this world does count. “The earth is the LORD’s and all that it contains” (Ps. 24:1). As “fellow‑heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), we possess, as a stewardship, this world. God’s gift of a good creation (Gen. 1:311 Tim. 4:1-5) requires righteous stewardship. The world and this time are not to be despised. This world and this time are the domains of God’s redemptive work. Until God decides to do something with us personally, this world and time are the only places where we can work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

“The introduction of mechanical movable type printing to Europe” by Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398-1468) “started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important invention of the second millennium, the seminal event which ushered in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.”

If you wanted a pamphlet or book copies, you had to hire someone to make a hand-written copy. For approximately 4,500 years before Gutenberg invented the printing press, books were produced by hand. They were written on surfaces of clay, papyrus, wax, and parchment. Law books, cookbooks, works of philosophy and science, great comedies and tragedies were all painstakingly copied, and all too often were lost through war and neglect.

There were very few Bibles, and the Bibles that were available were often under lock and key by the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The moveable type printing press changed everything. There were no longer any information gatekeepers.

It has been estimated that there were perhaps 30,000 books in all of Europe before Gutenberg printed his Bible; less than 50 years later, there were as many as 10 to 12 million books. Printing technology has changed in dramatic ways in just the last 30 years. Now anyone can be an author and publisher.

Natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor Robert Boyle (1627–1691) spent a portion of his fortune “to have the Bible translated into various languages” and worked with the created order for the good of humankind.

In his will and testament, Boyle “addressed his fellow members of the Royal Society of London, wishing them all success in ‘their laudable attempts, to discover the true Nature of the Works of God’ and ‘praying that they and all other Searchers into Physical Truths’ may thereby add ‘to the glory of the Great Author of Nature, and to the Comforter of mankind.’”1 This is postmillennial thinking and action.

The title of one of Boyle’s many books was The Christian Virtuoso, that is, “The Christian Scientist.” Boyle was not a single Christian voice crying in the wilderness of secular science. The membership of the Royal Society was made up of many Christians who shared Boyle’s view that “the world was God’s handiwork” and “it was their duty to study and understand this handiwork as a means of glorifying God.”2

On the archway above the wooden door of the Cavendish Laboratory, at Cambridge University, there is a Latin inscription that reads, Magna opera Domini. Exquista in omnes voluntates ejus.

The inscription had been placed there at the insistence of the physicist James Clark Maxwell, the first Cavendish professor in 1871. The inscription quotes a Psalm that reads, “Great are the words of the Lord, sought out by all who take pleasure therein.” The inscription summarized Maxwell’s inspiration for scientific study: the thought that works of nature reflect the work of a designing mind. In this belief he had been joined by many of the leading scientists of Western civilization for over four hundred years — Copernicus, Kepler, Ray, Linnaeus, Curvier, Aggassiz, Boyle, Newton, Kelvin, Farady, Rutherford — on and on the list could go.”3

Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872), “after having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age … contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code, and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.”

“While Morse was painting a portrait of Lafayette, a horse messenger delivered a letter from his father that read, ‘Your dear wife is convalescent.’ The next day he received a letter from his father detailing his wife’s sudden death. Morse immediately left Washington for his home at New Haven, leaving the portrait of Lafayette unfinished. By the time he arrived, his wife had already been buried. Heartbroken that for days he was unaware of his wife’s failing health and her death, he decided to explore a means of rapid long-distance communication.” This happened in 1825.

In 1832, the first message sent over Morse’s telegraph from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, Maryland, was, “What hath God wrought?” (Num. 23:23). What has GOD brought to pass? Overnight, the speed of information went from a few miles per hour – train, horseback, walking – to 186,000 miles per second and hasn’t gotten any faster since. The devices used to transmit voice and data were the stuff of science fiction in Morse’s day and beyond.

In 1858 Cyrus West Field (1819-1892) and the Atlantic Telegraph Company laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. On August 16, 1858, the first message sent via the cable was, “Europe and America are united by telegraphy. Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men.”

Modern-day science is built on the shoulders of Christian scientists who believed in the regularity and predictability of the created order because there was a Creator behind it all and a future to create into.

Compare what these men did in terms of their faith with the following:

John Nelson Darby, the founder of dispensational premillennialism and the pre-tribulational “rapture” of the church doctrine, the basis of the Left Behind series, taught that “the imminent return of Christ ‘totally forbids all working for earthly objects distant in time.’”4  This would have included the study of mathematics, medicine, art, music, and the sciences unless there were “immediate spiritual results.”5

Optimism about the future no matter world conditions were swirling around, what the newspaper headlines read, technical obstacles, or the seemingly impossible moral climate, Christians have always forged ahead.

We should follow their example. Instead, secularists have done a better job because they did not view time or creaturely limitations to be roadblocks to cultural advancements. The co-opted the fundamental principles of a classic Christian worldview and secularized it and turned it against us. 

  1. Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the end of Slavery (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 158.()
  2. Stark, For the Glory of God, 158.()
  3. Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York Harper/Collins, 2009), 145.()
  4. Francis William Newman, Phases of Faith; or, Passages From the History of My Creed (London: George Woodfall and Son, 1850), 35.()
  5. Newman, Phases of Faith, 37.()

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (30) Industrial Relations

Liberation and the law of God go together. God’s announcement to His people that He is the God who delivered them from Egypt, and then His presentation of the Ten Commandments, makes this connection between freedom and Biblical law inescapably clear. The Christian economist who takes God’s word seriously has a responsibility to begin to examine the case-law applications of God’s law to see where economic issues are involved, and what requirements God sets forth for economic relationships.

To abandon faith in the reliability of God’s law in economics is to abandon faith in what the Bible proclaims as the only basis of liberation, namely, liberation under the sovereign power of God, who sustains the universe and calls all men to conform themselves to His ethical standards in every area of life, in time and on earth.[1]          

Work-place problems have been with us since before Jacob and Laban (Gen.31:36-42). Problems themselves are not the issue, because wherever there are people, there are always problems. It’s how we deal with problems that’s the key, and we know that sin always magnifies problems between people. Furthermore, fools are drawn to disputes like ducks to water, and are likely to perpetuate and magnify strife.

This doesn’t imply pessimism about the possibilities for industrial relations, but practical reality.

My attitude to industrial relations flows from my attitude to economics. The basics of Christian Economics (according to Gary North, and based on the Biblical covenant model) are:

1. God owns everything.
2. Men owe God everything.
3. God establishes the ethical rules of ownership.
4. Profit and loss are the appropriate sanctions.
5. Covenant keepers inherit.

It is never a good idea to disparage employment of any kind. Even though people may think “I’ll go into my own business and be my own boss,” all bosses are really working for a customer, whoever that may be. Everyone works for someone, and must learn to serve that person or people.

Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible is being another’s servant or employee attributed second-rate status. When Abram had no apparent heirs, he planned to leave his inheritance to Eliezer, his servant (Gen.15:1-3). That was how important he considered Eliezer to be.

Justice and impartiality are critical aspects of industrial relations. The Bible warns us:

Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ to nobles, ‘Wicked ones;’ Who shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they are all the work of His hands? (Job 34:17-19).

Job (who may have lived in Abraham’s day) shows us he understood the importance of being a just employer:

If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves when they filed a complaint against me, what then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make him, and the same one fashion us in the womb? … Have the men of my tent not said, ‘Who can find one who has not been satisfied with his meat?’ (Job 31:13-15, 31)

Employees are not inevitably downtrodden, exploited and oppressed individuals. This myth was perpetuated by Dickens and enlarged by Marx, who added the notion of class warfare for good measure. It’s time both myths were discarded.

Employees and employers sometimes cannot see past their noses. I have worked for callous, indifferent and unjust employers. In 1975, when I confronted one at his home one night about money he owed me, he pointed a rifle at me. (I got the money a year later). I’ve also worked alongside many lazy, devious and thieving employees. Sin isn’t limited to one group or the other.

North comments,

The socialist endorses some version of egalitarianism. He insists that the primary economic role of civil government is forcibly to redistribute income and capital toward equality. The socialist regards great disparities of wealth as morally objectionable and therefore socially objectionable…

Egalitarianism is a false ideal. The Bible not only does not recommend the use of force to redistribute wealth, it presents wealth as a legitimate success indicator.[2]

The politics of envy has detrimentally affected how people view employment. Envy is different to jealousy, because it has an evil, destructive component. Jealousy says, “I’d like to have what he has.” Envy says, “I resent what he has, and I’ll work to ensure that if I can’t have it, he can’t have it either.”

Jesus identified envy’s evil in His Parable of the Vineyard (Mat.20:1-16). Furthermore, the Bible specifically shows that the chief priests were motivated by envy in wanting to see Jesus executed, and Pilate knew it (Mat.27:18). Envy can thus be a pre-curser to murder.

Soldiers questioned John the Baptist:

“And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14).[3]

The scripture teaches us that “Do two men walk together unless they have made an agreement?” (Amos 3:3, marginal reading). Thus employer-employee agreements are essential. Australia’s highly regulated arbitration and wage-fixing system is inefficient and unbiblical, being centralised, inflexible and taxpayer funded. Only those who cannot resolve their disputes easily should have to pay for resolution.

All issues in the workplace are a matter for employees and employers to resolve among themselves, ideally without recourse to an outside authority. If employees and employers cannot relate to one another constructively in the work-place, it will ultimately cost them. They may wish to seek outside help (ie mediation), but they should be the ones responsible to pay for it, not the taxpayer. This encourages decentralisation and local responsibility, and should mean better workplace relations.

Employees can make some fundamental errors in terms of work-place conditions. They may proclaim, “We want our rights: a 38 hour week, penalty rates for shift-work and overtime, our 17.5%  leave loading, four weeks annual leave, eight paid public holidays annually, long-service leave, and 12% superannuation.” All of these things may have been aspects of the past, but there is no guarantee they will remain in the future, because business success and continued employment always hinge on continued profitability.

Employees who ignore the issue of profitability are the worst people to negotiate with employers on behalf of others. Why? Because in their ignorance and folly, they can drive a workplace to the wall. Without consistent profitability, any workplace is finished.

If companies around the world don’t have the workplace luxuries we presently enjoy in Australia, they may be at an advantage when competing against us. This requires great wisdom and flexibility on the part of employees to recognise when the writing is on the wall, and to act accordingly.

A profitable company is more likely to pass on employment longevity. The workplace can be one of unity and harmony, without fear and intimidation. But always, “keeping away from strife is an honour for a man, but any fool will quarrel” (Prov.20:3). Employees and employers have a vested interest in working out matters between them, and ensuring profitability. In adverse circumstances, this may require taking cuts in pay and conditions.

Employees may negotiate as individuals, or through another chosen person or institution of their choice. This makes way for the role of the private mediator, who can come between employers and employees and assist them to resolve differences. The role of a mediator is an important and a legitimate one, Biblically. (See Job 9:33; I Tim.2:5; Heb.9:15).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                    Employees and employers have a vested interest in sorting out differences amicably. This requires wisdom and flexibility, along with a commitment to dealing ethically.

Sin always muddies the waters in relationships, compounding problems between people. Successful workplace relations requires respect from employers and employees towards one another, as they work together towards the mutual goals of workplace justice and company profitability.


[1] Gary North, “The Sinai Strategy,” 1986, p.23-24.

[2] Gary North, “Wisdom and Dominion,” 2012, p.152.

[3] In 1975 I worked briefly for a road construction company driving tractors, on $14/day. Thinking this rate was somewhat low, I spoke about this to a Christian friend, who advised me (paraphrasing John the Baptist) to “be content with your wages.” But I discovered that the Award rate for this job was $22/day, and when I challenged the management about this, they agreed to pay me the Award.

Is Rebuilding The Temple The Next Event On The Prophetic Timeline?

By Gary DeMar (American Vision.org), Apr 15, 2019 

An Israeli political party official wants to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He doesn’t want to wait for years. He wants to begin now. Of course, there’s a practical problem because the Muslim Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Then there’s the theological problem. Rebuilding the temple excites modern-day prophecy “experts” who claim the temple must be rebuilt to fulfill Bible prophecy. The thing of it is, there is nothing in the New Testament about a rebuilt temple. Rebuilt-temple advocates Thomas and Randall Price admit, “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple.’”1

Even so, they claim “that there will be a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem at least by the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation period.”2 As we will see, the Bible says no such thing. (For a biblical study of how prophecy writers get a future “seven-year tribulation period,” see my book Truth About the Rapture).

When Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, one third-temple advocate wrote, “Trump’s role [is] similar to the one played by Cyrus, the Persian king who ended the Babylonian exile and helped build the Second Jewish Temple.” The difference is that we’re told in the Bible that Cyrus would be instrumental in rebuilding the temple after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. (WND) In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah there are four commands by Median and Persian kings that refer to rebuilding the post-exile temple (Ezra 1:1-114:246:1-12; 7:7-26Neh. 2:1-8), and a direct reference in Isaiah 44:26-28 that Cyrus would be involved in rebuilding the post-exile temple. As we’ll see, there is no comparable scriptural support in the NT for rebuilding the temple again.

Available at American Vision

A Literal Reading of the Bible Means No Rebuilt Temple
Does the Bible predict that a third temple will be built, one following Solomon’s temple and the post-exile temple that was still standing and going through a period of renovation in Jesus’ day? Don Stewart and Chuck Missler insist,

The crucial issue boils down to how we interpret prophecy. There are two basic ways to interpret Bible prophecy. Either you understand it literally or you do not. If a person rejects the literal interpretation then they [sic] are left to their own imagination as to what the Scripture means…. We believe it makes sense to understand the Scriptures as literally requiring the eventual construction and desecration of a Third Temple.3

The authors are careful to say only that another rebuilt temple is required. A third temple is required only if your end-time system requires a rebuilt temple. Jesus’ completed redemptive work makes the need for a rebuilt temple unnecessary. His ministry begins with the declaration that He is our tabernacle (John 1:14), “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29), “the temple” (John 2:19-21), and the “chief cornerstone” (Matt. 21:42Acts 4:11Eph. 2:20). By extension, believers are “as living stones, … being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Those “in Christ” are the true temple of God (1 Cor. 3:162 Cor. 6:16Eph. 2:21Rev. 21:22).

Jesus and the people of God are the focus of the only temple that has any redemptive significance. To be “in Christ” is to be in the temple and all it stood for, “the renewed centre and focus for the people of God”4 (Rom. 12:51 Cor. 1:230Gal. 3:14285:6). The NT references to the temple of stone only refer to its destruction (Matt. 24:1-2) never its reconstruction. It is significant that “Jesus never gives any hint that there will be a physical replacement for this Temple. There is no suggestion, either in the Apocalyptic Discourse or elsewhere, that this destruction will be but a preliminary stage in some glorious ‘restoration’ of the Temple.”5

A Shadow of Things to Come
The original temple was a shadow of things to come. It was designed to be a temporary edifice looking forward to the completed work of Jesus Christ. For dispensationalists to insist that another temple is needed to complete some type of covenantal obligation with the Jews goes against the entire NT and makes the “first covenant … faultless,” with “no occasion sought for a second” (Heb. 8:7). Let the Bible settle the issue:

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises (Heb. 8:1-6).

The writer of Hebrews declares that Jesus entered “through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation” (9:11). Since Jesus completed His redemptive work, any new temple “made with hands” is not much different from a pagan temple that has no inherent life or redemptive value (cf. Acts 17:2419:262 Cor. 5:1). “[T]he description of the Jerusalem Temple as ‘made with hands’ . . . is a strong means of playing down its significance. This had been a way of belittling the pagan idols (e.g. Ps. 115:4; cf. Isa. 46:6); to describe the Temple in such a fashion was potentially incendiary.”6 This is because “the author of Hebrews believed the Jerusalem Temple was but a ‘shadow’ of the reality now found in Christ (8:5).”7 The “new covenant” had made the “old covenant” obsolete (8:13).

No Third Temple Mentioned
Stewart and Missler have made it simple for us to determine whether the Bible addresses the issue of a rebuilt temple. If the Bible is interpreted literally, the need for a third temple should be explicitly stated. What biblical evidence do they offer to support their claim that “the Bible, in both testaments, speaks of a Temple that has yet to appear”?8 From the OT they use Daniel 9:2711:31, and 12:11 for support. Ice and Price can find only one verse for support (Dan. 9:27).

Since Daniel was written after Solomon’s temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC (2 Kings 25:8-9Dan. 1:1-2) and before the second temple had been built by the returning exiles (Ezra 6:13-15), it stands to reason that the “sanctuary” whose “end will come with a flood” (Dan. 9:26) must refer to the second temple that had not been built at the time the prophecy was given. It was this post-exile rebuilt temple that was desecrated but not destroyed by Antiochus Epiphanes around 170 BC After a period of misuse and disuse, Herod the Great restored and enlarged this second temple, a project that started around 20 BC. It was this same temple that Zacharias served in (Luke 1:9), that Jesus was taken to as an infant (2:27), that had been under construction for forty-six years when Jesus prophesied that He would be its permanent replacement (John 2:20), that Jesus cleansed of the money changers (Matt. 21:12), that He predicted would be left desolate (Matt. 23:3824:2), whose veil was “torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51), and that was finally destroyed by Titus in AD 70.

Is there any indication in the three passages from Daniel that we are to skip over what we know was a rebuilt temple, the temple that was standing in Jesus’ day, and look for another unmentioned third temple? Would Jews living in the first century have made the historical leap over the temple that was standing before them and suppose Jesus was describing yet another rebuilt temple? As Ice and Price admit, the Bible does not say anything about another temple. The passages from Daniel cited by Stewart and Missler and Ice and Price can easily find their fulfillment in the rebuilt temple that was standing during the reign of Antiochus (Dan. 11:3112:11) and the second temple’s destruction in AD 70 (9:27). In fact, Ice and Price find the fulfillment of Daniel 11:31 in the sacrilegious acts of Antiochus:

The abomination of desolation was something that took place the first time through Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C. when he stopped the sacrifices and desecrated the second Temple by sacrificing an unclean pig on the altar and setting up in its place a statue of Jupiter. This literally fulfilled Daniel 11:31. Therefore, these future events will be similar in kind to the prototypes—they will be real, historical events in a last days’ Temple.9

Daniel only mentions one sanctuary (8:11, 13; :26; 9:17, 26; 11:31; cf. 12:11). What indication does the reader have that two temples are in view? The temple that Jesus said would be torn down and dismantled stone by stone was the “last days’ Temple,” the only one mentioned by Daniel. We know that the last days were a first-century reality, not the prelude to the period of time just before a pre-tribulational rapture: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1-2; cf. Acts 2:17James 5:3).

Now we are left with Daniel 9:27 as the only verse from the OT that Ice and Price contend supports the need for a third temple. But there is a problem with their reasoning. They argue that “the city and sanctuary” in Daniel 9:26 refers to Herod’s temple that was destroyed when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in AD 70 (Luke 21:6): “Jesus, seeing Himself as the Messiah, therefore saw the Romans as the people … who will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Knowing that He would soon be cut off (crucified), He likewise knew that the Temple’s destruction would soon occur.”10 In the span of two verses, these authors find two temples, one in Daniel 9:26and another one in 9:27, separated by 2000 years. As a careful reader will note, the “sanctuary” (temple) mentioned in Daniel 9:26 is not mentioned in 9:27. This means that Daniel 9:27 is describing events related to the already mentioned sanctuary of 9:26 which Ice and Price say refers to the temple that was standing in Jesus’ day.

Available at American Vision

For Ice and Price to find another rebuilt temple, Daniel 9:27would have to say something like this: “After an unspecified period of time, he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering in the third sanctuary; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction of the third sanctuary, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Of course, not one word of this is found in Daniel 9:27.11

What Does the New Testament Say?
Since we’ve seen the OT doesn’t say anything about a third temple, maybe the NT says something about it. Stewart and Missler and Ice and Price claim to have incontrovertible biblical evidence for a rebuilt temple in three NT passages: Matthew 24:152 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and Revelation 11:1-2. On Matthew 24:15, Stewart and Missler write: “Jesus spoke of this prophecy being still future to His time (Matthew 24:15).”12 This is true. But the rebuilt temple was still standing when Jesus said that “the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet” would stand “in the holy place.” Notice the audience context: “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet” (Matt. 24:15). When who sees it? When “you see it,” that is, when those in Jesus’ audience of that generation see it. Ice and Price never explain the audience reference “you.”

If Jesus had a distant future audience in view, He would have said: “when they see the abomination of desolation.” Here’s their interpretation of Matthew 24:15: “‘The holy place’ is a reference to the most sacred room within Israel’s Temple. What temple? The third Temple, since it is a future event.”13 Yes, it was a future event in around AD 30. The destruction took place before their generation passed away (Matt. 24:34), in AD 70. There is no mention of a future rebuilt temple or even an implied reference. Jesus does not say, “When they see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the rebuilt holy place.” The holy place, the sanctuary, was right before their eyes: “His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him … not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (Matt. 24:1-2).

Available at American Vision

Ice and Price argue that “the apostle Paul gives us perhaps the clearest passage relating to the third Temple in 2 Thessalonians 2:34.”14 Since Paul wrote before the rebuilt temple was destroyed in AD 70, what is it in these verses that told the Thessalonians that the temple in which “the man of lawlessness” was to take his seat was another rebuilt temple? Paul does not describe “the temple” (lit. sanctuary) as a rebuilt temple. What would have led his original audience to conclude that he was referring to, using Ice and Price’s words, “the future third Temple,” when the temple was still standing in Jerusalem when he wrote his letter to them? “The man of lawlessness” was being restrained “now,” that is, in their day (2:6, 7) and “the mystery of lawlessness was already at work,” and the Christians at Thessalonica knew the identity of the restrainer (2:6). (For a verse-by-verse study of 2 Thessalonians 2, see my book Last Days Madness, chaps. 22 and 23.)

Third-temple advocates try to muster support for their position by referencing the book of Revelation 11:1-2. They begin by assuming that Revelation was written nearly three decades after the temple was destroyed.15 From this unproven assumption, they conclude that John must be measuring a rebuilt temple. The passage says nothing about a rebuilt temple. The words “shortly,” “near,” and “quickly” (Rev. 1:133:1122:71012) are used to describe the time when the events outlined in Revelation were to take place. These words are meaningless if the events have not taken place in this very symbol-laden book. The fact that John is told to “rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it” (11:1), is prima facie evidence that the temple was still standing when John received the Revelation (1:1).

How could John have measured a temple that did not exist in his day? Ice and Price insist that the temple John was told to measure was a literal stone temple, not a “spiritual temple.” “For example, in Matthew 24 Jesus is speaking about a literal Temple, since in the context of the passage He is standing and looking directly at the second Temple.”16 I agree. John was told to measure the literal Temple that still had worshipers in it, the same temple Jesus taught in (Luke 2:41-5219:4121:37), cleansed (Matt. 21:12), and Titus destroyed in AD 70. In all of Jesus’ teaching, He never mentioned that the temple would be rebuilt after He said it would be destroyed before their generation passed away (Matt. 24:34).

Conclusion
The burden of proof is on rebuilt-temple advocates to come up with one verse that unequivocally states that a rebuilt temple is required to fulfill some end-time prophetic program. Since they admit that “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple,’” we must conclude that end-time temple advocates’ preoccupation with a rebuilt temple is misguided. What if Israel rebuilds the temple? It won’t have anything to do with Bible prophecy because (1) the Bible does not say anything about another rebuilt temple, (2) it would be an affront to the finished work of Jesus Christ if one was ever built, (3) the Jerusalem in Paul’s day (“present Jerusalem”) “is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free” (Gal. 4:25-26), (4) since the coming of the true temple (Jesus Christ) we come “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22) where there is “no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple” (Rev. 21:22), and (5) by extension “we are the temple of the living God” because God dwells in us (2 Cor 6:16-171 Cor. 3:16).

  1. Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992), 197-198.()
  2. Ice and Price, Ready to Rebuild, 198.()
  3. Don Stewart and Chuck Missler, The Coming Temple: Center Stage for the Final Countdown (Orange, CA: Dart Press, 1991), 193.()
  4. Timothy J. Geddert, Watchwords: Mark 13 in Markan Eschatology (Sheffield, England: JSOT, 1989). Quoted in Peter W. L. Walker, Jesus and the Holy City: New Testament Perspectives on Jerusalem (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 9.()
  5. Walker, Jesus and the Holy City, 8.()
  6. Walker, Jesus and the Holy City, 10.()
  7. Walker, Jesus and the Holy City, 208.()
  8. Stewart and Missler, The Coming Temple, 194.()
  9. Ice and Price, Ready to Rebuild, 200-201. Emphasis added.()
  10. Ice and Price, Ready to Rebuild, 68.()
  11. For an exposition of Daniel 9:24-27, see Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, 4th ed. (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999), chap. 25.()
  12. Stewart and Missler, The Coming Temple, 194.()
  13. Stewart and Missler, The Coming Temple, 199.()
  14. Ice and Price, Ready to Rebuild, 199.()
  15. For a defense of a pre-A.D. 70 date of composition for Revelation, see Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation, 2nd ed. (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999).()
  16. Ice and Price, Ready to Rebuild, 200.()

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (29)

International Relations-Part 2

III. God’s World Government Through Biblical Law:

The third aspect of the Biblical covenant is law, specifically Biblical law.[1]

Obeying the laws of God is to become a way of life for all men. The covenant-keeper is supposed to talk about the law from morning to night as he works beside his children. [Deut.6:8] The law governs every aspect of our lives, and so we are to talk about it throughout the day. Our very conversations are to remind us of the comprehensive nature of God’s law. Because God’s law is comprehensive, our discussion of the law is to be comprehensive. Every covenant-keeper is to become an expert in the law of God. He is to think about it, discuss it, and explore its implications every day. Men are to discuss God’s law daily because they are to honour it daily through obedience. [2]

The principle of leaven which Jesus spoke of (see Mat.13:33), is this: God’s kingdom progressively replaces Satan’s as the dominant power in world history. Leaven is silent, and it seems unimpressive; but it gets the job done.

After the resurrection, the disciples came to a mountain. Like the mountain Garden of Eden, where God gave the law to Adam, and like Mt. Sinai, where God gave the law to Moses, so was this mountain in Galilee: Christ gave them the law. He gave them His Great Commission. Christians are to make disciples of the nations. They are to bring the nations under the discipline of Christ, through the law of God –“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Mat.28:18).

Christians must discipline the nations. This discipline begins with self-discipline under God’s law. What we must understand, however, is that it does not end with self-discipline. This is what Protestants and traditional conservatives have long ignored (HON, p.82). The universalism of the Great Commission must be recognised by Christians. God requires that nations submit to Him covenantally: legally, formally and publicly, and that they obey His law.

For two thousand years, Christians have resisted this. They have cried, “We’re not under law; we’re under grace,” implying that God’s law is irrelevant in the New Testament context. Then they have wondered why the world around them has been dominated by oppression, tyranny and bloodshed. Is there a correlation? Of course. As a consequence, the church has generally been willing to substitute natural law for God’s law, being unable (or unwilling) to recognise that natural law is a humanistic, pagan substitute that leads directly to oppression, injustice and tyranny.

Man’s problem has never been a lack intellectual ability. Man’s problem has always been sin: a lack of ethics; his unwillingness to submit to God. Biblical ethics, not intellect (beginning with a recognition that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world), is the key to righteousness, whether it be for the individual, the family, the church, the community or the nation.

Christians have understood the universal claims of Jesus on the hearts of men, but they have continued to ignore the universal claims of Christ on the mind, lives, and public allegiances of men. They have not restructured their worldview in terms of the idea that God is King of kings and Lord of lords. God has laid down the law to mankind, yet His disciples have paid very little attention to God’s law, generation after generation, century after century. They think that they can escape the requirement of the Great Commission to discipline the nations (HON, p.96). Where the Bible speaks of “nations,” we have substituted “individuals.”

It is time for Christians to abandon the myth of natural law. It is time for them to declare instead the covenants of God. It is time for them to proclaim the ethical terms of the covenant, God’s revealed law, for God is the Sovereign Creator who governs all of history. It is time to abandon the myth of neutrality. If “natural law” really is a Greek, pagan construction with no absolutes, and no relationship to Biblical law, there is no alternative to a Biblical, bottom-up theocracy.

IV. Nations with Rival Covenants are Always at War-Alliances are not Covenants:

The fourth point of the covenant structure is judgment. God imposes dual sanctions in history: blessings and cursings.

Peace is therefore seen in the Bible as the ability militarily to wage war successfully, if necessary. But what about turning swords into ploughshares? If peace really means preparation for war, how can swords be converted into ploughshares? They cannot be, until the enemies of God have died on the field of battle, or else have retreated or surrendered. Christian international relations can seek military disarmament only if Christians affirm the legitimacy of, and work toward, national and international covenantal commitment to God. Only if nations as nations affirm the covenant of Christ can international relations progressively attain peace.[3]

The goal of godly foreign policy is to conduct the earthly war of God against enemy nations, but to do so if possible without resorting to armed conflict. The goal is long-term peace through the public covenantal surrender to God of all the nations that are presently enemies of God. Foreign policy is to seek out avenues of long-term peace, but on Christ’s terms: surrender. Only then can swords safely be beaten into ploughshares (HON, p.102-103).

Should Christians be peaceful people? Yes, for the Bible commands us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Ps.34:14). But the previous part of the verse instructs us to “depart from evil and do good.” We also know that while Jesus Christ is “the Prince of Peace” (Isa.9:6), He is also “a warrior” (Ex.15:3). He said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mat.10:34). Christians are involved in a spiritual conflict.

Our conflict is not primarily with people (Eph.6:10-12), but it does involve people. People who are at war with God (James 4:4), will generally be in conflict with God’s people, and sometimes this involves physical weapons. People outside Christ have a different understanding of “peace,” to what the Bible teaches. Furthermore, Christians must ensure that they do not unwittingly identify with humanistic schemes of pacifism, which will probably be disastrous.

Thus, Christians can and must claim peace as their goal, but only on God’s terms. It must be the product of covenantal faithfulness throughout the world. If armies are not to cross borders, there must be a covenantal peace offensive. This peace offensive is the preaching of the gospel. It must not be the false promised peace of perpetual coexistence with evil. It is the limited but growing peace that God grants to victors in the spiritual wars of life (HON, p.105).

Diplomatic Relations:

Diplomacy means working out differences. There is no way to work out differences between nations that are ideologically, officially, and continually engaged at war against each other. Only a nation led by fools or knaves maintains diplomatic relations with rival nations that openly intend to destroy them. The standard argument against breaking diplomatic relations goes along these lines:  “We cannot ignore the existence of a superpower like the Communist China.” Nonsense; diplomatic relations have nothing to do with the public acknowledgment of a nation’s existence. During a shooting war, nothing is clearer than a rival nation’s existence, but upon either nation’s declaration of war, diplomatic relations are mutually severed between them.

The issue is pure and simple: formal recognition of a nation means that another nation accepts it as being part of the “family of acceptable nations.”… The idea of permanent ideological warfare until one or the other culture is destroyed or conquered is foreign to those who seek the formal, visible, covenantal unity of mankind. Granting or continuing diplomatic recognition, like breaking recognition and recalling one’s ambassador and consulate officials, is a moral and judicial act, an acknowledgement of another nation’s moral and legal legitimacy among the community of free nations. It has meaning far beyond the mere acknowledgment of a nation’s existence or even its right to exist (HON, p.115-116).

There can never be peace in history outside of Christ. There can be temporary cease-fire agreements, but never a lasting peace. What Christians must understand is that peace is attained through the preaching of the gospel and the discipline of the nations. There is no other way. God will not permit peace on any other terms. War and peace are always covenantal concepts. As long as God and Satan are engaged in a spiritual, historical, and cosmic battle, so their covenanted disciples will be engaged in spiritual, historical, and earthly conflict. Foreign policy must be restructured in every Christian nation to reflect this struggle. It, too, must be reconstructed in terms of the Bible. The goal is international peace, but only on Christ’s terms (HON, p.118-119).

The Old Testament prohibition against covenants with foreign nations referred specifically to covenants between the Israelites and the nations of Canaan: “You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods” (Ex.23:32). By implication, it now prohibits any formally covenanted Christian nation from establishing a covenant with any non-Christian nation (HON, p.197).

The Bible specifically says that Abram’s relationship with his neighbours, was one as with “allies” (Gen.14:13). Why is this an important difference? Firstly, they were his local acquaintances; they were locals, so they shared the legitimate common interests of neighbours. A peaceful locality was in their interests, and Abram was prepared to go along with them to war, if the occasion required it (Gen.14:13-24).

So at different times, it would be practical for them as locals to work together for a specific goal. When Abram went to rescue Lot, and Aner, Eshcol and Aner accompanied him, Abram saw to it that they were reimbursed for their trouble. So, they had a limited but important level of relationship, which meant they could accomplish certain goals together.

The limitations on Abram’s relationship with these men were almost certainly based on the fact that they were not of the same faith of Abraham; thus they were clearly not linked covenantally. Even with Sodom, Abram was prepared to have a temporary defensive alliance, for a specific goal (the release of Lot).

Abram’s godly and practical relationship with his neighbours, is in stark contrast with Jehoshaphat’s foolish relationship with Ahab. Having already allied himself in an evil and destructive alliance by marriage with Ahab, Ahab seeks to take this one step further. He puts on a feast for Jehoshaphat, and invites him to join him in making aggressive war against Ramoth-gilead (II Chron.18:1-3). Jehoshaphat’s reply is most illuminating: “I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle.”

This is the language of covenant and of marriage, reflected in Adam’s initial description of his relationship with Eve (Gen.2:23-24) and in Ruth’s commitment to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17). Jehoshaphat is only saved from battlefield death by a miracle (II Chron.18:30-31), and earns himself a rebuke from the prophet (II Chron.19:1-4). Strangely, Jehoshaphat does not learn from this mistake, but repeats it, and earns another prophet’s rebuke (II Chron.20:35-37). Paul warns us, Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (II Cor.6:14)

Every aspect of life must come under the public rule of Christ (I Cor.15:24-25). This is why the basis of progressive public peace (though never perfect peace on sinful earth) is the successful waging of spiritual warfare by Christians. Public peace can only be established in history through public covenantal (representative) conquest by Christ the King. All other forms of peace are either temporary cease-fire agreements or deceptions by the enemies of Christ. International relations must be governed by this fundamental Biblical principle of history (HON, p.202).

It is our job as Christians to work constantly to plunder Satan’s house, in every area of life. This is what dominion means. This is what serving as the leaven of God’s kingdom means (Mat. 13:33). It is what it means to be an ambassador for Christ, a disciple of Christ, disciplining the nations. This involves pitting Satan’s less consistent followers against his more consistent followers. In foreign relations, this is the equivalent of exorcising demons. But it necessarily involves exercising good judgment. We must distinguish between friend and foe. This is what the foreign policy of the West, and especially the United States, has failed to do for over two generations (HON, p.210).

Alliances to Spoil Satan’s House:

A Christian nation should distinguish between six types of nations: 1) Christian nations that are covenanted with each other; 2) Christian nations that for some reason are outside the covenanted group or groups; 3) pagan allies that are nonetheless on the side of God’s representative nation or nations if war with pagan empires breaks out; 4) pagan neutral nations that are sitting on the fence, weighing costs and benefits of choosing one side or the other; 5) pagan nations that are aligned with the empire; and 6) pagan empires that are determined to serve as international satanic leaven (HON, p.207).

The Christian nations must be prepared to strengthen their allies in order to weaken our enemies. The principle of “divide and conquer” is Biblical (see Mat.12:24-26, 29). It has been said that “nothing succeeds like success,” but it can also be said that nations like people, are more easily persuaded by success than by shouting. Evangelism by visible success has a clear Biblical precedent (Joshua 2:8-12; 9:22-24; I Kings 10:1-9; Acts 3:9-10) which Christians should be awake to.

V. God’s Legacy of Progressive Peace:

The fifth part of a Biblical covenant is a program of inheritance– a lawful transition that mortal men need in order to extend their dominion over creation.

The goal of foreign policy is peace. This means peace on God’s covenantal terms. There is no other basis of lasting peace: personally, locally, nationally, or internationally. God does not offer rebellious mankind peace on any other basis. To be at war with God covenantally is to abandon the only basis of peace on earth.[4]

Almost everybody proclaims that they want peace. The Biblical ideal of swords being hammered into ploughshares (Isa.2:4; Mic.4:3), appeals to most, until they consider their requirement to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So far as true peace is concerned, it is at root an ethical issue for “the righteous nation” (Isa.26:2). International peace has mostly been an illusion, because those who proclaimed that they were seeking it have mostly been at war with God (and thus with others), in their hearts. The individual or nation at war covenantally with God, will never find peace in this life or the next.

Jesus did not come to bring us peace in this world. He brings us peace with God which assures us of conflict with God’s enemies. The search for peace goes on, but Christ alone brings perfect peace through perfect victory. He gives it definitively to His people when they are converted. He brings it progressively in history. He fulfils it finally at the last judgment. (HON, p.122).

Ambassadors or Diplomats?

The problem with Western foreign policy [today] is that it is conducted by diplomats for the sake of those elitists who benefit from continued trade with the enemy. The economic deal-doers have taken control of the policy-making organizations… Diplomats are specialists in softening rival positions, trading with the other side. The result has been a steady retreat by the West in the face of danger for over three generations… An ambassador is to represent the national interests of his country. He is not a professional negotiator. Negotiators are useful professionals, but only when a nation is negotiating with its allies. They should not be let anywhere near a self-identified enemy. We should not trade with the enemy, so we need to keep specialists in trading (that is, economics or politics) completely out of the picture (HON, p.132).

A pre-occupation with commerce has muddied the waters, and weakened the foreign policy of western nations. Thus, as one shrewd observer wrote in 1984, “for both constitutional reasons and reasons connected with the peculiarities of totalitarian politics, the State Department [of the U. S.] is not the proper agency to formulate and execute foreign policy toward the Soviet Union or any other totalitarian state. These states play by different rules and must be dealt with accordingly.”[5]

We need ambassadors who understand the theological nature of the confrontation, and who will press the claims of Christ. Diplomats can negotiate the details with covenanted allies, pagan allies, and even neutrals. They should not be allowed to negotiate with hostile nations. They do not possess the required skills (HON, p.137).

Clearly, the inheritance of the earth by the covenant people of God is a long-term process. It is cumulative. It necessarily involves a transfer of assets from the unjust to the just. Those who obey God’s covenant laws steadily inherit the inheritance of those who disobey God’s covenant laws. Thus, the covenantal process of cumulative inheritance necessarily involves the covenantal process of cumulative disinheritance.[6]

In Summary:

  1. The goal of international relations is peace with God, not peace with Satan. 
  2. International relations must face the fact that nations seek to impose their will on other nations, just as God seeks to impose His will on His enemies.
  3. Christian nations must trust in God, not weapons.
  4. We are not to go unarmed into battle, however: David and Goliath.
  5. Christian foreign policy is to seek the surrender of the nations of the world to God through an international covenant.
  6. Peace is the fruit of a previous victory, though not usually a military victory.
  7. Perfect peace comes only at the last judgment.
  8. Perfect peace is a legitimate goal in history, but impossible to attain.
  9. Perfect peace, perfect victory, and perfect humanity are found only in the Person of Christ.
  10. This perfection is imputed to us definitively at the point of conversion.
  11. Peace with God produces conflict with God’s enemies.
  12. Humanists seek their peace through conquest or international agreement.
  13. Swords are turned into plowshares as the enemies of God surrender covenantally and nationally to God.
  14. If there is no such thing as a Christian nation, there can be no such thing as international peace in this world.
  15. God lures sinful empires to turn plowshares into swords as preliminary acts of aggression
  16. against Christian nations.
  17. This act of rebellion then brings destruction to the rebels.
  18. Tyrants eventually “overplay their hand.”
  19. Arms control is an illegitimate international goal.
  20. What is valid is the conversion of offensive weapons to defensive weapons in Christian nations.
  21. Unilateral disarmament is illegitimate Biblically.
  22. The goal of a war should be victory.
  23. Diplomats are peace-seekers, not people who can deal successfully with war.
  24. Christian nations should confine the use of diplomats to relations among nations that are not declared enemies.
  25. Ambassadors should press the claims of Christ on every nation.
  26. The international goal of history is the unconditional surrender of all nations to God (HON, p.137-138).

Conclusion:

One of the greatest challenges in our era, is convincing Christians how important they could be both in their own nation, and amongst the nations of the world. Christians have been reluctant to believe that their mission could be beyond individuals and families. We have believed the gospel, but we have had difficulty believing that the gospel of Jesus Christ had an application beyond these spheres. This has resulted in a comprehensive lack of effectiveness beyond the realm of the individual.

Until Christians start taking the offensive by preaching the whole counsel of God, the absolute sovereignty of God, and the gospel of comprehensive redemption, they will remain covenantal subordinates to the retreating humanists of the West. They will remain on the side of the losers (HON, p.237).

But all this can change. It will change at some point, when believers wake up to the fact that they have been seriously neglecting their responsibilities before God, and that the promised land of the whole world awaits them. What must we realise?

That Christians are ambassadors of reconciliation: primarily, the reconciliation of man to God, and secondarily, the reconciliation of covenant-keeping men to each other. Christians are assigned the task of announcing to the whole world that the gospel of Christ alone offers hope to the world. God is reconciling the world to Himself in history through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is God’s program for healing the nations. No other program, no other faith, no other plan can work. This is the only basis of permanent peace that God offers to men and nations in history (HON, p.233).

 

 


[1] For more on this, see Gary North, “Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus,” 1988.

[2] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, Ch.28.

[3] North, “Healer of the Nations,” p.125.

[4] North, ibid, p.121.

  [5] R. Pipes, “Survival is not Enough: Soviet Realities and America’s Future,”1984, p.275.

  [6] North, ibid.p.217.

MORE ANTI-CULTURE WAR COMMENTS FROM JOHN MACARTHUR

By Gary DeMar, May 29, 2019

In Pastor John MacArthur’s anti-Culture Wars video, he said the following: “I don’t think it matters if you go to hell as a policeman or a prostitute. What matters is that you are going to hell!” Preaching the gospel so people won’t go to hell is the priority. The question is, what should the redeemed do in this life and does the world have meaning for Christians this side of heaven? Does working to make the world a better place for people to live something Christians should be engaged in?

Warring against pagan culture is defensive and necessary, but they are not enough. God’s Word is offensive in two ways. It’s offensive to those who hate the things of God (1 Pet. 2:7-8) and it’s offensive in that it is future-oriented and derivatively creative as image bearers of God think His thoughts after Him and act on them. (Yes, I know that I’m using offensive in different ways.)

Dr. D. James Kennedy (1930-2007), who served as the Senior Minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, was one of the biggest advocates of the Gospel first through the Evangelism Explosion program, changed lives second, and culture third. Culture included family, education, politics, and everything else. Dr. Kennedy was at the forefront of getting Christians involved in the political process to keep the political beast at bay. He spoke often on the topic of the Cultural Mandate.

God has given us the Cultural Mandate. “This is my Father’s world… I rest me in the thought,” says a familiar hymn. Yet, I am afraid that we have abandoned this world to the unbelievers, to the ungodly, to the Christ-haters. And when we see how unbelief has affected every phase of this life, we see that they have taken the world and made it into something ghastly.

Some people think that God is Lord only over our spiritual lives—but He is Lord of all. We as His people should spread His grace, His gifts, and His influence into every area of life as best as we can.

We need to fulfill the Cultural Mandate to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. We need to see Christians going into every sphere of life to have an influence upon this world for Christ, to bring His teachings and principles to bear in every phase of life. We should live so that our culture might have the face of Jesus Christ indelibly imprinted upon it. That is what needs to be done. That is our task.

Commenting on Genesis 1:28 in her book Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey explains:

The first phrase “be fruitful and multiply,” means to develop the social world: build families, churches, schools, cities, governments, laws. The second phrase, “subdue the earth,” means to harness the natural world: plant crops, build bridges, design computers, and compose music. This passage is sometimes called the Cultural Mandate because it tells us that our original purpose was to create cultures, build civilizations—nothing less.1

Refusing to work to dispel evil has consequences for everyone. Nine weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power, the director of the Nazi-affiliated Combat League for German Culture described what Nazism was all about:

It is a mistake to think that the national revolution is only political and economic. It is above all cultural. We stand in the first stormy phase of revolution… [T]here must be no remorse and no sentimentality in uprooting and crushing what was destroying our vitals 2

Adolf Hitler and Nazism resulted in the near extermination of the Jews, brought untold destruction to Europe, and contributed to the deaths of millions. “World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. An estimated total of 70–85 million people perished, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion).” At its most base level, war is about different philosophies of life. These wars disrupted the preaching of the gospel and the advancement of the cultural mandate. How is it possible that anyone could be indifferent to wars at all levels?

Civilization was once identified with Christianity. Winston Churchill, for example, saw the Battle of Britain as a struggle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. “Upon this battle,” Churchill said on the 18th of June 1940, “depends the survival of Christian civilization.”3

In his book The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Vishal Mangalwadi shows how worldviews matter, and how it was the Christian worldview that created the idea of cultural exceptionalism. He begins his chapter on morality by describing a conversation he had with a Sikh gentleman in 1982 who was returning to England after visiting his parents in a Punjab village in northwest India.

He explained to Mangalwadi that doing business in England was easy and profitable. The man could not speak English very well, and yet he was a successful businessman. Mangalwadi wondered, “How could someone who spoke such poor English succeed as a businessman in England?” So I asked, “Tell me, sir, why is business so easy in England?” Without pausing, he answered, “Because everyone trusts you there.”

Later in the same chapter, Mangalwadi tells the story of the time that he and his Dutch host went to a dairy farm to get some milk. There was no one to greet them or take their money. He and his host opened the tap, filled the jug, put the money in a jar, and took their change. Here was Mangalwadi’s reaction:

I couldn’t believe my eyes. “Man,” I said, “if you were an Indian, you would take the milk and the money!” [His host] laughed. But in that instant, I understood what the Sikh businessman had been trying to tell me.”

Mangalwadi goes on by telling how he shared “this story in a conference in Indonesia. An Egyptian participant laughed the most. As all eyes turned to him, he explained, ‘We Egyptians are cleverer than these Indians. If no one was watching, we would take the milk, the money, and the cows.’ The gentleman was too charitable toward us Indians.”4

MacArthur and others forget that the Bible does not begin with Jesus. It begins with God creating the heavens and the earth. Jesus’ redemptive work as the second Adam is to restore everything of what was lost.

The Christian message does not begin with “accept Christ as your Savior”; it begins with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible teaches that God is the sole source of the entire created order. No other gods compete with Him; no natural forces exist on their own; nothing receives its nature or existence from another source. Thus His Word, or laws, or creation ordinances give the world its order and structure. God’s creative word is the source of the laws of physical nature, which we study in the natural sciences. It is also the source of the laws of human nature — the principles of morality (ethics), of justice (politics), of creative enterprise (economics) of aesthetics (the arts), and even clear thinking (logic). That’s why Psalm 119:91 says, “all things are your servants.” There is no philosophically or spiritually neutral subject matter.”5

This is what separates Christianity from Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, ancestor worship, Eastern Mysticism, and animism.

The Apostle Paul didn’t stand idly by when he and Silas were mistreated by the Romans:

And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore, come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.” The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans, and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city. They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed (Acts 16:36-40).

Can we say that the Apostle Paul “couldn’t care less about the culture war”? Why didn’t he just walk away? Did it matter to him how the Romans acted towards him and his fellow-Christians? It seems that it did.

Paul was in a unique position as a Christian and a Roman citizen. He used that privilege as best he could to protect Christians against the civil overreach of the Roman civil government. He didn’t say, “I’m not interested in your war against God’s people, what matters is that you are going to hell!”

My wife and I watched The Highwaymen while we were on vacation. It’s a retelling of how two retired Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer and Maney Gault (played by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson) were called on to track down and apprehend notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s. The Barrow Gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and several civilians.

                     The Highwaymen

Did God care about the immorality of Bonnie and Clyde? He most certainly did. They repeatedly violated the Sixth Commandment. Should Christians have dismissed the immoral exploits of Bonnie and Clyde, not giving ten seconds worrying about what they did and how their actions affected others? Do you think the families of the police offers and civilians who were murdered by Bonnie and Clyde thought the culture war of violence needed to be stopped?

From the first scenes [of the film], [director John Lee] Hancock turns both barrels on the so-called legend of Bonnie and Clyde. “Some folks are saying Parker and Barrow are heroes, calling them Robin Hoods,” a reporter calls out to Texas Gov. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson (a characteristically plucky Kathy Bates). Ma fires back, “Did Robin Hood ever shoot a gas station attendant point-blank in the head for four dollars and a tank of gas?”6

The murder of these people resulted in them not being able to hear the gospel. This means that a Culture War impacts the spread of the Gospel.

Who would you rather live next to, Frank Hamer and Maney Gault or Bonnie and Clyde? There is a difference and it matters even if all four of them are going to hell.

  1. 1. Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), 47.(↩)
  2.  Quoted in Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), 6.(↩)
  3. Quoted in John Baillie, What is Christian Civilization? (London: Oxford University Press, 1945), 5.(↩)
  4. Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World, 249-251.(↩)
  5.  Pearcey, Total Truth, 45.(↩)
  6. Megan Basham, “Killing a Legend,” World (April 25, 2019): https://world.wng.org/2019/04/killing_a_legend(↩)

Getting Involved in Government

He who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain (II Sam.23:3-4).

I think Christians should get involved in government at all levels, in this order of priority: the individual, family, the church and the state. Very commonly, we’ve got this back to front, thinking that true government begins at our national or state capital. But this has just been an example of how easily we get befuddled with the lures and glamour of power; not a good thing to do, at any time.

Godless people seek power, but Christians should be willing to accept responsibility. These two motivations are poles apart, but not all of us have been quick to see this. All the temptations that Jesus withstood (see Mat.4:1-11) were implicitly temptations to seek power without responsibility. But this is always a destructive impulse, for any person.

So we have to begin at the beginning: the individual, the family and the church. We cannot expect that these two vital institutions can ever be neglected, without great cost to all of us. Nor can we believe that self-government, the restraint and self-discipline of the individual, can ever be neglected. No state can ever truly prosper, without vigorous and vital but restrained individuals, families and churches.

Seduction and corruption are ever-present temptations for the human heart. When people are elected to a State or national position of responsibility, these temptations are significantly amplified. They were painfully evident in Samuel’s era (see I Sam.2 & 8), with Eli and his sons, then with Samuel’s sons. Judgement for the nation resulted, because the priesthood and the house of God had been corrupted.

The Psalmist spoke of such an ignoble circumstance, in his era:

O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, even the shoot which Your right hand has planted, and on the son which You have strengthened for Yourself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You have made for Yourself. Then we shall not turn back from You…(Ps.80:14-18).

Nehemiah spoke of the essential task that he and his colleagues had. He encouraged them:

You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach (Neh.2:17).

When Jesus made a scourge of cords and drove the money-changers from the temple, the disciples remembered that it was written,

Zeal for Your house will consume me (Jn.2:17).

Later, Paul spoke to the Corinthians of the

…daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches (II Cor.11:28).

For the believer, the house of God should be of far greater importance than the nation. Why? Because the health of God’s house, the church, will have great implications for the nation. But in like manner, a sickly and weakened church will lead to a corrupt and decaying nation. The best thing for national health will be the health, growth and influence of the church. We have to begin at the beginning.

Elected individuals are often away from home, their family and friends in places where they may be unknown. Corrupt people in the community will seek an audience with elected representatives, with inducements of every possible kind for contracts or “opportunities.” And how many people have succumbed to these kinds of challenges?

Governments are clumsy, careless and callous. But this is ever so much worsened when a society is degenerate at its roots, as much of the West appears to be today. So, we have to begin with the fundamentals: the conversion of the individual, and then the family. Converted, and thus spiritually healthy families should join and contribute to a local church, participating vigorously in its government and activities. With time and maturity, individuals of such families and churches can contribute to government, at other levels.

Why the progression?

Because internal integration leads to external integrity. The fundamentals of the individual, family and church have to be right, before these individuals can be net contributors at higher levels. I joined a political party in 2010. I made a couple of speeches at party meetings, was seconded to go to an annual State rally with expenses paid, and assisted a local Christian believer to get elected to State Parliament in 2012. This was an interesting and worthwhile experience for me, but I could see the writing on the wall by the middle of 2012. Why? Because the party had got what they wanted-power. They were content with that, while they did have some worthwhile objectives in government, such as reducing debt, partially through cutting the public service. But the notion of leadership through godly service was not really in their play-book.

People or political parties whose goal is the getting and keeping of power, have little moral purpose for what they want to do, beyond this. I quit that party in 2012, believing that stewardship of my time and money required me to focus my efforts in other places, and in particular myself, my family and the church.

This is an individual responsibility for every believer. We all should prayerfully consider where our time and efforts should be concentrated, because everyone’s time and efforts are finite resources. There is only so much of these to go around, and we don’t want to get to the end of our days, and discover that all this time, we’ve been ploughing in the wrong field, neglecting where we should have been.

Conclusion:

Are all attempts to influence politics, along State and national governments are wrong? No, they are not. After all, “…the government will rest upon His shoulders…” (Isa.9:6). It does mean that we must ensure we are doing what God has called us to, and that we “bloom where we’re planted.”

The health of the family and the church must be the first priority of the believer. The scriptural records of Samson, David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat and Uzziah show us that political leadership at the State or national level is beset with pressures and temptations of every kind, so that only those who are truly sent by God to these positions should apply.

Beginning with Home Schooling (6)

Most Christians in the West today think the government wants to help us. They think their Education Department’s goal is to help children be well educated. But is this true?

Departments are dominated by bureaucrats, with a job to do. Forms need to be filled out, properly. Procedures need to be followed, on time. The quality of education is really not high on their list of priorities. To their mind, there are more important things to consider: their career.

Every bureaucracy sees itself as the answer to all possible problems. Instead of the free workings of the people, of the market-place, of the churches, families, and institutions of a society, a bureaucracy sees all solutions in terms of bureaucratic action and control. In terms of this, nothing is more dangerous to a bureaucracy than freedom, and the ideas of a bureaucracy and a free people are mutually contradictory.[1]                

 The rules are structured to suit the bureaucrats, not families. Why? That’s how the bureaucrats like it.

Parents must understand that Departments of Education have a government enforced monopoly of control. The department may give lip-service to the notion of family influence within the curriculum or school, but that’s all. That is merely the maintenance of a good mask. What counts to them, is the maintenance of departmental power. The care and love of children and families? Never comes into it.

Most Ministers of Education are heavily influenced by their Departments. Why would a Minister initiate change? Change will not come without social resistance to bureaucrats, when the Department is shown to be utterly self-serving, and the Minister has a stark choice: stick with the Department and look weak and incompetent, or hear the voice of a frustrated, disgruntled populace and initiate legislative and Departmental change.

There is a second reason why education departments are keen to maintain a monopoly. Like the silversmiths of Acts 19:23-27, they want to protect their business monopoly, and their future. If a large proportion of the community was able to successfully educate their children without any reference to an educational bureaucracy, that bureaucracy would clearly be irrelevant. That could mean the loss of hundreds, and ultimately many thousands of tax-payer funded jobs, the total collapse and elimination of seven state or federal departments in Australia, and a saving to taxpayers running into many billions.

Departments cannot afford to let this happen, so they will fight tooth and nail, and coerce families by various means (including the threat of prosecution), to try and ensure children are enrolled in a departmentally registered institution, or else registered to homeschool. Any other scenario would be absolutely unthinkable for them, for it means a loss of control.[2]

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.[3]

I want to obey the government. I want to show appropriate submission and respect to a Police Officer or parliamentarian. But if he moves out of the realm of what God has called government to do, I will have to consider carefully how to resolve this matter, and act accordingly. Peter explained that “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Christians must realise that we need to utilise shrewdness in dealing with educational bureaucrats. Some folks who read Romans 13 narrowly or exclusively may claim that “we should always obey the law of the land.” But they need to understand this theological principle:                                                the Biblical doctrine of a subject is ALL that the Bible says on a subject.

Paul, aware of the Old Testament concept of the multiplicity of rulers, summarizes the concept of decentralisation when he speaks of “governing authorities” (Romans 13:1), “rulers” (v.3), “servants” (v.6). Also, he commands us to “render to all what is due to them” (v.7). The emphasis is on the plurality of powers. The New Testament concept of civil government is consistent with the Old Testament concept of a decentralised state.[4]

Any Christian today who believes that Christians should be unconditionally obedient to authorities need to read their Bibles a bit more, and see that God’s people (with God’s leading and help) have often had to utilise some imaginative means to work around evil, unjust rulers. Abraham (Gen.12:10-20; 20:1-18) and Isaac (Gen.26:1-11) had to do this, while Jacob had to deal with his brother Esau who wanted to kill him (Gen.27:41), and Laban (his father-in-law) who sought to abuse him. In both cases God helped him escape (Gen.27-28; 31:3). 

David had to use his imagination when he knew his king and father-in-law Saul wanted to kill him (I Sam.19-24). He knew that if he wasn’t careful he’d be dead. God used his wife Michal, who gave him some blunt, life-saving advice (I Sam.19:11),[5] and God also protected him providentially. In a remarkable display of divine care for a godly, innocent family, God showed Joseph and Mary what to do when Herod wanted to kill Jesus (Mat.2:13-23).

Rahab is to my mind, the classic. When she met the two spies, she knew that the game was up for Jericho.  She engaged in what could only be called “godly treachery.” She changed sides religiously, becoming a woman of godly faith, saying, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us…” (Joshua 2:9). She sheltered two men of God at the risk of her life, because their God was now her God, and she became an ancestor of our Lord (Mat.1:5).  The New Testament later endorsed her actions (Heb.11:31; James 2:25).

Should Christians in Nazi-occupied Europe in 1944 have obeyed a law requiring them to hand Jews over to the Gestapo, knowing those Jews would be killed? You won’t find a verse in the Bible for that, but you’ll find plenty to endorse protecting the innocent from harm. That’s what Jehoshabeath did with Joash, when the child’s evil grandmother Athaliah sought to kill all her grandchildren (II Chron.22:10-12). Joash later became king (II Chron. 24:1).

I understand that some believers would be reluctant to consider the Department of Education in this context, but let’s not hide from this fact. Every year in Australia, 80,000-100,000 babies are aborted in public hospitals, with State and Federal Department of Health sanction and funding. Frankly, we are no better off morally than Egypt did under Pharoah: government sanctioned murder of babies. That’s how much we have degenerated.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                            Christians don’t seek to be classified as rebels. But the notion of unconditional obedience isn’t found in the Bible. Our obedience and faithfulness to Jesus Christ means that we have divine requirements upon us. Obedience to God means that we must (like Rahab) deal shrewdly with what others try to require of us. Sometimes we must learn to live like Les and Lucy Laylow. Why? Because “the prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it” (Prov.22:3).


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.355.

[2] Andrew McColl, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009, ch.5, “The Family and Education.”

[3] Kevin Williamson, “The Last Radicals,” The National Review, October 2012.

[4] Gary Demar, “God and Government,” 2001, Vol.1, p.47.

[5] Andrew McColl, “They Shall Become One,” 2009, ch.19.

We Dodged a Bullet-What Now? Australian Commentary (68)

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us- Selah. That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth (Ps.67:1-4).

The Australian Federal Election of May 18th, led to the return of the Coalition government, led by Scott Morrison, a professing believer. Was this a good thing?

I think it was, because the Labor Party’s alternative was a pretty awful one: higher taxes, the imposition of a raft of anti-Christian policies, including intrusions into freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and far greater confiscation by taxation.

How much difference will this make? It will make some, but we’d better quickly realise Christians have a lot more to do in this nation, in the next three years.

Such as what?

We have to begin with some fundamentals-many things that should have been done in previous generations of the church, but haven’t. All of these require much greater Christian responsibility; all of them will require sacrifice, work, dedication and possibly pain. But all of them should make a huge difference to the health of your family and the church, in the long-term.

1. Tithe to your local church:

No more than 20% of Christians in the West tithe. Will the tithe make a difference? It has the potential to make a huge difference, because it means that we have the capacity to employ a lot more Christian ministers, and others. It means we have the ability to do a lot more teaching, both in the church, and outside in the community. It means we can prepare to send missionaries abroad. It means we have leaders who can be available to help people, during the work week, and get paid to do so.

Paul explained to the Corinthians that

Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel (I Cor.9:13-14).

The tithe is to be normal. Why haven’t we done it? We’ve been disobedient. It’s time to change.

2. Get your children out of Public Education:

I challenge you: read the book of Deuteronomy, and mark in your Bible all the passages that refer directly or indirectly to education. Who do these passages say must be responsible for the education of children? It is not the State, and it is not primarily the church, but the parents. Clearly, that implies the home schooling of children.

The conquest of the land that Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy, required religious, ideological, cultural and educational change, for those who would inhabit that place. Everything in the promised land was required to change with the conquest of God’s people, and His people would have to be responsible for all of it. This would not be a task for mamby-pamby, faint-hearted people, who didn’t know what they were doing, and who flee at the thought of opposition or conflict. This is the task for us, and we have the Great Commission directing us.

John warns us,

Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you (I Jn. 3:13).

This means that parents must understand that education is far more than an academic issue, where Johnny and Suzie learn to speak and write a language and learn their Maths and Science. They are going to have to be discipled; taught the ways of God, by their parents. This implies a massive shift in responsibility, and an essential one.

3. Care for your family, and for God’s people:

The scripture records, that of the many thousands of people in the early church in Jerusalem, “…there was not a needy person among them…” (Acts 4:34). This was not because they were all rich, but there was an extraordinary level of care, one for another. This is of great importance to us, today. We have to begin with ourselves, and our families and then consider with great tenderness, the people of God.

The implications of this are immense. Jesus indicated to us,

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (Jn. 15:13).

Paul lays out this priority. He says,

…while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal.6:10).

And,

Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful (Titus 3:14).

Conclusion:

By these means and others, we can begin to pull the teeth out of the humanistic and socialistic state, which at different levels has dominated our nation and been so destructive. It hasn’t got to dominate, any more. But in order to turn this around, we Christians must take responsibility for our affairs, far more than we have up till now.

And over time (that is, decades or even generations), we slowly begin to gain credibility and perhaps authority. The Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20) was never going to be accomplished without widespread, systematic, long-lasting and obedient effort, on the part of God’s people.

And this will require struggle, pain and sacrifice; all the things that are required when a mother gives birth. But without labour-pains, when is a baby born?