The Christian Vision of Government (IV)

For it is the essence of the Christian position that there are limits both extensive and intensive to the scope and exercise of secular authority. I do not need to remind the reader  of the history of this issue; but I do need to emphasize the fact that it is a uniquely Christian tradition and that, whenever and wherever it is denied, the community ceases in both theory and practice to be Christian. Its values as well as its policies undergo a radical change.[1]

One of the first things we can note about ungodly governments of history, is that they have been oppressive. They require levels of taxation that are a burden to the community, and they pass unjust laws, making people groan. This is in stark contrast to the promise of Jesus Christ. He commanded us to “come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mat.11:28-30).

This teaches us that Christian government should be liberating in nature. It should lift the burden of taxation, and because it conforms itself to God’s law (summarised in the Ten Commandments), it should begin the process of getting rid of the oppressive legislation which is endemic to the western world.

Can we be sure of this? Absolutely.

Peter, in explaining to the Gentiles what had previously taken place in Jesus’ ministry, told them that “you know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). John also wrote that “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn.3:8).

God made it clear that Israel under Saul would be cursed, and one of the examples of this curse would be a taxation rate of 10%. So, any Christian government should have as one of its primary goals, to reduce taxation to below 10%. Yes, this will require massive social change over time in the community, as so much of the community has grown used to the social irresponsibility and high rates of expenditure that accompany an overrall tax rate of 30-50%. There would need to be a fundamental re-assessment of the tasks of government, a huge shedding of bureaucracy and the abandonment of most government projects, and all of this would be contingent on community support for change.

If people in the pews will vote against the welfare-warfare state, we will win. If they don’t, we won’t. The power of envy is too great.[2]

All of this will not be painless, and the road could be bumpy, but in the long-term that’s really the price of change. Believers must be prepared to go public on what Christian government really means, so that the general public gets the opportunity to throw its support behind the notion, and the subsequent changes.

True Christian government is unique. Moses explained to Israel,

see, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it…[for] what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? (Deut.4:5, 8)

Of course there will be opposition to this, both within the Church and without it. The children of Israel with their slavery mentality, opposed Moses’ leadership to liberty too. Antinomianism (the hostility to God’s law) won’t disappear overnight.

But as individuals, families and churches in subjection to the Gospel take more responsibility for their lives, when people begin to taste liberation from political oppression, bureaucracy, the high tax rates and all the trappings of political humanism; when there begins to be an end to political self-serving, corruption, and the waste and inefficiency that has characterised western government now for generations, they may just say, “we want more of this.”

And we must be there to give it to them.

[1] Orton W., “The Economic Role of the State,” 1950, p.29.

[2] North, G., “Why We Have not Won, Part 1: The Low Moral Ground,” 14/11/2011.

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