Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
Just a few snippets from the news of the week.
Wal-Mart pledges to support “gay marriage.”
Convicted of embezzling a colossal sum of money from her employer and spending it on lottery tickets, a woman tells the judge, “Sending me to prison won’t help my lottery addiction.”
The state of New York rules that property tax rebates are … taxable. Meanwhile, the city of New York plans to outlaw trans fat, and a city councilman proposes that the government restrict the availability of fast food in neighborhoods where it deems there is too much obesity.
And we won’t even go into the latest sex scandal spewing out of Congress. Suffice it to say the state of American civilization today is anything but healthy.
What is the Christian citizen to do? Absorbed in their own personal pursuits, the American people seem to recognize no limit to the scope of government. It grows like an uncontrollable protoplasmic mass in a 1950s science fiction movie. It grows almost as fast as the ungodliness of our popular culture.
How did we get on this road to perdition, and how do we get off?
Rev. Morecraft’s book provides some answers.
Our Way or God’s Way?
For those new to Christian Reconstruction, the book is an excellent introduction. It will also provide much-needed clarity for the many who have heard Christian Reconstruction attacked and misrepresented. The public needs to understand that we are not the American Taliban.
Those already well-versed in Christian Reconstruction will find here an easy refresher course. The book will be helpful to those trying to explain Christian Reconstruction to others.
When it comes to explaining the nature of our national malaise, Morecraft hits the nail right on the head. “Christian politics,” or any other kind of politics, is not simple. But Morecraft’s message is:
America is out of joint because we insist on doing things our own way, not God’s way.
That’s simple enough, isn’t it? It’s also the Biblical answer to our questions, and the truth. In fact, it has always been the answer, as St. Paul saw so clearly, in the first century: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God … but became vain in their imaginations … and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:21, 25).
As long as we continue to serve not God, but our own lusts and ambitions, we will continue to go wrong.
Rather than serve God, the state expands its powers in every conceivable direction. Rather than serve God, the Church counts the money in the collection plates and tries to fill the pews by telling people not what God wants them to hear, but what they want to hear.
Rather than serve God, families focus on amassing wealth, sending their kids to college, and watching television. Rather than serve God, individuals seek after private pleasures.
America has left God out of the equation, and it doesn’t balance anymore.
How “Government” Should Work
Morecraft analyzes the four spheres of government — state, church, family, individual — and describes their proper functions as laid out in the Bible: functions that each sphere now ignores.
Although each sphere is separate and distinct, they are all inextricably linked together. When one malfunctions, it throws off the others. “Without self-government, love for neighbor, and love for God and His revealed order, the state will not be able to stop crime,” Morecraft writes (p. 69).
As R. J. Rushdoony puts it in his introduction to the book, what is needed is a sound theology of politics: “[I]f it is not in the people, nor in the church, it will not be in the state” (p. 7).
What are the proper functions of each sphere?
- The individual is to practice self-government, obeying God’s commandments and the laws of the state. If there is a conflict, God’s commandments come first.
- The family is to raise children to be upright and godly, to support itself and society by productive work.
- The Church is to preach God’s Word faithfully and to teach the people what God expects of them.
Biblically, charity and the general welfare are the business of individuals, families, and the Church. Today, of course, those functions have been abdicated to the state.
- The state is to preserve order and to protect the people from evildoers — by deterring or “terrorizing” those of a lawless inclination and punishing those who won’t be deterred.
We can see at once that all four spheres are currently malfunctioning. “[T]he vast majority of the work of Congress today,” says Morecraft, “is unconstitutional and unbiblical” (p. 32). But as the state enlarges and aggrandizes itself, the other three spheres aren’t doing much better.
So what ought we to do? Where’s the off-ramp? We’ve tried every worldly solution in the book, to no avail: the War on Poverty, public education, “Just Say No,” the safe sex campaign, and on and on. We blunder about as one lost in a hall of mirrors.
But the way out, Morecraft says, begins with individual repentance and recommitment to God and His commandments. Nothing we try will work, he warns, “unless we are motivated on the inside by the faith that it is only Christ” — not the state, the university, or money — “who can save sinful persons and nations.”
Political leaders, he says, must repent, and dedicate themselves to passing only laws consistent with God’s laws. Church leaders must repent and return to true, biblical teaching and preaching (p. 146).
Individuals and families must repent, get out of debt, and start paying their tithes (“God’s tax system,” p. 106) to equip the Church to carry out its charitable, welfare, and teaching functions. They must stop looking to the state for salvation and vote statist leaders out of office (p. 147).
Finally, America needs to be evangelized: “[T]he only way to abolish the IRS and reconstruct the tax system … is through evangelism. There is no other way to do it” (p. 106). And, “Unless we are working personally week in and week out ‘begging’ (II Corinthians 5) people to become real Christians, to believe that Jesus Christ possesses all ownership, sovereignty, and salvation which is received by grace through faith, we can expect no relief” (p. 107).
It’s not just a matter of putting God back into the equation. God is the equation.
We have greatly erred by accepting the myth that public affairs is an arena that must be kept religiously “neutral” (a myth that Morecraft skillfully demolishes). This has led to infinite mischief, tempting us to check our faith at the church door when we leave on Sunday and do whatever our sinful nature desires for the rest of the week. How can we expect the state or the Church to be obedient to God when our own Christianity is so halfhearted?
Let us use Rev. Morecraft’s book as a tool to help us to apply our faith to all of life, public and private — and teach others to do the same.