All my life, I have heard countless people document the evil in the world around them, and the greater evils coming soon. How much of this is morally tenable, and how much is evil?
Certainly we need to be prepared for coming problems. Clearly the humanistic statist world order around us is beginning to collapse, but will documenting all the world's evils make man moral? Do we not fall prey, if we document evil, to the liberal-left illusion that salvation is by knowledge rather than by Jesus Christ?
Our Lord warns us not to be anxious about the morrow. All the thinking in the world will not add an inch nor a cubit to our stature (Mt. 6:27). "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Mt. 6:34). We have enough problems today, and the best solution for tomorrow's evils is to meet today's with grace, faith, and in faithfulness to God's law. There is a vast difference between forethought and anxiety.
I have known people whose entire lives have been dominated by a future they believe is possible (i.e., a Marxist takeover, the "Rapture," a world depression, etc.) that they have neither enjoyed life nor dealt with present-day problems. This is hardly a moral solution, nor is it a godly one. God is not a loser: his enemies are! To profess faith in God and to doubt his victory is a contradiction.
It is also morally wrong to attempt to "correct" evil by evil means. If Scripture is right, the world will not be saved by lawless coercion, knowledge, or anything other than regeneration. Regeneration, not revolution, conversion, not coercion, is the Christian way.
There are those, however, who believe that the solution to evil is coercion. They maintain that, because abortion is evil, killing abortionists is legitimate. If they are right, then our Lord and his apostles were wrong, because, living in the great era of abortion other than our own, they did nothing about abortions in the Roman Empire. Their answer to this and other fearful evils and mass murders was not counter-murders, but the gospel. How can these people account for the silence of the New Testament on their "gospel" of counter-murders?
The source of evil is the heart of man, as our Lord said (Mt. 15:19). The restraint of evil men is the task of the state; the conversion of evil men is the task of the church and of Christian society. Too often in our time the response to evils such as abortion is either indifference or violence, neither of which is godly. There are enough evils already at work in the world without ostensible Christians adding to them.
Our Lord's requirement, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," is a summons to us, first, not to add to the day's evils by committing further offenses in his Name; second, it requires of us positive action to promote the work of redemption and to replace humanistic ordinances with the law of God.
Can we be amazed at the growing evils all around us when we look at the professing church? Vast segments of it are in the hands of modernists, whose gospel is humanism, and whose savior is the state. On top of that, many who profess to be faithful Christians have replaced the gospel and regeneration with a plan of coercion.
Where is your hope and mine? Is it to do nothing and thereby supposedly avoid sin, or is it not rather to move ahead with the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ? If we do not proclaim the saving power of Christ, we will then implicitly or explicitly support the saving power of coercion. The restraining power of the state against evil quickly erodes where the church and Christian community fail to emphasize and further the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. Take your choice: what is the godly plan of action?
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.