Chalcedon Report No. 377, December 1996
Something rarely acknowledged but which is basic to a Biblical understanding is the fact that God gives man the freedom to sin. This is something the modern state increasingly denies to us. In one area after another, we are being denied the freedom to do whatever the state sees as sin. At one time, the United States by a constitutional amendment denied people the right to drink intoxicating liquors, and we are now nearing a like view of tobacco.
Now, I have never tried smoking (or chewing) tobacco; even when I was an infant, it was well known that its effects on health were bad. Those who now go to court against tobacco firms for damages to their health could never have been in ignorance as to its consequences.
The point is this, do we want a nanny state to protect us from whatever it defines as sin? God did no such thing. In the very center of the Garden of Eden, He gave to man an option of sinning or obeying. He gave His law because He had not closed the door to sinning but left it as an option for man.
By giving man the freedom to sin, God gave to man the privilege of growth, or the refusal to grow. He gave to man the options of heaven and hell, something many dislike.
The nanny state and the nanny church, by trying to deny man the freedom to sin, are denying him the privilege of manhood and maturity. Where man is denied the freedom to sin, the result is not heaven on earth but hell, because man becomes less a man.
The modern state’s road to paradise is by way of prohibitions, by the denial of freedom to man in one sphere after another. The modern state tries to do what God will not do, force men to be good. The nanny state (and nanny church) can only produce permanent children, warped and retarded beings.
The more the nanny state (and nanny church) work to create an enforced goodness with no freedom to sin, the less moral the people are. As the state has increased its controls over the people, the people have become less moral and less responsible. This process is leading to the obliteration of man and of manhood.
Am I saying that people should be encouraged to sin? Only a fool (and there are too many of them today) would conclude so. I am saying that freedom to grow morally and to exercise moral self-discipline is more productive of godly morality than all of the rules and regulations of the nanny state and the nanny church.
We need to challenge these oppressors. Very plainly, God did not see paradise, the Garden of Eden, as complete without the possibility of temptation, sin, and the fall. Think about the implications of that. It is a basic fact of godly theology.
- 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.