“People get the government they deserve.”
This statement is true. An ungodly people get an oppressive and ungodly government.
When people are not inwardly governed by God’s law and grace, an external government will impose its own law. As Americans drift further from their Christian heritage, they lose their internal restraints and moral discernment. They lose the ability to discern good and evil in themselves, in society, and in the ever-extending tentacles of regulation, intrusion, and coercion by government.
Are the Politicians the Problem?
When government offers this or that new service, if we have no restraint or discernment, we welcome it. We don’t stop to judge whether this new service is within the God-given jurisdiction of government and whether or not they have confiscated money from others to provide it. Failing in self-restraint, we accept benefits that do not belong to us — because they are paid for by robbing someone else. Gradually Americans are being driven further into socialism and tyrannical centralized government.
Politicians are not America’s problem. It is the soul of America that is the problem. America today is like Israel in the time of the Judges, spiraling toward apostasy. Unwilling to be self-governed, they walked into the waiting arms of tyranny. “Better” and “stronger” government was not the answer for the Israelites, and never is. Self-government (i.e., godly Christian character) of the individual is essential to the hope of a free and prosperous nation.
The Heresy of Pluralism
Government begins on the local level, with self-government as the foundation, which is the full recognition that Jesus is King.
Pluralism, on the other hand, that damnable heresy, is the impossible position of neutrality. Pluralism posits all philosophies as worthy of equal consideration; as if we could cook up a culture acceptable to all by throwing everything into a single pot, bring it to a boil, and presto! Pluralism is social, political, and moral neutrality.
Such a concept is impossible to live out because someone or some group’s agenda will lead the way. The philosophy that dominates our culture today is that man is the center and standard of all things, and that transcendent law, the law of God, is non-existent or irrelevant.
This of course is anti-Christian because Jesus really is King. He says, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Mt. 12:30). There is one God and He has set up His King, saying to rulers and judges, “Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled!” (Ps. 2:12) This King has a law applicable to all men of all nations and times. His law is summarized in the Ten Commandments, and lived out in loving God with all one’s heart, and one’s neighbor as oneself. Government begins at the local level with individuals who owe their allegiance to Jesus the King.
As Christians we are called to disciple our nation into obedience to Christ the King, who told us to teach “them to keep all that [He] commanded” (Mt. 28:20). We are also to disciple other nations by foreign missionary activity. To accept any goal less than Christianizing the nations is to truncate the Great Commission. It is to presume, falsely, that there are other philosophies or religions compatible with God’s decree that has set His Son Jesus as King of the nations in this very age (Ac. 2:34-36; Heb. 10:12,13; Is. 60:12).
With this foundation, the next step in local government and social agenda is to educate the citizenry at the local level. This is already being done by organizations such as the American Heritage Party. They are establishing local groups to meet regularly for Christian political and Christian worldview training and for prayer. Their intention is to build local groups that will eventually put forward candidates for local office.
As the party gains visibility and credibility, it will provide candidates for state office, and as this grassroots understanding and effort grows nationwide, eventually for the presidency. One of the things I appreciate about the American Heritage Party is that they understand that this process may take more than the current leaders’ lifetimes. They are building for the future with a generational vision and hope for America.
Local office is often where the politician is groomed for regional, state, or federal office. Here Christians can gradually and surely produce a groundswell that will result in strength to wage and win state and federal political battles. Christians should, at the local level (as well as any other), seek the removal of those who demonstrate themselves the enemies of righteousness, for if they are allowed to continue they may go on to an even more influential office.
Local Social Agenda
The social agenda of Christians should be dramatically different from that of the socialist, the statist, and the unbeliever. As Christians understand more fully the Lordship of Jesus over politics and the activities of our nation, they can better implement social policy.
This policy will not be a socialistic redistribution of wealth through giveaway programs, nor will it be intrusive. As our political leaders grow in Christian worldview, they will recognize that government has a God-ordained sphere of authority that is not to intrude onto other God-ordained spheres such as the family or the church. It will be a government that recognizes that its job is to reward the right doer, and punish the wrong doer. Its laws will reflect this priority, giving freedom and support to the family, the church, and to righteous activity.
This will create more jobs. Business owners will not be forced to pay state-set high wages and instead will compete for the best workers with wages based on market competition and productivity. Welfare will be a thing of the past, because business owners will be able to afford more employees, and the government will not be stealing from the productive to give to the unproductive.
Righteous government begins at the local level with submission of the individual to Jesus the King. Those individuals then, by recognizing that Jesus is Lord over government and politics, join together to guide the election or removal of officials and the formation or reformation of the political institutions.
- Eugene Clingman
Eugene Clingman is Executive Administrator of the International Church Council Project (www.churchcouncil.org) a theological effort (of Coalition on Revival) seeking to halt the slide of the evangelical church toward liberalism and compromise. Eugene also works part-time as a representative for an Inc. 500 company (MoreHealthTimeMoney.com).