The state is under God, not God under the state

God is sovereign over the nations. The government is on the shoulders of Jesus, the Messiah (Isaiah 9:5-6). God raises up nations and God brings nations down. The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord. The rulers of the earth may take counsel against the Lord and against His Anointed One, but all in vain. God will only laugh at them. He shall break them with a rod of iron (Psalm 2). Only God is sovereign.

For decades the debate has been carried on in our country – which is sovereign, the Federal government or the states? The word “sovereignty” was never attributed to governments, local or otherwise, by our founding fathers. They realized that only God is sovereign. Our sovereign God has ordained men on earth to be civil rulers.

The state is under God, not God under the state.

Quote source

Thoburn, R.L. (1984). The Christian and Politics. 2nd edition. Thoburn Press, Tyler, p. 50

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The salt of the earth ought not withdraw from politics

The Christian ought to be extremely interested in politics because the political issues and decisions affect him at the very core of this activity on earth.

Christians are to be the salt of the earth. We have no right to say that politics is dirty, that politicians are crooks, and that we never have a decent choice when we have done nothing to influence politics…

A handful of Christians can have a wholesome effect on politics. To withdraw and retreat from any area of God’s world is to say that God is not sovereign over that area.

Quote source

Thoburn, R.L. (1984). The Christian and Politics. 2nd edition. Thoburn Press, Tyler, pp. 19-20

The state’s war on Christianity will fail

At times in the past, the conflict between church and state has been an institutional conflict, sometimes for power, and often for very principled reasons of jurisdiction. It is more than a jurisdictional dispute now: it is religious conflict, and a war unto death.

The modern humanistic state is history’s most jealous god, and it will tolerate no rivals. Hence, its war against Christianity. In this struggle, however, the state has taken on a power far greater than itself.

As the humanistic world powers take “counsel together against the LORD, and against His anointed,” planning to overthrow His law and government, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision” (Ps. 2:4). He shall break His enemies with a rod of iron.

Quote source

Rushdoony, R.J. (1986). Christianity and the State. Ross House Books, Vallecito, p.187

The problem of evil—and the Biblical response to it

I too have suffered, not always justly: is God unjust because I suffer? Is the purpose of God evil because Job is stripped of all his possessions and his family? What is the purpose of creation, what is the standard whereby all things are to be judged, what is the yardstick, the rule of all things?

Not Job but the Lord is the yardstick. And the only yardstick by which things in heaven and earth can be judged is the Lord and His purpose, the ontological trinity, the Sovereign God in Himself. Thus what God required of Job was that he recognize His sovereignty in every respect, recognize that the only standard for judging his own personal life and his own problems was not in terms of himself but in terms of the sovereignty of God, in terms of the Triune God in Himself.

Job could not declare of any event in the course of his life that this thing was wrong because it impressed and affected him adversely, since all events in the life of Job could only be judged in terms of one standard, the purpose of the sovereign God. When Job acknowledged these things to be true, the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the former.

Quote source

Rushdoony, R.J. (1959). By What Standard? An Analysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van Til. The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Philadelphia, p. 198

Fighting on home ground, under the Sovereign Lord

This then is a time for building, for building on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Christian schools, churches, seminaries, political agencies, economic enterprises, vocational ventures, and much, much more must be started, wisely and carefully, but also eagerly as an opportunity for setting forth the crown rights of Christ the King…

The future thus is ours in Christ, because “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).

We are fighting on home ground under the Sovereign Lord of all creation. We are battle born, fighting on home ground, under Christ the King. With St. Paul we must say, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Quote source

Rushdoony, R.J. (2002). Biblical Faith and American History. [ebook]. Chalcedon Foundation, Vallecito. Locations 222, 235

Rethinking public education and its rhetoric

According to “Mulga Mumblebrain”:

Home-schooling might be innocent enough, but where it is simply home brainwashing into a religious zealotry that the parents wish to inculcate, it is I believe, quite pernicious.

Much of the talk about home-schooling is pretty thinly disguised ideological hatred of public education. The Right, as part of their neo-feudal project and jihad against all public provision, whether education, health, transport, welfare or housing, has long vilified public education and public school teachers and actively promoted private education. In the USA the public education systems have been basically destroyed…

Needless to say, societies like our’s, the USA or UK, where Rightwing fanatics are hell-bent on destroying public education, don’t have much of a future. The Chinese, whose children and teachers are at or near the very top of international tables of comparative excellence, must be both bemused and concerned that such a deliberate policy of mass imbecilisation has taken hold in certain benighted states, one, the USA, still heavily and belligerently militarised.

On first blush, that was forceful, but on second thought, there was a lot of fizz and rhetoric to it. Here’s a level-headed counterweight to put things into order:

In no trial of churches, Christian schools, home schools, or parents in which I have been involved has there been any question as to the superior educational achievements and training of youth on the part of Christians.

This, however, is considered usually an irrelevant issue because the main concern of the state is to maintain its claims to sovereign jurisdiction.

The issue is thus a religious one: who is the Lord, Christ or Caesar? Who is the Sovereign?

Quote sources

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain (2012). Homeschooling [response to podcast]. Life Matters. Available http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/home-schooling/4070948. Last accessed 2nd Jul 2015.
  2. Rushdoony, R.J. cited in Schwartz, A. (2009) Rushdoony on Christ’s Kingship. Chalcedon Foundation. Available http://chalcedon.edu/blog/homeschooling/2009/6/23/. Last accessed 2nd Jul 2015.

The sovereignty of God, Christianity, and the Bible

Second, because God is the total and sovereign God, our faith cannot be only a spiritual concern. The totally sovereign God is Lord over every aspect of life. All things are created, predestined, governed, and judged by Him. As a result, the Bible legislates concerning every area of life: church, state, school, family, science, the arts, economics, vocations, things spiritual, and things material. Neoplatonism, however, regarded the material world as low and irrelevant to religion. As a result, wherever neoplatonism is in evidence, Christian faith is reduced to a spiritual religion.

My two cents

I’m a big supporter of faith for all of life (not just some bits of it), as promoted by the Chaldedon Foundation. I never liked the idea of Christianity being squashed into a private emotional hobby that’s instructed to face the corner by overconfident secularists who think they know what’s best. I side far more strongly with the perspective of R.J. Rushdoony. Religion precedes the civic realm, especially legislatively.

When it comes to God’s sovereignty, I strongly agree with the proper, unadulterated and exhaustive sense of the term promoted by Rushdoony, as opposed to the yes-God-is-sovereign-but-with-a-dozen-qualifications sense promoted by Dave Hunt.

Quote source

Rushdoony, R.J (2013). Biblical Faith and American History [ebook]. Ross House Books, location 22 of 260.