Bad Church Ideas That Produce Bad Political Consequences

EndTimesBy P. Andrew Sandlin

(Reprinted with permission)

You may have heard the saying, “Ideas have consequences.” That’s actually a famous book title from a political conservative just after World War II.[1] And it’s true. Ideas do have consequences. And bad ideas have bad consequences. This is just as true in culture and politics as anywhere else. If you look at the cultural and political evils that surround us today (abortion, same-sex “marriage,” Obamacare, gun confiscation laws, judicial tyranny), at their source are bad ideas. It’s hard to get rid of the bad politics without getting rid of the bad ideas that feed them and give them sustenance.

But the bad ideas I want to address right now aren’t so much bad ideas in the culture and in politics. I want to talk about bad ideas in the church that allow these bad ideas in the culture to flourish.

Many of us are conflicted today. We’re political conservatives. We believe in limited government, the dignity of human life, the traditional family. We believe in what’s called “civil society”: the church and family and other “private” institutions are buffers that protect the individual from, and are competitors to, the state. We believe in Christian virtues: love, faith, hope, honesty, sacrifice, hard work, personal responsibility, We believe that God’s moral law binds everyone, Christian and non-Christian.[2]

But we’re more: many of us are activists. Our country is dangerously adrift — a monster federal government, erosion of states’ rights, abortion, pornography, gay “marriage,” euthanasia, Obamacare, increased gun control laws — and we are committed to doing something about it. We embrace conservative ideas, but those ideas lead us to action: perhaps staging get-out-the-vote programs, trying to elect Christian and conservative candidates, influencing legislation for conservative principles. We’re aggressive.

This is just where a conflict rises. As Christians, we’re church people. We must believe in and belong to the church. But many of our churches are not comfortable with our conservative political action as Christians. Some alleged Bible-believing churches aren’t even politically conservative. Even churches that are politically conservative look down on political activism — what we’re committing part of our life to. They practice what I’d like to call “separation of church and politics.”

The pastor may mention conservative issues, but political action isn’t seen as part of a Christian calling. Maybe it isn’t even Christian at all. Maybe it’s just like picking up groceries or attending the football game. It’s OK, but it’s not especially Christian. It’s just something we choose to do. And we’re tempted to think: “I can’t be a good Christian and an active conservative” or, “I must leave my politics at the church door, or leave my Christianity inside the church.” This is the conflict that we feel.

I’d like persuade you today: there is no actual conflict. You can be a political activist and good Christian at the same time. I’ll be even bolder: you cannot be a good Christian unless you’re zealously conservative.

Today I’ll refute three popular but bad ideas in the church. You can be more confident, not just as conservatives … but as politically active Christian conservatives.

Pietism

By pietism I don’t mean piety. What is piety? It’s “the quality of being reverent.” It’s worshiping the Triune God, loving, honoring him, trusting in his Son Jesus Christ. It’s a heart right with, and riveted to, God. We need more piety.

In addition, by pietism, I don’t mean the 17th – 18th century movement reacting against the cold, hard, sterile orthodoxy of scholastic Protestantism.[3] That was a good movement, and it restored an emphasis on warm piety and love for Jesus Christ.

I mean pietism in a more recent, limited sense. The distinctive of this pietism is that it limits the Christian life to private devotion or the church (Bible reading, personal evangelism, end times conferences, “quiet time,” personal taboos). It’s mostly vertical religion.

Pietistic thinking goes like this: “God doesn’t care about politics (or education, art, medicine, technology, economics, music, movies). He cares about my private relation to him.”

Pietistic churches think this way: “You’ve done your Christian duty when you pray, attend church, read your Bible, and volunteer for VBS.”

Pietistic pastors preach: “Political action distracts and detracts from true Christianity. Real Christianity in the church is about a bigger gymnasium, a larger AWANA program, and more beautiful robes.”

Pietism reduces Christianity to a “personal worship hobby.”[4]

The big problem with pietism is that it undercuts Jesus Christ’s Lordship. We all know the simple saying: Jesus Is Lord. Actually, did you know that this was the earliest creed of the Christian church? Long before the Apostles Creed, there was this simple creed: Jesus is Lord, and Lord = Master.[5]

Question: What is Jesus Lord of? I think we’d answer, he’s Lord of everything. Next question: Is politics part of everything? Yes. Then by simple logic, Jesus is Lord of politics, and this is just what the Bible teaches.

The Lord instructed us to pray: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). On earth, not just in the family and church — but everywhere.

Another question: how is Jesus’ will done in heaven? It’s done perfectly. The angels and saints obey him without sin. That’s just what we need to pray for this earth. And this must mean everything, not just our private time and Sunday worship, not just the house and the church house but also the state house and the schoolhouse and the White House.

And then we read Jesus’ parting words to his disciples in Matthew 28:18, the so-called Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” And then he commands his followers to disciple the nations, not just individuals, but nations. He means to bring all nations, political units, under his authority.[6]

God the Father gave Jesus the authority to bring all nations under his rule, and he charged us to preach the Gospel and baptize and instruct the nations to do just that.

Therefore, pietism dilutes Jesus’ Lordship. It wants to say to Jesus: “You can be Lord here, but not there. You can be Lord of the church house, but not the state house.” This is a denial of the full Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Pietism leads to strange bedfellows. Secularists say, “Christianity should stay private.” Pietists respond, “We agree.” Secularists say, “Christians should stay out of politics.” Pietists respond, “We agree.” Secularists say, “God’s Word has nothing to say to our society.” Pietists respond, “We agree.” Secularists say, “Unbelievers should be calling all of the shots in society and culture.” Pietists respond, “We agree.” Secularists say, “Christianity is a ‘private worship hobby.’” Pietists respond, “We agree.”

I think it’s about time we Christians quit agreeing with the secularists.

Pietism surrenders culture to Satan: it’s a sub-Christian idea, and it’s dangerous.

Apocalypticism

Apocalypticism is end-is-near thinking that inspires cultural sit-on-your-duff Christianity, except for pietistic soul-saving: “The world is getting worse and worse; so it’s a waste of time to change things.” As D. L. Moody once said, “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel…. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me, ‘Moody, save all you can.”[7] It’s the idea that since the Bible teaches that the world must get worse and worse (the Bible doesn’t actually teach this[8]), it’s futile to try to change things. God has predestined evil to triumph, so why stand in his way?

Now, there are many different views of eschatology (views of the future). Sincere, Bible-believing people hold different eschatologies.[9] We can agree to disagree. However, I don’t care what your eschatology is, apocalypticism is wrong. We read in Acts 1:6–8 … “So when [the disciples] had come together, they asked [Jesus], ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”

Jesus is saying, “You don’t need to know the ‘end times.’ You need to take the message of salvation of my Gospel Lordship (that includes politics) everywhere.” [10]

Similarly, we read in Luke 19:13 that Jesus in a parable said to his followers: “‘Engage in business until I come.’” In short, be busy in my kingdom work. Don’t sit around and wait for the Second Coming or “rapture.”

Twenty years ago in Ohio I was preaching to pastors on this topic. I was lamenting abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and socialism. I was exhorting these pastors in their calling to stand up and oppose these evils.

Afterward a pastor accosted me and said: “Yes, all the abortion, porn, homosexuality, and socialism are bad, but really in the end they’re good, since they mean Jesus coming soon.”

If that idea sounds perverted, it’s because it is.

The churches obsessed with “end times” (conferences, books) while Planned Parenthood crushes and sells baby parts, and the U.S. Supreme Court allows sodomites to marry, are dangerously misguided. They’re selling us into cultural slavery.

Apocalypticism, like pietism, is an evil idea.

Retreatism

Recently a leader in the very conservative Southern Baptist Convention declared, “We’ve lost culture wars.”[11] His view is: Let’s just witness; we must be careful about pushing for a Christian America, turning people off. We need to change our strategy.[12]

And churches line up to retreat — they stay out of politics, quit praying outside abortion clinics, pull back from pressing for godly candidates and legislation.

Christian leaders say: “We live in a time when the church is in the wilderness, in exile. Let’s hide out from the Devil. Admit it. We’ve lost. Let’s regroup and wait for a more culturally hospitable time.”[13]

This is pure poppycock. Canaan was devilishly depraved when God told the Jews to take it for his name (Gen. 15:16).[14]

The Roman Empire was a moral sewer when our Lord gave his world-conquering commission to his disciples. He didn’t say, “There’s no way we can win this thing, fellas, so let’s retreat until we can plan a counterattack.” The early Christians took the Gospel to the known world, and in less than 300 years the Roman Empire was forced to become Christian. Why? Because our forebears refused to retreat during culturally depraved times like ours.

Some Christians seem to believe that if they just avoid confronting the Devil in the culture, he’ll leave them alone in their churches and families. This is a dangerous illusion. You might hide out from the Devil, but the Devil won’t hide out from you. If you retreat from him in public and politics, he’ll hunt you down in the privacy of your own home.

Then behind retreatism is the additional idea that world belongs to Devil: “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passin’ through,” so goes an old gospel song. “Why should we stand for truth in our world since it doesn’t belong to us or Jesus, but to the Devil?”

Have you ever read that in Bible? No.

You did read in 1 Corinthians 10:26, “For ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.’”

This is God’s world; he created it; he sustains it. He designed it to operate by his truth.

God allows man freedom, so there’s a great battle between good and evil. But if we give up the battle for this world, we are traitors to the King; it’s not our world, it’s his world.

Retreatism is treason; it surrenders God’s world to his enemies.

Conclusion

Pietism, apocalypticism, retreatism — these are bad church ideas that produce bad political consequences. And if you want to know one reason the culture is so depraved today, it’s because the church has bought stock in these ideas, and this creates the conflict in the minds of hearts of politically active Christian conservatives.

But you should not feel a conflict, because there is no conflict between true Christianity and conservative political activism. In fact, if we do not stand for what we today call basic conservative principles, we are not standing for biblical Christianity, because those principles reflect biblical truth.[15]

The call for retreat from political battle for Christ the King is a sub-Christian message.

In the early 40’s amid euphoria of the rescue of thousands of British troops from the German army at Dunkirk, Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned: “Wars are not won by evacuations…. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Wars are not won by evacuations. Wars are won by soldiers who stand and fight.

That is our rallying cry for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And we can expect nothing short of complete victory — the unconditional surrender of Satan and his hosts by the power of Jesus Christ.


[1] Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago and London: University of Chicago, 1948).
[2] Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), 6:442–446.
[3] Dale Brown, Understanding Pietism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978).
[4] Stephen C. Perks, The Great Decommision (Taunton, England: Kuyper Foundation, 2011), 12.
[5] Oscar Cullmann, The Earliest Christian Confessions (London: Lutterworth Press, 1949), 23.
[6] Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1954), chs. 15, 33.
[7] George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 38.
[8] John Jefferson Davis, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986).
[9] Millard J. Erickson, Contemporary Options in Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977).
[10] John M. Frame, Selected Shorter Writings, Vol. 1 (Phillipsburg, NJ, 2014), 32–33.
[11] Leonardo Blair, “‘The Bible Belt Is Collapsing’; Christians Have Lost Culture War, Says ERLC President Russell Moore,” http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-bible-belt-is-collapsing-christians-have-lost-culture-war-says-erlc-president-russell-moore-102576/, accessed October 12, 2015.
[12] Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “Moore at the Margins,” Christianity Today, September 2015, 32–33.
[13] See John Yemma, “To Separate, Strengthen and Return,” The Christian Science Monitor Weekly, October 12, 2015, 7.
[14] Of course, the Jews as God’s unique nation were called to fight with physical, military arms. Our arms are not physical, military arms but are no less powerful (Eph. 6:10–20).
[15] John M. Frame, Selected Shorter Writings, Vol. 1, 231–234.

http://docsandlin.com/2015/11/20/bad-church-ideas-that-produce-bad-political-consequences/

A New State Agency: Department of Ecclesiastical Subordination

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Faith-based” alliances and partnerships are all the rage.  Since January 2001 when George W. Bush — within days of being sworn in as president — created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (later renamed the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships), the lure of federal money to assist in community assistance programs has been irresistible.  Churches and non-profits have lined up to take the king’s nickel, forgetting that there are government-mandated “strings” attached to that nickel.

In my home state of Arizona, the state agency responsible for administering welfare, “child safety,” job training, unemployment, senior, family and other social services is the Department of Economic Security.  The DES.

Last week, Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order creating a new state agency: the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships.  It is modeled after the federal program, which Barack Obama renewed in February 2009 — again, shortly after being sworn in as president.  (Government control of churches and charities seems to be a high priority with these newly-elected presidents!)

I suggest a new name for this new state agency:

Department of Ecclesiastical Subordination

Its mission: to protect you from unwanted unconstitutional abuses like… being presented the Gospel and quoted inspirational Scripture verses by church workers or rank-and-file Christian volunteers who overstep their statutory bounds by inadvisedly sharing their faith with the people they serve in the context of showing their faith to the people they serve, while they are engaged in providing state-supported, publicly-funded social services.

It’s for your own good, you know. Separation of Church and State.  Establishment of Religion and all that.

If I were a pastor or church worker, I wouldn’t worry one whit about the state controlling what I say or what I do while I’m “on duty” administering state-supported, publicly-funded social services.  Nope.  I would simply tell that poor mother or handicapped person or jobless or homeless person, “Sorry, Charlie (or Charlene), I know I’m a Christian.  But since I’m helping you here using your hard-earned (or not) taxpayer dollars, I have to play by the unbiblical, religiously intolerant rules.  I can’t say a single syllable that might be construed (by government or ACLU or SCA lawyers) as being “religious” or proselytizing, or else — BAM! — no more tax money.

And we can’t have that.

Better for you to be warmed and fed and spiritually-deprived than for us to violate agency rules and not gain more tax money!   This is called high finance for high callings.

Cainsian Economics

How does this work?  It’s really very simple.  Let’s say you’re pastoring a church that has a legacy of helping the poor and “underprivileged” in the community.  But, the economy being what it is, you’ve fallen on hard times.  Giving is down.  Building projects and expansions are up.  The needs are there.  The means to meet them are not.  What do do?

“Partner” with the state.  Of course!

In exchange for some free tax money, you get to dole out services and shut your mouth.  They’re not paying you to talk about Jesus and all that Christian stuff.   They’re paying you to be the hands and feet of the state.  Do good unto others, but don’t talk about Him who is good.  They want the works without the faith.  It’s the American way.

Why do Christians accept this? Why do Christians believe this?

Because they have been fed a steady diet of artificially-flavored, theologically-homogenized evangelicalism.

Because they have refused the solid teaching, the strong meat-and-potatoes of covenantally-robust, historically-orthodox biblical theology.

Because they have sat under preaching and worshipped in churches that believe in “no creed but Christ; no law but love”: antinomianism.  Pietism.  A perfect recipe for swallowing bad ideas wrapped in good intentions.

And because they have, for the most part, been “educated” in the public school system — a rigorously atheistic, pro-government, pro-socialist system that Christians overwhelmingly support and put their own kids through.  But I digress. (But maybe I don’t.)

This kind of “partnership” is rightly called, Faith-Based Fascism.  Churches get some extra money.  Along with an extra muzzle.  The state gets more useful idiots to do its bidding.  And Christians get to feel like they’re “in the game” and “have a seat at the table.”

Seat at the table? What’s for dinner?  Your faith and religious freedom of speech, that’s what!

If your pastor thinks this is a good idea, tell him that it isn’t.

SCOTUS and God’s Law: Not By THAT Standard!

same-sex-marriageDespite the hue and cry this past week over the most recent landmark Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriages, the harsh truth of it is this: the Supreme Court of the United States last week did not do anything differently from what it has been doing for the past 223 years (since its inception in 1790) — ruling and deciding on cases brought before it based on a homogenous, humanistic standard of interpretation that is deliberately and scrupulously compounded from sources NOT based on the biblical laws and precepts of the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture.

Were you surprised by the hubris of those five men and women in sober black robes who voted in favor of it?

You shouldn’t be.

Surprised by the fact that, of the nine men and women who sit on the Court, six are Roman Catholic and three are Jewish — even as both of these “traditional” religions ostensibly and officially denounce the practice of homosexuality?

You should be.

But, then again, maybe you shouldn’t be surprised.

It depends on three things: whether or not you believe a person’s religious faith and personal beliefs should influence his decisions and actions as a political, or in this case judicial, figure; whether or not you believe Supreme Court decisions are always legally (constitutionally) binding and therefore to be followed and enforced in any and all cases; and, whether or not you believe the Supreme Court indeed has the last word on deciding so-called constitutional issues such as this one, and is the supreme “law of the land.”

Whose Law Is It Anyway?

If you’re a theonomist, consistent Calvinist or, heaven forbid, a full-on Christian Reconstructionist, you appreciate ethical and moral dilemmas like this one, and you should find this brief, three-part quiz to be a cinch to answer.

First, should a political or judicial figure’s decisions and actions be influenced and informed by his personal beliefs and religious faith?

Of course!  Are they any different from the rest of us who live and work in God’s economy in various capacities of leadership and spheres of influence under the rule and dominion of Christ?  A Christian magistrate should rule first and foremost as a Christian.  A Christian judge should decide cases first and foremost as a Christian.  (We have a nice “church-word” for people who profess one thing and live out (or promote and defend) another: hypocrite!)

The problem is, unless your faith and personal beliefs tell you that, (a), there is no neutrality — it is never a question of law or no law, but rather whose law — and, (b), God’s law has continuing validity and authority in our lives today despite what antinomians, most evangelicals and, frankly, most Christians say to the contrary, then your faith is truncated and based on the shifting sands of an inconsistent, non-covenantal theology.

Two, are ALL Supreme Court decisions to be considered “binding” and thus enforced and obeyed and respected by citizens and presidents (who are also citizens) alike in all cases?

Not by a long shot!

American history is replete with examples of presidents and politicians (and civilians and military) who disregarded and ignored — or threatened to ignore — Supreme Court decisions which they did not agree with.  But there is a difference between disregarding and ignoring for political or expedient reasons and doing so for sound theological, moral and doctrinal reasons.

As theonomically-inclined, historically and biblically-informed Christians (who tend to be somewhat more “liberty-minded” and politically astute than others in the same demographic!), we are empowered and even duty-bound to disregard and ignore, or at least challenge, criticize and (publicly) denounce court decisions — or laws for that matter — that blatantly and explicitly VIOLATE SCRIPTURE and force Christians to do likewise by imposing either unbiblical requirements or unbiblical sanctions and restrictions.

That point should lead us to a lengthy discussion of “Christian resistance” and the proper interpretation of Romans 13… But not right now!

Third, does the Supreme Court have “the last word” on deciding constitutional issues and questions?

No, the Supreme Court does not have the last word on deciding constitutional issues and questions, despite all appearances to the contrary.

Not even the venerable U.S. Constitution says anywhere (including Article III) that the Supreme Court has the power of judicial review (let alone the lofty position of “judicial supremacy”).  This is simply a “well-established precedent” (much like the well-established precedent of following and enforcing decisions of denominational assemblies on similar issues!) that we have all come to assume is, by virtue of custom and tradition, “the way things ought to be.”

Who’s In Charge?

So, we are back to the question originally posed by Rushdoony in his 1958 book, “By What Standard?”

We know the answer.  The biblical laws of the Old and New Testaments.

The problem is, most of the country does not believe this, most CHRISTIANS do not believe this.  Hardly anyone in Congress or on Capitol Hill and no one in the Oval Office believes it.  Certainly no one sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court believes it.  (They haven’t believed it for at least 225 years!)

Where does that leave us?

It leaves is with a political system that has been hijacked at the top, manipulated clear down to the bottom, and corrupted everywhere in between.  It leaves us with an executive branch that behaves less and less like the “servant-leadership” that Jesus and the Scriptures exemplify, and more and more like the tyranny, oligarchy and unbridled monarchy that Samuel warned Israel about.  It leaves us with a legislative branch that promotes an intransigent and intractable bureaucracy which exists to satisfy every whim of the electorate and take away all the “uncertainties” and exigencies of life, carefully placing its demands on the rest of us while carefully exempting and enriching the law-makers and their cronies.  It leaves us with a judicial branch that autonomously judges man-made laws by other man-made laws and seemingly acts with “no controlling legal (or moral) authority” other than itself.

Sadly, as long as the money machine of taxpayers (church-going, Bible-reading and otherwise) and their central bank masters keeps churning out financial and electoral support for this unbiblical system of political-messianic programs, unscriptural laws and unchristian policies and practices, we can continue to expect more of the same.

How Shall We Then Reform?

We have an enormous library and burgeoning body of literature, including online and offline resources and media at our disposal, including an “action manual” now that gives us clear direction and concrete, historically and biblically-validated steps to take.

This is good, because correcting more than two centuries of political and judicial apostasy is no short-term project and will not be an easy task.

So, Christians, let’s get busy.  We have a LOT of work to do!

“Restoring America”: The Action Manual We Have Been Waiting For!

Restoring America One County at a Time

This is it.  This is the big one.

For more than 150 years, statists and socialists have had their Communist Manifesto–a puny pamphlet full of revolutionary, rabble-rousing rhetoric that gave voice to the repressive, totalitarian leanings of generations of anti-Christian, anti-free-market despots and their minions.

Now, thanks to this monumental “labor of love” from Joel McDurmon, the anti-statists and God-fearing, Bible-reading, libertarian-leaning folks finally have theirs: a “localist manifesto”!

In Restoring America, One County at a Time, Joel McDurmon has written and published his magnum opus.  It is an absolute masterpiece.  It is a historical, political, theological–and rhetorical–tour de force.

Finally!  A book that very compellingly brings together all the practical aspects of biblical Christianity to bear on the reality of what Sorokin called “The Crisis of Our Age,” what Buchanan called, “The Death of the West”, and the civilizational slide described by Barzunin in “From Dawn to Decadence” and Bork in “Slouching Towards Gomorrah.”

Forgive me for gushing like a teenager, but,… this really is a TOTALLY awesome book!

It almost brings a tear to my eye.

Yes, I know, it’s only a book. But, McDurmon’s jam-packed how-to guide for reforming (some would say “reconstructing”) America through a systematic return to localism, fiscal responsibility and transparency and sound principles of government, law and economics, is so well-written, so tightly-focused, so well-argued, thoroughly-documented, comprehensive in scope and yet eminently readable and understandable–and, above all, actionable–for the average person (voter/citizen), that it almost defies all possibility of any negative criticism, at least from me.

But, I am not writing this as a literary critic.  No, sir.  I am writing as an enthusiastic, RAVING fan of biblically sound, intelligently reasoned and concisely presented information that is both historically faithful and intellectually challenging to the status quo of virtually every other book that treats of the same subjects (except, of course, for those written by fellow reconstructionists who have been arguing for 40+ years the principles behind what McDurmon is setting forth here), such that “Restoring America One County at a Time” has the potential to radically change a lot of people’s lives and even change the course of an entire nation.

That’s a BIG deal.

That makes McDurmon’s book a truly path-breaking work.  It is a new manifesto for a new generation of liberty-loving, tyranny-hating Americans.

A Localist Manifesto

This is a ten-step recovery program for a nation mired deep in the throes of a chronic, long-term addiction to statism, centralized government, coercive empire-building, global governance by private corporate interests and, as of late, advancing stages of executive tyranny.

Joel–or, more accurately (now that he has been awarded his Ph. D.), DR. Joel!–has put together an extraordinary combination of historical causation, political and theological foundations for how we can get back our freedoms and restore, little by little, the nation’s collective cultural and societal health, an abundant array of examples showing our ideological short-sightedness, historical ignorance and political laziness (especially of Christians, who have in their possession the best political science textbook and manual of social theory ever written–the Bible!), with an almost “fool-proof” game plan for us to follow–a highly specific “to-do” list of reform measures and simple technological tools (like WordPress and You Tube) that individuals and communities can use to begin the dual process of exposing the fraud, corruption and systemic problems that exist, and presenting the particular biblically and historically based solutions that will correct them.

The unique thing about his proposals is this: none of them are intended to be applied at the federal level. NONE!

This is a road map to recovery that leads straight to local governments.  It never touches Washington.  It is all about counties and municipalities (with states included only as a secondary objective, the “next level”).  The federal government is left completely out of the loop here because, well, to quote the late President Ronald Reagan, “Government (federal) is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem!”

Think Biblically, Act Locally

The wrong-headed political thinking of so many Americans, and so many Christians, is that the only way to bring about real “change” and national reform and stem the tide of our nation’s decline is by changing the folks in Washington who represent us (or purport to), thereby leap-frogging over and effectively disregarding the state and local government levels because they’re, you know, minor league, and, well, after all, there’s a lot more “bang for the buck” when you head straight to the top and go for the whole enchilada.

McDurmon says this is wrong, wrong, wrong!  That is what got us into this fine, socialist, statist mess in the first place.  We got here and have reaped the whirlwind rewards of “salvation through legislation” the old-fashioned way–we earned it–slowly, progressively, and, alas, as Joel elaborates in chapter 4 on States’ Rights, constitutionally!

The broad scope of this little 400-plus-page book is simply astounding.  That makes it all the more valuable and all the more vital to read, especially for “activist”-minded Christians and the rising generation of libertarians (small “l”) who have been searching for a handbook giving them a detailed strategy to follow of how to defeat the tyrants of the 21st century and their enablers and supporters, as well as the failed philosophies, hare-brained theories, hokey economic principles and academic fantasies that have undergirded them for far too long, once and for all.

I won’t do a full-blown “book report” here.  I just want to whet your appetite to entice you to HURRY up and finish reading this article and then click through to your nearest (or favorite) online bookseller and buy yourself a copy of this fabulous book.

There are so many excellent quotes that could be pulled from almost any page you read.  I’ll just give you a sample:

Education in a free society means exclusively “private” education. We are never free as long as we are subjected to compulsory government education shored up by threats, penalties, fines, and taxes—to any degree or at any level.

So, instead of thinking of Social Security as some kind of investment program, a fund you’re paying into on which you can draw in the future, you need to see it for what it is—a tax now, spend now scheme (tax you now, and spend on others now scheme).

In principle, limited and localized government is an outgrowth of specifically Christian thinking; particularly the demands that 1) rulers are not divine, but are themselves subject to a higher law, 2) private property is to be protected and property owners invested with powers against encroachments even from government, 3) social relationships are based on legally binding contracts, and 4) power enables corruption and should therefore be limited, checked, and safeguarded. In short, we have a society based on religious faith, property rights, honoring of contracts, and individual responsibility—all fundamental things derived directly from the Ten Commandments.

But if taxes must exist, they should be as decentralized as possible. Only the most local municipality should have power to tax the individual.

The biblical prescription for markets and business is very simple: non-violence, enforcement of property rights and enforcement of contracts.

Civil rulers are to be representative servant-leaders of the people, and thus biblical government is representative government.

Civil disobedience in egregious cases—necessary cases—is a long accepted and ancient Christian right and practice which modern Christians need to recover.

What is clear here is that God’s society makes no provision for a standing army and none for military conscription or a draft.

…the Constitution defines the President’s power so broadly that he can essentially create new laws by interpreting undefined areas of existing law according to his own agenda, interpreting how to implement existing laws, or he can perhaps even ignore specific laws of Congress if he thinks they infringe upon the broad interpretations he comes up with.

And so forth and so on.

Joel does a masterful job of laying out and expanding upon all of the ten topics he discusses in his book.

  1. Education
  2. Welfare
  3. County Rights
  4. States’ Rights
  5. Taxation
  6. Money
  7. Markets
  8. Courts
  9. Defense
  10. The Executive

His Epilogue is his final “pep talk” to his team-mates, and he follows it with an Appendix calling for the Repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, which he argues was “an important assault on states’ rights” that ultimately weakened them and “magnified the power of special interests in Washington.”

A Scripture and Subject Index round out his seminal work.  Of course, the iBook and Kindle versions of “Restoring America” contain word-searchable texts with hyperlinked footnotes and links to many of the sources he cites in his dozens of footnotes.

This book is destined to be a runaway non-bestseller among Christians.  That’s because too many of them believe, (a), the Bible has almost nothing to say about politics, economics and the proper role of “biblical” government in our lives, and, (b), what little it does say promotes “Christian socialism” and the welfare state.  (Thank you, Jim Wallis.)   The remainder believe that it is a waste of time to go about trying to “restore’ and reform very much of this world, since, after all, it’s about to be totally immersed in the conflagration of the Great Tribulation, and we (meaning they) won’t be around anyway since ‘Jesus is coming soon’, i.e., any minute now, and the imminent Rapture will make all of this a non-issue anyway. . .  It should be a hit among a large contingent of the libertarians–those who are not seduced by the anarchic, extra-biblical tendencies of so many of the proponents and writers in the liberty and Austrian economics movements.

Be all of that as it may, my advice to you is, get this book (immediately), read it thoroughly and thoughtfully, and then begin to DO what it says.

The nation’s 3,143 counties are counting on you to implement its vision!

Buy it here (Amazon). And here (American Vision).

I bought the e-book version.  I plan to buy the hardcover as well, because, well, like a lot of you, I still suffer (voluntarily) from Picard’s Syndrome. 🙂

Uganda’s Christian President Shows the World How to ‘Reconstruct’ a Nation

Imagine an American president doing this at our nation’s 250th anniversary celebration of its independence from Great Britain.

Uganda’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni, a Christian, made history when, at his nation’s 50th anniversary celebration of its independence from Great Britain, he publicly offered a prayer of national repentance and confession, asking God’s forgiveness for his sins and the sins of his people.

Read this prayer all the way through in its entirety, word for word.

Father God in heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all your goodness to us.
I stand here today to close the evil past and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness.
We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.
We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.
Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict.
These sins and many others have characterised our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love you, to fear you and to seek you. Take away from us all the above sins.
We pray for national unity. Unite us as Ugandans and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. Help us to see that we are all your children, children of the same Father. Help us to love and respect one another and to appreciate unity in diversity.
We pray for prosperity and transformation. Deliver us from ignorance, poverty and disease. As leaders, give us wisdom to help lead our people into political, social and economic transformation.
We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfil what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own.
I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to you, to walk in your ways and experience all your blessings forever.
I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This is incredible.  Here we have an elected politician–actually, Mr. Museveni is a statesman–who is not only a Christian, but a Christian who is applying his faith and the principles of the Bible to the civil government of his country!

Museveni is no new-comer to Ugandan politics.  He has been involved in its brief but tumultuous history as an independent republic since 1970 when he joined the fledgling intelligence service shortly before Idi Amin seized power in a military coup in 1971.

He was born and raised and educated in Uganda, became a Marxist-leftist radical while in college (surprise!), converted to Christianity later on, and has been the country’s president since 1986.

While he has been commended and lauded by leaders around the world for a number of reforms that he has implemented during his tenure, he has also had no shortage of enemies internationally since he and his nation began moving to the right, politically, especially during the last several years.

Now, he is making a clean, public break with the past and setting Uganda on a course that we haven’t seen an elected government official set his country on since, well, since I don’t know when.

And he didn’t just make a break.  He made a covenant.  With God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He means business, this Museveni!

Even the Wikipedia article characterizes his term of office as one of “political and economic regeneration”.

He is clearly in rebuilding mode (which usually follows a collapse or disintegration), and this rebuilding is looking more and more biblical and Christian-influenced all the time.

Of course, we would also use that other “r” word to describe what is going on in Uganda.

But that might offend some of our Christian non-Reconstructionist brothers and sisters!

For further reading, click here.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Before Facebook inexplicably erased the share count on Dec. 5, 2012, this article had been shared 79 times!  I don’t know what happened, but I want to thank all of you who thought what was written here was worth sharing–PR.

Dec. 7, 2012: Looks like they reset the share counter to zero, but at least it’s working again!–PR

Free E-book: Law and Liberty

Before I get to my review of Gary North’s Millennialism and Social Order, I wanted to pass along something that appeared in my e-mailbox this week.

Right now, Chalcedon Foundation is offering a free copy, in PDF format, of R. J. Rushdoony’s Law and Liberty for subscribing to its newsletter.

Here is the link for that newsletter offer and free e-book.

The book is also for sale in hard copy (soft cover) on Chalcedon’s website.

Law and Liberty is not like Rushdoony’s massive magnum opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law.

It is a much more manageable, 200+ page paperback!

I read it more than 15 years ago when I came across a copy in the used book section of my favorite Christian bookstore in Phoenix.

It is comprised of 32 short chapters, each of which is a self-contained unit and deals with a single topic relating to law and biblical Christianity.  This “self-contained” aspect of the chapters is due to the fact that they were originally based on a series of radio addresses delivered by Rushdoony back in the 1960s.

The material is not dated, though.  It reads just as timely and engaging as if it were written in the 21st century.

I recommend subscribing to the newsletter and getting a free copy of the book in PDF.  (You can always order a hard copy or look for a used copy later.)

This is theological and historical meat and potatoes condensed into compact form.  It is solid intellectual and spiritual food for the Christian soul.

For a sneek peek, click here!

Rock Your Worldview: The Institutes of Biblical Law

If there is one book that I can honestly say took my nascent Reformed faith and shifted it into theological overdrive, it was R.J. Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law (1973, Craig Press).  This single volume is considered by many to be Reconstructionism’s “founding document” and its most cogent, erudite statement of what it believes.

When I first picked up a used copy of Rushdoony’s Institutes in late 1989 and began reading it in early 1990, I had already been questioning and shedding my Arminian, Dispensationalist, Fundamentalist, Pentecostal views.  A refugee of the televangelist wars of the mid-80s and a former follower of “defrocked” Gospel crusader Jimmy Swaggart, I had begun to read some of the Puritans and other Calvinist writers and was slowly becoming attracted to (what appeared to me) the rock-solid stability and doctrinal consistency of the Reformed faith.

Believe me, after the deflating disappointment of Edgar Whisenant’s failed prediction of Christ’s return and the Rapture of the Church in 1988, I was ready for a BIG change in my evangelical worldview, as well as in my eschatology.

Rushdoony’s book was not immediately appealing to me.  Too academic, too dry, too intellectually dense.  My tastes leaned more towards fervent, devotional, pietistic reading and teaching.  That began to change.

As I started reading, I began to change my entire Christian outlook.  Or, I should say, GOD began to change my entire Christian outlook. (That darned sovereignty thing again!)  The Institutes of Biblical Law became a theological lifeline.  Christianity took on flesh and bone and a more extensively (and intensively) “mission-critical” significance. The Scriptures became a flood where they once were only a creek.

Anyway, one thing led to another and this book introduced me to a host of other like-minded, Reformed/Reconstructionist writers, including Dr. Gary North.

It is not for the faint-of-heart, though. This is nearly 900 pages of high-octane, high-protein, heavy-duty reading.  But, for a well-grounded, scripturally and historically informed understanding of biblical law, this is the one to read. The book is structured according to the Decalogue: an introductory section on the Importance of the Law followed by ten chapters, one on each of the Ten Commandments, then separate chapters on the Promises of Law, the Law in the Old Testament, the Law in the New Testament, the Church, the Law in Western Society, and several appendices, three of which were written by Gary North.

If you want what is probably the most astute introduction to biblical law and Christian Reconstruction, Institutes is still available in hardcover from the Chalcedon Foundation, Amazon, and possibly from other resellers used.  It can also be viewed online here.