Friday, February 28, 2014

Statism & Idolatry

Most Christians I know are tired of our current ungodly, tyrannical government.  They are sick of seeing their country attacked by the very ones appointed to serve it, and they wish it weren’t tyrannical, bloated, and supportive of evildoing.  They are also weary of seeing our society gradually become more and more ungodly and immoral.
Unfortunately, these some people seem to stumble when it comes to the concept civil government enforcing “good” things.  (Especially *ahem* when that government is filled with those in red ties.)  Why wouldn’t we want to have unhealthy food banned?  Why wouldn’t we want to have harmful drugs be illegal or restricted?  Why would someone oppose caring for the poor?  Why shouldn’t government help businesses and the economy?  Why is it wrong for government to monitor the citizens if they’re doing so in an effort to prevent another 9/11?  Isn’t it good for us to aid other countries who are fighting the “bad guys”?  Aren’t these laws based on good and Biblical principles and morals?  Keeping people safe and happy and healthy?
The problem is, these folks don’t ask about whether or not these laws and actions are correct actions for the civil government to get involved in.
Should we seek to be healthy?  Avoid harmful substances and foods?   Should we be charitable?  Is it good for us to seek to have healthy, prosperous businesses?  Should we seek to be safe and avoid trouble before it comes?  Should we seek to help those in trouble?  The answer to all of this, obviously, is a resounding yes.
However, it is not the responsibility of the civil government to keep us healthy, to care for the poor, to make us prosperous, to prevent anything bad from happening, or t0 help other countries in their struggles.  The state does not have the authority to get involved in such matters, and when the do so, they usurp the power and jurisdiction of others and become tyrannical.
When we expect the state to care for us, to ensure that we have a smooth retirement, to keep us healthy, to educate us, to protect us, to prevent anything bad from ever happening to us, to tell us whether or not such-and-such food is healthy, to rescue us out of every bad situation, to make sure we drive safely, to tell us when to do what, to dictate for us our consciences, etc., etc., we have made government into a god.  These  are not the roles of a just, Biblical, Constitutional government.  In setting up a government with these duties or powers we set up a tyrannical government which usurps the role of the Almighty.
The state is not responsible for making sure that our needs are provided for.  The family and individual are responsible for that, and if circumstances render them unable to do so sufficiently, the church steps up to help.  Ultimately, however, our needs are met by God, and we rely on Him for our sustenance and well-being.  When we turn to the state for this provision and care instead of turning to God we spite Him who gives us our lives and breath, trusting instead in imperfect rulers.
Do we not remember God’s reaction when Israel sought a king?  YHWH stated, “…they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”  Yet we now seek to make our government more powerful and almighty than even the kings of Israel were.  Tyrannical as they were, those kings at least didn’t have the NSA or the TSA or a “See Something Say Something” campaign.  (So far as I am aware, anyway…)
God is the one who takes provides for us, who sustains our lives, who keeps from danger or gives us the grace to go through trials, who gives us the wisdom to make decisions and His Word to guide our lives.   He delegates various areas of authority to various governments (self, family, church, and civil are the main types) and these governments are limited in their power.  Only God rules over all, and He is the one who will ultimately judge all actions of all men.
Let the state fulfill it’s God-given role of punishing those who harm others; obey it in all things lawful – but never let it replace God or other God-given types of governments.
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