08 March, 2006

The Duties of the Government

Either we have no idea what the Bible says about the role of the civil government or we have fallen way off course with the relationship of the State and the Church. Do Christians even believe this stuff? It is the duty of civil government not only to uphold the second table of the law, but also the first. It must see to it that God is honored. It may not tolerate any idolatry, worship of images, or any false religion within her jurisdiction, but must rather eradicate these. It must prevent the vain use of God's Name by way of cursing, swearing, and blasphemy. It must prevent the desecration of the Sabbath, punish violators of this commandment, and see to it that the gospel is proclaimed everywhere within its jurisdiction. It must see to it that the church, as the darling of the Lord Jesus, is protected and preserved; and that neither internal dissension nor any external oppression disturb or destroy the church, but that instead she be safely preserved in the use of the privileges and liberties which her King Jesus has given her

~Wilhelmus a'Brakel (II: 179).

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good quote. We must pray for reform in this country, and we must pray for our leaders to rule this nation according to God's Word. Also, Christians must fight to put godly leaders into position. The lesser of 2 evils is still evil. ;) I can understand why in good conscience some cannot participate in voting these men into office.

Nate said...

What is even more sad than lesser of two evils is that our Constitution is set up to NEVER ALLOW SUCH a reform. This quote is forbidden from being practiced because of our constitution. Is that a problem to anyone?

edwardseanist said...

So what should the Christian's role in the reform of this nation's government be? Does this become one of the focuses of the Church?

Andrew Duggan said...

How much wiggle room do find in the following:

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:10-12)

Consider that especially in the light of the President's goal of "winning the hearts and minds" (of at least the Iraqis). If that's his goal then he is fighting a religious war. The problem he faces is that those hearts and minds he wants to "win" are enslaved to a religion that is based on violence and oppression (not to mention a false god), while his religion is the godless American Civil Religion of Democracy. He has embroiled himself in war of religion and he not armed.

There is no way for me to know if George Bush is a Christian or not. However, I don't see how faith in Christ is consistent with his statement that the Moslem god is the same as his god. Moslems are unitarians. Can you really have faith in Christ when you deny Jesus Christ is God the Son, by saying that the god of Moslems is the same as your own? Doesn't that seem more like his wanting to break the bands of God's law and cast the cords of Christ's righteousness away?

Psalm 2 is just as applicable to the US as it is to the rest of the nations.

The question is:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? (Ps 2:1)

The answer is:

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, and against the LORD, and against his Christ, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Ps 2:2,3)

The solution is:

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Ps 2:11,12)

shawn said...

Reform in the Church = Reform in the Family and State.

Read the Reformation Subordinate Standards re: the Civil Magistrate!

What happened to the Establishment principle?

The Bill of Rights -
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


The Bible -
Isa 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Isa 49:7,23 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, [and] his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, [and] the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with [their] face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

Psa 2:10-12 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him.

Psa 72:10-11 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

Psa 138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

Deu 4:6-8 Keep therefore and do [them]; for this [is] your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation [is] a wise and understanding people. For what nation [is there so] great, who [hath] God [so] nigh unto them, as the LORD our God [is] in all [things that] we call upon him [for]? And what nation [is there so] great, that hath statutes and judgments [so] righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Psa 119:46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

Droll Flood said...

Heh, heh, heh...Nate, you're touching on a subject that's very dear to me.
"Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

-All the words prior to the first comma (and after too) establish and respect a religion, namely secularism. Therefore the state should not establish it(self) nor should respect it(self), therefore...
-Laws are the products of people's views of life. Views of life are INHERENTLY governed by religious beliefs. This can't be disputed. Those who framed this amendment, etc. were governed by the belief that secularism (there's the religious area of life, and then there's that which is outside of it) was the right position. The only position.

"What is even more sad than lesser of two evils is that our Constitution is set up to NEVER ALLOW SUCH a reform. This quote is forbidden from being practiced because of our constitution."
-Spot on. Tolerance of anything other than the 'god' dictating will not be endured. How does one control the board? By wiping out the opposition. Whose the opposition? The LORD and all His Word.

-Most Christians would sooner choke on their own tongues and die before saying and believing the above with a Brakel; denying their Creator His sovereign right to govern His creation and people in ALL (I can't emphasize this enough) of life. In the nature of reality though, God is still TOTALLY sovereign over the hardened hearts of men.Men aren't God, the Lord He is God.

-So, it's not a matter if it's a theocracy, it's a matter of who's the 'theo' in the theocracy and to whom will we listen.

-In summary, a Brakel's dead-on right, and I confess the same.

Shawn you ask:
"What happened to the Establishment principle?"
I ask:
Establishment principle? What's that? I've heard of it, but only from your theological circles.

-For the record, I DID NOT vote for George W. Bush this past election. However, I do pray for him daily and for all the rest of the leaders too.

-I am amazed that we're not a lot more worse off regarding the Law of God than we are in the U.S. The sinful belief mechanism is in place, yet it's God's sovereign will and mercy to His own that the nation doesn't collapse. Praise God for that, and pray that things change to what a Brakel said.

Droll Flood said...

By the way, with due respect to George W. Bush as our sovereignly placed by God leader, he openly confesses and promotes pluralism. I heard the same from his own lips. I wince when people flippently say that he's a Christian, blah blah blah...

Nate,
you asked:
"This quote is forbidden from being practiced because of our constitution. Is that a problem to anyone?"
Yes, it is a problem, TO EVERYONE (regarding unbelief leads to death/ hell) and to me a believer on Jesus Christ and all that He has said. The U.S. government advocates at basic principle unbelief, I don't support it in word and deed. I hope you can testify to the same in my life.

I put the question to you as well and everyone else, fully expecting an answer and ask, what now are we to do and what are we doing about the matter?
Prate about it from our blogs, our ivory towers, etc.?

The Director said...

Thankfully we have a sovreign God who reigns undisputed regardless of what laws men may devise for themselves. We don't need a 'christian' government to be a nation subject to the God who created it. He is in control regardless, and his will is performed not matter how fiercely the ungodly oppose it.

But that is not to say I dispute the idea that a christian government would be the ideal. Who would argue with that?

The Director said...

And, you're probably going to freak out when I say it but I'm not trying to be provocative here, I'm just saying this:

I believe our President understands the power of Christ at work in his life. He is not a doctrinal powerhouse, and he is wrong about many things, but he is a christian.

Nate said...

Director

"We don't need a 'christian' government to be a nation subject to the God who created it."

Do we need a Christian family to be a family subject to the God who created it?

Or do we need a Christian person to a person subject to the God who created it?

I think that these questions answer themselves.

Just because we are Calvinists does not give us the liberty to not use the means and call men to repentance, families to repentance, and states to repentance.

As for GW being a Christian- I cannot judge hearts, but I can judge actions. Denying Christ is the only way is a denial of Christ.

I too would like to believe that we have a president that is in love with Christ Jesus...

Penumbra said...

the Director,
You can certaily choose to take the man at his word; if he says he's a Christian, then we should give him the benefit of the doubt even if he calls Islam a "noble religion" and subsidizes charity with coerced money from taxpayers. I suppose you could relegate it to ignorance, or posturing.

Regarding your other comment, director, if the majority of a nation is Christian, then, yes, they would NEED to have a Christian government. Anything less would be disobedience. Do you "need" to maintain your vows to church and spouse? Well, on a purely physical level, maybe food, water, and shelter are the only things we "need," but as Christians, we know we need spiritual food as well. A nation of Christians would spiritually require a Christian government.

The Director said...

I agree that a nation of Christians requires a christian government- but do we have a nation of christians? Not yet. Will we? Depends on your eschatology. I think one day we will.

Nate, I hope you understood my perspective in my comments, but I don't think you did. Our nation is under God's power no matter who's in charge. Period. Now, is our nation OBEDIENT to God? No, and I was not attempting to say that obedience is an unimportant or unneccesary issue.

Yes, pray and work for reform in any way we can. But looking around us, the picture can frequently be quite discouraging, so it is important to draw encouragement in our efforts and prayers from the fact that we serve a sovreign God who desires all nations and all peoples to be subject to him and in praying for his will to be accomplished, we can be certain our prayers and efforts are not in vain.

THAT was my point, bro ;-)

Nate said...

Understood.

shawn said...

Droll asked: Establishment principle? What's that? I've heard of it, but only from your theological circles.

Establishment Principle: The idea that the Civil Government would recognize, promote and protect the True Religion in a National Church Context. (ie. The Church of the United States, the Church of England, etc)
See article Establishment of Religion

Ps 2:10-12
Ps 72:10-11
Ps 117
Mt 28:18-20
WCF on CM
Belgic Conf. on CM

The mission of the Church is the Settled State of the Church which is usually defined as a National General Assembly with the Civil Governments promotion and protection against false religion.

Eph 4:11ff
Rom 13:1ff
Zeph 3:9
Isa 49:7,23

So with that in mind, here are some questions, though I’m guessing they shall be missed, since Nathan posted again.

I think that the idea of the Civil Government is confused by the issue of what is to be VS. what is. What is God’s Revealed Will VS. What is His Hidden Will.

1) Are ALL Nations required to be Covenanted Christian Nations? (even if the majority are not professing Christians?)

2) Should a formal explicit doctrinal position on the Civil Government be required in a Church’s subordinate standard (I am assuming all members are required to own the Church’s Standards – but know that’s a challenging enough question)

3) If one did own the Establishment Principle, would those Church members be required to also own duties that resist the tyrannical civil government?

4) If one argues that we are to submit ourselves to all those in authority BECAUSE, “God ordains the powers that be,” – even Hitler; How would one argue that you ought NOT to resist the Beast in Revelation? Ought we then to take his mark? IF NOT – then by WHAT Standard do we discern when we may or may not resist?

Droll Flood said...

"I agree that a nation of Christians requires a christian government- but do we have a nation of christians?"

-Firstly, Hail director.

-Secondly,
Why is it that we can presume that present within the visible church there can be sheep and wolves but not amidst a ('visible'?) state?

-Are there parallels between government of the Church and the State? What are they?

"Denying Christ is the only way is a denial of Christ."
-Man alive Nate, you're scintillating as of late. Spot on once again.

Droll Flood said...

"As for GW being a Christian- I cannot judge hearts, but I can judge actions. Denying Christ is the only way is a denial of Christ."
Yea a man may say Thou hast faith and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works and I will shew thee my faith by my works.-James 2
This isn't exactly a tertiary theological belief in question. Openly naming pluralism as the governments policy shows a fundamental denial of Christ's sovereignty over man's belief, action, and government. Bad tree, bad fruit.

Droll Flood said...

By the way Shawn,
Thanks for the answer. I really did want to know what you meant. I read old posts even when new (or several) are posted.

shawn said...

So no one wants to tangle with the questions I posted? *smiles

I'll post them again, for the benefit of all.

1) Are ALL Nations required to be Covenanted Christian Nations? (even if the majority are not professing Christians?)

2) Should a formal explicit doctrinal position on the Civil Government be required in a Church’s subordinate standard (I am assuming all members are required to own the Church’s Standards – but know that’s a challenging enough question)

3) If one did own the Establishment Principle, would those Church members be required to also own duties that resist the tyrannical civil government?

4) If one argues that we are to submit ourselves to all those in authority BECAUSE, “God ordains the powers that be,” – even Hitler; How would one argue that you ought NOT to resist the Beast in Revelation? Ought we then to take his mark? IF NOT – then by WHAT Standard do we discern when we may or may not resist?

Querist said...

"Are ALL Nations required to be Covenanted Christian Nations? (even if the majority are not professing Christians?)"
*Does it inherently/ specifically have to be the Solemn league and Covenant?

"Should a formal explicit doctrinal position on the Civil Government be required in a Church’s subordinate standard"
*Subordinate standards? You mean confessions?

"(I am assuming all members are required to own the Church’s Standards – but know that’s a challenging enough question)"
*Has a specific ecclesiastical body arrived at the pinnacle of Biblical doctrine here on earth? *Is that one as well as the Church is going to get here on earth?
*How far must one hold to an ecclesiastical body's confession *To the last jot and tittle?
*Even as far as historicist or partial preterism?

Anonymous said...

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