A Political View of Life
Why Our Bible Studies Should Be
The Chronology of human history in the Bible records a shift in the basic pattern of social organization from the patria (family), which God created in the Garden of Eden, to the polis (city-state). In other words, from Patriarchy to Politics.
We live in a political society. The question is whether God's will is our compass (as seen in the God-established family-centered human society in the Garden of Eden), or whether our paths are being charted by the political forces of the secular polis (human society in rebellion against God).
Most Christians are completely unaware of how their lives are dominated by the secular polis rather than the Word of God.
Two Themes: Archism and Secularism
The shift from Patriarchy to Politics is a shift from service to archism.
And in our day, the shift is from a society "under God" to a secular society, from a society that publicly and officially acknowledges its duty to God, to a secular society that refuses to acknowledge that duty publicly and officially, refuses to endorse the most fundamental "self-evident truths."
The political society in which we live is based on both archism and secularism.
When God's People determined to emulate the pagan nations around them, making the shift from Patriarchy to Politics, God told them that this represented a rejection of God's government and law, and with all such violations, would come the curses of the covenant. The curses specifically detailed by Samuel to the people included taxation to the tune of 10%.
When America's Founding Fathers took up arms to fight against "taxation without representation," they were fighting tax rates that historians estimate at 3-5%.
Today, combined taxes taken from our paychecks by all levels of the polis average 50%.
The wealth that is left to us by all levels of government is then taxed again, as corporations and manufacturers pass on accumulated anti-business taxes to consumers.
In other words, the government not only takes half "your" money before you spend it, it takes half again when you exchange "your" money for the goods and services you want.
But the Bible says to pay your taxes, so that's not the complaint of this essay, and joining the "tax protest" movement is not advocated. Taxes are a symptom, as 1 Samuel 8 makes plain. The important point to be made with regard to the fact that government takes 75% of everything we earn, is that the government then uses that money to regulate our lives and transform our culture, turning us from Christ to the principles of archism and secularism. It may be safe to say that 75% of our day is dictated by the government. Where we live, where we work, what we do for a living, what products we consume, and many other questions are determined directly and indirectly by government regulation. Whereas homeschoolers know that only 3-4 hours a day are needed for "schooling," most students in government-run schools have a much larger percentage of their waking hours governed by state schools. After-school hours are not dictated by family businesses, but by government's child-labor laws and minimum wage laws, which keep young men and women unemployed and lacking in entrepreneurial skills and experience. Fear of lawsuits also dictate actions by private citizens who are to one degree or another tied to public institutions. Mention of religion or even permitting the free exercise of religion can be deemed an "unconstitutional" "endorsement" of religion, and invite expensive litigation from the ACLU and other anti-Christian forces.
We can complain about MTV, but how much of our money does MTV take? Could MTV come into existence in a culture that was explicitly Christian and taught the Bible in all its schools? The real influence in our culture is the institution that gets our money. And that influence is of a decidedly secularizing force.
The influence is pervasive. Few people have ever given much thought about how our lives -- and thoughts -- have been shaped by the secular polis. Those who have attempted to change society, to inject an explicitly Christian message into the public square, have run into the obstacles. They've been told by the bureaucrats, "We can't do that. That would be a violation of the separation of church and state." Most people have never tried to make our society more Christian. Most people have not directly tried to repel the forces of secularism in our society. Most people are completely unaware of who is calling the shots in their lives. Most people walk in line, following the person in front of them. We learn this lesson in the earliest years of government schooling.
We are where we are, who we are, and doing what we do largely because of
"All this talk about politics is missing the point," some will say. "The REAL point of the Bible is our salvation, and you're distracting us from that central issue."
This concept of "salvation" is a dangerous myth, and is part of our idolatrous thinking.
We don't think self-consciously about what God wants us to do and compare and contrast that with what Caesar demands of us. We have been trained to narrow our field of vision to exclude Biblical choices and promises for the entire planet. We serve the State because we believe the State will provide us with health, comfort, victory over enemies -- in short, everything that is contained in the Biblical word for "salvation." Strong's Dictionary has the following entry for the Hebrew word commonly translated "salvation":
Jesus said we are to love and serve the Lord with all our being, heart, mind, soul, and strength. When He said we are to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's," He was not justifying the existence of the secular Salvation-State, but indicting those who did not love and serve the Lord, but worshipped Caesar. The Bible says that being under "tribute" is a curse upon a faithless people (
Rushdoony quotes Prof. Stauffer who pointed out a well-known and oft-repeated imperial
decree which stated, "There is no name under heaven by which men may be saved than
that of Caesar Augustus." The Empire promised salvation, just as God promises
salvation: health, welfare, prosperity, security. All nations had to be a part of the
Roman Empire. All their gods were admitted to the Parthenon, because there was
"freedom of religion."
But Christians had a different idea. The Apostle Peter said, There is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved than the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). And Christians were arrested, jailed, and martyred, while other religions were approved, licensed, and accredited by the State.
Most Christians today would rather have salvation from Caesar than risk everything for Jesus. "If I speak out I might lose my job."
We have re-defined "salvation," giving Caesar lordship over everything in this life, and expecting God to let us go to heaven after a life of idolatry.
Samuel warned the people that if they imitated the nations around them, they would be subjected to a 10% tax. If Samuel could view our society, with 50% overt tax-rates, 50% covert tax rates, and voluntary submission without complaint or protest to a vast array of regulations which completely dominate our lives, he would conclude that we worshipped Caesar.
A Biblical Christian must examine himself to see who is truly lord of his life. The first question he should ask as he reads every verse of the Bible should be "Who is the lord of my life?" "Who am I serving?" "Why do I do the things I do?"
For this reason, a Godly Bible study will always have political implications and seek to answer political questions. In fact, the title of this page is completely inaccurate. It should be:
An Anti-Political View of
Why Our Bible Studies Should Be