In my post last week, “What do Communist Chinese and American Secularists have in Common?” I exposed the motives of Radical-Secularists who abuse Government as a tool of fear. However, It is not enough to understand how, or why, people abuse government. We must come to understand first, why government exists, and second how Christians must live in the systems of this world. Today I want to look at the “why” of government.
Abraham Kuyper, was a Dutch politician, journalist, statesman and theologian. He founded the Anti-Revolutionary Party and was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905. The following quotes come from the Logos Electronic edition of his “Lectures on Calvinism” given at Princeton.
First, government, by its nature, divides humanity and denies our organic (created) unity.
Man is created from man, and by virtue of his birth he is organically united with the whole race. Together we form one humanity, not only with those who are living now, but also with all the generations behind us and with all those who shall come after us,—pulverized into millions though we may be. All the human race is from one blood.
Second, the existence of government is a result of sin and cannot offer a remedy for sin’s destructive influence.
The conception of States, however, which subdivide the earth into continents, and each continent into morsels, does not harmonize with this idea. Then only would the organic unity of our race be realized politically, if one State could embrace all the world, and if the whole of humanity were associated in one world-empire. Had sin not intervened, no doubt, this would actually have been so. If sin, as a disintegrating force, had not divided humanity into different sections, nothing would have marred or broken the organic unity of our race. And the mistake of the Alexanders, and of the Augusti, and of the Napoleons was not, that they were charmed with the thought of the One World-empire, but it was this—that they endeavoured to realize this idea notwithstanding that the force of sin had dissolved our unity.
No vision for world wide peace and unity can be accomplished through the power of Government. Governments are a symptom of the real problem that divides us; sin. Putting our hope in the United Nations, a single powerful leader, or to the political class, to solve the ailments of war, poverty, and injustice is trust misplaced.
Finally, institutional rule is no replacement for organic leadership.
For indeed without sin there would have been neither magistrate nor state-order; but political life, in its entirety, would have evolved itself, after a patriarchal fashion, from the life of the family. Neither bar of justice, nor police nor army, nor navy is conceivable in a world without sin; and thus every rule and ordinance and law would drop away, even as all control and assertion of the power of the magistrate would disappear, were life to develop itself, normally and without hindrance, from its own organic impulse. Who binds up, where nothing is broken? Who uses crutches, where the limbs are sound?
This final point builds on the last, but should remind the Christian that God’s Kingdom is not of this world. I am also reminded of Paul’s direction to the church in 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
God established the New Testament church to be a counter-political system that reflects the organic nature of our humanity. Our leadership, was designed to be different from the leadership in the world! When we, as Christians, run to the government as the solution to sin, we fail to understand the origin of Government and the power of Church.