Godly Government: Sphere Sovereignty
© 07.27.11 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the August 6 edition of the Lewiston Morning Tribune
According to the Holy Bible, civil government is God's servant for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God (Romans 13:1-4). This means civil leaders occupy an office established by Divine appointment. Only those who discharge the duties of the call in agreement with God's will serve commendably.
It is often said the separation of church and state is an essential feature of our national identity. To most people this means the church is supposed to stay out of the business of civil government, while civil government has the right to restrict the activity of the church. In short, the “wall of separation” is considered a barrier between Christian theism and the public arena. Now I agree that each God ordained institution should remain within its sphere of responsibility but this does not mean any one institution is sovereign over the others. In the first place, all are subject to the authority of Almighty God and each is circumscribed by biblically defined parameters. Moreover, the individual, family, church and state exercise sphere sovereignty even while each is subject to the superintendence of the others. This is what the Constitution of the United States was designed to establish; a defined arena of activity for the federal government. All else was to be left to state and local governments, individuals, families and the church.
When one of the primary institutions oversteps it bounds, the others have a responsibility to rein in the offender. Failure to do so upsets the equilibrium of society. The result is anarchy (individual), tribal conflict (familial), ecclesiastical dominance or state tyranny.
In the United States, we suffer under the soft tyranny of an unrestricted state. The weakened condition of the other primary institutions has allowed the state to grow out of control. Civil government (at all levels) ignores petitions to limit itself and disregards common sense in its insatiable appetite for power. Yet the answer to our dilemma is spiritual, not political. “We the people” must repent of our sins and embrace the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We must cultivate the gift of salvation and bow the knee to Christ in all things (Philippians 2:12-13). If not, we lack the wherewithal to rebuild the broken walls of the individual, family and church domains. Alone, we are unable to effect lasting change in society.