Bilical Law And Political Freedom
This article appeared in the March 25th edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
© 03.22.10 By D. Eric Williams
On Sunday evening March 21, 2010 the House of Representatives voted to accept the national health-care bill passed by the Senate late last year. Once the legislation is signed by the President, it becomes the law of the land. This is another step in the effort to impose the religion of Man on the United States and to marginalize Christianity. Don't be fooled; it is not a political battle raging but a spiritual battle. It is a battle of worldviews concerning the nature of salvation. On one hand we have the belief salvation comes about through law. On the other hand we have the truth that salvation is by grace alone. It is the nature of anti-God, anti-Christian government to seek to replace salvation in Christ with salvation by law. This describes our current circumstance and we need to understand what is happening if we hope to turn the tide.
In imperial Rome the health of the people was the highest law. This is because a government that sees human reason as the highest authority will enforce positive law in order to bring about utopia. "Positive law" refers to legislation that compels specific behavior (rather than restrict certain actions), in order to achieve redemption. As R.J. Rushdoony wrote, "If the law is positive in its function and if the health of the people is the highest law, then the state has total jurisdiction to compel the total health of the people." This means "everything becomes a part of the state's jurisdiction because everything can potentially contribute to the health or the destruction of the people." Therefore the law becomes unlimited and the state unlimited. This is positive law because it becomes the business of the state not to control evil and subdue it but to control all men in all areas of life. Thus, "basic to every totalitarian regime is a positive concept of the function of law."
We have arrived at this point not due to a preordained failure of the Gospel but because of a reluctance on the part of the Church to embrace God's law in its legitimate role of maintaining order in society. In other words we have come perilously close to a mind-set that says "let sin abound that grace may abound all the more" (Romans 3:8, 6:1). We are guilty of playing politics. We are guilty of ignoring our nation's Christian heritage. We are guilty of denying the authority of Christ in every area of life. We are guilty of tossing the law of God onto the trash heap of history. The irony is that biblical law applied in its proper new testament context maximizes individual liberty while Man's law minimizes it.
Thus, if we hope to reform society we must first reform the Church. This means the Church must reaffirm God's law as the standard of right and wrong for all mankind. Not in an attempt to effect salvation through law but to protect humanity from a man-centered attempt to save through law. As servants of God, civil magistrates are duty-bound to enforce God's law to maintain freedom and order in society so the preaching of the Gospel of grace might not be hindered (Romans 13:1-6, 1 Timothy 2:1-4). Don't be fooled into thinking a return to constitutional law alone will turn this country around. That remains an appeal to law as savior. Instead, it is an acknowledgment God is sovereign over the affairs of men that will set the country on the right course. This does not mean we ignore the Constitution; it means we understand the Constitution as a human document. And in order to prosper, all human endeavor must be placed under the authority of the reigning king of the universe, Jesus Christ.