Proper Presuppositions For Good Government
© 07.18.11 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the July 21 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
Over the next several months I plan to write a series of articles concerning God and government – specifically self government under God and how that relates to Christian involvement in civil government. In this series I will discuss the reality of God, the two kingdoms fallacy, mankind's responsibility of obedience to God, salvation by grace, sphere responsibility, sphere sovereignty and so on. All of this in relationship to god and government.
Now, it should be obvious that the entire discussion rests upon certain presuppositions. There is nothing wrong with that; everyone operates from a set of predetermined absolutes. In other words, every person is biased one way or another and no one examines any issue apart from their presupposed beliefs. In short, there is no such thing as brute fact; everyone interprets reality in one context or another.
Christians begin with the presupposition that the Holy Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. We must believe the Bible accurately describes the character of God and his interaction with creation. We must accept as gospel truth what it says about the condition of man and humanity's need for a savior. Thus, followers of Jesus Christ must interpret all information in light of the Scriptural witness. This means we should approach every situation with a unbending bias in favor of the kingdom of God in Christ.
There is no reason to try and hide our a priori reasoning; every person operates from a set of presuppositions. It is otherwise impossible to function in life. For instance, in the absence of a priori reasoning, a man would not be able to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. If he were truly without core beliefs to look to as a point of reference, he would be unable to interpret even the most mundane information. He wouldn't even have a reference point for determining whether he has a responsibility to earn a living. There would be no absolute urging him forward. In fact, if he were truly without any preconceived notions, he would be unable to make sense of the room he lived in and the bed he lay upon. It is only because of his already accepted absolutes (most of which are borrowed from the Christian faith even if he is not a Believer) that he is able to understand the geometric form around him as a bedroom and appreciate the comfortable apparatus he is resting upon as a bed. In fact, without a heavy debt to the Christian worldview he could not confidently assert the room and the bed even exist.
The unregenerate often claim they are entirely objective and evaluate every situation independent of any personal bias. They attempt to paint Christians as bigoted yahoos incapable of independent thought. At that point, our job is to uncover their presuppositions. We do this by ignoring the peripherals and digging down to their core beliefs. For instance the non-christian typically claims some form of Darwinism as his foundational belief system. Yet it will be easy enough to point out that he really doesn't believe what he says he believes. A consistent evolutionist would have no grounds to complain if you overpowered him and stole his wallet. After all, every non-christian worldview eventually boils down to “might makes right.” It is only biblical Christianity that logically allows for law and order, charity and service, and freedom and responsibility.
Next week we will begin to discuss the character and nature of God.