THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICS - Gary North

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THECHRISTIANANDPOLITICS

Also by Robert L.Thoburn:How to Establish and Operate a Successful Christian School(A Comprehensive Manual), 1975

THECHRISTIANANDPOLITICSRobert L. Thoburn, A.B., M.Div., Th.M.Headmaster, Fairfax Christian School. Fairfax, VirginiaMember, Virginia House of Delegates1978-1980Thoburn PressTyler, Texas

Copyright 1984David L. ThoburnF sted wn,January, 1984Second edition, October, 1984Published byThoburn PressP.O. Box 6941Tyler, Texas 75711

This book is dedicated toCongressman Larry McDonaldMurdered on Korean Air LinesFlight 007 by a government whichfears Christians in politics.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI thank God for enabling me to write this book.He created me and gave me whatever abilities Ihave. He regenerated me by His Holy Spirit atWord of Life Camp at beautiful Schroon Lake in1950. He has given my life meaning and purpose.His Word has been a lamp unto my feet in the fieldof politics.I also thank many of God's servants who helped·me in various ways to make this book possible. Themany books and lectures by Dr. R. J. Rushdoonyhave influenced me beyond measure. The prolificwriting of Dr. Gary North has encouraged me tocontribute something of my own.My wife Rosemary has been supportive all theway. She skillfully managed our Christian school so Icould draw aside to concentrate on this work.Finally, I wish to thank my publisher, my oldestson David, who so expeditiously and carefully typeset and guided this book to completion.

TABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTIONPart I: SHOULD A CHRISTIAN BEINVOLVED IN POLITICS?1. Religion and Politics Don't Mix!2. "Politics is Dirty"3. "It's a Matter of Survival"4. It's Also a Matter of VictoryXI3152139Part II: THE CHRISTIAN APPROACHTO PQLITICS5. The Role of Civil Government6. Crime and Punishment7. The Bread and Butter Issues8. Education9. Welfare10. Taxes11. Land Use Laws12. Foreign Policy475767778591101109Part III: HOW THE CHRISTIAN CANGET INVOLVED13. MyExperience in Politics14. Running a Campaign117141

XTHE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICS15. Organizing ChristiansAPPENDIX- Recommended Reading List167175SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT-The NebraskaSchool Uizr179

INTRODUCTIONAs I write these words, seven Christian fathers.are in jail in Cass County, Nebraska. Their wivesand children have fled to another state to escapepersecution.What terrible crime have they committed? Theydared to send their children to a Christian schoolthat is not licensed by the state government.Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, Nebraska,started a Christian school several years ago. Thecivil authorities claim they are above the church.They have a ,ight to tell the church how to run oneof its ministries.The battle lines are being drawn. ThroughoutAmerica there are thousands of court cases pendingagainst Christians. One minister who visited Louisville this week said he felt as though he had just comefrom the Gulag.It's nearly Christmas. President Ronald Reaganhas just lit the national Christmas tree in Washington. Judge Ronald Reagan (yes, that's his name!) isturning out the lights on the Christians in CassCounty. Christians must not, yes dare not sit back

xiiTHE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICScomplacently and say it can happen in Russia, but itcan't happen here. It can happen here, and it is happening here.I'm writing this book because I believe we asChristians should apply our faith to every area oflife. I believe we not only can defend ourselves bythe help of our sovereign God, but we can develop aChristian culture around us. That-means a civil government that is under God and His law.This can be accomplished. Chris ians must firstbe convinced it is their duty to be involved inpolitics. They need to know what the Christianapproach to politics means. They need practical,down-to-earth advice on how to go about changingthe political situation.In this book I hope to accomplish just that. Iwant to share with you my experience as an educator, minister, and state legislator. I hope you will joinwith millions of other Christians in 1984 and theyears ahead to reassert the crown rights of KingJesus.

Part 1SHOULD A CHRISTIANBE INVOLVED IN POLITICS?

1RELIGION AND POLITICSDON'T MIX!"Alcohol and gasoline don't mix!" I remember sowell those words from an elderly Christian lady inHarrisville, Ohio, where I grew up. Her car hadbeen hit by a drunk driver and· this was a forcefulway to make her point. Don't drive while drunk.Now that gasohol has been developed we can seethat gasoline and alcohol do mix. The point is thatit's O.K. to mix them in the tiger in the tank but notin the· stomach of the tiger behind the wheel."Religion and politics don't mix!" How often Ihave heard that as a reason (or excuse) for Christians to stay out of politics. I don't agree. And I'lltake the tiger by the tail and be so bold as to say thatreligion and politics are inseparable. Anyone whohas read Gregg Singer's A Theological Interpretation ofAmerican History knows there is a close relationshipbetween religion· and politics. Politics is based onreligion. When I visited Athens with my three oldestsons I went to see the Parthenon, the famous Greektemple. It is located on the Acropolis, which is the

4THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICShighest part of the city. That was the most easily defended part of the ancient city. The Athenianswanted to protect the temple because their politicalsystem was based on their religion.I observed this when I served a term in theVirginia House of Delegates. The laws we madewere a reflection of our religious views. As a Christian I consciously tried to influence the legislation interms of my Christian faith. The issues ranged fromabortion and the ERA to budget matters.The religious views of the lawmakers ran thegamut from Bible-believing Christianity to secularhumanism. And secular humanism is a religion.Every session of the legislature was· opened withprayer. Often the visiting minister was the pastor ofone of the legislators. It wasn't difficult to tell theconservative ministers from the liberal ones. Theyprayed differently.I noticed that the liberal legislators attended theliberal churches and the conservative legislators attended conservative churches. This will not alwaysbe the case because people are inconsistent. I've beenaround .politicians enough to know that theirreligious views and that of their supporters influencetheir political views.I observed another interesting thing about thelegislators. Not only did they have a minister in topray before each session, but they were also verystrict about taking God's Name in vain while speaking on the floor. One day a prominent leader of themajority party uttered a profane ·word. He quicklycorrected himself and showed obvious embarrass-

RELIGION AND POLITICS DON'T MIX!5ment over his slip of the tongue.Using God's Name in vain was a no-no, theviolation of a tradition rooted in the oldest legislativebody in the Western Hemisphere. Committeemeetings and private conversation were anothermatter. The words of these elected officials betrayedwhat was really in their hearts. Nor did God's Wordmake any difference when it came to legislation. Thereligion of secular humanism was everywhere evident. A legislator would argue passionately for theappropriation of tax money to kill innocent babiescreated in the image of God while being careful notto use God's Name in vain.Politics has to do with civil government. Politicians get elected, make laws, tax, spend,. regulate,and control. Every law passed and every spendingdecision is based on some moral system. All moralityis based on a religion. So who says politics andreligion don't mix!The Bible says, "Thou shalt not steal." That isthe basis onaws against theft. The Bible says, "Thoushalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."That is the basis of laws against libel and slander.Make no mistake about it. What we believe religiously will affect our political beliefs and practices.An excellent example of this can be seen in thedevelopment of the Constitution of the UnitedStates. The United States has continued under theConstitution longer than any other country in theworld today. Despite reinterpretation and misinterpretation, the Constitution is still our governing document because it 'was so well devised to begin with.

6THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICSBiblical Christianity was the undergirding faithof our nation when the Constitution was adopted.That religious faith manifested itself in this remarkable document. The founding fathers wanted to bindthe Federal government by the chains of the Constitution. They knew man is a sinner and when a lot ofsinners get together in government they can accomplish much mischief. The Constitution limited thepower of government in many ways. The Federalgovernment was given only those powers delegatedto it by the States. Within the Federal governmentpower was divided among three branches legislative,executive, and judicial.The Constitution contains a system of checksand balances. The President can veto acts of Congress, but Congress can override the veto. The Presidentappoints judges and other officials but onlywith the' advice and consent of the Senate. TheHouse of Representatives can impeach a President,but only the Senate can convict. The Supreme Courtwas designed to check the power of both the executive and legislative branches by interpreting thelaws on the basis of the.Constitution. The Constitution itself could be amended only by the approval ofthe legislatures of three-fourths of the States.The genius ofthe Constitution was to provide fordecentralization of political power. This was toguard against a powerful central government thatcould become tyrannical. For the Christian the family is the central governing institution. This is decentralized government because there are thousands ormillions of families in a nation.

RELIGION AND POLITICS DON'T MIX!7The Constitution was no accident of history. It isa reflection of the Biblical faith that existed in ournation in 1787. This is the key to understanding whathas happened since. Major changes have come aboutin our government. More and more power has flowedto Washington. Local governments have lost much oftheir power. The income tax was enact d in this century to feed a growing Federal bureaucracy. The Federal Reserve Banking system was also set up in theTwentieth Century to centralize control over bankingand the money supply. A multitude of laws and controls are coming out of the Federal government.The reason we are witnessing this profoundchange in our government is that politics and religion do mix. A religious change has taken place in ourcountry. On the one hand many churches arid ministers have departed from Biblical faith. They havesubscribed to a new faith called liberalism. Theological liberals deny the fundamentals of the Christi,(infaith. They deny the infallibility of the Bible, theDeity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, and the bodilyresurrection of Christ. The liberal believes that mancan save himself by his good works.'In his classic work, Christianity and Liberalism,J. Gresham Machen shows that liberalism is notChristianity. It is another religion. Because it isanother religion, it fosters a different political worldand life view. The liberal in religion is likely to be aliberal in politics. Since he doesn't believe in the infallibility of the Bible, the liberal finds infallibility inman. So he ends up with the state as infallible. Just asthe Christian appeals to God's Word as his final au-

8THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICSthority, the liberal appeals to the state for the authoritative ruling.Since the liberal denies that Jesus Christ is theincarnation of God, he finds a new god to worship.That god is man. Man in his -most powerful form onearth is the state. So collective man, the state,becomes his god. Theological liberalism has beenaround for a long time, but its modern form was imported from Germany. A destructive view of theBible known as Higher Criticism developed in Germany. With the undermining of the Bible came theweakening of Biblical Christianity.Denying the doctrines of the Reformation whichbegan in Germany in the Sixteenth Century, liberalssuch as Adolph Harnack stressed the universalFatherhood of God and its corre1ary the universalBrotherhood of Man. Schleiermacher was to teachthat religion is a "feeling of dependence." (Someonesuggested that in that case a dog would have the bestreligion.) The German philosophers played theirpart also. Kant and Hegel were the principal ones.Marx and Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, were influenced by Hegel as well as by the German theologians, Ludwig Feuerbach (who said thatthe essence of Christianity is love), David Strauss,and the Baur brothers. Hegel said that the state isGod walking on earth. Marx came from a religiousfamily. His male forbears on both sides of the familyhad been rabbis for generations. Marxism is theworship of the state as god. It is not surprising thatthe Bible may not be printed in the Soviet Union.Students from America went to Germany for

RELIGION AND POLITICS DON'T MIX!9graduate work and came back to teach in the universities and seminaries. They had come under the spellof the liberalism there and proceeded to teach it togenerations of students and ministers in the UnitedStates. The ministers passed it on to their congregations so that in a matter of decades the churches hadbeen changed. Liberalism has captured most of themainline Protestant denominations.The liberals were in control of most of the seminaries and churches by the 1920's and 30's. The Presbyterians threw out Charles Augustus Briggs at the turnof the Twentieth Century because he did not believethe Bible. By the 1930's they were throwing out thebest New Testament scholar they had, J. GreshamMachen, because he did believe the Bible. When theliberals were in the minority, they cried out,"Tolerate us." When they got control they were intolerant toward those who believed the very things thechurch was supposed to stand for. So much for liberal ethics.Since the liberal churchmen didn't believe in aheaven or hell, they began to develop their idea ofheaven on earth. They didn't worship the TriuneGod so their god became man. Since Jesus was onlya great teacher and not divine, he could not saveanyone. Man had to save himself by good works.The liberal denied original sin so man's problem wasnot his sin. It was his environment.The liberal set about to change man's environment. That was to be done through the efforts of thestate, man in his most powerful form. This is whythe liberals preached the social gospel. Since the

10THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICSliberals denied creation and espoused evolution,they looked upon man as an animal to be manipulated and controlled. Liberal theology leads to liberalpolitics. That is why we have so many more lawsnow. We have millions of laws which are constantlychanging. If we followed the Ten Commandmentsand the other laws in the Bible, we wouldn't need allthese laws.I saw the influence of the liberal environmentalist approach when I served in the legislature. We had2,000 bills and resolutions before the VirginiaGeneral Assembly to consider in a typical eight weeksession. The effectiveness of a legislator is judged bythe number of bills he can introduce and get enactedinto law. We were but mortal men but we were calledupon to legislate in every conceivable area of life.When man starts to play god he must control everything. Ministers and cats are about all that are notlicensed in Virginia now. The ministers put up toomuch fuss and the politicians' haven't yet figured outhow to regulate the cats.The liberal penchant for building the kingdom ofGod on earth can be seen at the Federallevel of government: Naturally the liberals like more centralcontrol in Washington. An example of liberal effortsto save man was the "war on poverty." The OEO(Office of Economic Opportunity) was established tofight the war. So many liberal clergymen workedthere that it·was dubbed the Office' of EcclesiasticalOpportunity. Liberal clergy found they could promote the same programs they had in their churchesby means of the government, and do it a lot cheaper

RELIGION AND POLITICS DON'T MIX!11(cheaper for them, not us).Before I get off the subject of liberals, let me saysomething about the word "liberal." It comes fromthe Latin word that means freedom. The classic liberal was one who believed in freedom. The theological and political liberal believes in the opposite. Hedoes not wish to leave man free to develop his callingunder God. He wants to enslave man by means ofbig government, heavy taxes, and more regulation.The liberal religious leaders set up the National andWorld Councils of Churches because they wantedunity at the expense of truth. They wanted a oneworld church and they have been at the fore in working for a one-world government. This is the Tower ofBabel revisited.One more thing I want to point out about "liberals" is that they are not generous. At least they arenot generous with their own money. They like to beliberal with other people's money. I was attending ahearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors several years ago when the subject of publichousing for the poor was on the agenda. I witnesseda long parade of liberal ministers begging the countysupervisors to appropriate money for the poor.These clergy were so concerned about the poor.They quoted verses from the Bible. When I got up tospeak I reminded them of another person who pretended to be so concerned about the poor. His namewas Judas Iscariot. I also shared my experiencewhile living in one of those paradises on earth, a government housing project. I suggested that if theywere so concerned about the poor, they ought to give

12THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICSmoney from their Deacons' Fund. So much for liberal generosity.The appropriation of the word "liberal" by thosewho .opposed freedom ought to be a lesson to us.Words are powerful weapons. We need to use themin the Lord's battle. Now that so many Americansare wise to the real programs of the liberals·and sincethese programs have been such obvious failures, thepoliticians don't style themselves "liberal" any longer.They prefer to be called "moderates" and some evencall themselves "conservatives." Maybe that isbecause they want to conserve the liberal status quo.Several pages back I stated that on the one handmany churches and ministers have departed fromthe faith. Now let's see what has happened on theother hand. Where have the Bible-believing Christians been all this time? After all there are still tens ofmillions in this land who have not bowed the knee toBaal. They have been asleep. During my secondyear in the General Assembly we succeeded in getting a bill through the House of Delegates to exemptchurch day care· centers from state licensure and toreturn control over this area to the parents. The lobbyist for the liberal Virginia Council of Churchesconfided to me, "You caught us napping." Conservatives haven't just been napping all these years.They have been in a Rip van Winkle sleep for decades. Now they are waking up. This sleeping giant isbeing aroused'and it is none too soon.The conservative Christians have been busypreaching the gospel, sending out mission ries, andsaving souls. This is commendable. They have been

RELIGION AND POLITICS DON'T MIX!13concerned about the personal gospel. They havebeen preparing people for the next world. But wemust not forget that this world, too, is man's abode.The Bible speaks to this life as well as to the next.The personal gospel has social implications. Theliberals moved in so successfully because there was avacuum. Religion does affect politics. I(we want tolive under a godly government on earth, then wemust understand how Biblical faith applies to civilgovernment. In succeeding chapters I shall try to dothat .

2"POLITICS IS DIRTY""Politics is dirty." That is reason eno

religion and politics are inseparable. Anyone who has read Gregg Singer'sA Theological Interpretation of American History knows there is a close relationship between religion· and politics. Politics is based on religion. When I visited Athens with my three oldest sons I went to see the Parthenon, the famous Greek temple.

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