This post continues a review of Nullifying Tyranny: Creating Moral Communities in an Immoral Society. The series officially began with WHAT DO CHRISTIANS HAVE TO DO WITH GOVERNMENT? — PART 1. However, our discussion of Nullifying Tyranny actually began with this post, A NEW GOVERNING CONSENSUS. What distinguishes WHAT DO CHRISTIANS HAVE TO DO WITH GOVERNMENT? — PART 1? Before I wrote that post I actually took the time to begin reading Nullifying Tyranny. 😀
Section I: Godly Separation from Evil
This post will review Section I of Nullifying Tyranny. How do the authors describe Section I?
A discussion of God’s requirement for His people to be separate from evil, God’s warnings about the dangers posed by powerful government, His requirement for His people to be productive members of society while respecting the property rights of their fellows.
Chapter 1 focuses on the subject of part 1 of this series, a discussion of 2 Corinthians 6:17. The authors pose a dilemma.
Can moral people survive in an immoral nation? Can they pass their standards on to their children while living in an immoral society? What would have happened to Lot’s family had he elected to ignore God’s warning to depart from the wickedness of Gomorrah? Are Americans living in the moral equivalent of Gomorrah?
The authors ask us to consider a difficult problem. How do we keep the mass media from insinuating the values of the popular culture into the moral character of our children? Then just as we begin to concede the difficulty of that problem, the authors bring up the issue that caused them to write their book.
Because we live in a mass democracy that follows the principle of majority rule, if immoral people gain control of government they can use the force of government to compel the minority who disagree with them to obey the rules established by those who, by majority rule, control government.
The authors argue that Christians have a moral obligation to see to it that the force of government is not abused.
In this book we advocate reclaiming our original American right to control what happens in our extended communities. As our country was originally established it was possible to be politically separate without requiring physical separation as was practiced by many universalist and utopian dreamers in the early nineteenth century. Moral people should not seek to be physically separated from the rest of the world. Moral people have a duty to be living witnesses, to be a light in a dark world, to be living evidence that there is One Who can redeem fallen man.
Chapter 2 observes that we have fallen, and it describes how we fell. The authors use Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous phrase, “defining deviancy down,” to explain what happened and is still happening.
It is important to note that defining deviancy downward cannot occur in a moral society in the absence of a compelling and oppressive force, or threat of force. The compelling force comes from outside the moral community–the people are led astray by evil leaders, and the moral remnant is forced into hiding. In the past, morally corrupting force has come from corrupted religious leaders or from government. Once the effort to define deviancy downward begins, it is only a short time before those promoting deviancy begin the effort to define deviancy upward. Not only is the effort made to normalize behavior that was formerly considered deviant, but those who control the social force of society soon begin the effort to redefine formerly normal values to turn them into deviant behavior or values.
The author’s focus on the role of government and secular humanism in the degradation of our society, pointing to the example of America’s inner cities.
America’s inner cities are extreme examples of the failure of liberal, nominal socialist social engineering programs. Because the population of inner cities is predominantly black, many think such problems are the result of the people (blacks) when in reality the problem is with the social programs foisted upon the people living in inner cities. The results would be the same if the population was predominantly white–the evil originates from the fallen condition of man and is made worse by liberal governmental social programs that discourage self-reliance and individual responsibility.
Chapter 3 focuses on teachings from 1 Samuel 8. 1 Samuel 8 tells us how God reacted when Israel asked the prophet Samuel to appoint a king to rule over them. The Lord God told Samuel to warn Israel against the tyranny of man. Thus, Thomas Paine used 1 Samuel 8 to reject the belief in the divine right of kings (see ONE OF THE SINS OF THE JEWS). Nullifying Tyranny‘s authors use 1 Samuel 8 similarly. However, instead of rejecting the divine right of kings, the authors advocate private property rights.
Notice that the new government under a king would result in the government of Israel taking away the private property of the people of Israel. The king (government) had no resources of its own. The only way the king could pay the cost of government was by “taking” private property from the productive people. This act of “taking” violates the commandment not to steal, but because the king is doing the stealing, then no one dares to complain–it is hard to stand on principle when the choice is between keeping your private property and keeping your head!
The authors end Section III by citing Mark 12:17.
Some Christians misread Jesus’s command, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The New Testament is clear in its instruction for Christians to obey those in authority. But it is also equality clear that when it comes to the question “Should we obey man or God?” the answer is always to follow God’s teachings in matters of faith and morality.
Based upon the outline of the book, I intend to do two more posts. However, Section II may have to be split into two posts.
- Section II: Godly Principles of Limited Government
- Section III: Godly Republic Lost–Godly Republic Regained