The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

The Right and Wrong Way to Topple a Dictator

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Pat Robertson has put his foot in his mouth again by calling for the assassination of the president of Venezuela. A minister of the gospel and the leader of a world-wide Christian ministry should not be calling for the death of the head of state of any nation. A better approach would be to meet with international church leaders to promote a comprehensive biblical worldview around the world. Effective long-term changes in civil governments come from the bottom up.

Killing a dictator would only bring on a bloody revolution with rival factions competing for power. Hasn’t Pat Robertson learned anything from what went on during the French and Russian Revolutions and what’s going on in Iraq? When a power vacuum is created, even for a short period of time, there’s always someone in the wings ready to assume the mantle of authority. Africa is a case study in power vacuums and bloodshed.

Casting out demons is serious business. The same goes for dictators. Removing a dictator from office is no guarantee that someone better will come along and replace him. Jesus tells the story of the removal of a fully armed “strong man.” At first, the new strong man seems like a savior, but in time the original strongman returns “and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Luke 11:26). In most cases, the people are not prepared to govern because they have never been taught to govern. There are still too many people who look to civil government as a savior.

Pat Robertson should spend his time preaching and meeting with pastors who have no understanding of a Christian worldview and train them in the basics so they can go back to their churches and teach their people what the Bible says about government, law, and economics. He should also abandon the end-time prophetic system that dominates his worldview. There is no way that people will work for the short term if they are being taught that the end of all things is near. A Marxist dictator like Hugo Chavez appeals to the people in terms of the here and now, not some millennium that is always near but never seems to come.

Without a proper understanding of the State’s God-ordained purpose, the citizenry can be trapped into believing that civil government should promote policies beyond its legitimate role and authority. This can lead to the people turning to the State for protection and security. Chavez understands the people like Adolf Hitler understood the socialist legislation of Otto Von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany from 1862 to 1890. Hitler writes in Mein Kampf: “I studied Bismarck’s socialist legislation in its intention, struggle and success.” William L. Shirer, an eyewitness to Hitler’s rise to power, makes the following observation:

To combat socialism Bismark put through between 1883 and 1889 a program for social security far beyond anything known in other countries. It included compulsory insurance for workers against old age, sickness, accident and incapacity, and though organized by the State it was financed by employers and employees. It cannot be said that it stopped the rise of the Social Democrats or the trade unions, but it did have a profound influence on the working class in that it gradually made them value security over political freedom and caused them to see in the State, however conservative, a benefactor and a protector.[1]

This is the promise of Chavez. It was the promise of Fidel Castro. He brags to the rest of the world that his Communist dictatorship supplies free universal healthcare to the citizens of Cuba. Herbert Schlosberg writes, “The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. . . . The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically to destruction.”

The problem is, the people march willingly. This is the problem in Communist regimes like Cuba and Venezuela. Overthrowing the tyrant solves nothing, because the people will only cry out for a new political savior. They did it to Gideon (Judges 8:22–23) and Samuel (1 Sam. 8). “The idol state uses the language of compassion because its intention is a messianic one. It finds the masses harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, needing a savior.”[2]

Did you notice how quickly Robertson was condemned for his “terrorist” remarks? Now if we can get these same people to come out boldly about worldwide Islamic terrorism.[3]

Endnotes:

[1] William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1960), 96.
[2] Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and its Confrontation with American Society (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983), 185.
[3] Laurie Goldstein, “Robertson is Pilloried for Assassination Call,” NYTimes.com (August 23, 2005): http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/23/politics/23cnd-robertson.html

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