The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

The Foundational Government of Society

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Politics gets the lion’s share of attention these days. Give the State enough power and authority and all will be right with the world. Empowering civil government as the ultimate change agent is to destabilize society and turn the people into wards of the State.

Leftists are always talking about people with too much power and money, and yet they want to reduce the number of people with the power so they can control everything. Here’s the latest of many examples. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked former FBI Director in an interview whether he should have used the FBI to “shut down” people at 2016 Trump rallies who chanted “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton. Here was her full statement and question:

Of course, “Lock Her Up” was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you in, retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order, had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it kind of is hate speech? Should that have been allowed?

Where does something like what she is proposing stop? If the State can govern speech, then what can’t it govern? As ominous and dastardly as Amanpour’s suggestion is, the fundamental government change-agent remains the family without neglecting the increasing encroachment of the civil governmental sphere to limit its scope, authority, and power. Let’s begin.

  1. Sovereignty: Who’s in charge?

The family is a government ordained by God where husband and wife are in covenant with God and serve as family governors. They have jurisdictional authority to lead, nurture, and direct the family as a training ground for cultural change in terms of kingdom principles. The authority and power given to parents are delegated and limited to the immediate family by God. At the point of marriage, family government is established, and the original family governments of the newly married husband and wife have no jurisdictional authority over the new family government (Gen. 2:22-25; Eph. 5:31).

The State – civil government – has no legitimate right to define what constitutes a family. This means that giving legitimacy to same-sex marriage and transgenderism are a repudiation of the God-ordained order of creation that in the end will destroy a society.

If our world came into being from nothing (a scientific impossibility), and humans somehow evolved from the amalgamation of a swirling soup of chemicals (also a scientific impossibility), then there is no such thing as a family with parents as governors. Everything is up for grabs. Survival of the fittest reigns supreme. We are nothing but meat machines. Marvin Minsky of MIT described the human brain as nothing but “a three-pound computer made of meat.” [1] There is no mind or morals in such beings. Humans, like the animals they are, are nothing more than biological survival machines.

The starting point in accounting for the legitimacy of families, parents, and children is all important. Atheism can’t account for any of them. They can be redefined like gender is being redefined. It’s been going on for decades. Gore Vidal’s 1968 satirical novel Myra Breckinridge was about the “mutability of gender-role[s] and sexual-orientation as being social constructs established by social mores … whose main character undergoes a clinical sex-change.”

Not this kind of family…

Image result for the family

… or this type of redefined family where two men had a child using one of the men’s mother as the surrogate. The baby was conceived via in vitro fertilization, using her son’s sperm and eggs from his sister:

“When you are gay and married and want to have a kid, you go into it with knowledge that you are going to have to create a family in a special way,” said Matthew Eledge, a new dad along with his husband, Elliot Dougherty. “There are creative, unique ways to build a family.”

This arrangement only goes to show that same-sex sexuality is unnatural.

  1. Hierarchy: To Whom do Parents and Children Report?

There is a chain of command in family government with the father as the head of the household and with God being the ultimate Governor. He is the model Governor. Mother and father are co-governors but not necessarily equal governors. Someone must make the final decision. This is true in every group dynamic. It doesn’t mean that the person in charge is better or superior. The buck must stop with someone.

This does not mean that wives are not consulted. God made the woman in the marital relationship to be a suitable companion and vice versa. That’s what the word “helpmeet” means in the King James translation of Genesis 2:18. A man who neglects his wife’s input in decision making is not following the biblical mandate for husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25). Vishal Mangalwadi comments:

The biblical basis for family does not work unless one accepts … that we live in a universe of hierarchy and authority…. A conductor and a musician are equal as human beings, but in an orchestra, the musician is under the conductor’s authority. Submission to that authority does not make the musician a lesser human being; it makes him an effective musician…. [T]he New Testament defines leadership as servanthood….

The Bible is not a book for ideal people. It is a handbook for sinners. No community of sinners can function without authority.

Yet, authority—however essential—is a dangerous thing in the hands of sinful persons. [2]

Therefore, as we’ll see, that along with authority there must be rules that include limitations on authority and power for all governments, self-government, family governments, church governments, and civil governments.

Those who attack the hierarchy of authority in the biblical family have no trouble using civil government to usurp the family through government education (indoctrination), welfare programs that often lead to fatherless homes and illegitimacy, allowing minor children against the governing authority of parents to take hormones to “change” their sex, and permit minor girls to get abortions.

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) made the following comments before the House and Senate Committees on the Proposed Department of Education (1926):

When it comes to [education], you have to be a great deal more careful than you do in other spheres about preservation of the right of individual liberty…. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else as well.

  1. Law: What are the Rules?

Children are to obey their parents “in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1). “In the Lord” is a reminder to parents and children that the governing authority held by parents is delegated, legitimate, and limited.

Children are to “honor” their “father and mother” (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:2). A similar directive is given concerning civil governors: “honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). Family government is equal in honor with civil government although each has a separate jurisdictional role.

There are numerous examples in the Bible of children not honoring their parents and having a devastating effect on the families as well as the broader society. Two of Lot’s daughters committed a sex act with their father whose children became the Moabites and the Ammonites, enemies of Israel (Gen 19:30-38).

Eli’s two sons are described as “worthless men” who “lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (1 Sam. 2:12, 22). Their actions led to a breakdown of worship and a disregard for God’s laws.

Absalom, David’s third son, rebelled against him, wreaking havoc on the kingdom (2 Sam. 15). He was killed during the Battle of Ephraim’s Wood (2 Sam. 18).

Jesus, on the other hand, “continued in subjection to [His earthly parents]; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

Notice that “parents” is defined as “father and mother.” The Bible does not know anything about same-sex marriage. Jesus makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman:

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:4-6).

The claim is often made that Jesus didn’t say anything about same-sex marriage. When the Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman, any other relationship is by definition not legitimate.

God’s commandments apply to family members—parents and children—in the same way they apply to all of God’s creation.

  1. Sanctions: What Happens if the Rules are Violated (law)?

Parents are given legitimate authority to discipline their children. At the same time, fathers are given the following warning: “do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction in the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The law cuts both ways. Neither parents nor children are exempt from following God’s laws. Parents are not autonomous – a law unto themselves – when they serve as family governors.

But what if there is no God? Then there is no family. Does this mean that the idea of the family is null and void? Not at all. Familial sovereignty, authority, and power are transferred, most often to civil government, the State.

Herbert Schlossberg, in his highly acclaimed book Idols for Destruction, describes the religious nature of viewing civil leaders as parents rather than judges who are to dispense justice and not favors.

Rulers have ever been tempted to play the role of father to their people…. The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. [3]

Adolf Hitler spoke of the Fatherland and Russian rulers of Mother Russia. Crying out for a political savior is the worst kind of sin. It means worshipping the creature and not the Creator. It’s no wonder that in the Bible tyrannical governments are described and pictured as “beasts” (Dan. 7:4-8; Rev. 13).

  1. Legacy: The Family and the Future

The maintenance of family government, as defined by God’s Word, ensures the survival of civilization. The end of the biblically defined family is the end of civilization. The very idea that there can be a homosexual family structure is self-contradictory. Homosexuality is anti-future. That’s why homosexuals must recreate or resort to surrogacy to maintain the same-sex illusion of legitimacy.

Anti-family elements are found in the pro-abortion movement. What future is there for the family and civilization in general if a large percentage of unborn babies are purposefully killed? China is suffering a demographic shift because of its one-child requirement, where male children are preferred. Ben Wattenberg has written about the “birth dearth” as a bigger threat to civilization than a supposed population explosion.

Some women have determined not to have children because of “climate change.” Birthstrike is a new movement led by women who are concerned about what they describe as “ecological Armageddon.”

The Fifth of the Ten Commandments states: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Ex. 20:12; also (Lev. 19:3; Deut. 27:16; Matt. 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20). It’s repeated in the New Testament with a promise about the future:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth (Eph. 6:1-3).

Obedience to God’s moral order (Points 3 and 4) leads to a long life on the earth. All the other governments must be on the same page for this to happen. Without self-government under God, families suffer. When the family breaks down, churches, education, business, law, and civil government are affected. A wholesale breakdown among individuals and families often leads to the State – civil government – to come to the rescue, often making failing conditions worse.

Without the authority of the family, a society quickly moves into social anarchy. The source of the family’s authority is God; the immediate locale of the authority is the father or husband (I Cor. 11:1-15). The abdication by the father of his authority, or the denial of his authority, leads to the social anarchy described by Isaiah 3:12. Women rule over men; children then gain undue freedom and power and become oppressors of their parents; the emasculated rulers in such a social order lead the people astray and destroy the fabric of society. The end result is social collapse and captivity (Isa. 3:16-26), and a situation of danger and ruin for women, a time of “reproach” or “disgrace,” in which the once independent and feministic women are humbled in their pride and seek the protection and safety of a man. Indeed, seven women, Isaiah said, seek amidst the ruins after one man, each begging for marriage and ready to support themselves if only the disgrace and shame which overwhelm the lone and defenseless woman be taken from them (Isa. 4:1). [4]

The family is closely tied to private property (Ex. 20:12, 14-15, 17; 1 Kings 21). Private property is attached to the biblical mandate of dominion. To separate families from their property by the State means that only the State can exercise dominion.

In order to complete their revolutionary goals, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels attacked the family: “the bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement [private property] vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capitalism.”

The family is a child’s first school. Giving children over to an educational system that does not have God’s kingdom in mind, or keep His commandments, will hinder a child’s ability to be scripturally equipped for kingdom work:

You shall teach [the commandments] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deut. 6:7-9).

Daniel and his three exiled companions were forced into a pagan educational situation. Their parents would not have chosen such an educational environment even if it was sold to them as being “free.” From what we read about their faithfulness, their parents did a very good job in teaching them the commandments. By this time, they were mature young men. As a result of his faithfulness and wisdom, “The king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48).

Parents are responsible for the education of their children, not the State. “The family is man’s first church because it is there that he gets his basic learning concerning the faith.” [5] (1 Tim. 3:1-8). Civil government has replaced the family and church as educators. The majority of parents send their children to government schools that are anti-God.

While most Christians strongly oppose the idea that civil governments should provide cradle-to-grave security, many of them are blind on the matter of education. Somehow, we don’t even question the idea of a public-school system. We don’t think of ourselves as being “on welfare” when we send our kids down to the neighborhood school. We need to think about this. Socialized education is no different in principle from socialized medicine or socialized anything else. When we send the children to the government school, we are accepting tax-financed welfare.

*****

The public-school system is not based on charity. It is not based on the principle of voluntarism. The public schools are funded with taxes. When we enroll our children in a public school, we are stealing from our neighbors. [6]

The family serves as a dominion force, extending dominion through the establishment of additional family units (Gen. 2:24). This is why the monolithic, centralized State sees the family as a threat in its attempts to centralize power and authority. [7]

Man is responsible to God for his use of the earth, and must, as a faithful governor, discharge his calling only in terms of his sovereign’s royal decree or word. His calling confers also on him an authority by delegation. To man is given authority by God over his household and over the earth. In the Marxist scheme, the transfer of authority from the family to the state makes any talk of the family as an institution ridiculous. The family is to all practical intent abolished whenever the state determines the education, vocation, religion, and the discipline of the child. [8]

The family is responsible for the care of its own members (1 Tim. 5:8). It’s deplorable that the State has become a substitute family for many in the United States.

Maintaining the biblical family covenant is necessary for civilization to maintain itself and advance. Our nation’s founders understood this principle. For example, Revolutionary-era founder James Wilson, one of only six men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and who also served on the Supreme Court, wrote the following in “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals” (1790):

Whether we consult the soundest deductions of reason, or resort to the best information conveyed to us by history, or listen to the undoubted intelligence communicated in holy writ, we shall find, that to the institution of marriage the true origin of society must be traced. By that institution the felicity of Paradise was consummated; and since the unhappy expulsion from thence, to that institution, more than to any other, have mankind been indebted for the share of peace and harmony which has been distributed among them.

John Adams, the second President of the United States said something similar:

The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies, and universities, instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth. The vices and examples of the parents cannot be concealed from the children. How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the sacred obligations of morality or religion, if, from their earliest infancy, they learn that their mothers live in habitual infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant infidelity to their mothers? [9]

Our nation’s founders, even though some of them were not Christians borrowed Christian capital. That capital is running out.

  1. Quoted in Nancy Pearcey, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook), 153-154.[]
  2. Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 20011), 296.[]
  3. Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian faith and American Culture (Westchester, IL: Crossway, [1983] 1990), 183-184.[]
  4. Rousas J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973), 200-201.[]
  5. Rousas J. Rushdoony, “The Doctrine of Marriage,” in Toward a Christian Marriage, ed. Elizabeth Fellersen (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1972), 13.[]
  6. Robert Thoburn, The Children Trap: Biblical Principles for Education (Fort Worth and Nashville: Dominion Press/Thomas Nelson, 1986), 37.[]
  7. The scene at the building of Babel in Genesis 11 gives us a picture of the centralization of family, church, and political entities. The many family and tribal names are merged into the “name” designated by the builders of Babel. Genesis 10 lists the many nations by their names. The building of the tower and the consolidation of the nations show that they were in rebellion against the original dominion mandate to be “fruitful and multiply” according to families (cf. Gen. 1:26‑28; 2:24).[]
  8. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, 163-164.[]
  9. John Adams, “Diary,” Works of John Adams (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865), 3:171-172.[]
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