Gary continues discussing Christian worldview and politics with Dr. Steve Hotze in the concluding part of the interview.
“Cousin America has eloped with a Presbyterian parson,” Horace Walpole wrote in 1775. While Walpole does not name the parson who was fanning the flames of discontentment in the colonies, many believe that he had John Witherspoon in mind. Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister and president of the College of New Jersey (later to be named Princeton), was also a member of the provincial congress and the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. Like all Christians of his era, Witherspoon regarded civil government to be a subordinate institution under God’s all-embracing kingdom and government (Isa. 9:6–7).
Witherspoon and other Christian patriots of his era had no delusions about “bringing in God’s kingdom” through political maneuvering. They recognized, as Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated in his address to the Constitutional Convention, “God governs in the affairs of men.” God governs because He is King, and this world is part of His universal kingdom. While His kingdom is not “of this world,” it certainly operates in and over this world. Franklin continued: “And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured . . . in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it’ [Ps. 127:1]. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” The kingdoms of men are dependent upon the operation of the Kingdom of God in and over this world. Birds do not fall and kingdoms do not rise without the overruling of God’s providential hand.
More than a century before the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, John Eliot (c. 1604–1690), the Puritan missionary to the Indians, wrote in his The Christian Commonwealth (a document intended as a plan of government for the Natick Indian community), that it is not for man “to search humane Polities and Platformes of Government, contrived by the wisdom of man; but as the Lord hath carried on their works for them, so they ought to go unto the Lord, and enquire at the Word of his mouth, what Platforme of Government he hath therein commanded; and humble themselves to embrace that as the best. . . . [The] written Word of God is the perfect System or Frame of Laws, to guide all the Moral actions of man, either towards God or man.” Because we are living in God’s kingdom, Eliot taught, it is our duty to follow the King’s rules.
It was still the responsibility of the citizenry, as subjects of the King of heaven, to bring about a civil government that met the conditions of heaven.
I would neither have you trust in an arm of flesh nor sit with folded hands and expect miracles should be wrought in your defence. This is a sin which is in Scripture styled tempting God.
To trust in politics—“an arm of flesh”—was to trust in a kingdom that derived its power from this world. It was this condition, a preoccupation of pagan Rome, that led Jesus to proclaim, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). God’s kingdom should not be made in the image of Roman political theory or any modern representation of pluralistic political theory.
Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths
Christianity's failure to show itself practical in the past 150 years has guaranteed the success of secularism and militant Islam, both of which are doing incalculable harm at home and abroad. The rejection of any type of ‘this-worldly’ application of the Bible has resulted in the proliferation of man-centered worldviews that have steadily drained the life out of our world and left behind a spiritual vacuum.Buy Now
Authority is a fact of God’s created world and order. Christians and churches were originally very instrumental in the culture and society, but we have steadily given that role and authority over to the state. Because of this, the church has nearly no voice in modern culture. Taking it back requires strategy and a long-term outlook.
 John Eliot, The Christian Commonwealth: or, The Civil Policy of the Rising Kingdom of Jesus Christ (1659). Quoted in John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 23–34.
 Quoted in Martha Lou Lemmon Stohlman, John Witherspoon: Parson, Politician, Patriot (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1976), 114.