Anthony W. Brooks
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”-Matthew 28:18-20 KJV
There is always a certain apprehension when we discuss God and Government. This is understandable. We are literally talking about the ruler of the universe and his authority over even those we elect to office in our land. How could that possibly be controversial? But this conversation needs to happen. If we were speaking of the human body and cancer cells, the cancer cells don’t recognize the authority of the human body and it’s proper function, they are rebelling against the body and its natural way of doing things. This is the same with humanity and God. We are rebelling against the way things are supposed to function and against the authority of God.
Look at the text above. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” The ESV says it better “All Authority”. How are we to exercise this authority? Christ is the ruling authority now (unless it can be shown where he abdicated this Authority in the scriptures), so where’s the rub?
I think it needs to be said from the outset that he is giving a great commission, unless that was missed by the rest of the passage. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. This is the Christian Church’s primary function as an institution. We are to be salt and light in the culture as Jesus says in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:13-16. We as christians need to engage in apologetic evangelism to confront the idiocracy that now controls the cultural narrative. This is a fundamental teaching of Jesus’ ministry and by extension implied in the Great Commission. This is the Church’s function, to equip and send their sheep into the world to become shepherds and bring in more sheep. You might say “Well that sounds authoritarian…” and you would be right. It is. It’s nasty business. But it is completely voluntary nasty business. The nastiness is purely because of the level of discussion and topical nonsense that is usually thrown out into the conversations within evangelism.
One time I was speaking with a gay couple at a local college about the gospel and the cultural implications of the Obergefell decision in the summer of 2015. The couple had recently been engaged and I wanted to talk about the choice that they were readily about to make concerning a prospective legal union. First I want to say that marriage is what God says it is and not what we determine it to be. Just because we decide to redefine it does not mean that God recognizes our newfangled definition. These two were not getting married…. They were receiving a tax incentive. My primary issue was the appearance of marriage and all the things that normally accompany such a union within the bounds of a same-sex sphere. You can imagine the topical list we dove into in that conversation… Nasty stuff. But you can be assured that the Gospel was presented in all of its implications. And my point being that this is the level of preparedness the Church has to train it’s members to accomplish. The time for one line evangelism is over. We live in an intellectual society that will not bow the knee to John 3:16 street evangelists. Reason and logic need to accompany the authority of Scripture in our apologetic approach to culture.
I know this will seem antithetical to my last point, but there is an extreme I want to avoid. We do not need to bury the authority of scripture in the process. An analogy from “He who shall not be named” if I may… If a mugger walks up to a man and puts a gun in his back and says “your money or your life” and the man laughs at him and says “I don’t believe in guns” and the mugger says “Oh, okay…” and walks away to find someone who does, who’s fault is it that his efforts were not successful? Giving up our weapons just because the culture rejects the authority of the weapon is not a smart thing to do. Our primary weapon is the authoritative Word of God and this does not need to Change. Reason and logic are, of course, going to accompany this authority, but our entire worldview is built on the authoritative Word of God which, as the Westminster Confession says of it, is “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life”. And that means EVERYTHING!
What about Theonomy?
I know the article title implies that I am supposed to say something about theonomy or theocracy or whatever you want to call it. So I will say this. Yes, Christians are to be the ruling class. But not in the way you are thinking at this moment. I believe every Christian is to live in accordance with and not contrary to God’s Law in their individual and everyday lives. Authoritatively. If we live like this and approach the world in this regard then we will be winning the culture. The goal is to live, vote, work, sing, paint, dance, produce, buy, and worship in accordance with God’s law. Claim our spheres of influence for Christ, because in the end we will be giving account to him for those spheres of influence.
But you might ask, “How is this different from the dominionist eschatology of the Charismatics?” You have to understand that our goal isn’t to conquer these aspects of life without the gospel being chief. All is voluntary. We aren’t claiming mountains of politics, we are starting at the root. We don’t fix the system by cutting of individual leaves and twigs. We lay the axe at the root and plant something else, but again, voluntarily. Bible in hand we go to war with the abortionists, communists, marxists, atheists, and anarchists who are all functioning antinomians and give them a taste of consistency. Then we let God’s sovereignty do the rest.
Soli Deo Gloria!