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 Christian Issues in Government  Ó2004 TMRobinson

The following is a brief sample of issues for Christians regarding civil government. 

The law and civil government can follow only one of three possible options[i]:

1.      The few plunder the many.

2.      Everybody plunders everybody.

3.      Nobody plunders anybody.

Therefore, depending on how the law is geared, there will be limited legal plunder (common to aristocracy), universal legal plunder (common to democracy and socialism), or no legal plunder (found in healthy civil governments).


Scripture teaches that civil government can be justly sustain its God-given duties financially by the taxing of personal income.  Unfortunately, most civil governments are not satisfied with the boundaries that God prescribed for civil authorities.  French economist Bastiat challenged future generations to examine closely what their laws protect.  Bastiat succinctly pointed out the following:

*    “Protectionism, socialism, and communism are basically the same plant in three different stages of growth.  All that can be said is that legal plunder is more visible in communism because it is complete plunder; and in protectionism because the plunder is limited to specific groups and industries ….  With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, and progressive taxation.  You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice.[ii]


In 1848, shortly before Bastiat’s death, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote a book outlining a social-political ideology entitled The Communist Manifesto.  The book describes ten planks that were adopted by the communist party, and at the age of 30, Marx entered the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto in a contest sponsored by the International Socialist Union of Paris, France: Karl Marx’s work won the prize.


The first plank in The Communist Manifesto calls for the abolition of private land ownership and the application of rent for land useWhereas God claims the sole position of having absolute ownership, Marx envisioned civil government usurping that position.  Biblical ownership of land necessitates that the owner actually owns the land, but communism views the land as ultimately belonging to the government.  As such, private citizens would no longer be able to fully own their property.  This usurping of power and ownership amounts to theft. 


Marx helped entrenched the idea that, in practice, the government is the supreme owner of all property.   However, Marxism was not a novel idea.   In the fourteenth and fifteenth century, British tax assessors used ownership or occupancy of property to estimate a person’s ability to pay.  Therefore, the system of taxing property grew out of feudal obligations to kings.  The same idea that turns property owners into serfs is prevalent in modern western municipalities because churches failed to teach biblical concepts of economics. 


Although it is wrong to usurp ownership of something that God has deemed to belong to someone else, many governments have followed the communist principle of civil government being the absolute owner of property by enforcing land rent under a new label: property taxes.  If you do not pay the rent in the form of “property tax,” you can be evicted from your home and the property given to someone who will pay the rent.    Such an anti-biblical system reduces free men into serfs who are bound to serve the government.  Again, God’s criminal law classes such actions as being theft of property.  In other words, it is still theft even when civil government is the one doing the stealing.


The second plank of communism calls for a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.  Income tax is a biblical concept, but income tax is to be equal across the board, not graduated into various income brackets.  In fact, 1 Samuel 8:17-18 reveals that a ten percent income tax is painted on the tyrannical side of the spectrum (if civil government did only those things that God designed for government to do, it could survive on less than a ten percent income tax base).  In addition, God never gave civil government the right to constrict its citizen into being tax collectors, thus sales tax is an illegal concept because it forces merchants to become tax collectors.  Again, there are many books in print that go into detail regarding biblical concepts of taxation and how God’s criminal law recognizes some of the boundaries placed on taxation.


The tenth plank of communism calls for the indoctrination of children through government funded and controlled schooling, also known as public education.  God never gave civil government the duty or right to educate children, but communism usurped the position given by God to the parents.  As such, government agents became agents of change to influence and mold the morals of children into the godless image of the state.  With the majority of children from Christian homes attending government schools, it is little wonder that polls reveal children are growing up to either reject or be completely ignorant of a biblical world view and abandoning the belief in standards of absolute right and wrong: they have been indoctrinated by a government that cries, “foul is fair and fair is foul.”  This negative trend among Christian youth spells eventual doom for countless churches.


There are organizations today, such as the Coalition for the Separation of School and State, which fight against the existence of public schools.  Because of such efforts, many Christian parents have come to realize that they had been seduced by anti-biblical concepts of childrearing, and they have therefore removed their children from government schooling.  Most parents who pull their children out of public schooling to place them into home schooling or private tutoring do so because of the ungodly character of public schools.  However, if public schools taught the same curriculum as Christian home schools, would government funded education then be right?  The answer is “no,” because it is fundamentally wrong to use the government to coercively take money from you to pay for the education of someone else’s children – it’s called theft. God is against theft, but He is in favor of parents taking personal responsibility for their children. 


Remember, the Law is given to prick the conscience of sinners.  It does this by exposing the truth that what seems right in the eyes of humanity is often contrary to what God views as right.  Many levels of everyday life addressed by the Law are valid for Gentiles. Taxation and government-controlled education are only two facets out of the many that Christians should be prepared to address. 


[i] Bastiat, Frederic.  The Law.   The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc. Irvinghton-on Hundson, New York 10533.   15th printing, 1990.  pg. 23


[ii] Bastiat, Frederic.  The Law.   The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc. Irvinghton-on Hundson, New York 10533.   15th printing, 1990.  pg. 27, 31



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