In 2004 I wrote that the period 1950 to 2025 represents a hinge of history, on which swings a door to a new epoch of the Kingdom of God. The Biden presidency will bring us to the brink of that new era, to 2025. But at the same time I also wrote that the “twin towers” attack of 2001 signalled an acceleration of God’s judgment on the West, already reaching through the holocaust of two world-wars. Parallel to the rise of the Islamic Jihad, however, has been that of militant secular-humanism hand-in-glove with cultural-Marxism, and their usurpation of the West’s institutions—of its legislatures, courts, universities, media, and corporate boardrooms.
The Biden presidency, in tandem with the global elites and the COVID-19 pandemic’s convenient segue into the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Great Reset” of 2021, will bring these movements to full maturity. All designed, through dislocation of civil society and economic lock-down, to lead the world’s compliant masses into a dystopian nightmare of global governance where all personal property is willingly surrendered for a universal basic income. This objective and more is outlined in the WEF’s published documents. If this were not so, their plans are so bazar it would not be believable.
The lead-time of God’s mercy has expired. So, how must the church respond to this? And how will she navigate the new cultural and political terrain?
There are five things that she must reject and five that she must retain:
- Partisan politics for the politics of the Kingdom,
- The myth of neutrality for a cultural gospel,
- Experientialism and false prophecy for the Scriptures,
- Tribalism and sectarianism for apostolic unity, and
- Eschatologies of defeat for Christ’s victory in history.
Partisan politics for the politics of the Kingdom
First, she must reject partisan politics for the politics of the Kingdom of God. She must rediscover that the law-word of God provides the blueprint not only for personal salvation but also cultural redemption. Every political party and ideology must, therefore, be called up to the benchmark of God’s word.
This is not to ignore the fact that not all political parties are equal. Some more closely represent Christian verities than others. While the left (progressivism and socialism) is inherently statist, the right (individual freedom/responsibility and free enterprise) historically championed limited government. However, while the conservative wing of politics inherited its values from the Judeo-Christian tradition, of individual freedom and responsibility, with the West’s rejection of its Christian foundations there is increasingly less distinction of right from left. The former infiltrated by the latter’s cultural-Marxism, blurring policy distinctions, both social and fiscal.
As a manifestation of autonomous-man, they alike pursue salvation through politics. They seek to recover Paradise by coercion from the top down. For example, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Global Reset”, true to its humanistic urge to Paradise, advocates stronger state control and global governance to arrest “fragmentation” and “entropy”, of which, in their view, nationalism is the primary symptom. Evidenced in recent years, for example, by Brexit and the election of Trump. This is assuming of course the Marxist interventionist economics, as the WEF does, and the state’s warrant to redistribute wealth. They merely project onto the global economy this ideology’s need for centralized control.
Nonetheless, the politics of nationalism (e.g., Trumpism) and globalism (e.g., EU, Democrats, GOP) both similarly appeal to increased centralized power and thence to force. Culturally, on the extreme end of the spectrum, this appeal to force is illustrated in the recent storming of the Capitol in Washington DC by ultra-right-wing protesters; or alternatively, the wide-spread riots after Trump’s election and Big Tech’s kneejerk censorship of conservative politicians President Trump and retired US congressman Ron Paul subsequent to the Capitol attack, including the de-platforming of Parler as a venue for alternative views This alliance of Big Tech with the left haply coincides with the WEF’s advocacy of the surveillance-state, especially accelerated by COVID-19 tracing. Conservatives, from centre-right to far-right, along with the left, all resort to increased authoritarian control of society, whether through the state or other agencies. This is seen in the increased state control of monetary policy (i.e., over central banks) so as to ensure sufficient government funding to meet the challenge of COVID-19 and to artificially shore-up economies after the shock of the lock-downs. This increased money supply will only exacerbate the boom-bust cycle of inflation-deflation and accelerate an eventual depression. All sourced in the immorality of counterfeit money created by fractional reserve banking.
Engendered by COVID-19 panic, an abnormally compliant populace is being conditioned. Draconian “lock-downs” (significantly, prison terminology), mask-wearing, social-distancing, work from home, loss of employment and income, increased reliance on government handouts, over-policing, and disproportionate penalties for non-compliance, are all tearing at the fabric of a free civil society, producing isolation from and distrust of fellow-citizens, and above all submission to the state’s rule by decree.
This coercion and compliance of the populace has also occurred through the gazetting of so-called “hate crimes”. In the name of “antidiscrimination” and “justice” the legislature and the executive encroach upon the West’s historic liberties: freedom of association, freedom of expression, and especially freedom of religion. Whether from the far left (communist) or the far right (fascist), salvation by politics is inevitably totalitarian: for example, the fascist dictatorships of Nazi Germany including its suppression of communism; and Franco’s nationalist suppression of the same during the Spanish civil war; or, alternatively, the one party systems of the Soviet Union and Communist China and their totalitarian denial of human rights, and Robespierre’s tyranny during the French revolution. In each case anarchy – moral, societal, and political – led to tyranny.
Similar to these historical examples of both fascist and communistic regimes, the West’s cultural and political tumult is arcing toward totalitarianism as it disingenuously employs the language of “freedom” and “fairness” – dancing to the tune of political correctness – for legislative change and authoritarian gain. All hues of the political spectrum, in differing measures, resort to this revolutionist copy-book propaganda and disinformation, subverting the meaning of language and thereby truth. Hence also the present phenomenon of “fake news”, belying the media’s supposed objectivity and exposing its complicity in the West’s cultural revolution. History demonstrates that revolutions must commandeer both the courts and the media to suppress the masses.
So what is the answer? To rebuild a free and open society demands that the Christian church recover a political theory grounded in the Sovereignty of God. And this can only be discovered in the triune God of the Bible, in whom the age-old conflict of “the one and the many” is resolved.
Political theory and history oscillates between these two polarities: from the “the one” (tyranny) to the “the many” (anarchy) and back again. The one inevitably leads to the other. Only under the sovereign God – who is himself a tri-unity of Father, Son, and Spirit (the three-in-one) – can each sphere of society be sovereign and yet not violate another. The Godhead is thus the ground and paradigm for man’s social relationships; all individuals and societal spheres are ontologically equal but economically different. From the individual, to the family, the church, to civil society and the state; while all equal under God, each functions within its distinct sphere. None presides governmentally over another beyond its biblically defined role. Nonetheless, they do overlap and interrelate according to each function. For example, the state does have jurisdiction over an individual, family, or even a church, if a legitimate criminal law – that is, a biblically warranted one – is broken. Building on John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, theologian, prime minister of the Netherlands, and founder of the Free University of Amsterdam, was the pioneer of this notion of sphere sovereignty.
Under the doctrine of sphere sovereignty, as developed further by American Episcopalian scholar, Ray Sutton, the Kingdom of God comes progressively through four covenantal spheres: individual> family> church> state. And this occurs according to a principle of internal integrity leading to external integration. Beginning with the individual, internal integrity (i.e., inner health according to each sphere’s biblically defined nature and function) enables each sphere to integrate externally with the next sphere. Healthy individuals integrate with the next largest sphere, the family; healthy families integrate with the next, the church; and healthy churches integrate with civil society and the state. This ensures, beginning in the regeneration of the individual, that all spheres of society are renewed by the Kingdom of God, not through coercion, but through the power of the Gospel from the bottom up. All other spheres of society arc from one or more of these covenantal spheres; for example: education not only arcs from the family but also the church (not the state!); and economics arcs from the individual, family, and church (but not the state!). In fact, the state has no biblical warrant to engage in monetary policy or banking, let alone creating fiat currency through fractional reserve banking. The free market working under biblical law would solve our monetary problems.
In the politics of the Kingdom, government is pluralistic. Beginning in self-government it is shared by all spheres, each according to their biblical role. The state is not supreme; its authority is warranted and delimited by God’s word, and it governs only by consent of the individual. And hence, the humanistic drift to statism is forestalled. Even so, it must be noted that the state’s authority, as biblically defined (Rom 13:1-7), is coercive; it is the institution of compulsion. And as such will inevitably operate accordingly if it transgresses beyond its delimited role into the other spheres. Hence, the dangerous potential of the state.
Sphere sovereignty, however, does not preclude, but rather mandates Christian involvement in the political sphere, although not through an aberrant urge to Paradise, through coercive power. Rather, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the power of God to salvation and to Paradise. It is only the atoning death and resurrection of Christ that reverses sin and its results—”fragmentation” and “entropy”. Since Christ’s resurrection the world is no longer running down. Despite sin, because God is both Creator and Redeemer, the cosmos – as man’s habitation – is not only sufficient and secure but also under renovation. God not only sustains what he creates but also redeems it.
The doctrines of creation and salvation form a coherent whole. Through the resurrection of Christ and the preaching of the Gospel the time-space world (the created world) has entered the regeneration and is now being rehabilitated. We are living in the administration of the fulness of times when God is bringing all things into one head, Christ (Eph 1:10; also Col 1:13-23). All spheres of society, including the state, are integral to God’s Kingdom on earth.
The Gospel is thus the saving agency, not the state, nor for that matter, the church. Partisan politics and the state are, therefore, not the Kingdom of God. Nonetheless, to the degree politics and the state yield to the absolute and ultimate authority of God and his law-word, they can serve it. The Bible contains blueprints for the role of the state (e.g., justice), for health (e.g., quarantine laws), banking and finance (e.g., prohibition of multiple indebtedness of a single asset, i.e., a prohibition of fractional reserve banking), and so on. If biblical law was implemented COVID-19 would be halted and our economic problems solved, and with our individual freedoms intact (e.g., biblical quarantine law does not quarantine the healthy!).
Subsequently, Christian involvement in politics is expressed in two ways: first, as citizens, by fulfilling their duty to vote or, additionally, by a vocational call to politics; and second, corporately through the church’s priestly duty to pray for all in authority and to teach the state her role under God and his word (cf. 1Tim 2:1-4; Mt 28:18-20; Rom 13:1-7). But in both cases, the state is viewed as a delegated authority under the triune God of the Bible, not as an autonomous authority. Christ is Lord not Caesar.
Precisely because “the Kingdom of God is not of this world” (Jn 18:36), we need not resort to political saviours and quick-fixes—to partisan politics and power. If we do, it is because, like the world, we see the state as having more power than God in the here and now. Furthermore, like the world, we are merely preserving our own “personal peace and affluence”, not bringing the Kingdom of God.
God’s servants therefore appeal to a higher power. As a worlding Pilate presumed the authority of his political office over Jesus, provoking Jesus’ response, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (Jn 19:11). As Paul also taught concerning the institution of the state, “there is no authority except from God” (Rom 13:1).
Consequently, God’s authority extends to the state as instituted by him and is therefore accountable to him. As his servant it is obligated to obey and uphold his righteous laws (Rom 13:1-7). This therefore mandates Christian resistance within certain bounds. When the state transgresses its divinely instituted limits the Christian must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
The problem, however, of partisan politics cannot be solved without first exploding the myth of neutrality.
Part 2: The myth of neutrality for a cultural gospel
Part 3: Experientialism and false prophecy for the Scriptures
Part 4: Tribalism and sectarianism for apostolic unity
Part 5: Eschatologies of defeat for Christ’s victory in history