|The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
A Short Analysis of Bill Gothard's Theology
Government as presented in Booklet 52
We might note that Gothard was invited to present his ministry in the old Soviet Union. This alone should cause those of us who love individual freedom, free enterprise and private property to view all his material with great caution, understanding that what Gothard presents is accepted by totalitarian governments. Even though we are told of the great changes taking place within the old USSR, we have not yet heard any evidence of increased individual freedom or of any property actually changing hands from the state to individual families; we have heard many reasons why the state must retain a controlled society. As we see from Booklet 52, the primary message Gothard will take into the old Soviet Union is one of submission to a civil government no matter how corrupt that civil government might be. It is commonly said that Carl Marx called Christianity "The Opium of the People." As we see from the opening remarks of Booklet 52, Gothard himself propagates an opium which will subdue the populace to ungodly authority.
Church & State mixed successfully (for the state that is)
Let me mention four points from a news article (The Indianapolis News, 8/20/92) about the city of Indianapolis considering a link with Gothard. These quotes will speak for themselves: "'They say that it's not a religion. Yet Gothard in his remarks kept referring to his ministry. How do you separate those two?'" said city Council member Frank Short. Second, "Lambart (representing Gothard) said the group does not promote religion or church, but simply deals with 'non-optional, universal principles of life.'" (This sure sounds suspiciously like paganism's "universal life principles.") Third, "'The concern within the social services community is that we help a person... without any sectarian overtones,' Beckham (Community Centers of Indianapolis) said." Thus, Beckham would let Gothard help if his "ministry" has no "sectarian overtones," i.e., if it does not promote the Christian religion above the Muslim religion.
The article concludes with this very interesting statement: "(Mayor) Goldsmith said he heard about the institute from some local ministers who told him of the group's work with schools and orphanages in Moscow. Officials there reportedly have sought the institute's help in bringing Biblical principles into their education system." Note: Gothard is trying to convince the city that he helps the community without any sectarian overtones. (I personally find it strange that one who claims to be totally Bible based emphasizes that he is only teaching non-optional universal life principles, and that he is not representing religion with sectarian overtones. Is this consistent with God's word? Why will he not say that he is teaching the law-word of God? I have been to the seminars: basic, advanced and pastor's. Furthermore, I have most of his material, and it is extremely well documented with Scripture and case history. Strangely though, his doctrine of the state avoids case histories of people like Daniel, the three Hebrew children and Policarp.)
There is a conspicuous absence in Gothard's seminars of any practical application of God's law into society. They deal exclusively with what we could call, "Personal Piety": how the individual can be more spiritual. It is worth noting that the institute, "which claims to have been host for 2.3 million people nationwide in its week long character-building seminars (ibid)," has had no apparent influence upon society. This means that about 1% of America's population has been "Gothardised." One would think that this would have a significant influence for godliness in society in general, but what has happened to the abortion rate?
In the 50 years from 1875-1925, Christianity saw a dreadful shift in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Until the advent of millenarianism, the Holy Spirit was seen as a world-changing force; millenarianism reduced the Holy Spirit to little more than a person sent by God to change the individual, to make the individual (not society) more holy. The millenarian goal was two-fold: to make the individual more "godlike," and to be totally uninvolved in making society more "godlike." Clearly, the millenarians needed a Bible message other than conquering the world for Christ according to Mat 28:19, 20, through the application of God's law, so they developed a 'mystic message' summed up best by Pastor F.M. Ellis in 1890: "Our best service towards the spiritualization of the church will be found, I am persuaded, in our becoming personally more spiritual." (See endnote 1.) Those of us who have been to the seminars know that their entire message is summed up in these few words: making the individual personally more spiritual ( a commendable goal if it is not separated from society).
Let me ask another obvious question: "Do alumni of the seminars develop a desire to do more practical work for the Lord by implementing the law-word of God into society, or do they come out with a desire to see the seminars grow, a desire to get more people to go to the seminars and a desire that their pastor had been there?"
Who is on the Lord's side
Whose side is this man on, the Lord's or the state's? Booklet 52 will clearly show that, although his foundation (basic universal principles of life) appears totally Scriptural, he is working against God's sovereignty and for the state's. Thus he is placing the "principles of God's word" under the control of the state, not under the control of the Spirit. Obviously, the ministry is to make the individual more "holy" and more "docile" to the state. Is it any wonder that those in civil authority not only welcome him into their midst, but invite "his ministry?"
Now let us look at Booklet 52: in his opening remarks, Gothard makes a statement which reveals his theology of the state; it destroys all his arguments for submitting to ungodly civil government:
The mind-set for such a statement ["There is no license without control, and there is no control without license.'] is based on the perception that government is inherently evil, and if not actively resisted, it will destroy its citizens.
In other words, Gothard insinuates that government (the state) is inherently good, and it is not necessary to "actively" resist it because it has no desire to destroy its citizens (he deals particularly with its Christian citizens). However, only those who deny that all men are sinners will fail to admit that Civil Government is made up of fallen sinners. And if those fallen sinners are not redeemed by the blood of Christ and made into new creatures through his regenerating, converting work, they must be considered inherently evil. Because of the above article in the News, we will refer to this theology as "Gothardism."
Let's follow Gothard's presupposition on this point.
First, if Gothard's presupposition is true, then the bigger the government, the more good it can do. The logical conclusion of Gothard's thinking is to centralize: unite all nations into a one-world government so it can do all good. One of the most important callings of the church is to decentralize both the church and the state, civil government. (Chapter 3, Christianity and the State, RJ Rushdoony, Ross House Books, PO Box 67, Vallecito, CA 95251. Note that denominations work to increase the centralization of religion, and socialism works to increase the centralization of government. Thus, denominations, as a rule, openly promote socialism. The Reformation fought to decentralize both.)
II. Divine rights of the king, i.e.. sovereignty of the state
Second, postulating that the state is inherently good, insinuates that the state is god: this is the basis for the divine rights of the king (which seems to flow like an undercurrent in Booklet 52):
Matthew 19:16, 17, And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God..
In other words, god (the state) has decreed that abortion is legal; therefore, the word of god is good and must not to be challenged in the streets, in the courts or in any "civil disobedience." Even though Gothard may condemn abortion, his condemnation is not consistent with his opening presupposition that government is inherently good and will not harm those who are doing good (ask the millions of unborn babies if the state is doing them good. Or maybe they don't count as "anyone").
It is important to note that Gothard does not define good or evil in Booklet 52 by the word of God; rather, he defines good and evil, in the context of his quotes, as the word of the state. The abortion situation alone shows us that civil government has reversed the definition of good and evil [Rom 13:4]. Civil government now pays people to do evil, murder, obscene 'art,' &c;.
Because of its importance in our argument, we will quote one of Gothard's points which makes his belief in the basic goodness of the state obvious:
Presupposition: 4 'Government must be actively resisted, otherwise it will oppress citizens, especially Christians.' Such a conclusion is based on fear. It is contrary to the basic presupposition of Scripture which states that God controls government. As long as Christians do good, they need not fear any government official.. (Romans 13:4, 6).
Intentionally or not, it certainly appears that Gothard is saying that if the government speaks, its words are good and should not be feared or resisted by the people of God. Thus he sets the government up as god, the source of good. Therefore, to remain consistent with his theology, Gothard must say that because the government spoke by its fiat word that abortion is good, its word must be good and submitted to accordingly by the child of God. To reinforce his contention that the state's fiat word is basically good, he quotes with no restrictions in presupposition 6, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him... For so is the will of God..." (I Peter 2:13-15).
This verse is quoted with no restrictions as to whether or not the ordinance of man is according to the law-word of God. This unrestricted quote, when combined with his opening presupposition and presupposition 4, clearly tells us that Gothard is replacing God's law-word with the government's law-word --- he gives to the civil government the authority of God and actually places the civil government over God because God can only be obeyed at the sufferance of the civil government. Gothard's theology (Gothardism) makes civil government god incarnate in the flesh and walking on earth among man. He sounds far more like Socrates, Hegel, Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau &c;., than he does a man of God (ibid, ch 4. "Vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God," pg. 18. "The State is the Divine Ideal as it exists on Earth." Hegel, quoted on pg. 43).
Furthermore, we are faced with this startling fact from Gothardism (the state inherently is good) --- the state not only has the right, but it has the responsibility to intervene with license, regulation, taxation and control into every area of life, thought and action (the family, education, church, even recreation, &c;.) if there is to be any good in these areas. Everything must be conformed to the wishes of the state because the state in inherently good; salvation is of the state! His theology of the inherent goodness of the state explains why he insists that education ministries (home and church schools) must contact and submit to the state school board, i.e., submit to the state's authority (confirmed by personal phone conversation with Gothard by Bill Cosby, presently the college administrator at Baptist Temple College. Also, Gothard personally stood against Pastor Sileven and his men in their stand against state control of their church education ministry: thus, he personally interfered in the internal affairs of the Faith Baptist Church and undermined its pastor). The basic goodness of the state is paganism in one of its blackest, most subtle and deadliest forms; it gives sovereignty to the state over both the family and the church. The word of God militates against any doctrine which undermines God's sovereignty, Psalms 24:1; I Cor 10:26, 28. God is at war against all who would seek to touch what is His, II Sam 6:6, 7; II Chron 26:17-23.
.. unbelief on the part of rulers is not a ground in itself for civil disobedience, as long as the state is a terror to evil doers and the protector of the just. When it is hostile to Christ's work and seeks to hamper or destroy it, 'We ought to obey God rather than men' (Acts 5:29). Also, when the state becomes a terror to good works, it has ceased to merit our obedience. As a minister of God, the state must be 'a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil' (Rom. 13:4).
"Our Lord both recognized the existence of the state, and also its demonic lust for power apart from Him (Luke 22:25-30). Christ called His disciples and appointed unto them a Kingdom, the Messianic Kingdom of God (Luke 22:29-30). This was not a realm to surrender to Caesar. Indeed, He called the realm of the ungodly state 'the power of darkness' (Luke 22:53). Paul calls attention to the ungodliness of civil government outside of Christ (I Cor. 2:8; 6:1). This realm is to be converted and placed under Christ, not Christ under anything of man. For the Messiah to be under any human power was for the apostolic age unthinkable. Conflict between Christ's church and the Caesars was thus inescapable." (Ibid, pgs. 68, 69.)
Thus we see that Gothard is very subtly, unknowingly or knowingly, exalting the state to the place of God by insisting that the state in inherently good; this was the sin of the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:4ff.
Let me conclude this section with this quote from RJR:
An analogy to the present can be made. I find, whenever I speak, churchmen, as they hear of the persecution of Christians, and enrichments on religious freedom in the United States, are quick about asking if it is not about time to resort to arms! I find it imperative to emphasize civil obedience. I stress the fact that a very, very large number of church members do not vote; very, very few ever contribute to a political campaign, and fewer are active in politics. When the means of peaceful solutions can readily give us the victory, to talk about suicidal violence is morally wrong. We have a battle to wage peacefully in the courts and in legislative bodies. (Pg. 101.)
I must add that I have also found his observation to be true. In our attempt to retain some measure of freedom in our county, we have not been supported in any tangible way by the Christian community.
III. The basic good of man
Third, any premise that government is inherently good must be built upon the premise that man is inherently good because government is made up of men. Government is made up of literal people; it is not some abstract idea. It is made up of people who are born with a sinful fallen nature; that nature is not inherently good. Remarkably, Gothard here has no concept of the sinful nature and total depravity of man. Of course, with this concept missing from Gothardism, he must assume that man is basically good; no man sins willingly because he basically desires to do good. Not only is this theology blatantly contrary to the word of God (Psalms 5:9; Romans 3:10- 17), but it flies in the face of obvious facts. (What, may I ask, does Gothard think makes up civil government? Is government a figment of someone's imagination? Is Pastor Sileven's prison imaginary? Were the bullets used against Randy Weaver at Ruby Creek, Idaho, imaginary? Maybe the people at Waco are not really dead.)
An ungodly theology supposing an inherent goodness of the state and man results in the worship of education as god; if one has enough facts and knowledge about a subject, he will make a decision for good and godliness regardless of his relationship with the Lord and His word. Not only does education become the means of salvation for man according to Gothardism, but also the environment becomes a means of salvation. If man is inherently good, then it is his environment which makes him sin, or maybe his parents or a friend. Because man is his own god (inherently good), sin must originate in someone or something outside of himself. What did Gothard do with the doctrine of original sin and total depravity? (Note that faith in the inherent good of man, thus the state, is an outgrowth of the present prevalence of Arminianism: belief that unregenerate man has the power within himself to chose good apart from the working of God's Spirit.)
IV. God blesses evil?
Fourth, based upon the premise that government is inherently good, we might be led to pray that God would preserve something which should be judged and destroyed. (See I Timothy 2:1-2.) Even our own Founding Fathers warned against such an assumption:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (All the Declaration of Independence should be read for the complete context of this quote.)
Thus, how can a professed Christian be right with God and pray for the prosperity of a humanistic state which is totally against justice (as defined by the word of God), and is working to destroy all vestige of Christ and Christianity? How can a Christian pray that a tyrant prosper, other than prosper in salvation and in Christ?
V. Christian's response to evil
Fifth, is the Christian's responsibility toward civil government restricted to "pray for those who are in authority over us, so that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life," or does his responsibility include active resistance against wickedness wherever it is found?
Consider the law of the bystander, Ps 50:17, 18; Pro 24:10-12; Ro 1:31, 32; I Tim 5:22 (note Pro 28:17 prohibits protecting in any way those who willfully do violence to others. A Christian especially must hold the violent accountable). There is no such thing as an innocent bystander according to the word of God; the person who stands by and watches the threat and/or misuse of his neighbour's life and/or property without acting in the neighbour's defense is as guilty as the one who does the evil toward the neighbour, Deut. 22:1-4; Lev 5:1 (And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity; clearly this law requires us to take action when lawlessness is taking place within our realm of knowledge).
Notice Luke 10:30-37: should the Samaritan have intervened if he had seen the thieves acting against their victim? According to Gothard, if the thieves had been those in authority, all the Samaritan could have done was pray about the situation and then aid the victim. The word of God makes no distinction concerning the source of evil against the neighbour: another neighbour, a lawless person or the civil government. The law concerning the bystander is developed further in Deut 22:23-27: it takes for granted that the woman, if she were an unwilling partner in the sin, would have cried out and a person within hearing distance would have helped her.
Note what the Lord established in Deut 22:23-27: A) someone with more strength, power or force uses his superior force against another. B) the one being harmed cries out. C) someone hears that cry for assistance. D) the one hearing the cry of distress takes action and comes to the aid of the victim.
God clearly tells us that the faithful Christian must speak and stand against any evil which he sees, no matter what the source of the evil, or he is partaker in that sin. The "Christian" society which will not stand against wickedness in high places deserves the disastrous results because it is partaker in the evil. Notice that Deut 19:18, 19 places the same punishment upon the false witness that the false witness sought for the one he witnessed against. The one who witnesses an evil act as a bystander and takes no action in defense of the victim is a false witness; he does not respond according to the word of truth. The silent bystander will have done to him what he permitted to be done to the innocent by remaining silent. This law reaches farther than the individual: when the society holds its peace as the innocent is "raped," it will reap the same.
Observe Gothard's statement under his first presupposition: "It is our responsibility as Christians to pray for those who are in authority over us, so that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life. (see I Timothy 2:1-2.) It is God's responsibility to control the hearts of those who are in authority..." It is not my intention to place words in Gothard's mouth, but we have no choice but to take his words for face value. So what did he say?
According to Gothard's statement and because he places no restrictions upon his statement by defining good and evil according to God's law-word, if the perpetrator of the evil is a person of authority, all the bystander can do is pray: pray that the evil rapist will have a change of heart (in the midst of the act?) and pray for the victim that she will have the grace of God to give her peace in the ordeal. A logical result of the belief that the state is basically good (Gothardism) leaves no room for the bystander to pull the rapist off the woman if he is a person of authority. After all, that person is a god! (Where are the "Women libbers" when we need them?)
Clearly, the law of the bystander demands every Christian to do more than just pray for the evil doer and his victim. It requires action and speaking the law-word of God against the evil, or the bystander is as guilty as is the evil doer.
VI. Authority, its basis and response to
Sixth, because Gothardism embraces the sovereignty of the state, we must mention the issue of authority: when is it proper? when is it improper? At a later time we will develop the following in more detail, but for now we will only give a brief outline. First we will examine the basis for authority, second, the proper response to all authority:
1) The basis for all authority is given in the fifth commandment, Honour thy father and thy mother, Ex 20:12. This word (commandment) is not referring to our relationship to our fellow man as summed up in Lev. 19:18 (love them as ourselves), but is referring to "those who are the representatives of God. Therefore, as God is to be served with honour and fear, His representatives are to be so too," Keil. "The fifth word directs honour to parents as (in the language of Luther) 'the vicars of God,' and hence implies similar reverence towards all God's representatives, especially magistrates and rulers," Edersheim. This commandment "lays the foundation of all social ordinances of life," Oehler. "By the parents also is meant all that have authority over us," Geneva Bible, marg notes. Accordingly, this word deals primarily with proper respect for authority.
But by father and mother we are not to understand merely the authors and preservers of our bodily life, but also the founders, protectors, and promoters of our spiritual life, such as prophets and teachers...; also the guardians of our bodily and spiritual life, the powers ordained of God..., since all government has grown out of the relation of father and child, upon which the prosperity and well-being of a nation depend, from the reverence of children towards their parents. (Keil.)
Proper attitude towards any and all authority (God, civil, occupational, ecclesiastical &c;.) falls under the fifth commandment (which continues the thought of the previous 4). This proper attitude is developed in the home. Thus, when the home is undermined, all authority is undermined. When the children refuse to recognize godly authority in the home, and when the parents refuse to enforce godly authority in the home, anarchy must result in the street. To protect from the resulting anarchy, a totalitarian police state must also develop. All the laws in the world will not prevent the anarchy in the street which started in the hearts of the parents and children by denying the personal binding of God's law. The streets will only be reclaimed as the heart of the home is reclaimed under God's law.
When one compares Moses' words of Deut 5:16, (Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.) with Paul's, 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, (I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be given for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Note though that Paul was killed at the hands of the civil authority), he will recognize a distinct connection made between civil and parental authority; both carry a blessing for those who give proper respect to either and both. If either is undermined or ignored, both will be undermined or ignored; conversely, if either is upheld in a godly manner, both will be upheld.
Paul develops his doctrine concerning the civil government (as well as all authority) from the fifth commandment, Rom 13:1-7. Thus civil government is out of control because the father of the family, and hence his family, is out of control. Paul relives the concluding 5 commandments almost verbatim, Rom 13:9. He does not regive the fifth commandment as such, but he builds the first 7 verses on it; note v. 7, Render therefore to all their dues:.. honour to whom honour. This clearly refers to honour thy father and mother.
A conclusion here is that when one denies proper authority in any area, he has violated this command.
2) The proper response to all authority: We cannot deny that all authority is of God for God is indeed the One who raises up one and puts down another, Daniel 4:32. But God's law tells us that the ones in authority have no power to command their subjects to do anything contrary to the law of God, Exodus 21:8. In other words, authority has no authority outside of what is given to it by the law of God, and that includes sacrificing the children to Moloch (as required when Gothard requires his homeschoolers to operate under the local school board. See RJ Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, V. I, pp. 30-40).
When it tries to exercise authority outside God's law, it forfeits any requirement of obedience by its subjects. Any other position than the one just stated says that a wife must commit adultery if she is so commanded by her husband or that a father can sell his daughter into prostitution (forbidden, Lev 19:29). Moreover, note seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her, v. 8. The implication is that obedience which was "won" by deceitful means is forfeited upon knowledge of the truth. The man persuaded the woman to come into his home with the promise that she would be either his or his son's wife. He failed to deliver his promise, so she was free, v. 11. Consequently, when allegiance is gained by any authority (civil, family, church, occupation, &c;.) by fraudulent and deceitful means, allegiance is forfeited when the truth is ascertained.
If the father, who is the God-ordained authority over the unmarried girl, sells the girl into prostitution, must she go? Gothardism says yes because the father is the God- ordained authority. But the law-word of God says that the father's authority stopped when it overstepped the limits of God's law1; the book of Daniel clearly bears this presupposition out. If we follow Gothardism to its logical conclusion, we must say that Daniel was a sinner for continuing to pray in disobedience to the king's decree (was not the king raised up by God?); furthermore, the three Hebrew children were sinners for not bowing to the state's image when the music sounded, and the OT prophets mentioned by the Lord Christ who stood against evil in high places were sinners, Matthew 23:34-37.
We must not stop with the Old Testament; the Book of Acts records the persecution of the early church for not obeying those in authority when they ordered the first preachers to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. In fact, all the apostles (except John) met a violent death at the hands of the authorities because they would not submit their obedience to their God (Christ) to any authority except God's.
We must also consider the martyrs of the very early church. How can anyone read the history of the early church and think that the civil government is inherently good and intent on protecting Christians? One example of a civil government's attitude towards Christians when it is in the hands of fallen men is found in this account of Justin's martyrdom:
In the time of the lawless partisans of idolatry, wicked decrees were passed against the godly Christians in town and country, to force them to offer libations to vain idols; and accordingly the holy men, having been apprehended, were brought before the perfect of Rome, Rusticus by name. And when they had been brought before the judgment-seat, Rusticus the perfect said to Justin, "Obey the gods at once, and submit to the king (i.e., the emperors)." Justin said, "To obey the commandments of our Saviour Jesus Christ is worthy neither of blame nor of condemnation."
The confrontation between the perfect and Justin ends thusly:
Rusticus the perfect pronounced sentence, saying, "Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to yield to the command of the emperor be scourged, and led away to suffer the punishment of decapitation, according to the laws." (The Martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 1, pgs. 305- 7.)
Gothardism says that the martyrs who refused to submit their faith to the Roman emperors were sinners, and thus Rome rightly beheaded Justin for his sin of rebellion against the "higher power." (In my confrontation with a local "Gothardite pastor" over a state marriage license, I found this to be precisely his position although he did not openly say this.)
Obviously then, the laws presented in the NT passages dealing with the inner family relationships apply to all relationships concerning all authority: civil, ecclesiastical, occupational, &c;. Cf. Col 3; Heb 13:7, 9, &c;. The key is Eph 6:1, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
That is, as far as their commandments agree with those of God, and no farther. No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing. No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion. The duties and rights of children in such cases are similar to those of wives; and in all cases God is to be obeyed rather than man. (Barns' Notes, Eph-Col, pg. 116.)
We see from the fifth commandment that the relationship to all authority is established in the home relationship to authority. Thus, when any authority extends any requirement inconsistent with the command-word of God, that authority has forfeited all requirement of obedience before God; furthermore, it is sin to obey any ungodly command.
VII. Godly attitude
Seventh, we must admit that any defiant attitude by a Christian toward another, whether the other is in authority or not, will cost the resister the power of God, II Timothy 2:24-26 (read the account of the martyrs; their godly attitude is evident). Evil must be resisted no matter what its source, and meekness must be the basic part of that resistance. "Meekness in not mousiness!"
VIII. Christians have failed
Eighth, we must say in defense of Gothard that he rightly points out that oppressive taxation is upon us because the Christians have failed in their duty before God. We must agree that unless there is a Christian revival in a nation, there is no chance of bringing oppressive civil government under control. A government only reflects the attitude of the people. When the King and His law is rejected, ungodly kings and laws will take their place, 1 Sam 8. If every man is his own god, civil government will be its own god. The obvious problem is that civil government has the power to enforce its claim, whereas the individual does not. Furthermore, even though armed resistance will not change men's hearts, and only resistance armed with the total of God's law-word will bring about lasting Godly change in civil government, there may well come a time when armed resistance is the final form of self-protection, Lk 11:21 (why did the Lord command His followers to take with them a sword even if they had to sell their garments to buy one, Lk 22:36?)
This nation was founded with and by a Calvinistic Christian population committed to the sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty; therefore, there can be no return to the Constitution as it was originally meant without a return to the Christian presuppositions held by the population for which the Constitution was written.
Let me close with this reminder. We did not probe the pros and cons of any "tax-resistance" movement; rather, we did examine Gothard's theology concerning civil government as presented in Booklet 52, and found evidence that Gothard's attitude toward civil government (that it is not inherently evil and fallen) is a denial of the fall of man and a promotion of the divine rights of kings. Therefore, Gothard is a statist of the most dangerous kind because he introduces his brand of statism with apparently sound Biblical doctrine. Consequently, by necessity all of his doctrine must be viewed with suspicion, if not with great alarm.
Everything touched by man is inherently evil; everything which man touches is naturally fallen, thus the necessity of regeneration and the law-word of God to direct us in each and every area, Romans chapter 7. By the way, God has not given us some "not-optional, universal principles of life;" rather, He has given to us His command law- word to live by.
May God enable us to base everything upon the word of God, and see past the many religious sounding humanists and statists.
For the millenarian, however, the traditional doctrine of the role of the Holy Spirit was hardly a suitable expression of his view of the spiritual world. The Spirit was at work within the Church, the Christian had traditionally affirmed, and with this statement the millenarian would not have quarreled. But the millenarians did not expect the Church to triumph in this world, and many of them felt that the Church was apostate, adulterous, and ruined. This kind of attitude toward the Church naturally involved the millenarian in some reassessment of the Spirit's role in the world. This can be seen, apparently, in the consistent emphasis upon the Holy Spirit as a person and not a force, noted already in the Niagara creed. Churches for these millenarian believers (and, of course, for many nonmillenarians as well) were reduced to loose associations of individuals, and the Spirit's work was similarly seen as a person-to-person activity. F.M. Ellis, a Baltimore Baptist minister and one of the speakers at the millenarian Bible conference on the holy Spirit held in Baltimore in 1890, concluded in discussing the Spirit's role in the Church, "Our best service towards the spiritualization of the church will be found, I am persuaded, in our becoming personally more spiritual." For the historian this personal spirituality rings with associations from the mystical tradition of the Church; and in that tradition the quest of the believer for sinless perfection and the problem of antinomianism had never been absent. Thus, the millenarians, though developing in part out of a desire to escape from the antinomian tendencies within the holiness revival of the 1850s, found themselves drawn back into the movement for personal sanctification.The Roots of Fundamentalism, Ernest R. Sandeen, Baker Book House, pgs. 177, 8.
Furthermore, the conference was organized by A.C. Dixon, who
was to become the pastor of Spurgeon's London Tabernacle in 1910.
No doubt Spurgeon rolled over in his grave.