As the late Dr. Gary North so elegantly wrote, “Our goal as Christians is to make political and cultural losers out of the humanists and satanists.” Now some of you who are Christians might be rubbed the wrong way by that statement. If that is the case, it is because for some time we have been told that we are supposed to be the political and cultural losers; and it takes some time to get out of a loser mindset once you’ve got one. My desire for this conference, for every Christian here, is that we all are able to get out of the loser mindset. Now, for any non-Christian here, you are probably also rubbed the wrong way by that statement, and I fully expected that. But really, you should be grateful that Christians are starting to think this way, because we don’t want to make you losers like a high school bully shoving some kid in a locker. Dr. North meant nothing unchristian by what he said. He is simply saying things in a way that no one else thinks about. He is simply affirming the goal that Christianity be the ruling principle of men, even in politics and culture. And in order for Christianity to win in these arenas, the humanists and satanists who currently are in power must lose the long game against Christianity. And when Christianity eventually wins the long game in the cultural and political arenas, it will be better for non-Christians, as even they will enjoy more prosperity and freedom. They will have more and better neighbors. And they will be free from the encroaching gods of statism demanding they empty their pockets and step through another hoop at every turn.
So today we want to help each one of you think about what you can do to survive and replace the present false religion of statism that seems to have a stranglehold on our land. Christians do not need to be doomed to die with these ideologies of death. So how can we overcome this false religion of statism, which is a humanistic religion? In order to answer that question, which we’ll be doing all day, we first have to define our terms.
What is Statism?
What is Statism? A simple dictionary definition will tell you that statism is a “concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.” Such a definition is true as far as it goes. Most discussions on statism or its various forms such as socialism, communism, and dictatorships are had in terms of political or ideological discussion. Rarely is statism or its ugly sisters thought of in religious terms. The discussion rarely ever moves from political ideology to the religious commitments of statism. And this fact is why it has been such a hard beast to throw off – we are not getting to the heart of the issue. And those who do get to the heart of the issue are rarely ever listened to. So I hope to help with that today.
So in political terms, statism is a governmental concentration of power in myriad areas of the economic life of individuals. In other words it’s a big government that has its tentacles in all sorts of places it has no business placing its tentacles, and it has way too many tentacles to begin with. It is when there are regulations, taxes, and licensure law for just about everything, including your homemade soaps.
But in talking about the problems of statism I don’t want to talk about merely in pragmatic terms about how it doesn’t work and how there are better policies that work better. There are plenty of those discussions and writings out there from good liberty minded think tanks and economists, particularly from the Austrian school. I want to get down the problem of the religious commitments of statism.
Simply put, statism is when the state is no longer “under God.” In terms of divine providence everything is always under God, but I am speaking of when the state no longer sees itself as under God’s authority or as God’s ministers – in other words, when the state is in rebellion to God. Romans 13 describes civil authorities as God’s servants who punish the evildoer and reward the righteous. Statism is when the government stops acting as God’s minister to punish evildoers and reward the righteous, and they start meddling in the free economic interactions of innocent citizens as a regulatory-state, tax-state, and licensure-state. This is precisely not punishing the evildoer and rewarding the righteous as a servant of God. It is a transition to actually pretending to be god, playing god, acting as god, picking the winners and losers, punishing and burdening the innocent with these things.
In this we can see that statism is when the state becomes an authority in itself, instead of recognizing itself as God’s servants and thus subject to what God demands of them. Statism is when the state is exalted to the highest authority. This can happen either through acts of force by the state, or through the ungodliness of a people calling out to their false god, the state, to save them. Many times it is a combination of the two. So when the state is exalted to the highest authority, this is a religious claim, or a religious commitment.
Another way to think of it is to say that statism occurs when spheres of government are no longer sovereign. God designed societies to operate within various spheres of authority and responsibility. The three basic spheres are family government, church government, and state government. And in God’s design, none of these spheres are ultimate authorities and neither do these spheres trump any of the others. They are separate spheres with separate jurisdiction. So statism is when the state is seen as the only government. Or it is when the state is given authority to trump these other spheres. The state is not a more ultimate authority than, say family government, it simply has different responsibilities assigned to it by God. So statism is when the state now claims ultimate authority over all these spheres and begins to take over responsibility of what does not belong to them, and they begin legislating in every area of life. But when this happens, it does not lead to a smooth running centralized economic machine as advertised, but it always leads to the crumbling of that state. As Gary North says, “Too many laws produce lawlessness.”
How is it a Religion?
But being that statism has these religious commitments, we must conclude then that statism is not a neutral political ideology, for there is no such thing. It is instead a false religion, for there is only one True Religion. Being then that statism is a false religion, and not the one True Religion, this means then that statism is a declared enemy of Jesus Christ and His Church. Statism is particularly undermining to the Christian economic and social ethic. And the laws of statism train its citizens to obey another god, other than the one True God.
Whatever the source of any given law is, that is the ultimate authority in that system. The source of a law is the god of that system, and thus that is who you are being trained to obey. In other words, whoever or whatever is at the end of the question, “who says?” is the ultimate authority. And most of the laws today in America, it wasn’t always this way, but the source of most of our laws is not the triune God of the Bible. The state has rebelliously removed itself out from under God’s ultimate authority as the source of her laws. Who or what then has become the ultimate source of most of our laws? A lot of people would view it as the president of the United States. The executive branch does not make law, and yet functionally it does, as that is what everyone acts like when a new executive order comes out. The increase of executive orders in the last several presidencies has been astronomical. Historian Brion McClanahan says we live under an “imperial presidency.” But really, the president is not the ultimate authority in our system. We’ve seen executive orders challenged in court, and that’s good. But what’s not good, is what I would argue is the ultimate authority in our statist system, and that is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court judges are like the 9 black-robed ring-wraiths in the type of power that they wield, and most of them like that in wickedness.
You know this is true because conservatives like to challenge everything but the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court gave us so-called homosexual marriage, not even a decade ago, and you will never hear conservatives challenging that opinion. The Supreme Court gave us Roe v. Wade, and you’ll hear conservatives disagree with that decision, but yet they submit to it like the Supreme Court is some divine counsel. And conservatives’ solutions to Roe v. Wade are always found in the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court gave us a problem, but it’s only the almighty Supreme Court that can fix the problem!”
Folks, the Pro-Life industrial complex is a statist movement. Why do I say that? Because the pro-life industrial complex is zealously submitted to the almighty Supreme Court. They would not dare ignore, or nullify, or practice interposition with their lesser magistrates against it. They really believe that the court that gave us legalized child sacrifice can be the only ones to stop legalized child sacrifice.
Here in Missouri, we presently have a bill of total abolition of abortion. The bill straight up defies the ungodly, wicked, and illegitimate decision of the Supreme Court. We could literally end legal abortions in Missouri this year. But the Pro-Life legislators won’t. Why? One huge reason is because they are zealously submitted to the Supreme Court and will not challenge it. That’s statism. You cannot challenge the ultimate authority. The ultimate authority is the one who gets to say, “because I said.”
In addition to this problem of ultimate authority you have the problem of the messiah complex, which is again a religious commitment. The state loves to be the savior for all of life’s problems. “You have a problem, then we have a law for that.” I forget where it originated from but there’s that famous line that says, the worst two sentences you can hear are, “I’m from the government. And I’m here to help.”
When the state takes on a Messiah complex (only we can fix it, and we can fix everything), statism is what happens when people accept this messiah state into their hearts (please save us, “there should be a law about that!”). When we give in at certain points, we have given this false religion a foothold and it will creep into every area of life.
For Christians, we cannot be statists because Christ is our Savior and Jesus is Lord of all, and every area of life belongs to Him. Statism, a false messiah-god, seeks to take over every area of life, away from Christ, and falsely claim an authority that it does not have.
How did we get Statism?
Here’s the deal: if all we do is complain and point the finger at the government as being the source of all of our problems and the government being the reason why everything is the way it is and the government being the reason we’ve lost many freedoms – if we do that, then we are being statists, and we are part of the problem. If we do that then we are doing the same thing as those who love the government, just the other side of the same coin. We would be saying, “the state caused all these problems, so the state needs to fix all these problems.” And that’s the problem, we have been successfully catechized by statism.
We need to ask the question, how did we get here? What caused this?
Retreating from Responsibility
I can’t say it any better, so here is what the late R. J. Rushdoony says, “…statism is born out of man’s retreat from responsibility, and every retreat from responsibility is a denial of accountability and its concomitant law. God alone is truly beyond responsibility, having no law beyond Himself, being Himself law, holiness, righteousness and truth. For man to seek life beyond law, beyond good and evil, is to claim to be a god, and, at the same time, to abdicate manhood, which means capability and responsibility under God. The caretaker state is the refuge and liberation of these champions of anti-law. The caretaker state seeks to transcend or abolish history; it seeks to create the final and perfect order and usher man into paradise regained, and regained without God. But, to run from history is to run from responsibility, and to evade responsibility is to evade manhood.”
In other words, statism happens because men do not want to take responsibility. And in a responsibility vacuum, the state sweeps in to be the new man of the house. You don’t want to take responsibility to provide for your family? No problem, we’ve got a nice welfare state that will be the new provider. You don’t want to disciple, educate, and train up your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? No problem, we’ve got government schools that can be the new parents. Statism is born out of man’s retreat from responsibility, and we surely will not overcome statism without retaking our responsibilities.
As Rushdoony explained, fleeing responsibility is fleeing law, which is fleeing God. And I would add, fleeing God is fleeing Christ. Ultimately, the rise of statism is due to a rejection of Christ. It is due to a lack of submission to Christ. Men have rejected Christ who is Lord of all who has authority and crown rights in every area of all of our lives and so now we are becoming more and more enslaved to the state. You see, to have responsibility is to have freedom, to reject responsibility is to not exercise your freedom, it is to reject your freedom. Only in Christ can men be free.
What this is, when we boil down all the terminology, is a problem not of merely political ideology, or differences of opinion, or this or that; fundamentally this is a sin problem. And you can’t vote your way out of a sin problem.
Christ Defeated (Defeats) Statism (False Religion)
The state can’t save you from your sin, and the state won’t save you from the state. A messiah state is no messiah at all. Jesus Christ is the one true Savior of mankind who redeems us from our sin, by properly dealing with it at the cross. For all of our desire to escape responsibility and law, Christ died, and in His death he took responsibility for sin that was not His own, so that sinners like us might be forgiven our sins. Where we shirk responsibility every chance we get, Jesus came and took responsibility for sins that were not His own, so that we might be given a righteousness that is not our own. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Not only did Christ deal with our sin at the cross, but He also dealt the definitive blow toward all His enemies, which include spiritual rulers and authorities, demons, antichrists, globalist cabals, unrepentant tyrants, and every counterfeit messiah state that would ever be. Colossians 1:16, “For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” And Colossians 2:15, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities[b] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Psalm 2, which we will sing later today, describes how the rulers and kings of the earth conspire against God’s anointed, and the kings of the earth are warned to kiss the Son, lest they perish in the way and be dashed to pieces like potter’s jar. In the book of Acts, Psalm 2 is applied to the conspiracy to crucify Christ. It was there at the cross where Christ won the victory over all opposing powers. There are still enemies of Christ and tyrants present on earth today, but they are the walking dead. They are already defeated. Their time is running out.
When Jesus rose from the dead He was crowned King of Kings. Revelation 1:4-5 says, “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” Christ delivered the definitive blow over enemies at the cross, triumphing over them, and that victory is progressively applied in time, and will one day be completed when Christ hands over the kingdom to the Father.
How do we Overcome?
So what do we do with the time and place that we have been given to survive and replace, and overcome this monstrosity of sin in the leviathan state that we now face? First off, we have to remember, and this is encouraging, that the false religion of statism will eat itself alive. Power that is taken in rebellion to God is not a long term program for success. Pragmatically speaking, what can’t go on forever won’t go on forever. A socialistic state of total power and authority destroys itself. The enemy is divided. So in essence, how do we survive and replace it? With patience. Patience and time. But not by just sitting on our hands, but by patiently and quietly working and waiting, continuing to take back more responsibility every chance we get, instead of punting to the humanists and satanists.
On shrinking the state, Gary North says this, “The first step is moral and religious. It is to affirm one’s own personal responsibility for one’s own actions. In our day, this will take either a religious revival, or a collapse of the State so complete that each person will have no choice but to face the inescapable reality of personal responsibility. It may take both. It probably will take both.”
So the recipe, in broad general terms, is this, and it’s very simple: we, with patient endurance, preach the Word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, while working quietly with our hands to take on more and more responsibility. That is responsibility that is transferred from the hands of the humanists to the hands of Christians. And that gospel we preach is the power to convert the humanists to orthodox Christians, and so make a transfer of power via conversion.
Overcoming Evil with Good
Another principle is this, Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We will not overcome statism by returning evil for evil, but we overcome evil with good. Now, don’t be confused. Goodness does not mean niceness and being a pushover. It means doing righteousness. Evil is overcome by doing righteousness. Doing righteousness is not politically expedient, but it is an essential part of the recipe for long term success. So if the state says, as it has in some places in this country, you can’t give out food to the hungry and homeless, you continue to give out food to the hungry and homeless. You overcome evil not by blind obedience to evil, but by doing righteousness, doing good.
Submit to Christ
So we take responsibility, we do good, and fundamentally, this means that we submit to Christ, and we submit to Him in every way, in every area of our lives. This means that we are humble before Him. It means we do not seek to take power by our own wisdom or might or according to our own means, but only by the humble means of Christ.
Here is Gary North again, “The basis of any man’s rule over the creatures and the resources of the earth is his humility and his willing obedience to a sovereign and all-knowing God. This is what Jesus meant when He announced: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5). He meant meek before God. He did not mean ‘wimps before men.’ He meant just the opposite. We need humility to take authority.”
The Result: A New Christendom
If we are humble, faithful, resourceful, responsible, patient, and consistent in doing good in submission to and faith in Jesus Christ, we are doing what God has called us to do. And it is through such humble means that God likes to work. Our globalist tyrant enemies are becoming increasingly impatient, they are becoming increasingly prideful and arrogant, they are becoming increasingly consistent in doing evil, and increasingly rebellious to Christ. Their new world order great reset is doomed to failure. And if Christians are humbly, faithfully, and diligently at work, they will be there to construct the next Christendom when the globalist order comes to ruins.
I think it’s only fitting that I quote Gary North once more in closing, “I believe in the New World Order of Jesus Christ, inaugurated at Calvary and visibly sanctioned in history by the resurrection and ascension of Christ to the right hand of God, where He now reigns in power and glory. What I reject is the imitation New World Order of humanism. But there is a biblical New World Order. There is a new creation in Christ. It was established definitively at Calvary. It is being established progressively in history. And it will be established finally at the day of judgment. We cannot expect to defeat the humanists’ New World Order with a theology of guaranteed historical defeat – the theology of pessimillennialism. We must fight theological hellfire with theological heavenfire, just as God fought it at the destruction of Sodom.”