Hundreds of millions of people murdered.
The Most Disastrously Misinterpreted Scripture
HOW THE STATE
We see this in Genesis 14. The State is not related to big families, but to immoral families. As a Godly family grows in size, it does not shirk its responsibilities to the poor and become a welfare-state. Nor does it use the IRS to confiscate money from neighboring families to protect its family business from competitors or award itself a government contract to produce things no one would buy voluntarily. "Bigness" does not create the State, immorality does. And the most significant form of immorality which generates the State is war.
The link between the State and war should not surprise us. The Bible tells us that the State is rooted in war; the war-monger State is strewn through the pages of history as the instrument of God's judgment upon the lawless (Romans 13). Beginning with Cain, the founder of the first fortress-city, continuing with Nimrod, the first post-flood military dictator, and proceeding through the Old Testament, the military State has dominated the lives of those who will not embrace the Law of God in the Bible.
Sociologically, there is no reason why decentralized Family rule cannot continue, with the autonomous nuclear family (Genesis 2:24) retaining close and fruitful cultural community with the extended family (Deuteronomy 4:9), while building voluntary social and commercial networks. The Family is naturally "free-market'; centralization is the first step the State takes in its war against the Family and the Free Market.
Can a State become "paternalistic?" Of course, but this too is part of its war against the Family.
Howard Katz, in his intriguing work, The Warmongers, has shown how profitable war is to those in positions of political power and influence. Virtually every war in the last two centuries has been entered into with "malice aforethought" by the powers that be. These wars have brought new vitality to the State and its favored industries. In the process, violence has been condoned, if not encouraged.
Given its origin in the plunder and violence of war, how can the political State be anything but an institution of theft, violence, and murder? This is in fact the case. Lets us look at the realms of violence, sexual immorality, theft, and murder. The State excels all in these areas.
The State and Violence
We all know what "sailor mouth" is. A soldier coming home from "service" has to make some drastic changes in the subject and style of his conversation (at least around "the women folk"). An example of this form of verbal violence is found in the account of the war against Sisera in Judges 5. The mother of this anti-christ figure is as much a soldier as her children and those whose company she keeps. Waiting for her son to return, and thinking he has been victorious over the Godly, she sings,
One commentator has written concerning this passage:
It must have been a great war! Other Biblical descriptions of war should leave us unsurprised at her expectations (e.g., Isaiah 13:16-18, where the Babylonians will be judged by being raped and slaughtered by the Medes (cf. vv. 3-5, 9)).
We have not left it to the imagination of the reader because we too often leave unspoken the violence encouraged by the State. We all know how soldiers talk and yet we all sort of laugh it off. Violent, sexual comedy is increasingly popular. "Rap" music is pushing the misogynistic envelope. We are all "party animals" now.
We know how soldiers are de-civilized in training for the acts they will commit in war, and how that war will bring increased State power and control over our lives. We turn our heads; we silently approve it; we blithely condone it. Patriotism covers a multitude of sins.
And let us come to grips with that point: this soldier-violence is encouraged by the State, is it not? Is not "basic training" an exercise in losing compassion, creative thinking, individuality, and respect for life (one's own and certainly the "enemy's") in exchange for animal barbarism and a centralist mindset of unquestioning obedience to the State? Do you know what a soldier's "pep talk" is like? how a man is encouraged to get his hormones pumping, his rage flowing, and his mind dominated by a gorilla desire to kill the "enemy"? Violence of mind is at least implicitly encouraged, if not explicitly. See this article: "The Lust of the Eyes" Nisbet writes,
The State's imprimatur upon war legitimizes violence in its citizenry.
War and Sexual Immorality
But as we see in the mother of Sisera, war is more than mere violence, and as we know from those who can't shake sailor mouth, sexual immorality and even sexual violence is part of the warmonger State. We noted the Babylonian experience with sexual violence in Isaiah 13:16-18. Nisbet writes,
The State and Theft
Let's leave the "theatre" of war and look at violence in everyday life. War has historically been an act of aggrandizement of geography or wealth by the State. Citizens mimic their State, and we should not be surprised to find that theft characterizes the private sector of economics.
Critiques of capitalism, as nurtured by greed (Ayn Rand writes of "The Virtue of Selfishness") and propped up by the State, are plenty. These criticisms are actually of "crony-capitalism," not pure laissez-faire markets freed from State intervention and bailouts. But even assuming the best possible posture toward capitalism as a system, we can still find fault. We can justify the self-centeredness of capitalism (as contrasted with the other-centeredness of Christianity) but we cannot ignore the dependence of modern "capitalism" upon the State.
No better example can be found than in the political currency which we find in American capitalism. The State is needed to legitimize theft through debt and debased currency, and this it accomplishes quite well.
We devote an entire studyletter to the subject of economics, The Debt Papers, but we can summarize American economic theft in a few paragraphs.
Nobody really wants more "money." What would you do if by governmental edict everybody in the country were to receive $1,000,000 tomorrow morning? Knowing everybody was going to receive such money, you would undoubtedly raise your prices. Your grocer would raise his prices. Haircuts would be $100 each; gas $10 a gallon. There is a set, finite quantity of goods and services available for purchase, and if every body gets more money, more people will be competing for the finite supply of things. Prices will go up. Supply and demand and all that, you know. That money would either get spent quickly, or it would do no good at all.
What people want is purchasing power, not pieces of paper called "money." Specifically, they want more purchasing power than the other guy, so that in the great "auction" of the market, they can outbid other buyers.
Politically powerful people (people with "good credit") use the State to obtain, not just more money, but more purchasing power. The Federal Reserve System gives banks the power to create money out of thin air. When a man goes to the bank and borrows $100,000 for a yacht, do you think somebody somewhere has saved up that money -- refrained from buying a VCR, new Calvin Klines, and that new Rumpus room like the Joneses have? No way. Banks operate on the "fractional reserve" system, meaning that the money they actually have in the vault is only a fraction of the amount of money they have loaned out. We all know the problems banks are having with Brazil.
What happens when this debtor then goes out and buys his luxuries before he has worked for the money by producing something? His newly-created money competes with the money of those who have worked for their money (or those who are also on the "in" with the State's banks). With the same amount of production, but a greater amount of money competing for the goods, prices go up.
What this means is that purchasing power has been redistributed from those who work to those who are on the good side of the State's money-creating banks. Debtors are effectively stealing from producers.
It's sort of like "false weights and measures" (in the same way killing a person in cold blood is "sort of like" murder).
Let's put it in blunter terms. Mr. Debtor goes to the bank and has the bank print up a few thou. No increase in production has taken place, so Mr. Debtor is going to force a price hike. He (and millions like him) buys milk, eggs, cereal. The prices go up in the face of increased demand. Now consider Mrs. Worker (and millions like her). Each month the Worker family barely makes ends meet. They are right at "the Poverty Level." Their income is fixed; banks won't create money for them, and she wouldn't take it if they did ("The borrower is the slave of the lender," her father used to say). She goes to the market and finds the price of eggs, milk, and cereal is up. Up so much, in fact, that she can't buy food and pay the rent both. Mr. Debtor has stolen this morning's breakfast from the Worker family. In general, it is the poor, widows, and other politically powerless people who feel the effects of "inflation" the hardest. This has been the case throughout history, and the Bible is filled with commands not to debase the currency and destroy the poor thereby.
Why have we ignored the Bible's commands to live within our means? "Owe no man anything," "The borrower is the slave of the lender," "If a man will not work, neither shall he eat;" all these once widely-held moral restraints have been abandoned. Why?
The greatest single debtor in America is, of course, the State. Over $1,900,000,000,000 in debt! (Is that a billion? a million? a trillion? Ask your banker). A fine example of "living within one's means." Of course, the total amount of indebtedness on the part of Americans is greater than their State ($5,700,000,000,000), but the greatest single debtor is the State. A large part of this sum was simply created out of thin air by the State's banking system. (The rest of it was borrowed from widows who were paid back a rate of interest about half the rate of price inflation.) A fine example indeed. (A huge chunk of this theft supports the military, and we haven't even talked about how corporations do business!)
Another issue is taxation. Where in the Bible does God say to men, "Call yourselves 'The State' and then force men to give you money"? Nowhere. By what right does the State force the sons of farmers to sell their family's property and give the proceeds to the State? I am not advocating violent revolution; as Christians we are to "rejoice in the spoiling of our goods" (Heb. 10:34). And again, the total amount of money stolen by the State solely through taxation may be greater than the total stolen by all private citizens and corporations combined. There is surely no more successful thief among all the thieves than the State.
If the man of wisdom prays that he be not poor, so that he be not tempted to steal (Prov. 30:8-9), what can we say about a State that makes men poor, by stealing purchasing power from them to give to the rich ("on approved credit")?
The State and Murder
What of those poor who find even theft does not satisfy the needs manipulatively created by the State's media. Preachers are taken off the air by the State, but sexy, high-pressure advertising increases daily. The poor are told they are less than human if they don't party with the beautiful people. So they act like animals. Or better yet, they act like soldiers. "Gang warfare" vents the frustrations of the oppressed. Or so they hope. "Terrorism" is its international sister, the method of would-be rulers.
Every year the State puts its stamp-of-approval on the murder of nearly 2,000,000 babies (Is that million? billion? Ask your doctor.) How many deaths have been paid for by the State? How many new born infants have been starved to death in the State's hospitals? What message does the State convey? Does all this have any effect on sexual immorality? Economic advancement through theft? Anti-children violence?
Unfortunately, we have blurred the distinction between life and death with our language. "Products of conception," "surgical procedure," "D & C," and even the word "abortion" are words which cover and disguise, rather than inform and subject to the Word of God (II Corinthians 10:5). Should we not talk instead about the silent scream of tortured infants? The ripping apart of a living baby by a powerful vacuum? the slicing into pieces of a tiny child? the murder of a human being by burning off his or her skin with a powerful poison? (Some "doctors" refer to these babies, who are born dead (but sometimes alive) about 24 hours after the poison is "introduced" into the baby's "amniotic sac," and whose subcutaneous layer of skin is exposed and red, raw, and glazed looking, as "candy apple babies." Cute, huh? What would the prophet Isaiah say to these men? What would he say to the bureaucrats who funded this torture/murder? What would he say to those "religious" middle-class churchgoers who would never try to prevent this abomination by offering their home and help to one of millions of illegitimate teen- age mothers who are being pressured by friends and parents to "be responsible and get an abortion!"?
It is not bad enough that we engage in these many forms of violence; it is despicable that we cover it up with our cosmetic words. We must not participate in the violence encouraged by the State, nor may we sanctify the State with sterile, academic language.
Should we not embrace the linguistic style and power of the Prophets? Do they not exemplify God's Word?
Some conservatives believe that the way the State can stem the tide of violence is by forthrightly condemning violent crime -- by killing criminals. We have examined the issue of capital punishment in another paper. The witnesses were to throw the first stones, not "professional" executioners. Then the whole community was to join in the execution, emphasizing the personal responsibility which the Law was meant to encourage. Would crime in America decrease or increase if this aspect of personal responsibility were enforced? Would more or fewer Americans testify in court if they knew they would have to cast the first stone? Would the congregation of judges, prosecutors and lawyers be as large if they had to join in with the witnesses in shedding the blood of the criminal? Would more or fewer criminals be prosecuted if all capital crimes in the Bible were met with the shedding of blood (adultery, homosexuality, etc.)? What would be the effect on crime if the government and media were raising these questions and if all of society were committed to finding Biblical answers?
I suspect that America is really not ready for the Biblical doctrine of the shedding of blood in capital cases. But there is growing demand for capital punishment. Why?
Americans don't want to take personal responsibility for crime. They don't want their showplace-homes dirtied by the poor in obedience to the Biblical laws on hospitality. They want the State to zone the poor into the ghetto, away from the suburbs. If things get out of hand in urban riots and gang warfare, then get the State in there to waste 'em; but I don't want to hear anymore about "night stalkers!"
This is undisguised fascism. It is statist to the core.
The "law-and-order" advocates are essentially Lawless, at least insofar as the Law pertains to themselves. Do they obey all the many, many, many Laws in God's Word concerning the poor, the homeless, the potentially criminal, and even the convicted? What will Jesus say to them? (Matthew 25:41f.) Will their State bail them out on the Last Day?
Go into the bowery. Find the section of the City which has been abandoned by society. Will you find the law-and-order advocates there, rendering assistance, sharing wisdom, exhorting and encouraging the depraved; in short, obeying God's Law with respect to these people? Neither, then, will you find their State there. The State constructed by "law-and-order" advocates reflects their own lawlessness. The situation is deemed "hopeless" by the bureaucrats. Far more productive for the police to wait behind parked trucks in suburbia, ticketing middle-class speeders, subtly inculcating both the importance of the State (for enforcing "the law") and the righteousness of the people (for electing such a righteous State). Both speeder and patrolman have long ago used the State to keep the hopeless and the homeless out of sight and out of mind.
We can talk all we want about the State, but it is, in the end, only a reflection of the people. When we say the State encourages violence, sexual immorality, theft, and murder, it is only because they are the "public servants," and the public wants the State to release them from their personal responsibilities, divide the spoil of economic theft among the "beautiful people," and then generate feelings of self-righteousness for us "party animals" by executing (or, depending on political winds, imprisoning) those crushed by our own immorality and selfishness.
Our point in this paper is that the State is not a unique force for good, any more than any private person or association. The Christian doesn't rely on the State to restrain wickedness: he takes personal responsibility. We don't need a State; we need the Spirit to empower Christians to fulfill the Law of God, not the desires of the flesh (Romans 8:4). The best way for a Christian people to prevent crime is not to form a State "like all the nations" (I Sam 8:20), but to obey God's Law. We cannot rely on the State to bring social salvation, nor even to restrain social damnation. The more powerful the State, the more reprobate the society. We must look instead at the hearts of the people, and that must include our own hearts.
"All they that hate Me love death" (Proverbs 8:36)
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This is a book-length website. Here are some pages which dig deeper into the background and meaning of Romans 13. They explore God's sovereignty over evil, the work of angelic beings in the Providence of God, and the necessity of abolishing evil in the world, especially the State. These are the lost themes of Romans 13.
We recommend reading them in the order below. The first three pages are foundational. The first page helps us cultivate the heart of a servant and Christian non-archist. The second page is critical to understanding Romans 13, and the reader is urged to spend some time perusing the rest of the pages on that site ("TOTAL Predestination"), particularly the pages on "Baalism" and "Radical Calvinism."
For those who would like more detail, especially on the cultural background of Romans 13, the following are useful. These essays were written back in the early 1980's, and have not been revised since. We're counting on the reader being delayed by those first three pages (above) long enough for us to get the rest of these pages edited and revised. As you will discover, there are very few original thoughts on this website. Nearly all our ideas are plagiarized from other writers: Reformed, Dispensational, and even secular. Our contribution is putting them all together for the first time.
The most important proof of our thesis is simply going through the Bible and inductively putting together a theory of the State. Where did it originate? What does God say about it? The preponderance of the Biblical evidence is anti-State.
Here is what a Christian Anarchist looks likeafter he has joined The Christmas Conspiracy.
Other important angles:
Archive: View an earlier version of this website: August 3, 2001
Our plan is to analyze standard evangelical commentaries to see if there is any reason why we cannot abolish the State, and to create a one-stop shop for rebuttals to leading commentators on Romans 13. Watch for answers to these:
Additional Bibliography: http://www.textweek.com/pauline/romans.htm
If you know of other commentators we should listen to, please write us.
Please leave your comments here. (Vine & Fig Tree does not endorse any political candidates.)