Lex, Rex

Spheres of Authority

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 • Gary Fox • Government
God has ultimate and sovereign authority over the affairs of man, however, He has created several distinct spheres through which He delegates that authority for the stability of society...

In order to understand what the proper role of government is it is important to first see it in light of God's larger order for society. Government is just one of several spheres of authority God has established for the stability of society. Missing that point is the very the problem with Fabianism and Marxism. In the Fabian/Marxist worldview there is only one authority for society and that is the State. Any other sphere of influence must be in subjection to the overarching authority of the State and there are no spheres which are off limits to the State. For example, there is no separation of Church and State in the Marxist system. Every Marxist regime determines if they will allow religion to exist or not, and if so, the government runs it and installs State approved ministers for it. It then controls the messaging, activities and budgets of that religious organization. Any religious group which does not submit to the government of a Marxist regime is forbidden, forced underground and subject to constant threat of discovery and imprisonment.

The Authority of the Individual

The Bible paints a drastically different vision for society (which is in large part why the Scriptures are illegal in Marxist nations). In the Bible there are several spheres of authority which society must recognize and at the top of that list is the authority of the individual. God created man to have authority over his own person, his own body, his own thoughts and his own actions. God created man to be free and intrinsic to that freedom is the authority and autonomy of individualism. While man must submit to other authorities when circumstances occur which places him under the purview of those authorities, he at no time is the slave of any of them. This is the key to understanding the doctrines of personal property rights, the right to free speech and the right to self-defense (even self-defense from the abuse of government). It is also the basis for business ownership and free markets. People should be left alone to engage in the exchange of goods and services freely and to own trademarks, copywrites, intellectual property and institute private businesses to facilitate those engagements as desired.

The Authority of the Family

The next sphere of divinely delegated authority is the family. The family has the right to exist without the endorsement of any other sphere of societal license or sanction. All it needs is a consenting man and a consenting woman along with heavenly approval in order for it to be legitimate and authoritative. Of course, we do not operate that way which is to our great detriment. We now have a government which assumes the power of defining what constitutes a marriage and a family. A marriage is constituted by the uniting of a man and a woman for life, it doesn't matter what the government, courts, educational institutions or liberal denominations think...it's not up to them to decide what a marriage is. Christians handed the State that task and it's a miracle that it has taken this long for the State to take a jackhammer to the institution of the family. There is no need or Biblical mandate for couples to acquire a marriage certificate from the State or even to have the "proclamation" of a minister for a marriage to be real or for a family to be authentic. Of course, people are free to do these things, but they are not needed for legitimacy in God's eyes. So far from this line of thinking have we drifted that a statement like that may even surprise if not outright offend you. Oh sure, I guess most of us can understand that a piece of paper doesn't make a marriage…but not even a minister is needed to make it official? No, the institution of the family predates the institution of the State, the Church, the Law of Moses or the nation of Israel! God recognizes the marriages of heathens and Muslims and Buddhists and even atheists! For example, if a Buddhist couple is converted to Christianity, we do not tell them they must now be remarried in a Christian church, do we? Of course not! Why not? Well…because the family is a unique sphere of authority and is contingent only upon the agreement individuals. What God brings together no man (or institution) has the authority to separate. This authority of the family to exist apart from the purview of those other spheres of authority, being subject only to the consent of autonomous individuals under God and His authority. This is precisely why no human government has the authority to define or redefine the constitution of "marriage" or "family". It is also why no human government has the authority to separate families without a due process proving guilt of criminal activity. This violation of rights was particuarly disgusting during the days of American slavery of Africans.

We need to be reminded today that human government is not responsible for the education of children. Even if governments go so far as to offer educational programs to children, no family is under moral obligation to surrender their children to the State for the purpose of education. Only the family has authority to raise and educate children, any such government function is one only to be exercised with the willful authorization of parents. God ordained the family for the care and education of children, any other imposed system is usurpation of that.

The Authority of Religion

What we call "religion" is also a sphere of authority. Those institutions, bodies, groups and movements which claim to teach Divine or spiritual revelation have authority to speak freely about the nature and will of God and are accountable only to Him for what they say. This does not mean all religions are equally valid of course, it is simply a recognition that no other sphere of authority may interfere with the practice of religion. No man or human government may suppress, shut down or punish religion in any way for speech or conduct which remains within the scope of religious work and activities. This means the State can not ordain ministers, pass out communion or tax the people in an effort to support a church or denomination. The State can also not punish religious ministers for their doctrine, teaching or customs. Again, those who declare "thus sayeth the Lord" are accountable to the Lord for their teaching, no other sphere of authority has license to regulate religion in the New Testament era. Prior to Christ there was a far less distinct difference between religion and State because the people of God lived within a theocracy and every other nation around them acted like they were theocracies as well. God no longer rules His people by way of theocracy and so the distinction between these spheres is now fixed. The government is no longer intertwined with religion and so for example it can not install ministers. Religion no longer dictates to government who should be king or what religious practices must be enforced (or irreligious actions should be punished). These two spheres will remain clearly distinct until Christ returns and establishes His earthly Kingdom.

The Authority of Government

This, finally, brings us to the last remaining sphere of authority…human government. Why did God create human government and equip it with the sword of justice? The answer is simple: Human government exists to protect the other spheres of authority and to punish those who endanger or harm them. That's it. Period. God created human government as a means to protect the authority, rights and liberty of the individual, the family and of religion. It does not exist to feed people, clothe people, educate people, provide healthcare for people, or to provide income for people. It does not exist to police the world, to keep you from doing drugs, to keep you sexually pure or to define for you what marriage is. It does not exist to deliver your mail. Perhaps one could argue that building and paving roads is needed for the government to properly police and defend the people but beyond that it is not up to the government to provide infrastructure. The only purpose of government is to protect individuals, families and religions from violating one another. So, governments are right to have courts, jails, cops and soldiers. Governments are right to use force when force is needed to defend the other spheres of authority or when violators of those spheres need punished. Any laws which human governments institute which equally protect the other spheres of authority are legitimate laws, any laws which violate or usurp the authority of those other God ordained spheres are illegitimate laws. Taxes gathered for the purpose of enforcing illegitimate laws is theft, taxes gathered for the purpose of enforcing legitimate laws is not theft.

As Americans none of this should sound strange to us, this is after all the very worldview which inspired the founders of this nation at the very start. With that said, it should also be fairly noted that the ink wasn't even dried on either the Articles of Confederation or later the Constitution before those very same framers began to violate everything they just wrote. But none the less, despite their inconsistent application of this vision, it was indeed the vision that guided them. It was the vision of God's order for society which inspired them and energized them. If we ever hope for a revival of Biblical spirituality, personal liberty, personal responsibility and true prosperity to happen in America again we had better get laser sharp with these distinctions, just as they were. And we as Christians had better stop leaving this teaching to the secular conservatives on talk radio and Foxnews. I'm very thankful for Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson, but these distinctions need to be made in our Sunday Schools, midweek Bible studies and from our pulpits. Clearly our nation is being tossed to and fro, back and forth, without direction or understanding regarding what should and should not be happening, what people are responsible for and not responsible for, what governments are to do and not do and how religion fits into the picture.

The Church of Jesus Christ is called to be salt and light in society (both of which can be very aggravating when applied to sensitive areas). Preachers are called to declare the whole council of God for the building up of the body and for the purification of society. If the culture is confused about the will of God it had better not be because the people of God are not declaring the Word of God and, sadly, I believe that is exactly the case in America. The solutions we need and the clarity we need is already provided for humanity in the Scriptures. We just need to declare it, over and over and over…and have faith that God will once again provide the fruit we need as a society. These doctrines being respected by ANY nation will bear great fruit. There is no third world nation on this planet that respects these doctrines and is why they remain impoverished. All any nation needs to do to prosper is to acknowledge the will of God for society and to respect the spheres of authority He ordains for it. God would bless them. God will bless us.

Any nation which refuses to respect these spheres (and the God who created them) will be cursed.

It's that simple.

Scriptures: Romans 13:1-7

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