From the reading of the Old Testament books of Kings—in which there was a separation between political, religious and family life—as well as from reading passages such as 1 Tim. 2 and Rom. 13:1-7, we come away with the understanding that the primary responsibility of civic government is to protect its citizens by upholding biblical civic law, as well as protecting its borders from foreign enemies.
Historically, there has always been a war between the large, centralized messianic state and the Kingdom of God because humankind— being rebellious—wants autonomy from its Creator. Thus, these messianic states want to take away freedom of speech (e.g. the Roman Empire suppressing the preaching of the gospel during the early church era) and freedom to worship (e.g. Pharaoh against Moses and the children of Israel). This means that, when civic government is unchecked and obtains too much power it tends to overreach and oppress any rivals or gods that may threaten their total control, as we have seen with the Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified because He was a political threat to the worship of Caesar, because the people were proclaiming Him to be the true Caesar (see Acts 17:5-7).
The fact that when we say the word “government” we automatically think of political rulers shows how much we in the church and society have been brainwashed to think that we need to have some elite group of philosopher-kings (e.g. Plato’s Republic) to set up a nanny state that takes care of every aspect of our lives!
The framers of our nation, unlike Marxists and socialists who attempt to build a utopia based on the forced redistribution of wealth and class warfare, understood the fallen nature of human beings. Thus they set up the U.S. Constitution with three equal branches of government: the executive, the judicial, and the legislative, so that each component would countenance the others so as to prevent any one branch of government from centralizing too much power. Furthermore, states were supposed to have a semi-autonomous relationship with the federal government, with their own state constitutions, as long as those constitutions did not violate the principles of the national constitution.
In regard to the state controlling every aspect of life for its citizens:
-In the area of education, I contend that parents are the primary ones responsible for their children’s education and should have the right to choose which school their kids attend, or if they want to homeschool them (see Deut. 6:6-9).
-I contest that the economic policies of the Great Society have hurt the families of minorities, as we have seen the divorce rate multiply exponentially amongst people of color since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.
Furthermore, after four years under the current administration, black unemployment is over 16% and unemployment for black youth is over 22% nationally, and probably much worse in urban cities.
The U.S. Department of Education has allotted multiple billions of dollars towards public education, yet the dropout rate for high school students is hovering near 50% in our poorest communities, and our nation is scoring lower and lower in comparison to the rest of the world. When education is taken out of the hands of parental rule then it becomes more about teachers’ unions than what is best for the kids!
In regard to private property: Individuals need incentives to be motivated and are much more inclined to have a sense of stewardship if they have ownership of something. Case in point: Go to any public park or housing tenement and see how the people treat property that is not their own. Then, go to a private company or private house and see how well it is taken care of! This is precisely why Marxism has failed in the Soviet Union, Cuba, East Germany as well as in Latin America and Africa. When you take the incentive of earning, based on merit, away from people, then you take ownership away from them. And when you give them unearned benefits and/or entitlements you strip them of their self-esteem and actually perpetuate the cycle of poverty by making them dependent instead of self-sufficient.
There are some in the camp of the Evangelical Left who espouse a form of socialism based on a faulty interpretation of the year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25 (I will defer people to the chapter on Kingdom Politics in my book Kingdom Awakening when it comes to the Jubilee year) and by misapplying Acts 2:44 and 4:32, where it says that the believers didn’t own anything and had all things in common. But I would counter that communal living was never made normative because it was never repeated as a command in other parts of Scripture, including the book of Acts, but it was an extraordinary event due to the fact that thousands of people visiting Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost got saved and needed emergency housing and food in order for them to prolong their stay and sit under the apostles’ feet and become disciples of Christ.