Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jesus' Coming Most Important Political Event In History

By John Lofton of American View

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” – Mark 12:17.

The religious significance of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is well known. But, what is not so well known is the sense in which Christ’s birth is “the most important single political event in history,” as Dr. R.J. Rushdoony has observed and documented in many of his books. For example, in his book “The Foundations Of Social Order: Studies In The Creeds And Councils Of The Early Church” (1968), Dr. Rushdoony, referring to the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), calls this an event that “handed Statism its major defeat in man’s history” because it established God as “the true sovereign and the true source of law.” He notes: “Western liberty began when the claim of the State to be man’s savior was denied. The State then, according to Scripture, was made the ministry of justice. But, wherever Christ ceases to be man’s Savior, there liberty perishes as the State again asserts its messianic claims. Man is in trouble, and history is the record of his attempt to find salvation. Man needs a savior, and the question is simply one of choice: Christ or the State? No man can choose one without denying the other, and all attempts at compromise are a delusion.”

And this is why, Dr. Rushdoony says, so much legislative action has been futile: “Congress may enact something, but the ‘sovereign’ bureaucracy and courts can empty the act of all meaning and continue to play god over us. The root of the problem must be faced: sovereignty. The secular humanists have created, after [the German philosopher] Hegel, a new god walking on earth — the State. There is no way to harness a god; he harnesses us. As long as the State is sovereign, we are helpless. The efforts of men against a god are helpless….

“Thus, the key issue of our time is lordship or sovereignty: Who is the lord or sovereign, Christ or the State? Christmas reminds us once again of the birth of this world’s only true Lord or Sovereign. We will either acknowledge Him or be judged by Him.”

And make no mistake about it. Regardless of what you’ve heard regarding the alleged greatness of the ancient, Greco-Roman, pre-Christian world, there was no real, true freedom and/or liberty during this era. None. In his book “The Ancient City: A Study On The Religion, Laws And Institutions Of Greece And Rome” (1889), Fustel de Coulanges spells out in detail the darkness of this Christless world:

“The citizen was subordinate in everything, and without any reserve, to the city; he belonged to it body and soul. The [pagan] religion which produced the State, and the State which supported [this] religion, sustained each other; these two powers formed a power almost superhuman, to which the body and soul were equally enslaved. There was nothing independent in man; his body belonged to the State and was devoted to its defense.”

For example, Aristotle and Plato incorporated into their ideal codes the command that a deformed baby son was to be put to death. And in his “Laws,” Plato says (and this sounds very familiar today): “Parents ought not to be free to send or not to send their children to the masters to whom the city has chosen [for their education]; for the children belong less to their parents than to the city.” And in ancient Athens, a man could be put on trial and convicted for something called “incivism,” that is being insufficiently affectionate toward the State! Coulanges says (emphasis mine):

“The ancients, therefore, knew neither liberty in private life, liberty in education, nor religious liberty. The human person counted for very little against that holy and almost divine authority called the country or the State… .It is a singular error, among all human errors, to believe that in the ancient cities men enjoyed liberty. They had not even the idea of it.”

Commenting on our Lord’s God/Caesar distinction, Coulanges says: “It is the first time that God and the state are so clearly distinguished. For Caesar at that period was still the pontifex maximus, the chief and the principal organ of the Roman religion; he was the guardian and the interpreter of beliefs. He held the worship and the dogmas in his hands. Even his person was sacred and divine, for it was a peculiarity of the policy of the emperors that, wishing to recover the attributes of ancient royalty, they were careful not to forget the divine character which antiquity had attached to the king-pontiffs and to the priest-founders. But now Christ breaks the alliance which paganism and the empire wished to renew. He proclaims that religion is no longer the State, and that to obey Caesar is no longer the same thing as to obey God.

“Christianity…. separates what all antiquity had confounded….It was the source whence individual liberty flowed….The first duty no longer consisted in giving one’s time, one’s strength, one’s life to the State….all the virtues were no longer comprised in patriotism, for the soul no longer had a country. Man felt that he had other obligations besides that of living and dying for the city. Christianity… placed God, the family, the human individual above country, the neighbor above the city.”

Because of this hideous tyranny, it is no surprise that self-murder (suicide) was so rampant in the ancient world. As Dr. Gerhard Uhlhorn tells us in his “The Conflict Of Christianity With Heathenism” (1899): “Heathenism ended in barrenness and sheer despair, and at last the only comfort was that men are free to leave this miserable world by suicide. Patet exitus! The way out of this life stands open! That is the last consolation of expiring heathenism.” And he quotes Seneca, who said that “the aim of all philosophy is to despise life,” as saying, concerning the suicide option: “Seest thou yon steep height? Thence is the descent to freedom. Seest thou yon sea, yon river, yon well? Freedom sits there in the depths. Seest thou yon low, withered tree? There freedom hangs. Seest thou thy neck, thy throat, thy heart? They are ways of escape from bondage.” To which Dr. Uhihorn adds:

“Can the bankruptcy of Heathenism be more plainly declared than in these words?…With what power then must have come the preaching of this word: ‘Christ is risen! The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’”

And in a little noticed and seldom quoted passage from “Democracy In America,” Alexis de Tocqueville says: “The most profound and capacious minds of Rome and Greece….tried to prove that slavery was in the order of nature and that it would always exist. Nay, more, everything shows that those of the ancients who had been slaves before they became free, many of whom have left us excellent writings, themselves regarded servitude in no other light.

“All the great writers of antiquity belonged to the aristocracy of masters, or at least they saw that aristocracy established and expanded before their eyes. Their mind, after it had expanded itself in several directions, was barred from further progress in this one; and the advent of Jesus Christ upon earth was required to teach that all members of the human race are by nature equal and alike. “

The historian Arnold Toynbee saw, accurately, the great failing of the ancient Greeks that they “saw in Man, ‘the Lord of Creation,’ and worshipped him as an idol instead of God.” And this rejection of the true God —- which similarly threatens modern Western civilization —- led to Hellenism’s breakdown and disintegration. Rejecting Gibbon, Toynbee says neither Christians nor barbarians destroyed the Roman Empire; they merely walked over a corpse.

And in his book “Religious Origins Of The American Revolution” (Scholars Press, 1976), Page Smith points out: “The American Revolution might thus be said to have started, in a sense, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. It received a substantial part its theological and philosophical underpinnings from John Calvin’s ‘Institutes Of The Christian Religion’ and much of its social history from the Puritan Revolution of 1640- 1660, and, perhaps, less obviously, from the Glorious Revolution of 1689.

“Put another way, the American Revolution is inconceivable in the absence of that context of ideas which have constituted radical Christianity. The leaders of the Revolution in every colony were imbued with the precepts of the Reformed faith.” Indeed, he adds, in early America, the Reformation “left its mark on every aspect of the personal and social life of the faithful. In the family, in education, in business activity, in work, in community and, ultimately, in politics, the consequences of the Reformation were determinative for American history.”

As remote or repugnant as Puritanism may be to some, Smith says “it is essential that we understand that the Reformation in its full power was one of the great emancipations of history.” He says the passage in the book of Micah about “every man…under his vine and under his fig tree” was “the most potent expression of the colonist’s determination to be independent whatever the cost,…having substantial control over his own affairs. No theme was more constantly reiterated by writers and speakers in the era of the Revolution.”

God’s Word tells us that if the Son makes us free, we “shall be free indeed” (John 8:36) —- meaning, among other things, at liberty from sin. We are told of “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). We are told that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17). We are told to “stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…” (Galatians 5:1). And we are told of Christ’s “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25).

The Lord Jesus Christ is, in all areas of life, the First, True Libertarian!

He is not only the author and finisher of our faith, but also the Architect of all real human freedom. And of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, to His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:7). Come, let us adore Him, Christ The Lord!