Gary continues his series on biblical government and how Christians should respond to the current overreach of politics into every area of life.
The concept of the multiplicity of governments is as old as our country because the principles were extracted from biblical principles. Noah Webster’s definition of government in his American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) reflects the biblical concept of the diversity of governmental authority. Webster defined government in this way: “Direction; regulation. ‘These precepts will serve for the government of our conduct.’ Control; restraint. ‘Men are apt to neglect the government of their temper and passions.’”
While Webster defined government in terms of personal self-control, most modern definitions largely limit government to the realm of institutions, especially civil or statist governments. This is made evident by the fact that the definition for civil government is placed first in modern dictionaries. Nowhere are self- or family governments even listed. For example, Webster’s New World Dictionary (1972) defines government in this way: “The exercise of authority over a state, district, organization, institution, etc.”
In the older definition, Webster includes family government as part of the complete definition before he deals with the government of an individual state or nation. He defines family government as: “The exercise of authority by a parent or householder. ‘Children are often ruined by a neglect of government in parents.’” According to the Bible, it is the duty of parents to govern in the home: “And fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). It is not the duty of civil government to interfere with the affairs of the family. Too often, however, parents neglect their God-given duty to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” When this happens, we can expect the State to take an increasingly dominant role in family life. Such a role is detrimental to the family.
Gary continues his series on biblical government and how Christians should respond to the current overreach of politics into every area of life. As in Exodus 18—in many ways a model for the United States Constitution—civil government should be decentralized. Limited jurisdiction and spheres of responsibility are the biblical model, not what we have today.
God and Government
With a fresh new look, more images, an extensive subject and scripture index, and an updated bibliography, God and Government is ready to prepare a whole new generation to take on the political and religious battles confronting Christians today. May it be used in a new awakening of Christians in America—not just to inform minds, but to stimulate action and secure a better tomorrow for our posterity.