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Four Spheres of Government

By Editorial Staff
Published June 1, 1989

By Marshall Foster

FEW CHRISTIANS TODAY SPEAK OF THEMSELVES as God’s world-changers, but that is what they are. The bumper sticker that reads “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven” epitomizes the attitude of many, who think the only difference between a believer and an unbeliever is forgiveness.

The Christian, in Scripture, is seen as more than a man who does good and avoids evil. He has within him, because of his faith in Christ, all the power to subdue God’s earth to His glory.

Today in America our tendency is to think of the word “government” in purely external terms: as “they” – the people in city hall, statehouse, or in Washington, D.C. To us they are the “government.” So, at first the term self-government seems strange. If it is used in a humanistic sense – suggesting that every man is free to govern himself however he wishes without reference to God’s moral law – then self-government becomes anarchy. The word “Christian” is an adjective that should not be removed from use with self-government, for true self-government is only possible when one is ruled or governed by Christ.

In colonial America, the God of the Bible was seen as sovereign over men and their property, reflecting the “Biblical worldview” of the reformation. But in the past 100 years a disarming doctrine which sees Satan as the sovereign of this world, has been accepted in many Christian circles. Many Bible teachers today see Jesus as an absentee king who is concerned exclusively with building and maintaining His church until He returns to earth. They see Jesus as having the authority and right to rule, but as having given power to subjugate the world temporarily over to Satan.

The worldview of the reformers was diametrically opposite to the above view. The reformers and the Puritans taught that Jesus Christ is the ruler of the earth (1 Tim. 6:16; Hebrews 2:14) and Satan, a defeated foe (John 12:3, Col. 2:15).

Our attitude toward the “sovereignty issue” is of paramount importance because it affects what is done in every area of life. God’s sovereignty begins with the individual self-governing Christian who is the building block for the other spheres of society.

Sphere #1: The Individual

Christ’s government is internal, resulting in the Christian being self-governing, but always in accord with God’s laws. Self-government that ignores God’s laws or defies them is not true self-government and leads not to liberty, but to the bondage Jesus refers to in John 8:34: “Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” Only when the Son sets you free are you free indeed.

The self-governing Christian has the power within him to bring all areas of life into submission to God. This is his ordained purpose (1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 10:5). United with the word of God and faith, he will accomplish all that His Lord has commanded (Psalms 8:3-6).

Sphere #2: The Family

The self-governing Christian family is the engine of godly dominion and the hope of the future of our nation. God has ordained the family and has given to it the responsibility to care for all of its members both young and old. In our 20th century welfare state, we have given over to the state much of the responsibility of caring for our parents and educating our children. This is an abomination and, if continued, will lead us to destruction.

To the family, God has given us responsibility to educate and prepare godly children (Proverbs 22:6; Deut. 6:20). If we choose to share that responsibility with another, it should be in the godly environment of a Christian school, not under the tutelage of the humanist public school system. We must come to see that “public schools” really are “state schools” where the philosophy and the religion of the state will be promoted.

We as families must encourage the development of Christian schools. To make this godly movement fulfill its purpose, parents should insist that these schools not only provide Christian teachers and Chapel services but a Christian curriculum. That curriculum should reflect the godly educational philosophy of our Founding Fathers and the training of our youth to be self-governing citizens of this great land.

Sphere #3: The Church

The believing church in America makes up almost 200,000 individual congregations that can greatly impact the rebuilding of our nation and the reaffirmation of our covenant with God. If we are to fulfill our purpose before God as the Church of Christ, our pastors must be encouraged to teach the scriptural foundations of Christian self and civil government in the pulpits of our land just as they did at the time of the War for Independence.

Without giving up personal distinctives or compromising doctrine, millions of believers can unite in voluntary union to accomplish godly purposes. The churches, not the state, must once again become the great arm of God’s “charity” reaching out to a needy people with the Gospel and its answers to society’s social problems.

Sphere #4: The State

There is increasing discussion today of restoring our self-governing republic. The only possible way for such rhetoric to become a reality is if the critical path we have just discussed is followed. Discussion of civil government is left to the end not because it is the least important area of our lives, but to emphasize that the basic structure of government will not conform to its original Constitutional model until the people become self-governing in their homes, churches, schools and businesses.

We must also begin immediately to become involved in the political process, for there are issues that need to be confronted before our entire structure is destroyed. For example, God will not tolerate a nation that legally kills the unborn child, calling it “abortion.”

Let us not forget the godly way of nation-building presupposes as its foundation Christian character and intelligent self-governing Christians. This is the reason we are failing in our current attempt to set up republics in foreign lands. It does little good to give a copy of the Constitution and plans for popular elections to a people who do not know how to govern themselves. The battle must be won form the internal to the external, from content to from, from character to its full expression as a Christian republic.

For further information contact: Reformation Covenant Church, P.O. Box 2129, Beaverton, OR 97075. Phone: (503) 254-2869.


Bibliography

Redemption

The Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, Summit Books
The Forgotten Spurgeon, Iain Murray, Banner of Truth
The Sovereignty of God, A.W. Pink, Baker Book House

Law of God

Theonomy in Christian Ethics, Greg Bahnsen, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company
Productive Christians In An Age of Guilt Manipulators, David Chilton, Institute For Christian Economics
God and Government, Gary DeMar, American Vision Press
Institutes of Biblical Law, R.J. Rushdoony, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company

Presuppositionalism

Van Till and the Use of Evidence, Throm Notaro, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company
Every Thought Captive, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company
The Defense of the Faith, Cornelius Van Til, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company

Earthly Victory

Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion, David Chilton, Dominion Press
The American Covenant, Marshall Foster, The Foundation For Christian Self-Government
An Eschatology of Victory, J. Marcellus Kik, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company
The Flight from Humanity, R.J. Rushdoony, Thoburn Press


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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

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Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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