The Tactics of and The Theology of Christian Resistance A review by Jack Kettler
The Tactics of Christian Resistance and The Theology of Christian Resistance
Tyler, Texas Geneva Divinity School Press, both books published in1983
Christianity & Civilization Series
Edited by Gary North
A two-book review by Jack Kettler
The Editor’s Bio:
“Gary Kilgore North is an American paleo-libertarian writer, Austrian School economic historian, and leading figure in the Christian reconstructionist movement. North has authored or co-authored over fifty books on topics including Reformed Protestant theology, economics, and history.” – Wikipedia
About these books, John W. Whitehead’s comments are apropos:
“Conflict between Christ and Caesar is not inevitable: in fact, Jesus specifically commanded His disciples to ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’ (Matt. 22:21). Conflict becomes inevitable when the secular authority – Caesar – demands for himself honors that belong only to God…. In modern America, the state does not openly claim divine worship; but in effect, it is seeking to make itself the center of all human loyalties, the goal of all human aspirations, the source of all human values, and the final arbiter of all human destiny. In so doing, without using the language of revelation, it is claiming to be divine…” – John W. Whitehead, “Christian Resistance in the Face of State Interference”
The Editor’s introduction:
“THE question of resistance to a lawfully constituted authority is a very difficult one today, and it has been from the beginning. The New Testament unquestionably establishes the fact that disobedience to political authority is valid under those conditions where the civil government is attempting to suppress the preaching of the gospel (Acts 5:29). To deny this is to deny the history of the church. On the other hand, obedience to the authorities (plural) is required by Paul. Christians from the beginning have had to answer questions like these:
What constitutes a lawfully constituted authority?
Who are “the powers that be” (plural)?
Must we obey every command of “Caesar”?
May we disobey an authority “unilaterally” (autonomously)?
What constitutes the gospel, which must always be preached?
What constitutes unlawful infringement on preaching? Lawful?
What are the lawful modes of disobedience? Unlawful?
What if these authorities are not unanimous?
Is a victorious invading army to be obeyed?
How long does it take for an invader to become legitimate?” (Second, vol. page vii)
A review of these two books from 1983 is necessary in light of the recent intrusion of the state into the domains of the church, family, and business. The present interference by the state is ostensibly warranted in the name of preventing the contraction of the almost yearly flu/virus. Citizens who question the state of emergency are denounced; churches are deemed none essential and closed. How is the Church to respond, submit, or resist?
The issue of Christian resistance and how and when it can be applied has been a Biblical issue since Abraham misled Pharaoh in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham was justified in tricking Pharaoh in Genesis. Are Christians today justified in resisting the state’s unbiblical solutions to a supposed health care emergency? If so, on what grounds? Hence, there is a need for a fresh look at the two volumes in review to explore the Biblical parameters of resistance.
These two books are a symposium of Christian scholars and thinkers in many ways is timeless. Their relevancy has not diminished. These two volumes should be seen as a whole, not two separate symposiums, but one. Today as many times, the Church and State clash.
Some of the notable Reformed scholars who participate in this symposium are:
Francis Nigel Lee; Louis DeBoer; Rousas John Rushdoony; Douglas F. Kelly, Francis A. Schaffer; Alan Stang; Michael R. Gilstrap; and Pieter Jongeling.
Other notable contributors are Paul M. Weyrich, Lawrence D. Pratt; Otto J. Scott; and Herbert Schlossberg, Archie P. Jones; and John W. Whitehead.
These contributors and others not listed in this review are not to be classified as cultural quietistic pietists. With its head in the sand approach, the ostrich has never been much of a deterrent to political tyranny. God ordains the end of all things and the means to bring about the end.
For example, someone may say God will provide all my needs, therefore sitting at home and watch as God provides. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Proverbs 6:9). In most circumstances, God ordains that you work, and this is how God provides.
Thus, working at a job is the ordinary means to bring about God’s end, of providing your needs. The same is true in the cultural sphere. Sit quietly and wait or be proactive to bring about the desired end. The cultural quietist may be the cause of an unintended self-fulling prophecy of defeat.
You can be an ostrich, or you can use the Bible in resistance against tyrants. “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” – John Knox.
Thankfully, the men participating in this two-volume symposium are in the tradition of John Knox.
The goal of a reviewer is to get the reader to read the book. There is probably no better way than to list the contributors and the chapter titles. This reviewer would purchase the two books under review from just looking at the chapter titles and authors.
The First Volume, The Tactics of Christian Resistance
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION By Gary North ix
PART I: FUNDAMENTAL STRATEGIES OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE
THE CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO OF 1984
By Francis Nigel Lee – 1
THE FUNDAMENTAL BIBLICAL TACTIC FOR RESISTING TYRANNY
By Louis DeBoer – 13
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY VERSUS RELIGIOUS TOLERATION
By Rousas John Rushdoony – 32
REBELLION, TYRANNY, AND DOMINION IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS
By James B. Jordan – 38
THE NEW COMMUNITY
By Herbert Schlossberg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. – 81
APOLOGETICS AND STRATEGY
By Gary North and David Chilton – 100
PART II: DEFENSIVE TACTICS OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE
THE ESCALATING CONFRONTATION WITH BUREAUCRACY
By Gary North – 141
TERMITE TACTICS; OR, HOW TO BE A 98-POUND SAMSON
By Wayne C. Johnson – 191
RESISTANCE TACTICS OF AZARIAH AND OF PAUL
By Wayne C. Sedlak – 201
By A. Richard Immel – 210
MISSION: UNDERCOVER RADIO
By Harry Caul – 223
WHO MAKES CHURCHES TAX-EXEMPT?
By Douglas F. Kelly – 229
CITIZENS’ PARALEGAL LITIGATION TACTICS
By Michael R. Gilstrap, – 233
PART III: OFFENSIVE TACTICS OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE
A CHRISTIAN ACTION PLAN FOR THE 1980s
By Pat Robertson – 304
THE CHURCH AS A SHADOW GOVERNMENT
By Ray R. Sutton – 313
TITHING: FINANCING CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTION
By James B. Jordan – 355
TACTICS OF RESISTANCE USED BY THE PROTESTANT REFORMERS
By Otto J Scott – 371
THE USE OF MONEY: A Sermon
By John Wesley – 390
LEVERS, FULCRUMS, AND HORNETS
By Gary North – 401
TOOLS OF POLITICAL RESISTANCE
By Lawrence D. Pratt – 432
POLITICAL RESISTANCE TACTICS
By Paul M. Wryrich – 449
HOW TO LOBBY
By Connie Marshner – 459
Dr. Nigel Lee sets forth the ultimate objective of resistance, and this objective may sum up the goal of both books as a whole:
“Consistent Christians are truly human and seek to oppose Satan and all his inhuman works. They do not seek to form a separate party opposed to the rest of mankind, but when they stand up for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, while the progressive non-Christians are converted and become Christians, the remnant, the non-progressive non-Christians, reactionarily cling to their sins and sink even deeper into their Satanic alienation from true humanity. Consistent Christians are the vanguard of the true humanity, the new creation, and seek to persuade all men to become consistent Christians. Non-Christian men are inconsistent men. Only by becoming consistent Christians do inconsistent men become consistent men. Only by dedicating their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, that most human of all men, can humanistic men become truly human.” (First, vol. page 3)
In the next volume, The Theology of Christian Resistance
TABLE OF CONTENTS
By Gary North – vii
PART I: THE CONFLICT OF CHRISTIANITY WITH HUMANISM
CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE IN THE FACE OF STATE INTERFERENCE
By John W Whitehead – 1
CONFLICTING WORLD VIEWS: HUMANISM VERSUS CHRISTIANITY
By Francis A. Schaeffer – 14
WHAT THE WAR IS REALLY ABOUT
By Alan Stang – 24
PART II: PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE
‘CONFIRMATION, CONFRONTATION, AND CAVES
By Gary North – 40
RAHAB’S JUSTIFIABLE LIE
By Jim West – 66
PACIFISM AND THE OLD TESTAMENT (an extended
Review of four recent books)
By James B. Jordan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . – 75
NATURAL LAW AND CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY
By Archie P. Jones – 94
WHAT’S WRONG WITH HUMAN RIGHTS?
By T. Robert Ingram – 133
THE COUNTERPRODUCTIVITY OF NOT LINKING CHRISTIANITY AND POLITICS:
A REPLY TO SENATOR MARK HATFIELD
By Joseph C. Morecraft III – 148
PART III: THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE
THE EARLY CHURCH AND PACIFISM (an extended review
Of Jean-Michel Hornus’s It is Not Lawful For Me To Fight)
By Allen C. Guelzo – 161
THE LESSER MAGISTRATES from Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)
By John Calvin – 170
JOHN CALVIN’S THEOLOGY OF RESISTANCE
By Michael R. Gilstrap – 180
DEFENSIVE WAR IN A JUST CAUSE SINLESS, A Sermon (1775)
By David Jones – 218
AND GOD DEFEND THE RIGHT: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE LIMITS OF CHRISTIAN OBEDIENCE
By M. E. Bradford – 233
THE DUTCH-AMERICAN GUERILLAS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
By William Marina and Diane Cuervo – 242
THE DEBATE OVER FEDERAL SOVEREIGNTY, A Selection from the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798 and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798-99 – 266
ON RECONSTRUCTION AND THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC
By Tom Rose – 285
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HEART OF THE DUTCH NATION
By Pieter Jongeling – 311
Unless the reader is so heavenly minded to be any earthly good, the chapter titles and authors should put these two volumes at the top of a must get book list.
In the conclusion of this review, and the first essay, the second volume, John Whitehead’s analysis of what is at stake is spot-on:
“ONE sure sign of judgment-upon both the church and society – is increasing state interference in the affairs of the church and Christian institutions. We see it everywhere today. It is as if the church is on the eve of being carried off into Babylon. Clearly, in the face of such government entanglement, we need to consider Christian resistance; that is, the proper Christian response to illegal acts of the state.
The Church Is At War
It is definitely time to shed the naive idea that the modern humanistic state exists to perpetuate good government. It is there to perpetuate itself at all costs. No bureaucracy works itself out of a job.
It is also time to shed the idea that Christians can simply go about their business looking neither to the left nor to the right, and somehow be freed from the woes to come. Every true Christian is on an eventual collision course with the modern technological state, and he should be prepared for it.
It must also be realized that the technological state has no need for an active church. Indeed, it requires a silent church. There is no room for God in such a state. Certainly, Christians are not here on earth to work out a peace pact with Satan. At a time when men are crying “peace, peace” we are assured that there is no peace.
Christianity, it must be remembered, is at war even in a world of peace. Christ said He came to bring not peace but a sword (Matt. 10:34). Much too often, the modern church has sought peace and compromise with the world. As a consequence, the church has compromised and allowed the tide of humanism to roll over society and encompass it. Nowhere has this been more true than in the Christian community’s silence and acquiescence to the ever growing power and unconstitutionality of the federal and state governments and their agencies. The state is abusing its power. It is up to the Christian community, which knows that the state is not absolute, to stop it.” (Second, vol. page 1, 2)
During the Protestant Reformation, there was much political turmoil. Tyrannical leaders like Mary Queen of Scots were resisted. Tyrants were not unique to the time of Protestant Reformation leader John Knox. Some of the world’s worst tyranny happened during the Twentieth Century. Professor R. J. Rummel labeled the Twentieth Century the century of “democide” in his book “Death by Government.” Contrary to the interpretation of Romans 13:1, 3-4 by some, governments do not always bring judgment against evildoers.
Today, state governments are forcing churches to jump through silly meaningless inconsistent hoops, interfering in worship services, outright banning church services. All because of the election flu, not a pandemic as it is still called in the media, but rather, a psychological warfare operation (PSYOP).
The Scripture warns us in the Ninth Commandment not to lie, nor to receive, or countenance a lie, including falsehoods propagated by the governing authorities. The two volumes under review do an extraordinary job of contrasting the humanistic state’s agenda over and against the Church’s mission. The two volumes do a remarkable job of mapping out strategies of resistance.
These books are particularly relevant to John MacArthur; the pastor of Grace Community Church is fighting back against this political (PSYOP). As said earlier, God has ordained to the end of all things, but also the means to bring about the end. MacArthur could sit there looking at Christ’s closed down Church or fight back. Pastor MacArthur is fighting back with the President’s attorney, a devout Christian, and Colorado girl, Jenna Ellis. John MacArthur heroically is fighting back in order to be a means to achieve an end. Unfortunately, other Christian leaders have chosen to hunker down rather than reprove the state for violating King Jesus’s domain.
In volume, one, in the Editor’s introduction, on pages xii – xxiii chronicles many examples from the recent history of shocking abuse by wicked governing authorities of Christians and other minorities.
Unless one is asleep at the wheel, you will want to have these books in your library. Do not be a cultural quietist. The freedoms we have for political dissent came with a price. In the U.S., the constitution, while not perfect, nevertheless, is a product of Christian civilization. Let us not squander this product while quietly awaiting an end to an authoritarian crackdown on the Church.
The cultural quietist approach almost certainly will allow abortion on demand, the eventual overrunning of private and Christian homeschooling, and the possible taxation to the destruction of many churches. The origin of the word Protestant appears in the16th century; thru German or French from Latin protestant – (protesting), from Latin protestari (protester). Historically, Protestants have resisted tyranny by holding up Scripture as the law they will submit too.
Thankfully, the Christian men who participated in this symposium were not culturally quietist neo-Protestants.
These two books are more relevant than ever. As a special bonus for reading this review, the reader will find below two links to download both books in PDF format. –end of review.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com
For more study:
The Tactics of Christian Resistance https://www.garynorth.com/TACTICS_OF_CHRISTIAN_RESISTANCE.pdf
The Theology of Christian Resistance