The Great Advantage of Smaller Government (1)

What the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted (Prov.10:24).

The twentieth century witnessed to the fact, that the greater the responsibility governments claim, the more abusive and destructive they invariably become. This has not merely been the case with totalitarian nations; the democracies have witnessed to this as well.

Every Christian should know this is the case, because as the power of governments have increased through history, they’ve almost invariably set out to prey upon God’s people.

The scripture makes this plain:

When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food (Prov.23:1-3).

Pharoah is infamous in scripture for his affliction of God’s people. The first mention of him in Exodus explains his motivation: he

…appointed taskmasters over them [the children of Israel] to afflict them with hard labour…” (Ex.1:11).

After the magi brought their gifts to Jesus,

…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the child to destroy Him” (Mat.2:13).

In the early years of the church,

…Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with the sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also… (Acts 12:1-3).

Soon afterwards, Paul explained to the Corinthians how

In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands (II Cor.11:32-33).

Am I suggesting there’s a pattern in this?

Absolutely. And when governments have absolute power, then their war against the church also becomes absolute. Why?

It’s a matter of Lordship. Godless men and women in government set out to express the hostility that’s in their heart, towards God and His people.

The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” (Ps.2:2-3).

Smaller government then, means there will be less people in government who can set out to prey upon God’s people. They simply won’t have the power to wage war against us.

This means that de-funding government should be a perennial priority for every Christian person. Every opportunity should be taken to press for every kind of cut back, every kind of reduction in spending. This means vigorously examining government expenditure at the Federal, State and local level, and ruthlessly looking for reductions or eliminations of expenditure. There are a lot of them.

Could this ultimately mean that whole Departments are closed down? Absolutely.

I cannot imagine a successful modern tyranny that is financed by less than ten percent of national income. I can easily imagine many tyrannies that are coercively financed by five to seven times the tithe. So can you.[1]

At the very least, every government Department should have to make do on less. We start with 10% cuts, and seek to keep on cutting. All the lurks and perks that the bureaucrats have quietly implanted in their self-serving system over decades will have to go, and we never cease from the goal of cutting the costs of government.

We’ll makes enemies by doing this; this is what happens. Some people will hate us for doing this. So be it.  It is a never-ending assignment for God’s people in history.

We keep on doing it, all the time seeking to reduce costs of government, but at the same time, picking up the responsibilities of individuals, families and the church, along with the freedoms for those institutions to operate in a God-honouring fashion.

Growth in family responsibility, once it is embraced by an ever growing number of people, opens the door to the closure of the Department of Education, at both the State and Federal level. This would be an absolutely amazing thought for most of us today, but it should be an inevitable goal.


Because education is a parental responsibility, and that’s where it should stay.

But there’s more; this is just the first big domino to fall down. What about the Departments of Health (7 of them in Australia) and Welfare? Both of these should ultimately go, but this will require a huge growth in responsibility for individuals, families and churches, probably over generations. This is what we used to do, a hundred years ago.

De-funding and closing down government departments is certainly an ambitious goal, but it is no less ambitious than the Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20). Obedience to the Great Commission inevitably means not just changes to religion, but to society and culture too. This has been the case, right through the church’s history. The Reformation changed Europe.

And isn’t that what it means to follow Jesus Christ?

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev.11:15).



[1] Gary North, Prologue to Greg Bahnsen, “By this Standard,” 1991, p.xxiv