The Biblical Structure of History (3): Introduction to Part 1

Gary North (www.garynorth.com) – October 26, 2021

My thesis regarding the structure of history is based on my understanding of the biblical covenant model. God has established five covenants with mankind: the dominion covenant, the personal covenant, the family covenant, the church covenant, and the civil covenant. They are all established by a covenantal oath before God. The dominion covenant defines mankind. This is God’s command to Adam and Eve to exercise dominion over the earth. It is found in the first chapter of Genesis, verses 26–28.

Each of the five covenants is structured in terms of a sequential five-point system. There are numerous ways of describing it. Point 1 is the transcendence of God. This transcendence also includes His presence. He is not part of the world, but He is present with it. He is totally sovereign. He is over the world, not part of it. Christianity teaches that God became man. God dwelt among us.

The second point of the covenant is man’s authority over the creation. This is delegated authority. We can also discuss the second point as hierarchy: God is over man, and man is over the creation. Judicially, point 2 is a system of representation. Man represents God to the creation, and he represents the creation to God.

The third point of the covenant is law. Every covenant has a system of law. These laws establish legal and moral boundaries on people’s actions. They serve as guides to men’s actions. Men know what they are supposed to do. They have guidance from God about what to do. More important, they know what not to do.

The fourth point of the covenant is sanctions. Every system of law has an accompanying system of sanctions. In biblical covenantalism, there is consistency between a law and the punishment for violating it. The punishment fits the crime. In civil government, the sanctions are exclusively negative. In the family and the church, there can be positive sanctions. So, covenantal sanctions here can be either positive or negative. We can call them blessings and cursings. These sanctions are governed by the ethical system that undergirds the system of laws. The combination of permanent ethical laws and predictable sanctions is what gives history its predictability. It also shapes the direction in which history is moving.

Fifth, there is succession. People become more skilled as they develop their talents. They must be replaced when they move to positions of greater responsibility. This was true before the fall. Post-fall, there is another reason for succession: people die. They have to be replaced. Institutions also disappear. They have to be replaced. Because of God’s ethical system of laws, and because of His system of sanctions, there is a progressive element in the development of history. Things get better over time because God rewards those who obey Him, and He punishes those who disobey Him. His sanctions shape the future.

This five-point covenant model is developed in the book by Ray Sutton, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant. My Institute for Christian economics published this book in 1987. I wrote a short introductory book on this: God’s Covenants (2020). I wrote a detailed study: The Covenantal Structure of Christian Economics (2018). I wrote two practical books: The Five Pillars of Biblical Success (2008) and The Five Pillars of Biblical Leadership (2021). In short, I have found the five-point biblical model to be both theoretically compelling and highly useful in real-world applications.

The five points of this structure are found in all varieties of social theory. Every social theory has to have all five points: sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession. Not all social theorists are self-conscious about the inherent structure of what they are studying, but if they are thorough in their presentation, you will find all five points, although rarely in the biblical sequence.

In Part 1, I show that this structure of history is revealed in the Bible. It is revealed in five sequential points.

The first concept of biblical history is the doctrine of God’s creation of the universe out of nothing. This was an historical event. It began history. Genesis 1 provides the account. Genesis 1 reveals that God is totally transcendent. He is completely separate from the universe. He spoke it into existence. It was not an emanation from His being. Having spoken it into existence, He is sovereign over it. He had a purpose for it. He had a plan for it. He had a decree for it. He will carry out His decree in history. In short, history is providential. It is personal. The whole universe reflects the God who created it. Therefore, the structure of history is governed by the principle of cosmic personalism. Nothing in the universe is outside of God’s providence. Everything reflects God’s personhood (Romans 1:18–22).

The second concept of biblical history is the doctrine of the image of God in man. Man was created to represent God in history. God holds him responsible for this. This task of dominion defines mankind. It will define mankind throughout history, and it will define mankind in eternity. Mankind is God’s covenantal agent in history. People are personal because God is personal.

The third concept of biblical history is God’s law. God has established a law-order that governs all creation. In society, this law-order announces a series of laws governing institutions and individuals. These laws are ethical. They have established the criteria of right and wrong. The essence of decision-making is ethical. Ethics governs the historical process.

The fourth point of biblical history is sanctions. This has to do with judgments in history. God is sovereign, so His judgments are authoritative. His judgments establish the standards of human judgment. He evaluates people’s behaviour. He evaluates their motivations. He evaluates everything in terms of His standards. He enforces these standards by imposing sanctions. His enforcement of His laws provides predictability in history. At the end of the creation week, God pronounced the world to be very good. His work during the week met His standards of creation. He said so repeatedly. The technical theological word for this is imputation. God imputes value and meaning to everything.

The fifth point of biblical history is inheritance. God has established that the meek will inherit the earth. The psalmist announced this (Psalm 37:11). Jesus announced this (Matthew 5:5). The meek are people who are meek before God. They are therefore active toward extending the kingdom of God in history. With respect to history, meaning an era in which sin is still present, those who have been redeemed by Christ exercise increasing dominion. The world is their inheritance. This is made clear in 1 Corinthians 15. (See Chapter 5.) Jesus also announced this to Peter: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Hell is on the defensive. Gates are defensive tools, not tools of offense.

Humanist historians offer a rival five-point model. In summary, it is this: evolution, autonomy, relativism, nominalism, and entropy. I explain these terms in Part 2. I show how they shape the humanists’ view of history. The essence of their view is this: there is no providential God who directs history. The only source of direction in history, and the only source of meaning in history, is man. Their problem is this: they cannot decide whether they mean mankind collectively (the state) or individuals. They do not know who imputes authoritative meaning to the world: collective mankind or individual people. Therefore, they cannot come to a conclusion about the structure of history. They do not even agree if there is any meaning to history.

In Part 3, I discuss Christian historiography. I explain how the five points of biblical history should shape the way that Christians write history. There are five elements in Christian historiography: stories, representation, civilization, justice, and progress.

All of this may seem overly complex. Actually, it is not complex. It provides a handy way to understand the biblical structure of history, the humanists’ interpretation of the structure of history, and the way that Christians should write about history. You can count each system on the fingers of one hand. Well, not quite. You can count them on four fingers and your thumb. Keep reading. I will show you how to do this.

Pat Buchanan on Public Schools: Wrong from the Beginning

Gary North – October 30, 2021

Pat Buchanan wrote an editorial on Terry McAuliffe’s run for governor in Virginia.

McAuliffe is your basic Democrat arm-twister. He believes in the big state. He was the major fundraiser for Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. He used to be the head of the Democratic National Committee. In other words, he is part of the problem.

He wants to be governor of Virginia. Again.

The polls say that he is running neck and neck with an unknown Republican. It will be settled on Tuesday.

Maybe the major issue on which McAuliffe is vulnerable was his statement publicly that parents do not have the right to tell school boards what to do. Buchanan hopes it will cost him the election. So do I.

But, to make his case, Buchanan fell into the standard conservative trap. He accepts the legitimacy of public education. He accepts the legitimacy of the myth that parents have a say in public education. Parents have never had a say in public education. That goes back to 1837 in the state of Massachusetts. Parents have been pushed around about what is taught in the public schools ever since there were public schools in America. The whole point of the public schools is to shove the ideology of the educators down the throats of children.

Doubt this? Read John Taylor Gatto’s book, The Underground History of American Education. Read R. J. Rushdoony’s Messianic Character of American Education.

Any suggestion that parents have now or ever had any significant influence in the public schools is ludicrous. It buys into the mythology of the public schools. The public schools have floated this mythology, or at least used too, that the parents have a say. But this has always been a convenient illusion. It has always been a con job. It is time to stop accepting the con job.

Here is what Buchanan wrote: Who Decides What Kids Should Be Taught?

For if he does lose, it will be because of an elitist belief McAuliffe blurted out during a debate with Republican rival Glenn Youngkin:

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions. … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Yet, during his own term as governor, one Virginia school district pulled copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn” out of the schools because of the books’ use of racial slurs.

McAuliffe blurted out what has been the truth from the beginning. He articulated what was implicit when the state of Massachusetts replaced government support of the Congregational churches with government support for public schools. They got rid of tax support for the churches in 1833. They started supporting the public schools in 1837. The state was setting up a replacement tax-funded church run by a Unitarian, Horace Mann. The switch was blatant. They got away with it. The Christians went along with it. They always go along with it. Christians are dumber than dirt on matters of public education. That is because they have been educated in the public schools. The public schools do a very good job in turning Christians’ minds into gray sludge.

When in power, the humanists always get their way with what gets taught in the schools. So, by getting rid of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, the school board was doing exactly what humanists always do. Of course, this was hypocritical. The whole thing has been hypocritical since 1837. It is based on hypocrisy. It is the most successful single hypocrisy in American culture.

What McAuliffe was saying was that the knowledge, truths and beliefs imparted to children in public schools are to be determined by school officials and teachers alone. Parents have no role and should butt out.

Parents should butt out. And when they butt out, they should take their children with them. That would break the back of the public school system. It would break the back of the humanist, leftist oligarchy in this country. But Buchanan is not talking about that kind of butting out. No, he is talking about a handful of parents going to a school board meeting, screaming bloody murder, going home, and then sending their kids in the public schools when the school board pays no attention to them. This has been going on since 1837.

His dismissal of any parental role in education did more than cause a backlash against McAuliffe. It put on the national agenda an issue that will be engaged and fought long after this Virginia governor’s race is over.

The victory here would last a couple of years, maybe. This would be one more case of the Left wing humanists’ running of the public schools: keeping parents from pulling their kids out of the schools. “Look, look, conservative parents won!” What will they win? They will win the right to send their kids back into a school system that, in every course, teaches the humanist worldview. And it is all done at taxpayer expense. It costs about $12,000 per child per year. Some victory.

But to the voters of Virginia, who have been moving to Youngkin since McAuliffe made his now-famous remark, these are real issues.

Critical race theory is peripheral to the nonsense that the public schools have taught for a century. There is no CRT curriculum yet. There will be. It is going to be rammed down the throats of the public within a couple of years. Billy Bob and Jenny Sue are going to be taught critical race theory, just as they are taught about Heather having two mommies. If the humanists want it, they are going to get it. The parents do not have any say.

Humanists are content once in a while to let the illusion spread among naïve parents that something the parents want is going to be done by the local school boards. Until there is a comprehensive CRT curriculum, it really does not matter that school boards delay implementation.

For what their children are taught and not taught in the public schools to which parents consign them from age 5 to age 18 are matters of grave concern for those parents. For it will affect the kind of adults and citizens their children will become.. . .

These schools are helping shape what children come to believe about the moral, social and historical issues tearing our country apart. These schools are helping shape the men and women these children will become.

He has got that right! And this is why the conservative movement has never had a prayer. This is why the conservative movement has been little more than an annoyance to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Consider. Under the landmark Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, abortion and same-sex marriage have been made constitutional rights. Yet both decisions contradict biblical truths, Catholic doctrine and natural law.

And what did Catholic bishops do about that? Nothing. Did they reopen parochial schools? No. Did Catholic parents immediately pull their kids out of the public school to homeschool them? No. Are they likely to do this? No.

While both decisions are today the law of the land, have parents no right to object if public-school teachers instruct their students that these decisions were right, moral and just? Do students and parents have no right to dissent, both inside and outside the classroom?

Of course they have the right to object. And the school boards have the right to laugh at them behind their backs, shove a new curriculum down the kids’ throats, and hike the cost per student to $13,000 a year. That is what they have done for a century and a half, and what they will do until parents pull their kids out of the schools. The pattern is clear. It is basic to the history of the United States since 1837.

Do parents have no right to object if the tenets of critical race theory — that America is shot through with “systemic racism,” that whites are privileged from birth and blacks oppressed — are taught as truth about the country to which they have given their loyalty and love?

Of course they have a right to object. And then they have the right to go home, shut their mouths, pay their taxes, and send Jenny Sue and Billy Bob into the public schools, which they had done from the beginning, and which their parents did, and which their parents’ parents did, all the way back to 1837.

CONCLUSION

When you ignore a trend that is unbroken since 1837, and you pretend that that this trend can be rolled back by the means of coercion — taking money from taxpayers to fund your kids’ education — you are living in a fantasy world. It is a fantasy world that is the product of public school education coupled with inconsistent conservative ideology.

It all boils down to this question. Are the parents responsible for the education of their children, or is the state?

The Biblical Structure of History: Introduction to Part 1

Gary North – October 26, 2021

My thesis regarding the structure of history is based on my understanding of the biblical covenant model. God has established five covenants with mankind: the dominion covenant, the personal covenant, the family covenant, the church covenant, and the civil covenant. They are all established by a covenantal oath before God. The dominion covenant defines mankind. This is God’s command to Adam and Eve to exercise dominion over the earth. It is found in the first chapter of Genesis, verses 26–28.

Each of the five covenants is structured in terms of a sequential five-point system. There are numerous ways of describing it. Point 1 is the transcendence of God. This transcendence also includes His presence. He is not part of the world, but He is present with it. He is totally sovereign. He is over the world, not part of it. Christianity teaches that God became man. God dwelt among us.

The second point of the covenant is man’s authority over the creation. This is delegated authority. We can also discuss the second point as hierarchy: God is over man, and man is over the creation. Judicially, point 2 is a system of representation. Man represents God to the creation, and he represents the creation to God.

The third point of the covenant is law. Every covenant has a system of law. These laws establish legal and moral boundaries on people’s actions. They serve as guides to men’s actions. Men know what they are supposed to do. They have guidance from God about what to do. More important, they know what not to do.

The fourth point of the covenant is sanctions. Every system of law has an accompanying system of sanctions. In biblical covenantalism, there is consistency between a law and the punishment for violating it. The punishment fits the crime. In civil government, the sanctions are exclusively negative. In the family and the church, there can be positive sanctions. So, covenantal sanctions here can be either positive or negative. We can call them blessings and cursings. These sanctions are governed by the ethical system that undergirds the system of laws. The combination of permanent ethical laws and predictable sanctions is what gives history its predictability. It also shapes the direction in which history is moving.

Fifth, there is succession. People become more skilled as they develop their talents. They must be replaced when they move to positions of greater responsibility. This was true before the fall. Post-fall, there is another reason for succession: people die. They have to be replaced. Institutions also disappear. They have to be replaced. Because of God’s ethical system of laws, and because of His system of sanctions, there is a progressive element in the development of history. Things get better over time because God rewards those who obey Him, and He punishes those who disobey Him. His sanctions shape the future.

This five-point covenant model is developed in the book by Ray Sutton, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant. My Institute for Christian Economics published this book in 1987. I wrote a short introductory book on this: God’s Covenants (2020). I wrote a detailed study: The Covenantal Structure of Christian Economics (2018). I wrote two practical books: The Five Pillars of Biblical Success (2008) and The Five Pillars of Biblical Leadership (2021). In short, I have found the five-point biblical model to be both theoretically compelling and highly useful in real-world applications.

The five points of this structure are found in all varieties of social theory. Every social theory has to have all five points: sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession. Not all social theorists are self-conscious about the inherent structure of what they are studying, but if they are thorough in their presentation, you will find all five points, although rarely in the biblical sequence.

In Part 1, I show that this structure of history is revealed in the Bible. It is revealed in five sequential points.

The first concept of biblical history is the doctrine of God’s creation of the universe out of nothing. This was an historical event. It began history. Genesis 1 provides the account. Genesis 1 reveals that God is totally transcendent. He is completely separate from the universe. He spoke it into existence. It was not an emanation from His being. Having spoken it into existence, He is sovereign over it. He had a purpose for it. He had a plan for it. He had a decree for it. He will carry out His decree in history. In short, history is providential. It is personal. The whole universe reflects the God who created it. Therefore, the structure of history is governed by the principle of cosmic personalism. Nothing in the universe is outside of God’s providence. Everything reflects God’s personhood (Romans 1:18–22).

The second concept of biblical history is the doctrine of the image of God in man. Man was created to represent God in history. God holds him responsible for this. This task of dominion defines mankind. It will define mankind throughout history, and it will define mankind in eternity. Mankind is God’s covenantal agent in history. People are personal because God is personal.

The third concept of biblical history is God’s law. God has established a law-order that governs all creation. In society, this law-order announces a series of laws governing institutions and individuals. These laws are ethical. They have established the criteria of right and wrong. The essence of decision-making is ethical. Ethics governs the historical process.

The fourth point of biblical history is sanctions. This has to do with judgments in history. God is sovereign, so His judgments are authoritative. His judgments establish the standards of human judgment. He evaluates people’s behavior. He evaluates their motivations. He evaluates everything in terms of His standards. He enforces these standards by imposing sanctions. His enforcement of His laws provides predictability in history. At the end of the creation week, God pronounced the world to be very good. His work during the week met His standards of creation. He said so repeatedly. The technical theological word for this is imputation. God imputes value and meaning to everything.

The fifth point of biblical history is inheritance. God has established that the meek will inherit the earth. The psalmist announced this (Psalm 37:11). Jesus announced this (Matthew 5:5). The meek are people who are meek before God. They are therefore active toward extending the kingdom of God in history. With respect to history, meaning an era in which sin is still present, those who have been redeemed by Christ exercise increasing dominion. The world is their inheritance. This is made clear in 1 Corinthians 15. (See Chapter 5.) Jesus also announced this to Peter: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Hell is on the defensive. Gates are defensive tools, not tools of offense.

Humanist historians offer a rival five-point model. In summary, it is this: evolution, autonomy, relativism, nominalism, and entropy. I explain these terms in Part 2. I show how they shape the humanists’ view of history. The essence of their view is this: there is no providential God who directs history. The only source of direction in history, and the only source of meaning in history, is man. Their problem is this: they cannot decide whether they mean mankind collectively (the state) or individuals. They do not know who imputes authoritative meaning to the world: collective mankind or individual people. Therefore, they cannot come to a conclusion about the structure of history. They do not even agree if there is any meaning to history.

In Part 3, I discuss Christian historiography. I explain how the five points of biblical history should shape the way that Christians write history. There are five elements in Christian historiography: stories, representation, civilization, justice, and progress.

All of this may seem overly complex. Actually, it is not complex. It provides a handy way to understand the biblical structure of history, the humanists’ interpretation of the structure of history, and the way that Christians should write about history. You can count each system on the fingers of one hand. Well, not quite. You can count them on four fingers and your thumb. Keep reading. I will show you how to do this.

The Biblical Structure of History: Introduction

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), October 25, 2021

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:1–3)

A. Analysis

This is a familiar passage. Paul was writing to the church at Corinth to raise money. First Corinthians is the first known example of a fund-raising letter. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye” (1 Corinthians 16:1). Second Corinthians is the second known fund-raising letter.

The call for money came at the end of this letter. Paul devoted the early section to issues of church discipline. Chapter 5 deals with the sin of incest. Paul called on the church to bring the sinner under church discipline. Chapter 6 deals with church members who were taking other members before Roman courts. Paul said this should stop. By submitting to Rome’s courts, church members were acknowledging that justice from Rome was superior to justice from the church. This meant that they trusted the judgment of covenant-breakers more than they trusted covenant-keepers. They trusted Roman law more than God’s aw. This was an implicit statement of faith. They trusted the gods of Rome more than the God of the Bible. Those gods would provide justice. This is a crucial attribute of the gods in every society.

Then Paul asked a remarkable question. Didn’t they understand that Christians will judge the world? This was not a rhetorical question. Paul did not think that they understood this. This was a matter of eschatology. He was saying this: at some point in between his day and Christians’ entry into the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21, 22), Christians will be in a position of judicial authority, judging the world. He did not say when, but he made it clear that this would be the case.

Then he asked an even more amazing question. Didn’t they know that Christians will judge the angels? This is one of the most astounding statements in the Bible. It is so astounding that Christians find it difficult to believe. It has significant implications for biblical eschatology: the doctrine of the last things. Yet you have probably never heard a sermon on this passage.

Christianity confronted the ancient world with a unique doctrine: the final judgment. This doctrine was not clearly taught in the Old Testament. It was not taught by classical religion. There will be a final end to history. It will be marked by God’s judgment of everyone who has ever lived. It is described in Matthew 25, but especially the final third of Matthew 25: verses 31 to 46. This is the passage made famous by the phrase “sheep and goats.”

This will not be the final act of the final judgment. John added this: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14–15).

If we believe what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:3, something will take place after the separation of the sheep and the goats, but before God’s casting the goats and the fallen angels into the lake of fire. Yet 1 Corinthians 6:3 is never discussed in terms of the final judgment’s sequence. It is rarely discussed at all. There will be a final judgment that separates covenant-keepers from covenant-breakers. Christian churches have always taught this. This judgment will determine who will go into the lake of fire: the contents of hell. Fallen angels will be in hell. God made hell expressly for them. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

There are covenant-keeping angels and covenant-breaking angels. Christians call covenant-breaking angels “demons.” They are sometimes called devils. Who will judge them at the end of history? Paul was quite clear about this: covenant-keeping humans. This will be the final task in history given to covenant-keepers. This will complete history’s phase of the dominion covenant (Genesis 1:26–28). Fallen angels and human covenant-breakers will no longer be factors in history after this final judgment. They will be consigned to the lake of fire.

Conclusion: the final judgment of humanity is not the final act of judgment. Then what is? Execution: the second death. But, before that can be imposed on men and demons, there has to be a trial. Paul said specifically that this trial will be conducted by covenant-keepers. Humans will judge fallen angels. During history, angels have far more power than humans. They are closer to omnipotence than humans. They are closer to omniscience than humans. They understand something of the future. Yet all of this is reversed in what can be called, judicially speaking, a great reversal. Covenant-keepers will judge fallen angels. Until this takes place, the marriage supper of the lamb cannot take place (Revelation 19:9). Neither can the establishment of the sin-free new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21, 22).

The transition from wrath to grace will be completed immediately after the final judgment of humanity. The transition from grace to wrath took place at the fall of man. The fall of man was specifically a failure on the part of humanity to exercise biblical justice. Eve or perhaps Adam and Eve together were required by God to bring judgment against the serpent: execution. But Adam and Eve instead rendered judgment against the word of God. They ate the forbidden fruit. God then brought them under judgment. God held a trial. God convicted Adam, Eve, and the serpent. But He did not end history. Mankind still was required to fulfill the dominion covenant.

The primary assignment to mankind is to exercise godly judgment. That was true in the garden. That is true today. That will be true after the separation of the sheep from the goats. Rendering judgment is the essence of the dominion covenant. There are economic aspects to this. There are technological aspects. But the central task of the dominion covenant is to improve our ability to render godly judgment. The final act of history, according to Paul, will be the comprehensive rendering of judgment by covenant-keepers against fallen angels. This is the narrative of history: the transition from grace to wrath, followed by the transition from wrath to grace. It will culminate with the abolition of wrath for covenant-keepers (Matthew 25). For covenant-breakers, eternity will be marked by excruciating wrath. There will be no transition out of this wrath.

A trial takes time. Under a jury system, competing lawyers present the cases for guilt and innocence. A jury decides which narrative is more plausible. To do this, the jury must exercise memory. One of the advantages of a jury is this: there is a division of labor. This division of labor applies to memory. Jury members remember different points made by the lawyers. It is through discussion that jury members come to an agreement regarding the comparative plausibility of the rival narratives.

In the United States, criminal trials have a high standard to justify conviction of guilt. The standard is this: “beyond reasonable doubt.” The key word is reasonable. The standard is not perfection. Christians should recognize that perfect justice is available only on judgment day. God will supply it for mankind. But it is clear from what Paul said that covenant-keepers will play a role in rendering judgment on fallen angels. God will not fill the offices of judge and jury by Himself. He will invite post-judgment covenant-keepers to participate in the final judgment. Creatures without enormous power in history will render final judgment against those creatures that possessed enormous power in history. This leads me to a conclusion: the essence of the conflict between God and Satan is ethics, not power. The battle for control over history is not primarily between God and Satan. The battle is between the covenantal representatives of God and Satan. Therefore, the supreme skill associated with dominion in history is the skill of rendering godly judgment.B. Casuistry: Applying Laws to Circumstances

Casuistry is the application of general legal principles to specific cases. It can also be the application of general ethical principles to specific situations. It is the exercise of judgment. The Bible calls this wisdom. In the Old Testament, the great model of a master of casuistry was Solomon. He was legendary for his ability to apply biblical law to specific legal situations. However, he failed completely with respect to his multiplication of wives. There, he is the classic example in the Old Testament of a man devoid of wisdom.

We gain understanding of the task of rendering judgment from about the time we turn two years old. In the United States, this age is called the “terrible twos.” Children begin to use this word: no. The only word that rivals it is this one: mine.

Children learn about discipline. They learn to exercise self-discipline in order to avoid the imposition of physical or other discipline by parents. They learn to render judgment in their own lives. The parents give them instructions, just as God gave Adam and Eve instructions. The children then learn how to follow these instructions in order to meet the standards set by the parents. The parents are in a position to impose negative and positive sanctions. These sanctions are teaching devices. They help children learn the crucial discipline of self-discipline. Children learn about rules early in life. They also learn how to manipulate parents by playing one parent off against the other. Not possessing power, they learn how to manipulate people who possess power. They become remarkably skilled at this at a young age.

The process of becoming an adult has more to do with learning and then applying the skills of self-discipline than any other skill associated with adulthood. Every society has rituals associated with becoming an adult. But the essence of becoming an adult is not passage through a ritual. The essence of becoming an adult is learning how to apply general principles of law, especially ethical principles, to specific circumstances in life. This used to be known as casuistry, but the term has fallen out of favor. From a young age, we are told by those possessing the power to impose sanctions that the rules are constant. We are told to observe the rules in specific circumstances. Circumstances constantly change, but we are told that the rules do not change. The rules enable us to make wise decisions. We learn the skills of casuistry. If we do not learn these skills, we suffer negative sanctions: as children and then as adults.

Continuity in life has more to do with the constancy of law than anything else. This may be ethical law. It may be biological law. It may be physical law. There are numerous realms of law in this world. In order to guide our own behavior, we must believe that there is continuity of law over time. If there were not, we would live in chaos. We would have no reliable idea of what will happen next as a result of a decision. The world would fall apart. But the world does not fall apart. This is strong evidence of the fact that there is continuity in law, and it is also a testimony that we learn how to apply general laws to specific circumstances.

We need accurate memories regarding what we have been told the laws are. We also need accurate memories regarding the consequences of disobeying specific laws. If we did not have memories, we would live in personal chaos. We would be as those who have Alzheimer’s disease. We would have to be institutionalized. Someone else would have to take care of us. The fear of Alzheimer’s is one of the most widespread fears in the modern world. Nobody wants to become dependent on somebody else as an adult. Nobody wants to be a drain on family resources. Nobody wants to be in a position of not being able to make responsible decisions. So, nobody wants to forget all of the past. A disease that removes our ability to recall the past is correctly seen as a debilitating affliction. It incapacitates the victims’ judgment.C. Historiography as Retroactive Casuistry

The Bible’s unifying themes for history are these: the transition from grace to wrath, followed by the transition from wrath to grace. The transition from grace to wrath took place in Genesis 3. It was marked by a trial. God cross-examined Adam and Eve. Then He imposed negative sanctions. But He did not kill them: grace. The transition from wrath to grace ends with a trial: the final judgment (Matthew 25).

History after the fall of man is marked by a pair of trials. In between these trials was the most important trial in history: Pilate’s trial of Jesus Christ. Pilate admitted that he saw no fault in Christ, but he sentenced Him to death anyway. Then Roman soldiers imposed negative sanctions. Pilate was a corrupt judge who violated Roman standards of evidence in order to placate a mob. This was a recapitulation of Adam’s fall: rendering false judgment against God’s word. Pilate condemned an innocent man and released a guilty man (Barabbus). He believed that he would benefit from this violation of the law. For this corrupt act, he became the most infamous regional Roman official in history. Millions of people have recited this historical judgment against him: “suffered under Pontius Pilate.”

Pilate was an evil man. The Christian church has judged him accordingly down through the ages. His violation of the rule of law stands as the archetype of a corrupt judge. He committed this act of injustice based on historical evidence and his cross-examination of Jesus. There was no question in his mind that the evidence was not sufficient to convict Jesus, but he convicted Him anyway. This was not ignorance on his part. He did not make a mistake in assessing the evidence against Jesus. It was reliable evidence. But the Jews in the courtyard imputed evil to Jesus’ statements in the Sanhedrin’s earlier trial, and they demanded the imposition of Rome’s negative sanctions. From that day until today, Pontius Pilate has been regarded by the Christian church as the covenant-breaker who committed the greatest crime in history. This was a greater crime than the crime committed by Judas. Judas merely identified Jesus so that the Jewish authorities could arrest him. That crime was significant historically only because Pilate committed the greatest crime in history before the day was over.

The retroactive judgment of the Christian church against Pontius Pilate has shaped the church ever since. Before A.D. 70, the church possessed written evidence of this evil act: the Gospels. The church regarded this evidence as reliable. The Council of Nicea identified Pilate as evil in 325, but the church had concluded this over two centuries earlier. Christian creeds have shaped the church ever since. They have provided a model for Christian historiography. They asserted that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate. He was crucified. He died and was buried. On the third day, He rose from the dead. He ascended to the right hand of God. He will return in final judgment. This historical and also eschatological account has become authoritative as a major ritual of the church. This testimony is repeated in all the three branches of the church: Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism.

Christians know who Pontius Pilate was. They impute guilt to him. They verbally condemn him every time they recite a creed that mentions his name. No other person in history has been publicly condemned more often by more people as an evildoer. Christians mark the origin of the church by reciting a creed, and the creed identifies Pontius Pilate as the culprit. The centrality of the creed in the history of Christianity marks the centrality of a specific historical narrative. The creed declares the birth, trial, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ at a precise time in history as the central narrative in history.

The creeds provide the model for Christian historiography. They identify righteous figures in history, and they identify a supreme villain. The creeds tell us that the public assessment of guilt and innocence retroactively, based on reliable evidence, is at the center of the biblical understanding of history. Here is one implication of the creeds: Christian historiography should correspond to what the Bible reveals as the structure of history. It must also do justice to the evidence of history. In short, Christian historians must not imitate Pontius Pilate. They are to render judgment in terms of reliable evidence. They are to judge evidence in terms of standards. These evidential standards must reflect God’s evidential standards. Human actions are governed by God’s law. Sanctions in history, both positive and negative, are imposed by God in history as well as in eternity. History is a series of human decisions that are tried by God from heaven, during history, and also at the end of history. He imposes sanctions, during history and also at the end of history. Christian historians, following the examples of the church creeds, should publicly declare people’s guilt or innocence retroactively in terms of objective evidence, God’s ethical standards, and casuistry: the judgment of historical events in terms of reliable evidence.

These declarations over time constitute a biblically sanctioned narrative of history. The narratives of history should conform to this pattern. Christian narratives of history should include retroactive assessments of good and evil, wisdom and foolishness, success and failure. People pay little attention to narratives that are not marked by sequential retroactive judgments of representative figures in history whose decisions shaped history. They want to hear about the good guys and the bad guys. What they want to hear about the good guys and the bad guys is this: the good guys win, and the bad guys lose. They win or lose in terms of permanent ethical standards that still govern success and failure in history today. This is the biblical structure of history from the trial in the garden of Eden until the final judgment.D. The Denial of Casuistry

Covenant-breakers wish to suppress evidence of this structure of history. They do not want to think about the final judgment. They do not want to believe that Jesus Christ will return in final judgment in order to separate eternally the sheep from the goats. They correctly perceive that they are the goats. So, the more self-conscious humanist historians deny that history is structured in terms of a specific form of casuistry. They deny that it is the primary function of historiography to identify those individuals who served as representatives of the forces of good and the forces of evil. They do not wish to think about the fact that the kingdom of God is going to triumph over the kingdom of man. They resent the suggestion. They try to live consistently with this denial of the structure of history as a form of casuistry.

A representative example of a philosopher of history with this outlook was Benedetto Croce [CROWcheh], who was an intellectual leader in Italian society from the late 1890’s until his death in 1952. He was a liberal politically. Because he was a lifetime senator, he served in political office during the reign of Mussolini. He opposed Mussolini during most of this period. In 1938, he wrote a book on historiography: History as the Story of Liberty. Part 4 of the book is “Historiography and Morals.” Chapter 1 of Part 4 is “Moral Judgment in Historiography.” He got right to the point. He cited Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” He did not offer any exegesis of this passage that would have indicated its historical context. That was because he did not regard it as authoritative. He was an agnostic. But the passage might be regarded as authoritative by some of his readers, so he quoted it. He then went on to deny the legitimacy of all moral judgments by historians.

He began by describing what history should never be. He denied this view of history: “History is supposed to be the great High Court which reviews all the trouble judgments arising out of the passions and errors of man, corrects them, and pronounces a final verdict as in a universal judgment, separating the elect from the reprobates” (Meridian Books, 1955, p. 201). He spoke of history as if it were a living thing. He meant historians, but he said history. “Neither the future nor history can carry this utterly intolerable burden of the task intrinsically absurd and impractical” (p. 201). In order for historians to pass judgment retroactively, they would have to have inner certainty. He wrote: “. . . no documents can possibly be converted into an inner certainty” (p. 201). “The labeling of men as good and bad is a troublesome enough business in practice and for practical purposes. Surely we need not desire to pursue it and take it up anew in our historical considerations” (p. 202). The historian must not judge people’s motivation. He must only judge the outcome of their actions. “The only moral judgment which attains to consistency and significance in historiography is that which is concerned with the character of the achievement, apart from the private impressions, illusions, and passions which may accompany it in the mind of the author, or which contemporaries and posterity enveloped it” (pp. 202–3). Only God may pass judgment on individuals. But, since Croce did not believe in God, that left everyone off the hook in both history and eternity. He wrote: “. . . we must agree that this intimate knowledge, reserved to man’s conscience and into which alone the eye of God penetrates, or in certain singular moments the eye of love and friendship, is not only not historical knowledge, but is not knowledge of any kind, not even the order of truth which belongs to poetry, where the part is always seen as a part of the whole, the human drama within the divine drama of the Cosmos” (p. 205).

The next year, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, and this started World War II. Croce had opposed Italy’s participation in World War I. Mussolini took Italy into the war on the side of Germany on June 10, 1940. In 1945, he attempted to escape, dressed in women’s clothes, but he was identified and executed on the spot. The executioners hung his body upside down in the public square. After 1945, the widespread hostility to Hitler as the most evil man in modern times was extended to the legacy of Mussolini: the fool who joined with Hitler. Hitler made it virtually impossible for historians to adopt anything remotely resembling Croce’s view of retroactive silence regarding immoral individuals. Hitler, more than any other person in modern times, undermined the intellectual charade of moral neutrality by historians. Any classroom teacher of American history who would argue in favor of moral neutrality could be removed from his position by this question from any student: “Are you saying, professor, that there was no moral difference between Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler?” The professor would either have to deny what he just said about moral neutrality in teaching history, or else he would have to affirm that there was no such moral difference. If he affirmed this, he would be put on suspension by the end of the week and would probably be fired at the end of the semester.E. World History

There is a single theme for all of human history after the fall of man: the transition from wrath to grace. The basis of grace is the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the offer of redemption to individuals and institutions. Wherever sin is present, the gospel offers redemption. Sin is present in every institution. Sin is present in every society. Mankind and mankind’s works are under sin, and therefore mankind and mankind’s works are subject to redemption by the grace of God. This view of history is anathema to humanist historians. It testifies to God’s providential control over history. It also testifies to a final judgment. Humanist historians prefer to argue that history has no structure. However, if mankind’s history has no structure, then there is no such thing as a universal history. There can be regional histories, up to and including Western civilization, but there cannot be a universal history.

A major problem with this argument today is this: Western civilization is now spreading across the face of the earth. Western concepts of reason, science, economics, and progress have influenced the whole world since the end of World War II in 1945. This is what the church from the beginning expected would happen. The gospel would spread across the face of the earth. It would transform civilizations. It would lay the foundation for the kingdom of God in history, which is another way of saying the civilization of God.

It is not surprising that Croce was adamant that there is no such thing as universal history. This was consistent with his denial of any kind of moral order governing history.

The idea of so-called “universal history” has arisen from this demand for the impossible. It seeks, precisely, to embrace the totality of history, and in its consequential and logical, if mythological, form, a Universal History was at one time expected to include the future as well, finishing with the anticipated account of the end of the world. Such “universal history,” however, remains an idea and not a fact, because when executed the universal histories are either just compilations, manuals, and historical repertories, or else under the name of universal histories are really particular (universal-particular) histories, like every genuine history (p. 268).

Today, we see this universal history beginning to take shape across the world. It is not self-consciously Christian, but it is the historical outcome of the biblical view of the world. Croce recognized this. He wrote that “a Universal History was at one time expected to include the future as well, finishing with the anticipated account of the end of the world.” He was dismissive of Christianity’s view of history.F. War of the Worldviews

My book is about the debate between covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers over the foundation of history, the understanding of history, the laws of history, the meaning of history, the scope of history, and the future of history. Covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers have radically different views on these issues. That is because they have radically different worldviews. That is because they have radically different definitions of God, man, law, sanctions, and time. They operate in terms of rival covenantal structures.

Most covenant-keepers are naïve about the irreconcilable warfare between the covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers. Covenant-keepers have adopted the official doctrine of the covenant-breakers: the myth of neutrality. Jesus was clear that there can be no neutrality regarding Him. “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). Despite this declaration, covenant-breakers have successfully infiltrated almost every area of academia by means of the myth of neutrality. The myth of neutrality becomes the justification for tax funding of education, from kindergarten through graduate school. Covenant-breakers extract tax money from covenant-keepers, and then they use this money to indoctrinate the children of covenant-keepers in the worldview of covenant-breakers. This has gone on successfully in the West for over two centuries. Covenant-breakers in classrooms have taught the children of covenant-keepers the humanistic content of their covenant. Most covenant-keepers generally remain content to send their children into the schools run by covenant-breakers. There is beginning to be resistance. That is because covenant-breakers are becoming more open about the implications of their God-hating worldview. They steadily move the curriculum toward nonsense and degeneracy. The content of the curriculum materials in the public schools is becoming more straightforwardly antithetical to Christianity. In the name of neutrality, the courts have forbidden state-run or tax-funded schools to teach Christianity, but the schools then teach a highly religious worldview: the worldview of humanism. The courts not only uphold this, they encourage it. They mandate it.

This is why it is imperative that Christians develop comprehensive alternatives academically. They should give up any attempt to compromise with the humanists with respect to the content of the curriculum. The courts have made it clear that no compromise by humanists is allowed. The humanists are in control of the tax-funded schools. They have been in control of tax-funded schools in the United States ever since the development of tax-funded public education in the state of Massachusetts in the late 1830’s. It has been the same all over the world.

This book is my contribution to the reclaiming of history and historiography by Christians. There have been lots of Christians who have taught history. There have been almost no Christians who have taught an explicitly Christian history. They have taught some compromise version of humanism’s narratives of historical development. They were certified as teachers in institutions that were accredited by humanists. These institutions taught a specifically humanistic view of historical causation. Christian teachers went into Christian schools to teach some variant of the humanists’ historical narratives. The war of the worldviews has always been a war of historical narratives. It is therefore the moral obligation of Christians to begin to replace the humanists’ narratives with narratives that are based on the Bible’s concepts of sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession.G. The War of the Narratives

I go into details on this issue in the appendix on narratives. Here, I sketch briefly the nature of the conflict. Humanists are evolutionists. They do not believe in the sovereignty of God. They have constructed a narrative of the history of the universe that explicitly denies any purpose whatsoever. Cosmic evolution is purposeless. It has no design. Out of the cosmos came life about 4.5 billion years ago, we are assured. Then came mankind about 2.5 million years ago. Only since the evolution of man has purpose appeared in the universe. Humanists have substituted their doctrine of the sovereignty of man for the Bible’s doctrine of the sovereignty of God. This underlies all of their historical narratives. There are major conflicting humanistic historical narratives, but they all agree on this point: man proposes, and man disposes.

Humanists have understood that narratives are central to society. There is no society that is not heavily reliant on specific narratives about the origin of the universe, life, mankind, and the society. Humanists have understood that they must be in control of the narratives. If they do not control the narratives, they cannot control the thinking, the voting, and the decision-making of the vast majority of individuals in any society. They have been self-conscious about taking control of the educational system that teaches the narratives to each generation.

The great barrier to this program has always been the church. Weekly sermons are sources of the Christian worldview. The Bible is structured mostly in terms of historical narratives. Constant preaching and teaching of these historical narratives has been basic to the establishment of Christian civilization. Therefore, it has been the policy of humanists to offset the effects of one or two sermons a week with 30 hours a week of lessons in schools controlled by humanists. Control over the content of historical narratives has been basic to the humanists’ agenda from the beginning.

One humanist who pursued this substitution systematically was Andrew Dickson White. He was the first president of the American Historical Association in 1884–85. He was the first president of Cornell College. He wrote one of the most important humanist books designed to undermine respect for Christianity: History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896). He was a Protestant theological liberal. He hated any form of Protestantism that affirmed the final authority of the Bible. In the Introduction to his book, he described how he viewed his career as a college president. “My hope is to aid—even if it be but a little—in the gradual and healthful dissolving away of this mass of unreason, that the stream of ‘religion pure and undefiled’ may flow on broad and clear, a blessing to humanity.” He described his academic opponents, meaning Bible-believing Christians, as vicious. “Our purpose was to establish in the State of New York an institution for advanced instruction and research, in which science, pure and applied, should have an equal place with literature; in which the study of literature, ancient and modern, should be emancipated as much as possible from pedantry; and which should be free from various useless trammels and vicious methods which at that period hampered many, if not most, of the American universities and colleges.” He bragged about the success of humanists in replacing preachers as presidents of Christian colleges. In the final paragraph of the Introduction, he wrote this:

The ideas for which so bitter a struggle was made at its foundation have triumphed. Its faculty, numbering over one hundred and fifty; its students, numbering but little short of two thousand; its noble buildings and equipment; the munificent gifts, now amounting to millions of dollars, which it has received from public-spirited men and women; the evidences of public confidence on all sides; and, above all, the adoption of its cardinal principles and main features by various institutions of learning in other States, show this abundantly. But there has been a triumph far greater and wider. Everywhere among the leading modern nations the same general tendency is seen. During the quarter-century just past the control of public instruction, not only in America but in the leading nations of Europe, has passed more and more from the clergy to the laity. Not only are the presidents of the larger universities in the United States, with but one or two exceptions, laymen, but the same thing is seen in the old European strongholds of metaphysical theology. At my first visit to Oxford and Cambridge, forty years ago, they were entirely under ecclesiastical control. Now, all this is changed.

The academic enemies of Christianity have generally not been open about what their agenda is. White was quite open about it. Christians should take him seriously. His agenda has been systematically implemented in every area of higher education in the West.

Christians need a comparable agenda. They should understand that they cannot beat something with nothing. They must beat something entrenched with something far better. This book is my attempt to show that Christians have something far better.Conclusion

This book is dedicated to changing education back to where it was in the mid-nineteenth century America: funded by Christians, run by Christians, in order to educate successive generations of Christians. But the redesigned curriculum must be far better. It must not in any way be corrupted by the humanists’ myth of neutrality. Christian historians should adhere to the selection of evidence in terms of what the Bible says about sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession. They must write compelling narratives. They must work systematically to replace all of the humanists’ historical narratives. This is a requirement of the Great Commission. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20). Christian historians should observe what the Bible says about history. They should write their historical narratives accordingly.

Christian Education: Tax Exemption vs. the Whole Counsel of God

By David Chilton Biblical Educator, Vol. 2, No, 11 (November 1980)

In the eighth century B.C., a king’s spy reported on the activities of a “subversive” prophet. After receiving further orders, the agent confronted the prophet and ordered him out of the country. This is not particularly surprising: governments have always had secret agents. The shocker is that the government’s man was the high priest of Israel, and the man he threatened was a true prophet of God (see Amos 7). The church of eighth-century Israel was completely dominated by the state—so much so that when Amos offended the state by his call to return to God’s law, a church official was deputized to silence him.

This is astounding. A minister as the ancient equivalent of a CIA agent? How could this be? And if it was true then, could it happen today? Well, maybe in Communist countries, we reassure ourselves. Not in America, “the land of the free” (a phrase which, these days, is about as true as the next line: “home of the brave”). Here we have separation of church and state. We have the First Amendment. No church in America is a Department of State… right? Wrong. We are becoming a nation of state churches.

Consider the case of a prominent evangelical church—let’s call it the “Free Church”—where the pastor is legitimately considered one of the most gifted Bible teachers in the country. He is a theological and political conservative, a Calvinist whose exposition on Romans 9 is better than that of Charles Hodge. What more could a church ask for? Incredibly, the church has a serious problem: it is enslaved to the state. Here’s how it happened.

The Free Church recently constructed a beautiful new building, at a seven-figure price. Naturally, they didn’t have the money, so they went into debt—mistake No. 1. “The borrower is servant to the lender” (Prov. 22:7); the church is no longer really “free.” But there’s more. To help finance the debt, the Free Church leaders asked the members to purchase interest-bearing notes, redeemable after a specified time, to be repaid out of the future receipts of the church. (This common practice, incidentally, is specifically prohibited by Scripture—Deut. 23:19-20—but then the word “Free” in the church’s name ought to stand for something.)

Now comes the sticky part. Every year, the church files an innocent-looking form with the State of California, amounting to an annual request for tax exemption. The state requires that any church receiving such exemption must not attempt “to influence legislation or any ballot measure.” For violating this mandate, some churches have already had their property confiscated. The Free Church officers are aware of this problem, and are taking definite action: bowing, scraping and kissing up. The pastor doesn’t preach against abortion, ERA, homosexuality, ungodly taxation or inflationary banking policies. He can’t afford to: his beautiful, heavily mortgaged temple might get taken away.

Or at least they could lose their tax exemption, and it’s hard enough getting people to donate now—what would happen if the donors couldn’t claim deductions? The church’s receipts would drop. And if the cash flow stopped, the church wouldn’t be able to pay its debts to the bank and the usurious church members. Then the church would default, go bankrupt, and lose the property anyway. So the pastor keeps quiet. The whole counsel of God is not preached. The church of Jesus Christ is enslaved. Of course, the pastor does have some freedom—all slaves do, within limits. But the Master defines the limits of the slave’s freedom. Where the state defines the church and its legitimate functions, there you have a state church.

Of course this is not how the preachers of the eighth century B.C. were muzzled, but the result was the same. The priests and prophets found it expedient to follow state prescriptions for the exercise of their ministry. Therefore, the presence of Amos was irritating, on two counts. First, Amos called them back to the law of God, and they were shamed and convicted of their sin. Second, they knew that the preaching of God’s word would anger the king: he just might lump them together with Amos, and revoke their tax exemption, or whatever. Thus, to protect their position and sear their consciences, they had to oppose Amos.

But this could not happen without severe consequences. First (8:7-10), Amos warned of national disaster (earthquake, flood, etc.), which had been promised in the law as necessary results of cultural apostasy. Because God is Lord of all, the ethical standing of a people will eventually be reflected in their environmental conditions. The earth experienced tremendous physical and economic blessings in the two centuries or so after the Reformation. And, as we have rejected the Reformation message, our environment has been increasingly polluted. In Biblical terms, the earth is “spewing us out” for our rejection of God’s law (Lev. 18:24-28). Routinely, the state churches receive “comforting” and “how-to-cope” sermons in periods of disaster—but only rarely (and then vaguely) do the pastors instruct the people about the causes of disaster, which are often related to the apostasy of those who claim to be God’s people.

The second consequence of apostasy, however (8:11-14), was to be even more severe: a famine, not of bread or water only, “but of hearing the words of the Lord.” God’s response to those who neglect His word is to simply deprive them of it. Without revelation, there is no hope, for the individual or for his culture. Those who acknowledge the state’s authority to define the faith, Amos says, “shall fall, and never rise again.” Note well: It is not the oppressive acts of godless governments that cause the famine, but the flight of those who claim to serve God. Last January, a group of Christian leaders issued a “Christian Declaration,” denouncing the evils of the state in terms of Biblical law.

A prominent, “born-again,” socialistic Senator from the Northwest was outraged at the audacity of these Christians in attacking his god. He and other statists threatened the believers that, unless they backed down, the tax-exempt status of their movement would come under close scrutiny. That’s all it took. Faster than you can say “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” the reformers dropped their little manifesto. Out the window went the word of God and Christian reconstruction, but the church property was saved. And so the famine spreads.

What then should the Christian school and church do about the tax exemption problem? After all, shouldn’t Christian organizations be free from taxes and the controls they involve? Yes—but so should every institution. There is no Biblical justification for taxing institutions, although individuals may be taxed. Furthermore, tax exemption is increasingly being used by the state to bludgeon Christians into submission. I don’t recommend it, but a church that paid taxes (i.e., bribes) would probably be more free to speak out than many untaxed, regulated churches. And you thought it was a simple issue.

My point here is not to bring massive guilt on any church or school that receives tax benefits. If you are already in that position, you’re in good company—but you also need to think about the problem. Tax-free institutions are being judged in court cases as “public trusts,” meaning that the state has full jurisdiction over their activities. The crisis will be too late to start thinking about solutions. At least, in faithfulness to God, you should determine to do this much: Regardless of the cost, never allow the state to dictate the content or method of your teaching in church or school. Speak to the issues. Influence legislation. Throw out the rascals, and vote in the good guys. Make an impact on society, and turn the world upside down (i.e., right side up). Won’t that make the statists mad? Yes. Couldn’t we get taken to court and thrown in jail? Yes. Just like in the Book of Acts, when the believers realized that “we must obey God rather than men.” The conflict will escalate in this decade, and we had better make a clear stand now, while the heat is relatively mild, than set precedents for compromise.

There are other ways to deal with the problem, however. While each of the following solutions has problems, they have merit as well (besides, we haven’t thought of anything better), and so I’m throwing them out for your consideration. I’m not giving ivory-tower cogitations, but the examples of our school and church. (I have to stress that point, in case this falls into the hands of a bureaucrat. I’m not giving legal advice, just personal testimony. What my readers do is their business.)

I’ll begin with the school. Our solution really isn’t so radical—quite a few are doing it—but it’s surprising that it’s so rarely considered. The school is simply a profit-making institution. In many ways, this seems about the smartest thing for a school to do (see Robert L. Thoburn’s How To Establish and Operate a Successful Christian School, Thoburn Press, $125.00), but the best aspect, in terms of this discussion, is the freedom from state control. Not that we don’t have run-ins with bureaucratic racketeers: the head of the city planning commission tried to legally prevent us from getting the property we wanted for the school. In a private conversation, however, he informed us that the realty agency he owned had a listing that would suit us just fine. That was one bribe we didn’t pay, and we got the property we wanted in the first place. So we do have headaches, as any business does. But no one tells us what to say. We can give enormously biased lectures on any issue, and nobody’s holding a gun to our heads or threatening to charge us back taxes. We have no back taxes.

The obvious drawback is that this costs money, which is always the main issue in Christian circles. “Sure, Jesus said we should take up our crosses and follow Him, but He didn’t say anything about giving up our tax benefits!” We all want the faith as cheap as we can get it, but we have to face facts: resistance to an ungodly state is a necessary cost of Christianity. And to get the state off our backs, we dumped the benefits. It just makes it harder for them to get us. They may get us anyway—but they’ll get you first.

My second example is our church. Should it go profit-making top? I once heard someone seriously suggest that, but he never followed through, so I’m not sure how that would really work out. Of course, if I had the clear choice between being untaxed but controlled, and being taxed but free, I would pay the bribe. But those aren’t the only choices—yet. Obviously, the best thing would be an untaxed, uncontrolled church, right? We’ve got it. (Pick up your teeth and read on.) First, and most importantly, we never applied to the state for exemption. As I said, the state has no Biblical right to tax any institution. More to the existential point, the First Amendment denies state control over churches. Taxation is control—”the power to destroy”—and thus the state has no legal right to tax the church. But if you apply to the state for exemption from taxation, you are implicitly acknowledging the state’s right to tax you. Our position is simply that we won’t ask for what the state has no legal power to give.

That isn’t the whole story, naturally. It helps that we have really nothing to tax. The church owns no property—we meet in homes. If we get too big, we’ll either find a bigger home, or have a good old church split (which reminds me of the church that had a revival—they didn’t add any new members, just got rid of a few old ones). A church that is regularly dividing and multiplying in smaller groups is probably more healthy anyway: it increases the members’ responsibility, and discourages clerical tyranny.

Another plus is that we are legally invisible. We have not incorporated. We’re so decentralized that we don’t even exist, legally. Now you’re wondering if we exist at all, right? What could such a church really accomplish? Well, we minister to the community, teach the Bible to scores of neighbourhood kids, testify at city council hearings, meet with local businessmen to discuss Christian economics, and pass out lots of inflammatory leaflets. Of course, we protect ourselves a little—when we published a tract condemning homosexuality and supporting a ballot measure to limit gay activity, it was titled: We Wouldn’t Dream of Telling You How to Vote on Prop. 6… Then we told them how to vote. (If you’d like a copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the editorial address.)

Getting back to the main issue, we must do anything we can to keep from being seduced or muzzled by government power. Maybe you don’t like the solutions I mentioned. Maybe you think I’m politically naïve. Maybe you have a better idea (if you do, write it in 1100 words and send it in). But if you think there’s no problem with tax exemption, you’re already caught. And if most Christians in this country end up agreeing with you, our future will look like Israel’s history—concession, compromise, apostasy, and destruction.

Biblical Educator, Vol. 2, No, 11 (November 1980)

The Bible and Modern Science

By James Jordan, Biblical Educator, Vol. 2, No, 11 (November 1980)

While there has been published, in recent years, much excellent material from the Creationist and Flood Catastrophist position, there is an area of real importance to science teaching which has not been addressed with any great thoroughness. That is the philosophy of science. It is assumed by our Creationist scientists that there is such a thing as “natural law,” and this “natural law” was created by God to rule the universe. This notion is, however, not Christian but Deistic.

Henry Morris, for whom I have the utmost respect, writes this erroneous paragraph in his book The Genesis Record (Baker, 1976; $12.95): “It would be helpful to keep in mind Occam’s Razor (the simplest -hypothesis which explains all the data is the most likely to be correct), the Principle of Least Action (nature normally operates in such a way as to expend. the minimum effort to accomplish a given result), and the theological principle of the Economy of Miracles (God has, in His omnipotence and omniscience, created a universe of high efficiency of operation and will not interfere in this operation supernaturally unless the natural principles are incapable of accomplishing His purpose in a specific situation), in attempting to explain the cause and results of the great Flood” (p. 195). Everything in this paragraph is wrong.

First, the problem with Occam’s Razor is that it implicitly denies the doctrine of the Trinity. (Not that Dr. Morris intends any such thing; my point is that Dr. Morris is mistaken, not that he is a heretic, which he surely is not.) The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that God is ultimately One and Many at the same time. His Oneness is not more ultimate than His Threeness, and vice versa. Unity is not more ultimate than diversity, and this fact is reflected in the created universe. Any attempt to reduce explanations to the “simplest” is reductionistic and denies the unity and complexity of existence. That explanation is correct which is correct, not which is most simple. Thus, the Flood may be both a simple and a very complex event.

Second, the Principle of Least Action is explained as something “nature” does. Now, this is a personification of an impersonal principle, called ‘nature.’ What is this ‘nature?’ Does it exist? The Bible does not teach any such thing. The Deistic philosophy is that God created the universe and infused it with natural laws. Now God does not interfere in the universe, but lets it run itself. Christians try to modify this Deistic philosophy by asserting that God occasionally intervenes in the natural processes, such interventions being called miracles.

This is fundamentally wrongheaded. The Bible teaches that God directly runs his universe. What we call “natural laws” are simply summary statements of what God usually does. There are no “natural laws” which God has infused into the universe to run the universe automatically. God is wholly Personal, and He personally runs all things.

God manifests His Lordship in three simultaneous ways. God is the Controller of all things, and by His providence He ordains all that comes to pass. He personally brings all things about. Second, God is the Authority or Lawgiver to all things. He rules by, His Word, or decree. His Word establishes those things which come to pass. This may look like an impersonal natural law, but it is the personal Word of a personal God. Finally, God is actively Present in all that comes to pass. God is extremely near, working things according to His plan. It is this concept of God’s presence which natural law theory cannot accommodate. It is the goal of secular natural law theory to push God out of His universe, to deny His presence. Christians make a mistake when they concede this point and only seek to retain God’s occasional presence through miracles.

This brings us to the third error in Dr. Morris’s statement. There is in the Bible no such thing as an Economy of Miracles. The doctrine of the Economy of Miracles goes along with the doctrine of natural law, but both are false. A miracle occurs when God chooses to act in a way different from the way He usually acts. Miracles occur, as Professor John M. Frame of Westminster Theological Seminary is fond of pointing out, to shock us out of our sinful complacency. Miracles have a saving function when received in faith, they manifest God’s special redemptive nearness, which is distinguishable from His general presence with His creation

Why doesn’t God do miracles all the time? Well, the answer to that is so that we can fulfill the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:26-28, 2:15. If God were always changing His ways of doing things, we could not count on the world’s going along the same way from day to day. God, however, has covenanted to keep the world on a predictable course (Gen. 8:20-22). What we have here is not some natural law which we may ‘take for granted, but God’s covenantal faithfulness which must lead us to worship. Science is possible only on the basis of faith in God’s Word, His promise to keep things going in a predictable way. We can count on God, depend on Him. Thus, all scientific investigation is based on faith, and is a branch not of philosophy but of theology.

The “law of gravity”, then, is not some natural law built into the universe, but it is God’s continual action of pulling or pushing things down to the surface of material bodies. He can reverse this action, if He pleases, so that iron floats (2 Kings 6:1-7).

The same is true of life. We do not have life in ourselves, as if God infuses life into us and then it drains out over the years until finally we die. Rather, life is a gift of the “Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life,” as the Nicene Creed states. The breath of God which was breathed into human clay at the beginning is the Spirit (Gen. 2:7). Men die when the Spirit leaves them (Gen. 7:22; Eccl. 12:7). We depend on Him moment by moment for our breath.

Moreover, the angels are God’s personal agents who enforce His Word and are present in the universe running it. Both the eternally active God and His angels are busy working the universe. The Bible associates the angels with the stars (Job 38:7; Is. 14:13; Rev. 12:4; Judg. 5:20). Whether the stars are angels in one of their forms, of whether the stars are the homes of the angels, or whether they sustain some other kind of relationship, we do not know. But when you look at the stars at night, see the angels in their dance, as they govern God’s world for Him.

The Bible associates angels (stars) with the weather. Special storms are brought by the angels on special occasions (Ezek. 1, 10; Ps. 18: 1-9; Ex. 19:6; and Heb. 2:2), but weather in general is also controlled by the angels (Ps. 104:2-4). Evil as well as good angels have a hand in the weather (Eph. 2:2), which explains those sudden storms on the Sea of Galilee which threatened Jesus Christ when He walked the earth. Next time you fly in an aircraft, remember that it is God’s good angels who restrain the demons which might toss you right out of the sky.

God’s other personal agent in running His universe is man. Man was given dominion over those things listed in Genesis 1:26-28, and so man establishes the “law” for the animals, etc. We have no trouble seeing that man’s governance is not “natural law,” and if we keep this in mind, we will be able to see that the angelic and Divine governance of all things is also not “natural law,” but wholly personal.

Understanding this truth makes prayer more relevant. It also explains how the Bible can promise a change in weather, long life, change in animals’ eating habits, etc. There are no “natural laws” governing these things, only God’s flexible administration of His world.

The association of angels with stars solves a number of problems which vex some people. It tells us when the angels were created (Gen. 1:16). It tells us where they live, and why it is that they have to traverse space to get to the earth (Dan. 10:13). It tells us why Satan can be called the “prince of the powers of the atmosphere” (Eph. 2:2). It indicates why the universe is so vast in size, when man has only been given the earth to take dominion over. It helps to explain the Biblical association of angels with wind and fire (Heb. 1:7). The angels were busy during the Flood year, rearranging the world.

It may be objected by some that this exhaustively personalistic view of the universe eliminates science altogether, and makes science part of theology. Well, so what? As a matter of fact, the Christian view does eliminate modern science’s presuppositions. This does not mean that there is no place for men to investigate how God is governing His universe. Such an investigation may properly be called science, but of a Christian sort. But when we do science, let us realize we are studying how God runs His world, not some impersonal “natural law.”

The Biblical Structure of History: Preface

Gary North – October 23, 2021

A. Benefits of Reading This Book

I wrote this book so that a hard core of Christian leaders and prospective leaders will read it and then will act on what they have read. Leaders act representatively. Action is crucial to all forms of leadership: in households, churches, and everywhere else. Knowledge alone is insufficient for meaningful change, either personally or institutionally. We must act in terms of what we believe. But, before we act, we had better count the cost. Jesus said: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28–30).

Maybe you do not want to be a leader. You are a leader anyway. If you are a parent, you are a leader. Parents teach their children. If you make decisions on behalf of others, you are a leader. Basic to all forms of leadership is the knowledge of history. Every organization has a history. Successful leaders must know something about the past of the organizations in which they possess God-given responsibility. They need to know how they got into the positions they occupy. They need to know something about the successes and failures of previous leaders.

Why should you start reading this book? Why should you finish reading it? Because you are the heir to a great gift: Christian civilization. It began on the day Adam was created (Genesis 1:26). It will not end on the day of judgment (Matthew 25). It will extend into eternity (Revelation 21, 22). You owe God thanks. The more you know about the history of Christian civilization, the more thanks you will owe. He who has received more from God owes more to God. “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged” (Luke 7:41–43).

This debt includes your present knowledge of God’s dealings with His people through the ages. The Bible is filled mostly with stories of God’s dealings with His people. You know some of them. You know about God and Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood. You know about David and Solomon. You may not be able to identify when they lived, but you know that historical time is linear. It had a beginning, and it will have an end: the final judgment. This structure gives meaning to Bible stories.

You also know stories about Jesus. These stories are central to your faith. You know about His resurrection from the dead. Paul put this event at the center of Christian faith. “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Then he said it again: “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (v. 17). If you are wise, you know about the men of faith described in Hebrews 11. They are role models for Christians in every era.

More than any other religion except Judaism, Christianity is a religion based on history. Yet Christians are remarkably ignorant about the history of the church. They are even more ignorant about the culture-transforming effects of the church. Even if they know a little about a few key figures in the history of the church, they cannot explain exactly why these people were important in the history of Western civilization. They cannot tell you what difference these people made outside of the institutional church. They have no understanding of the relationship between the church’s teachings and historical progress.

One of the reasons for this ignorance is that humanistic historians ever since the Renaissance have dominated the profession of historical storytellers. They have written stories about the history of the church prior to 1500. These stories have been almost universally negative. There has been some recent improvement in the accuracy of the humanists’ accounts of the history of Christianity, but not enough. Humanists have written the history textbooks. Textbooks on the history of Western civilization have focused on the historical impact of the rediscovery of Greek and Roman historical documents and sculpture that took place after about 1350, and especially after the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, when Greek refugees came west with copies of ancient Greek documents and the ability to teach. Humanist historians labeled the early history of the church “the dark ages.” They also labeled the history of the West up to about 1350 as “the Middle Ages.” The middle of what? The middle of civilization between the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. and the advent of the Renaissance.

In this book, I explain the nature of the intellectual warfare between two irreconcilable theories of history and two traditions of writing about history. The first is the Christian concept of history. The second is humanism’s concept of history. Both groups have adopted similar organizational categories for understanding history, but their presuppositions are radically opposed. I discuss this conflict of visions in terms of the rivalry between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. I show why you and generations of Christians before you have been deliberately misinformed about the history of Western civilization.

This book will take time to read. You will have to pay attention to some of the details. I have done my best to structure the book to make it readable, but there is no substitute for paying attention. We tell this to our children when they are young. Our children tend not to pay much attention to the warning. I hope you do.B. The Origin of This Book

In 1975, I persuaded R. J. Rushdoony to use funds raised by his nonprofit foundation, Chalcedon, to publish a scholarly book honoring Christian philosopher Cornelius Van Til, who taught apologetics—the philosophical defense of the faith—at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. Rushdoony had been an intellectual disciple of Van Til’s ever since 1947, when he read The New Modernism (1947), Van Til’s critique of Karl Barth and Emil Brunner, the European neo-orthodox theologians who denied the historical accuracy of the Bible’s narratives. I had taken an introductory apologetics course from Van Til in the fall of 1963. Rushdoony agreed to the project. I then recruited authors who were followers of Van Til intellectually. Each wrote at least one article about a specific academic discipline.

I wrote the article on sociology and the article on economics. Yet my Ph.D. was in history. I decided that the best person to write the article on history was professor C. Gregg Singer of Catawba College. His 1964 book, A Theological Interpretation of American History, was unique. In 1975, Arlington House published his history of the National Council of Churches: The Unholy Alliance. In 1979, his next major book appeared: From Rationalism to Irrationality: The Decline of the Western Mind from the Renaissance to the Present (1979).

Singer was not a well-known historian in secular academic circles, but he was a superior historian. Catawba College was a small Christian college in a small town in rural North Carolina. He did not have ready access to a major research library. But he had a worldview that enabled him to write cogent books on major topics. That was why I invited him to contribute an article. He agreed. The book appeared in 1976: Foundations of Christian Scholarship: Essays in the Van Til Perspective. It was published by Rushdoony’s book publishing company, Ross House Books.

Singer’s essay was titled “The Problem of Historical Interpretation.” He began his essay with this paragraph:

Some five years ago at an annual meeting of the American Historical Association the writer had the occasion to meet informally with a group of the more famous historians in attendance at that conference. The subject under discussion was the meaning and purpose of history. These half-dozen scholars were of the opinion that history lacks any decisive meaning and any discernible purpose. The writer then posed to this group of distinguished scholars one question: If this be the case, then why do we teach history? The scholars looked at him with surprise and even disgust, but no answer was forthcoming from any of them. The group broke up as each went to his own particular luncheon group and discussion of various phases of a subject which they could not really justify as part of a college curriculum and yet which they continue to teach as if the knowledge of it had some inherent value.

In the second paragraph, he drew a conclusion regarding the world of humanist academia:

This incident is by no means unique. The professional historians in this country and in Europe have come to the place where they have little faith in the subject to which they have devoted their lives. Historians with increasing and distressing frequency are openly admitting that history has no meaning and shows little or no purpose or goals. But neither is this anti-intellectual attitude peculiar to the professional historians. The existentialist and positive philosophies have entered into the thinking of most areas of human thought and activity with devastating results. In conjunction with the Freudian school in psychology, they have made irrationalism and anti-intellectualism fashionable and have virtually removed the concepts of purpose and meaning from the thinking of many historians and those who proclaim themselves to be “social scientists.”

His assessment was correct. Leading historians in 1970 no longer had faith that history reveals any authoritative meaning or purpose. This lack of faith is far more widespread today. It had been building for half a century before Singer wrote his essay. Yet this pessimism regarding the relevancy of historical research and publication has in no way slowed the publication of arcane articles in professional historical journals. Historians continue to write these articles, despite the fact that the articles are rarely quoted by other historians or even read by them. Then why write? They do it to keep their jobs in major universities if they do not have tenure, and to get job offers if they are stuck in colleges with poor academic reputations and low pay. In 1970, publishing journal articles was the way that untenured assistant professors became tenured associate professors and full professors—in every field in the humanities and social sciences.

When the acknowledged leaders in any profession begin to doubt its legitimacy, that profession borders on the fringes of irrelevancy. In the case of the academic discipline known as history, the number of students willing to major in the field has steadily declined. There are so few high school teaching opportunities available to graduates with B.A. degrees in history that the number of students willing to take two years of upper division courses has declined. In 2017, 15 million students attended American colleges. In that year, fewer than 25,000 history degrees were awarded, down from over 36,000 in 2008. The number of history majors declined by two-thirds from 1969 to 1985. (Colleen Flaherty, “The Vanishing History Major,” Inside Higher Education [November 27, 2018]. https://bit.ly/HistoryMajors)

There was a time in American history when history courses were part of the core curriculum in both high schools and colleges. In high school in the late 1950’s, I took a one-year course in world history and one-year course in American history. At the University of California, Riverside in the 1960’s, a one-year course in Western civilization was required for graduation. That academic world is long gone. In 2020, an article was published by Forbes, a business site: “Who’s Afraid of Western Civ?” Here are the numbers: “By 2011, none of the 50 top U.S. universities required Western Civilization, and 34 didn’t even offer the course. Nationwide, only 17% of colleges require Western Civ, and only 18% require American history or government.” The turning point came on January 15, 1987 at Stanford University, when 500 students and a visiting celebrity, Rev. Jesse Jackson, demonstrated against a required course in Western culture. Their chant received national publicity by the media: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go!” The faculty took the hint. It dropped the course in 1989. (A long, carefully documented article on the rise and fall of the Western Civilization curriculum was published in 2020 by the National Association of Scholars: “The Lost History of Western Civilization,” by Stanley Kurtz. https://bit.ly/LostHistory2020)

Singer made it clear in 1976 that the academic discipline of history was in a state of crisis. He blamed the presuppositions of secular humanism. Unfortunately, he never wrote a book on the purpose and meaning of history. His article offered no insights regarding an explicitly Christian way of interpreting and writing history. He was therefore in the distressing position of trying to beat something with nothing. Nevertheless, his essay serves as an introduction to Van Til’s writings on history and historiography. This book fills in the details.C. The Nature of the Crisis

In Part 2 of this book, I go into the details of the crisis in modern historiography. I became aware of this crisis in my senior year of college, 1962–63. I took a course in historiography in the second semester. The history department required history majors to take this course. Had it not been required, it is doubtful that many students would have enrolled. I was an exception. I was interested in questions regarding epistemology, the philosophical study of what people can know and how they can know it. I had been reading the works of economist Ludwig von Mises for two years. Also, beginning in the fall of 1962, Rushdoony began sending me spiral-bound syllabi written by Van Til for his students. What I did not know was this: in 1962, Van Til had written a multi-volume mimeographed syllabus, Christianity in Conflict. It was a history of Christian apologetics from the second century onward. His contention was this: the early church began a tradition which undermined the testimony of the church, namely, the use of Greek philosophy as a way to defend the teachings of the church and the legitimacy of the gospel. In Part I of that syllabus, Van Til devoted six pages to an analysis of a book by R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History. Van Til had correctly identified the scholar who was arguably the major humanist philosopher of history in the mid-twentieth century. Singer relied on Van Til’s critique to write his article.

In that course, I read two anthologies of essays on the philosophy of history and the writing of history. Two of the essayists, Carl Becker and Charles Beard, had delivered presidential addresses to the American Historical Association in the early 1930’s. These articles were included in one of the anthologies. I discuss them in Chapters 8 and 9. In most of the materials on the meaning of history written after 1920, historians presented some version of historical relativism. They were in reaction against the ideal of late-nineteenth century historians: the objective interpretation of history. This had been called scientific history. Any claim of scientific precision and authority was not taken seriously by leading historians after 1920.

A neglected cause of this loss of faith in objective history was the rise of the Copenhagen school of physics in the 1920’s: quantum physics. That movement had declared that the realm of subatomic physics is not governed by the same Newtonian laws of cause and effect that govern the realm of atoms, where you and I live. This change of view began to affect the social sciences. One influential scholar who understood the impact of quantum physics outside of physics departments was Roscoe Pound, who was Dean of the Harvard Law School from 1916 to 1937. After this, he became a University Professor at Harvard. In 1940, he wrote this in his book, Contemporary Juristic Theory: “Nothing has been so upsetting to political and juristic thinking as the growth of the idea of contingency in physics. It has taken away the analogy from which philosophers had reached the very idea of law. It has deprived political and juristic thought of the pattern to which they had conceived of government and law as set up. Physics had been the rock on which they had built” (p. 34). Physics was no longer a reliable rock in 1930. I discussed this reconstruction of Newtonian physics in Chapter 1 of my book, Is The World Running Down? Crisis in the Christian Worldview (1988).

. . . God created the world, and then He created man to exercise dominion over it (Gen. 1:26–28). Man’s mind comprehends his environment—not perfectly, but adequately for a creature responsible before God to exercise dominion in God’s name. It is only because mankind has this interpretive ability that science can exist. Even more crucial, it is only because God created and actively, providentially sustains this universe that science can exist.

Few Christians have been told that without three key doctrines that stem directly from Christian theology, modern science could not have been developed: first, the creation of the universe by a totally transcendent God out of nothing; second, the sustaining providence of God; third, linear (straight line) history. The pagan world, including Greece and Rome, did not believe these doctrines, and it did not develop theoretical science. Similarly, both Chinese and Islamic science failed to carry through on their hopeful beginnings in science because they rejected a Christian worldview. Because the West believed in these three doctrines, modern science became possible.

Because modern man has abandoned all three of these doctrines, modern science has become increasingly irrational, despite its tremendous advancement. As the experiments become more precise, physicists have lost faith in the coherence of the universe. The twentieth century has abandoned the stable, rational worldview of late-nineteenth-century physical science (pp. 13–14).

What I wrote about modern natural science in 1988, I am writing about modern historiography in this book. The problem is the same—skepticism—because the cause is the same: the abandonment of a worldview that affirms the possibility of objective knowledge. The twenty-first century is increasingly an era of subjectivism. This started in the late-nineteenth century, and it accelerated after World War I. In his book, Twilight of Authority (1975), Robert Nisbet observed:

Twilight periods are rich in manifestations of subjectivity, and our own is no exception. The retreat to inner consciousness that began in literature at the very beginning of the century, but which was offset for a long time by still-powerful currents of objectivity, has become a major phenomenon in the cultural setting of the present, and may be seen not only in literature and the fine arts, but in substantial areas of the social sciences, philosophy, and, variously, in the wide range of popular therapeutic explorations of self. This subjectivity would be less significant if it were not associated with what has become an enlarging distrust of reason and science in some of the areas of inquiry which only recently have become accepted in the terms of rationalism (pp. 139–40).

As I explain in Part 2, the spread of subjectivism has steadily undermined humanistic historians’ trust in the meaningfulness of their research and the research of their peers. This subjectivism is an inescapable result of the academic world’s rejection of biblical creationism. It assumes a rival view of origins: impersonal, purposeless, meaningless cosmic evolution.Conclusion

I have learned after six decades of experience in teaching, primarily on the printed page and the computer screen, that it is more effective to start with a presentation of what is correct before launching into detailed criticisms of what is incorrect. The old saying is true: you can’t beat something with nothing. It is best to begin with something, and especially something true. This is why I devote Part 1 to a presentation of the biblical foundations of history and also historiography. These five covenantal categories are foundational to the study of society: sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession. The Bible identifies the content of these five categories in the realm of history: creationism, the image of God in man, biblical law, God’s imputation of meaning, and cultural inheritance over time.

In Part 2, I survey humanism’s rival construct. Humanist historians rely on the same five categories in their pursuit of an understanding of the past—sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession—but they substitute different content in four of the five: evolution, autonomy, relativism, and nominalism. On the fifth point, succession, they remain silent. It is too depressing: entropy—the heat death of the again purposeless universe. (See Chapter 10.)

In Part 3, I discuss how and why Christian historians must reconstruct the epistemological foundations of their field from the bottom up, and then begin to produce historical studies that are consistent with the Christian worldview regarding the structure of history. There is such a worldview. The fact that Christian historians have ignored it for so long has undermined their understanding of historical development. They have adopted too much of the humanists’ covenant model, which is implicit in the history profession’s university screening system that certifies professional competence. But there is no formal university course in presuppositions in any academic discipline. At most, there are courses in methodology, which never mention the presuppositions that undergird the professors’ worldview. But the humanists’ presuppositions exist, and they shape the thinking of most professional historians.

Education and Political Action

By Kevin Craig (1980)

Most Christians would agree that the United States was and perhaps still is the greatest nation on earth. In terms of material prosperity and personal character, America’s history is rivalled only by Israel of old. Most Christians would also agree that economically our prosperity is dwindling, and morally our character is declining. The obvious questions are thus: “What made America strong,” and “What can we do to stop America’s downfall?” The two rival answers are found in our title: Education and Political Action.

All men fall somewhere on the scale between the Weak and the Strong; the Lazy and the Diligent; the Faithless and the Faithful. When a nation has more of the latter and less of the former, it will see the material blessings of God. Our Puritan forefathers were men of strong character, diligence, and Christian faith. The average Puritan farmer knew the Scriptures from end to end far better than most clergymen do today. As a result, businesses and families thrived.

The Puritans understood well that God did not restrict His Word to the church, but addressed every area of life. They developed godly character and applied it in their walk. And as any economist worth even his weight in Federal Reserve Notes will tell you, it takes a disposition of work and thrift to produce wealth, or capital. And it takes capital to build schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions of dominion. It takes capital to build tools, factories, and highways that enable a man to exercise his calling and a nation to prosper.

In 1937, Roger Babson, in If Inflation Comes, wrote, “Only righteousness exalteth a nation today, as it did 3000 years ago. Hence, speaking strictly as a statistician, I say that the safest hedge against inflation is the development of character.” And this character comes about by understanding and applying the principles that govern home, business, and government, as found in God’s holy Word, the Bible.

The world around us, however, is increasingly hostile to the strength of character demanded by the Bible, and necessary if capitalization and prosperity are to occur. Whereas the Bible demands thrift, the foregoing of present pleasures to save for the next generation, modern advertising encourages us to spend it all now, on ourselves, telling us, “You deserve it today.” Whereas the Bible puts a constant emphasis on work and sacrificial labor for the kingdom of God, the television stands as a constant temptation for us to put our tools down and our feet up.

Instead of studying and meditating on the Scriptures, we are daily advised by our Eliphaz friends not to work so hard, to take some time off for “amusement.” (The word amusement, by the way, comes from two Greek words, a, meaning “not,” and muse, meaning “think.’ America is presently plagued by a host of amusing people.) As Rushdoony notes, “Education, television, the press, and all other media foster relativism and humanism; They promote the decapitalization of character. We have seen the progressive decline of public and private morality. We who stand for Biblical Christianity thus face a steadily more hostile world. We are everything which socialism and inflation hate most.” America’s greatness was thus a result of Christian character, and the application of God’s Word to more than just “the religious.”

A sound economy, healthy businesses, and godly homes are a product of a Puritan mentality. America’s decline is just as surely a product of the humanism that saturates our society. Men of decapitalized character cannot be expected to capitalize our culture. How do we defend ourselves, and how do we return to our former days of economic certainty?

As the 1980 elections come to their climax, many sincere but misguided Christians are putting their chips on Joe Candidate. “If only we can get a Republican Congress,” they say. “Then we can get back on the road to health.” But as Rushdoony notes, “Capitalization does not depend on winning elections, important as elections are. No election has yet really reversed decapitalization. The demand is for more welfare, more social security, more Medicare, and the like. For the past generation, no office-holder has done more than to slow down this process very slightly. An election does not produce character, which is the foundation of capitalization” (ibid.).

Elections, legislation, court action, and political activism are extremely important. The humanists around us are doing all that they can to destroy us and our future, and it is important — vitally important — that we thwart those bills in Congress, or Revenue Measures in the IRS, or challenges in court, simply to stay alive. But in the broader picture, the role of these activities becomes clear: they are strictly defensive measures. They allow. us to mark time; to defend ourselves without losing too much ground. But if we are to engage in nothing more than these defensive measures, the battle will end up in a stand-off. The church of Jesus Christ is to do more than merely tie the opposition.

We are told to attack the fortresses of Hell (II Cor. 10:4-6), and we are told that their defensive measures will not prevail against us (Matt. 16:18)! (Matt. 16:18 is usually misinterpreted. Gates seldom attack. They usually defend. War buffs are invited to correct us on this one. In this great war of values, character, and knowledge, we as Christians are to take captives. The wheat produces; the tares are uprooted (Matt. 13:24-30; Ps. 1:3-6). Victory is the Lord’s.

Our most potent weapon is, of course, Christian Education. It took generations to build up the capital that made America great. It took generations for the humanists to take over that which the Christians shamefully abandoned – the universities, the libraries, the hospitals, government, and business. And it will again take generations for Christians to take it all back and begin to build once again. And all of this will take men and women of strong character, willing to sacrifice in the present to see the future glorification of God, and having the faith to believe that the Church will be victorious.

All of these attributes come only with education of the young, and growth into maturity. It does not come in a day, or in an election. It takes sacrifice on the part of the generation now living to plan and work for the future. Only a grass-roots Christian School movement, consistent to the Scriptures, and dedicated to the future, can bring spiritual and material prosperity back to America. We need the sword of political action. But we’ll never see the New Jerusalem without the trowel of Christian Schools.

[The good news? It’s claimed now in 2021, that 6 million US school aged students are being home schooled. Ed.]

An Educational Commentary on the Bible

AN EDUCATIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE

19th October, 2021 By Rodney N. Kirby, (circa 1980)

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And the rib, which: the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man…Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18-24)

In this [20th] century, under the influence of John Dewey, a primary function of the school has been seen to be “socialization.” The children must learn to become “socialized,” to “get along with others,” to function properly in a “democratic” society.

Early childhood education (kindergarten and nursery school) has thus become all-important. Children must learn how to play together, how to share, and how to co-operate. It is thought that if children are not sent to school at the earliest conceivable age, they, will grow up to be social outcasts.

The same reasoning applies to teaching older children at home, rather than sending them to an ungodly school. These children are seen as somehow being “deprived”—deprived of the chance to interact with their peers. To many Christian parents, this concern is so strong that they succumb and send their children to schools they know to be anti-Christian, simply for the “socialization”. (All these children are “deprived” of is being taught in the ways of Hell.)

Our passage for this lesson shows us something different. God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone (vs. 18), just like people today say it is not good for children to be alone. But notice that God did not give Adam a “peer group” with which he was to “socialize.” (Neither did God make “Adam and Steve,” gay lib notwithstanding.) To solve Adam’s problem of aloneness, God made a wife—Eve. Thus began the first human institution—the family.

Broadly speaking, this shows the centrality of the family in society. God did not make for Adam a church, complete with elders, deacons, committees, and choirs (the “War Department”). Neither did God make a civil government, including legislators, judges, and bureaucrats (certainly FDA would have required a label, “Caution: Eating this fruit may be hazardous to your health!”). God instituted the family first of all. The family is central to man in carrying out the cultural mandate—note the context (vs. 15). Before Adam could effectively subdue the earth, he needed a helper suited for him. God gave him a wife to assist him in exercising dominion.

This centrality of the family has definite implications for our schools. In Social Studies (or History), we must not neglect the family. As we study a given society, we must study the family structure which dominates that society. Does the father take the lead? Is the family governed by the mother? Does the family unit frequently include grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. (cf. Gen. 2:24)? Are two homosexuals considered a “family”? Is the family weakened through the use of ungodly laws (e.g., inheritance taxes)?

We must examine such questions as these, and note their implications in the rest of society. For example, the imposition of inheritance taxes results in the loss of the family farm, and the increase in corporately-owned farms; a disregard for the importance of the family has definite economic implications. Taking a covenantal view of history, we examine societies in the light of God’s commands, and one of these commands is the cultural mandate. Since the family is central to this task, we would be missing the point entirely in our study of history if we neglect the family.

Getting back to the original topic (the “socialization” of the child), we may take a fresh look at the problem. Concern for such “socialization” has only arisen in recent years. Twenty, thirty, or forty years ago, no such concern was prevalent. Was it because people then were somehow less enlightened concerning the social needs of the children?

No, the problem is that these same years have witnessed a breakdown in the Biblical concept of the family. Divorces are more frequent; government economic policies of monetary inflation force many mothers out of the home to find a job; gay rights, kiddie lib, and extramarital sex have all sprung up. The family is disintegrating.

God’s solution for Adam’s “aloneness” was to provide for him a family. This is the same solution we must give for the social development of the children. In the family, children learn how to get along with other people—how to converse, how to show loving concern, how to cooperate, and how to settle disagreements. The family is the main instrument for the “socialization” of the child. (Granted, it was easier in the days when a family consisted of eight or ten children—a family was practically a community in itself!)

The godly family teaches the child how to do these things in a Biblical way. The corrupt family of the present day also teaches the child how to behave—it teaches him to run away from problems (divorce), to seek for instant self-gratification (extra-marital sex), and to assert his own “rights” without regard to anyone else (woman’s, children’s, gay lib).

Parents have told me, when I told them I had a problem with their child fighting, “He picks that up from all the kids at his church; they are always picking on him.” However, I have noted that these family members are constantly fighting among themselves—husband and wife, brother and sister, parents and children. The problem is at home, not at church. Fighting families produce fighting children.

Hand in hand with the centrality of the family in “socialization” goes the family’s role in discipline. Discipline in the school is only effective if it is reinforced at home. The old rule of, “If you get a whooping at school, you’ll get another one when you get home” is valid. If the parents are lax regarding discipline, then no amount of strict discipline at school will (humanly speaking) really change the child’s life.

The importance of the family in fulfilling the cultural mandate must be emphasized in high school, as students consider their life’s calling. In “career counseling,” the student must be made to see that establishing a godly family is the most important thing he must do to prepare for work. Men must see that, except in rare cases (cf. Matt. 19:10-12), they are to marry, and that a wife will be a vital asset in the exercise of their calling. Likewise, women must understand that their calling is generally to marry and be supportive of their husband in his work. This would all necessitate teaching the biblical view of the family to high school students in some formal way—perhaps in an ethics class.

God has created the family and given it a key role in His world. This must be carried out in our schools, in order that the children might effectively carry out the dominion mandate. Let the world have “liberated” women and children—they will only lose dominion, and we Christians can take over that much quicker!

EPISTEMOLOGICAL SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS (2): Our Future and our Foes

12th October, 2021, by Kevin Craig (circa 1980)

As the government escalates its war on independent Christian schools, wearied soldiers of the Cross may often find themselves asking, Is it all worth it? Is there any chance that such a tattered minority can triumph over the gargantuan State and its institutions? The concept of “Epistemological Self-Consciousness,” explained in a previous article, not only shows us who the ultimate victor will be, but how we as Christians should deal with our enemy.

Matt. 13:24-29 records the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. The parable indicates that believers and unbelievers both are left in the world until they mature. Then the tares are taken out of the world, followed by the wheat. In this historical process, the wheat becomes more like wheat, and the tares more like tares. The Christian, equipped with God’s Word, sets out to exercise dominion under God, and through the Word is given power (Acts 1:8; Eph. 1:19; I Cor. 4:20; 2 Tim. 1:7; II Cor. 10:5; Rom. 16:20). The unbeliever is propelled by his own rebellion against God into a headlong dash toward death (Prov. 8:36). Fortunately, the Word of God acts to restrain his lawlessness (I Tim. 1:8-10) and he does not destroy himself. The man who acts consistent with his avowed unbelief will be a very ugly, powerless person; something like a punk rocker. Or worse.

For some unbelievers, however, the law of God does more than simply restrain lawlessness. It is used by them to become great scientists, teachers, and scholars. Even if they don’t read the Bible, they have the work of the law written on their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15). Their consciences tell them they should obey the law of God. The more they do, the better teachers they will be. They would never admit that they are following the Word of God, but they are, and God, who guides the universe by the Word of His Power (Heb. 1:3), promises that those who obey his law will be prospered in this life Deut. 8 and 28).

Gary North therefore points out that unbelievers have two choices. First, they can conform themselves to Biblical law, or at least to the work of the law written on their hearts. Or second, they can abandon God’s law, and thereby abandon power. They can succeed in whatever they do only if they do it on God’s terms: by acknowledging and conforming themselves to God’s Word. There is no other way. Remember, any turning away from the Word brings impotence, fragmentation, and despair.

This leads us to our future and our foes. If God is the source of all good gifts (Jas. 1:17), then the future belongs to those who are blessed by God, and overtaken by his gifts. According to Deut. 28 and Lev. 26, this means that only those who turn to God and His Word can expect victory and success. The maturing of the wheat and the tares does not lead to the cultural impotence or defeat of the wheat. Christians who are committed to God’s Word are in the driver’s seat. The atheist punk rock star cannot compete with the genius of a Christian like Bach. He will destroy himself while Bach goes on to glorify God in victory. The unrighteous can gain access to God’s blessings only by accepting God’s moral universe as it is, not by inventing an evolutionary fable, and imagining a universe of chaos and meaninglessness.

The future has meaning for the Christian, because it is in the future that the Christian will triumph. Proverbs 13:22 promises that “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” Just as Canaanites inhabited the Land and kept it from going wild so that the Hebrew children could inherit cities they did not build (Ex. 23:29-30) so the Lord allows Humanists to devise wonderful music, physics, chemistry, and even teaching methods, so that when we inherit the Promised Land, we can burn the idols and keep that which conforms to God’s Word. Cornelius Van Til describes it like this: “Sinful men will continue to produce a marvelous culture. But all of the products of their culture will be taken from them and brought into the great display chambers of the Kingdom of Christ. When sinners repent then their culture is saved with them. If they do not repent then their culture will still be saved, but for others who do repent, and these will enter in upon the inheritance of it. The meek shall inherit the earth” (Essays on Christian Education, pp. 8, 15).

Matthew 13 also tells us something about our foes; that we sometimes can cooperate with them. Until the unbeliever matures, and strikes out against God and His creation, he may look and act much – like a Christian. Some Satanists respond to the knowledge of God’ law written in their hearts. They have a large degree of knowledge about God’s creation. We must keep in mind that the fall of man was not a decrease in knowledge or intellect. The unbeliever can still have knowledge. It can be applied to God’s creation and produce beneficial results. The rebellion of the unregenerate lies beneath the surface, smouldering, ready to flare up in wrath, but restrained by God and His Word. The atheistic scientist says that there is no order in the universe, but knows in his heart that there is order — God’s order. And for him to continue working, he assents to God’s order.

The successful unbeliever (i.e., one who resembles a Christian more than a punk rocker) is like a cattle rustler who steals his neighbor’s cows, raises them, and produces a really great steak. Without his neighbor’s cows, or his neighbor’s knowledge of raising cows, he would be lost. He says that there is no order or meaning in the universe; that it would make just as much sense to feed the cattle lye or poison, but he knows this isn’t true, and he feeds them according to God’s Word and succeeds. As long as the unbeliever is willing to abide by the Word of God, we can work with him.

Every gift he has has been stolen from God, but as long as what he does is inconsistent with what he says he believes, he can be a great economist, a great scientist, or even a great teacher. Our standard is the Word of God. We judge all things according to the law of God. The Biblical Educator is observing even humanistic teachers and is constantly finding Biblical approaches to education that Christians can employ. Just because a person is not a Christian does not mean that that person can arrive at no true knowledge.

By the grace of God, they can. And they do. Next time the BibEd cites an atheistic or humanistic publication, or praises a non-Christian teacher, remember this sad fact: For decades now, professing Christians have neglected the Bible as God’s instruction book for all time. They have dropped the torch in one area after another. Our current economic, political, and educational problems are the result of this retreat. But even many humanists recognize that their children aren’t learning, and their conscience tells them that what they are (or are not) doing is wrong.

They have searched for solutions and have found the answers in the law written in their hearts. Thus they may be working in terms of God’s Word even though they deny God all the while. Ironically, many Christians claim to believe God’s word, yet deny it by failing to practice it. Our standard is not what men may say, but what God has said.