Doug Wilson on the size of government and the lordship of Christ:

Now the dictum that “Jesus is Lord, and not Caesar” requires that we go one way or the other, down into the details, and that we do so in His name. The only way to avoid that is to reject the claim that Jesus has something to say about how we govern ourselves. For as soon as you say that He does have opinions on it, then some bright fellow will ask, “Oh? What are they?” And I will say that Jesus wants us to stop spending money we don’t have, and a Christian Keynesian will say the opposite. And somebody is wrong, not only about the economics, but also about what Jesus wants.

The only alternative to this is to say that Jesus doesn’t care what the magistrate does. But if He cares, then His people will be asked how He cares, and how His care cashes out. As a minister of Christ, I don’t have the option of saying nothing.

You can read the whole thing here.

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17 thoughts on “Jesus Has an Opinion on That”

  1. Ed says:

    There’s all the difference in the world between being able to say “Jesus has an opinion on that” and “Jesus has expressed an opinion on that”. A minister of Christ has not only the option but the duty of saying nothing where Jesus has said nothing.

    1. Richard says:

      Ed,

      Amen. Here is Robert Dabney: “God has reserved for our spiritual concerns one day out of seven, and has appointed one place into which nothing shall enter, except the things of eternity, and has ordained an order of officers, whose sole charge is to remind their fellow-men of their duty to God. Surely, it is a tribute small enough to pay the transcendent weight of eternal things, to reserve the season and the place sacredly to them, which God has set apart for hem. This surely is not too much for resisting the tendencies of man toward the sensuous and toward forgetfulness of the spiritual life. But when the world sees a portion or the whole of this sacred season abstracted from spiritual concerns, and given to secular agitations, and that by the appointed guardians of sacred things, it is the most emphatic possible disclosure of unbelief. It says to men, “Eternity is not of more moment than time; heaven is not better than earth; a man is profited if he gains the world and loses his soul, for do you not see that we postpone eternity to time, and heaven to earth, and redemption to political triumph—we who are the professed guardians of the former?” One great source, therefore, of political preaching may always be found in the practical unbelief of [the preacher] himself; as one of its sure fruits is infidelity among the people. He is not feeling the worth of souls, nor the “powers of the world to come,” nor “the constraining love of Christ” as he should; if he were, no sense of the temporal importance of his favorite political measures, however urgent, would cause the wish to abstract an hour from the few allowed him for saving souls. We solemnly protest to every minister who feels the impulse to introduce the secular into his pulpit, that he thereby betrays a decadent faith and spiritual life in his own breast. Let him take care! He is taking the first steps toward backsliding, apostasy, damnation.”

  2. Confused Theologically says:

    JT and Others,

    I am really confused about some theological associations right now. I am hoping you JT can help. You seem to be pretty familiar with Doug Wilson and just posted another insightful quote by him. I am confused though by Wison. I recently was reading some quotes from him on slavery, his understanding of patriarchy, and his views on very young teenagers. Getting married. Help me out here because maybe I am misunderstanding things. Apparently, Doug views slavery in the South as overall a good thing, rape as a sign of judgment on women’s liberation (surely this can’t be his perspective, but the quote I read seemed to suggest this….Please help clarify, the quotes you posted by Wilson are usually super brainiac so maybe I am too simple, to really understand him. I thought his movie with the atheist guy was good….I am just so confused…Please help….

    1. Dear CT,

      Thanks for asking about it. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t ask. I am here to say that there have been many things said about me on the Internet, and that some of it is true.

      I can say that what you have summarized above from what you have read does not represent my views at all. At the same time, I also want to say that people are lying about my views in those areas for a reason — I have attacked egalitarianism many times, and many find that slander is easier than answering an argument.

      1. Scott says:

        Well then clear it up man, cause that answer is weak sauce. Speak clearly and simply in condemning southern slavery.

        1. Brent says:

          Scott,
          I was just thinking about this C.S. Lewis quote:

          “It is hard because so many people cannot be brought to realise that when B is better than C, A may be even better than B. They like thinking in terms of good and bad, not of good, better, and best, or bad, worse and worst. They want to know whether you think patriotism a good thing: if you reply that it is, of course, far better than individual selfishness, but that it is inferior to universal charity and should always give way to universal charity when the two conflict, they think you are being evasive. They ask what you think of dueling. If you reply that it is far better to forgive a man than to fight a duel with him, but that even a duel might be better than a lifelong enmity which expresses itself in secret efforts to “do the man down,” they go away complaining that you would not give them a straight answer. I hope no one will make this mistake about what I am now going to say.”

      2. Jared C. Wilson says:

        Hey, Doug, when you’re done slumming at Justin’s little blog ;-) maybe you wanna come help me answer these similar (and more numerous) criticisms of you in the post I’m sure CT/Scott is referring to about rape?
        http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2012/07/13/the-polluted-waters-of-50-shades-of-grey-etc/

  3. I love this! I think what we always need to do in regards to politics and voting decision is ALWAYS ask Jesus, “what do you want me to do – this time”. Too often the church has dictated what each person should do on a large scale, and they have ignored the personal interaction each believer has with the Holy Spirit to make decisions on a personal and specific level.

  4. I like your view about our growing government. It is not that dissimilar from my own thoughts. I would like to get your take on my blog articles. With your permission, I would like to add you on my site as one of my favorites.

  5. Marisme says:

    I am always amazed when I hear religious people rant about big government. To be sure, I too want government to stay within reasonable legislative bounds. But, there are many theologically conservative Christians who do not share the social views of conservative Christian political figures. There is a HUGE biblical mandate for social responsibility that finds itself wedded to more liberal political views.

    Conservative religious/political voices seem to ignore the examples of government intervention that are given in the Old Testament … for example, Joseph’s solution to the great famine throughout Egypt and the Mideast, as well as God’s edict for a Year of Jubilee (redistribution of wealth, perhaps?). We shouldn’t so easily label policies we disagree with as big govenment take-over.

    As far as DW’s quote … “I, on the other hand, recently preached that Obamacare was unbiblical, immoral and unconstitutional, and I believe that every form of socialism is institutionalized envy…” … I see this as integrating a personal poliitical agenda into an ‘objective’ insight. Now, if DW also pointed out the good that Obamacare may do for some, then I might feel otherwise. And to hint that the current administration is striving for socialism, is just buzzing the mantras of the politically ultra-right … and ludicrous. (and if DW was not suggesting that we equate the Obama administration with socialism, then he should structure his sentences better)

    This is not to say that I either support or disagree with Obamacare. Rather, I send a word of caution. The greatest power of the tongue is, I believe, in the mouth of those who proclaim to speak the mind of God from the pulpit. Like it or not, the authority of the pulpit is received by many to be the authority of God. People believe and do strange things in the name of what they believe is ascribed to divine authority.

  6. Daniel Cheng says:

    Disclaimer: I am not an American, have never been to America and have no plans to do so.

    I wholeheartedly agree to what JT have quote. BUT, when I read the “whole thing”, I think there is something wrong.

    The article have fallen into the false antithesis most American have: the choice between Conservatism (i.e. Republican, Free Market, etc..) and Liberalism (i.e. Democrats, big government, etc).

    If you look at UK (or any other countries), you will found that Republican can means something very different.

    In fact, you don’t even need to look outside USA. If you check the history, you will found these whatever-ism words means very different things in not too distant past.

    Jesus have list some virtue he loved to see, but he never endorse a political party like the pastor these days do. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said a pastor should never waste time on preaching why a political idea works/never work, and I agree on him. If everybody understand what Jesus requires, there will be no need on these kind of work.

    1. There is a bit of a false dichotomy, but if you read carefully, the conclusion Dr Wilson reaches doesn’t depend on it. He uses it as a current example American readers will understand. His point, as stated in the last paragraph:

      “What we may not do — and this is my reason for bringing all this up — is employ unequal weights and measures. We cannot apply different standards to different preachers.”

      Too many people try to justify their positions on anything by using double-standards. It’s a simple observation that it happens quite often in the political arena such that many seek to silence some religious ministers on political commentary while allowing other religious ministers to speak freely about it depending on their political conclusions.

  7. Mark says:

    I think that if we say “Jesus has an opinion on the size of government, and I know it,” we’re probably projecting more than a few of our political idols onto Jesus’ teaching.

    Let us proclaim what Jesus said and what He clearly implied and — as stated above by Ed — let’s be silent where Christ is silent. Let’s not add anything to His precious words.

  8. I live in a country that has universal health care. Over the years I have paid taxes to ensure that others are covered by this scheme, and I have personally benefited from it.

    Now it may just be that a health care system that precludes government funding is better than the one I am currently under. If so then I would be happy for a change.

    What I don’t advocate is the belief that universal health care is somehow taught in scripture. At the same time I don’t see universal health care being taught against in scripture.

    If you think Obamacare is bad. Fine. Just don’t argue that it is somehow against the Christian faith. As someone who thinks Obamacare is actually a good idea, I stop short in arguing that it is somehow biblical.

  9. Ryan Matthew says:

    Hey, whats logical in a talking snake?

  10. Richard Deeble says:

    Justin Taylor, why do you continue to support a man who is an apologist for Southern Slavery? And a man who quite apparently thinks rejecting egalitarianism means we must sexual intercourse as a male conquering a women? You are promoting the views of man who is no uncertain terms an extremist.

    1. If you’ll notice, Dr. Wilson has commented here with regards to this and testifies that those are intentional lies designed to malign his character.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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