Posted by: proregno | June 25, 2010

Wie is Soewerein ?


In een van RJ Rushdoony se nuwe boeke, Sovereignty, gaan hy in op die wesentlike vraag: wie is Soewerein ?

Vanaf die sondeval, probeer die Mens homself deur een of ander instelling as die Soewerein verklaar en voorhou.  In die Middeleeue het dit veral tot uiting gekom in die Kerk as instituut, die laaste eeu en vandag, is dit die Moderne Staat wat Soewerein wil wees, god op aarde, wat die mens sal red en regeer.

Martin G. Selbrede skryf die voorwoord tot hierdie boek, en gee ‘n baie goeie opsomming en oorsig van RJR se profetiese woord teenoor die Staatisme van ons dag.  Met die toestemming van die uitgewer word dit hier geplaas (asook hoofstuk 1, met die naamtitel, ‘Sovereignty’):

Hier is ‘n paar aanhalings wat wys op die belangrikheid van hierdie studie, veral omdat baie in die kerk op verskillende wyses die soewereine heerskappy van Jesus Christus oor beide kerk en staat ontken.  Die Skrif leer ‘alle gesag’ behoort aan Hom (Matt.28:18-20) en moet Hom dien en eer (Ps.2:10-12):

Kerk en Staat wil soewerein wees

“In Western culture, the amassing of power, of relocating it from the transcendent plane of God’s throne in heaven to incarnate it in visible form on earth (in institutional form), was originally undercut by the coming of Christ. The church, however, fell prey to the siren song of power and sought to create visible power centers on earth (the church shifted power from a transcendent source to an immanent manifestation). What befell the church on account of this tragic misstep was that the state quickly learned the lesson the church was teaching by example: power should be immanentized, should be reflected in institutional form on the earth rather than centered in a transcendent invisible throne in heaven.

‘Human power centers have claimed sovereignty; and have denied the authority of the church. As Stalin said cynically, “How many legions has the Pope?” Once the premise of Greco-Roman statism, the necessity for an immanent and visible sovereignty was accepted, it was the state which gained by it, not the church.’ “ (p. 459)

“What we have are two anarchistic would-be sovereigns, modern man, and the modern state. Two sovereigns, however, cannot co exist with any peace. As a result, both are extending their powers and their self-will. The modern state grows daily more powerful, and modern man grows daily more lawless. For “sovereign” man, the way of expressing his claim of sovereignty is to defy the law and will of the state. Both man and the state seek to displace God as the center The means of attaining this role as the center of being is power. Hence the voracious hunger of the state for ever-increasing controls over every area of life and thought.” (p. 122)

Arminianisme en die moderne staat (arminianisme se teologiese doktrine, die mens se redding is ‘n samewerking tussen God en mens, kom tot uiting in die vraag/stelling: as God nie soewerein is in ons redding nie, hoe sal Hy dit dan wees in die res van ons lewe en denke ?)

“A sovereign power is a power that can necessitate those subject to that power. Just as sovereignty was transferred from God to man, from heaven to earth, by implementing the seizure of sovereignty advocated by the serpent in Genesis 3:5, so too was the necessitating power transferred to the created domain by the same strategy This particular usurpation was aided and abetted by Arminian theology which contended against the sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to liberate man from the necessitating consequences of the divine decree.
‘Marxism’s theoretical foundation has been the shift of the govern ing or sovereign power, the necessitating or predestining force, from God to the state. In varying forms and degrees, all over the world, the state is now the necessitating force or power. By claiming sovereignty the modern state declares itse to be the necessitating power over man. As such, it is increasingly denying freedom to the economic sphere, to the family, to the school, and to the church. It cannot claim sovereignty without necessitating all things.
It is not an accident that the rise of Arminianism coincided with the rise of the modern state. Arminius warred against the doctrine of the necessitating God. Man’s freedom required, he held, deliverance from such a God. To abolish necessity from theology is not to abolish necessity but to transfer it to another realm, and the state was progressively freed from God’s necessitating power to become Hegel’s god walking on earth, a this-worldly necessitating power.’ (pp.463—464)
The statist implications of the Arminian depreciation of God’s sovereignty is examined in length in another important volume co-authored by R. J. Rushdoony entitled The Great Christian Revolution, which goes into considerable theological and historical detail concerning the slide into statism that non-Calvinistic theologies invariably undergo. As mentioned earlier, the church set a dangerous precedent by appropriating visible sovereignty unto itself; as the state soon grasped the implications of that strategy. Sovereignty being usurped, even in part, by the church tended to trigger a domino effect that led to power states that coexisted quite peaceably with Arminianism.

Die kerk in diens van die staat

“The state seeks a church that it can use, that is subordinate to its own authority, and that acknowledges the state’s sovereignty and dutifully goes through its ritual motions without disturbing the power structures the state has painstakingly amassed over time. Rubber-stamp religion is acceptable to the power state; a faith in a sovereign God that is actually taken seriously presents the state with a problem.

[ Owen Chadwick:] “Government likes religion to bless its acts, crown its dictators, sanction its laws, define its wars as just, be decorous masters of national ceremonies. And since on grounds of religion religious men may criticize acts or laws or wars or modes of waging war, government prefers quietness and contemplation to excess of zeal.” (p. 311)

Rushdoony was no stranger to this conflict between church and state. As an expert court witness during trials against Christian schools and homeschooling parents, he observed the official gov ernment-sanctioned vilification of Biblical faith firsthand. The roots of that enmity reside in the issue of sovereignty: those who believe they possess it bristle at any challenge to their power.”

Die ‘social gospel’ van die Staat

“The modern state wouldn’t be much of a sovereign, a lord, if it didn’t have its own gospel to proclaim from one end of the land to the other. It does, however, have a gospel: it is the social gospel of liberal Christianity; which has been denatured and distorted in terms of the statist idolatry that George Bernard Shaw identified. It is worth rehearsing here the salient points of Rushdoony’s discus sion of this alternate (and false) gospel, a gospel that mesmerizes far too many churchmen with its lying siren song.
The social gospel is really a civil gospel; it espouses salvation by the state and its laws, and its hope shifts from God to the state. This has a major impact on the doctrine of the atonement. In the 1930s, a pastor who adopted the social gospel began to preach also against the orthodox doctrine of Christ’s atonement; he ridiculed it in language used by others who preceded him, calling it “butcher shop theology” to preach atonement by the blood of Jesus. This juxtaposition of the social or statist gospel and the denunciation of the blood atonement doctrine was an essential and logical one. If sal vation is an act of state, the work of men who are essentially good and who unite to make a better world, to look for a change in men through Christ’s atonement rather than through the civil gospel is not only false but misleading. As a result, whenever the civil revolution flourishes, Christianity is under attack.’ (p. 272)

There appears to be a studied blindness on those who promote this civil gospel: they can see evil in political structures other than their own, but the evils in front of them are invisible.
The advocates of the civil gospel are ready to see a fascist state as evil, but not a truly democratic and socialistic state. Sin, however, is not a monopoly of the left or the right, but common to all men.’ (p. 273)

The sad fact is, the decline of liberal Christianity into secular statism, the transfer of sovereignty from heaven to earth, to Hegel’s “god walking on earth,” viz., the state, has yet to solve the societal prob lems it had promised to cure. The reason for this is letter simple:
The civil revolution has no answer because it is a basic part of the problem.’ (p. 292)

Because the civil revolution hinges on the Arminian and Pelagian doctrine of the goodness of man (a virtue suited to shaping natural law, as such theologians hold), its foundation exhibits fatal cracks at the outset. Placing unimpeded sovereignty into the hands of men who are by nature evil, as Calvinism holds, will inevitably manifest its folly by the subsequent disasters that will follow.

[ Owen Chadwick:] “Human nature is good. This, said Morley, is the key that secularizes the world.” However, if man is not good, if he is indeed sinful, fallen, and totally depraved, it be comes instead the key that damns the world.’ (P. 356)

Die kompromerende kerk in diens van die staat

“To preserve the sovereignty of the humanistic state, far too many churches will restrict Christ and the Scriptures to the domain of the church, declaring that He has no binding Word to speak to the secular state. All social life is to be thoroughly informed by humanistic values, not Biblical imperatives. Christ speaks only to the church: His reign is most decidedly not “from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:9-10).

Christ, like Quasimodo, needs to stick to the church grounds, out of public view. Rushdoony explains how unworkable this stay-at-church Christ really is.
No more than the Romans could lock up Jesus Christ inside a sealed tomb can the churchmen of our day confine Him to the church. If they continue to try to lock Him into the church, He will shatter the church as He did the tomb. (p. 40)
Christ cannot be locked up because He alone is sovereign; He alone rules the universe from the right hand ofallpower and authority The civil revolution, by first robbing Christ of His sovereignty and then imprisoning Him in the church, letting Him out only if He agrees to wear a gag in His mouth, has made a grievous error.

Rushdoony notes the contrast between the Christians of former eras and Christians living in our own era:
‘Christians, who were attacked by the pagan philosophers for their belief in predestination, were the champions of man’s freedom, be cause they freed man from his environment and its controls and placed man under God, not under nature or the state. The same battle is again being waged, but all too many churchmen are on the wrong side.’ (p. 76)

What is he saying here? That too many modern churchmen are not champions of freedom because they place man under the state, or under nature, rather than under God. In a word, modern compromised Christendom co-opts false sovereignties. To do so, it must deny the total lordship of Christ over everything He hath made. The compromised church then enables the state to regulate, and finally coerce and persecute, faithful Christians who insist that Christ is Lord: that Christ is soverei and the state and church are not.

John Owen put his finger on the reason for this kind of defec tion back in 1652, addressing the text of Luke 17:20 and the invis ible sovereign Kingdom of Christ described therein. He held that such declension from Biblical faith arose when men “have been so dazzled with gazing after temporal glory, that the kingdom which comes not by observation hath been vile in their eyes.” Men want to walk by sight: they want a God they can see, and so they’ve graduated from golden calves to modern power states. The God who dwelleth in unapproachable light, who exercises sovereign control by a single overarching decree over all time and space, has become the stone the builders have rejected.”

Die volledige voorwoord en eerste hoofstuk:

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