If you compare the list of grievances against King George in the Declaration of Independence with the much longer list of grievances that could be written against all three branches of our federal government, it might help you to realize what a crossroads we are at. There is not a better time to be thinking of the beauty of Biblical civics than today. Hardly a week goes by where there is not yet another outrage against God, against the people, or against the Constitution. Even liberal Christians are getting concerned that we have a government that has gotten out of hand.
So books are streaming off the presses that claim to be a Christian answer to these issues. The problem is that these so-called Christian books reject the Bible's blueprints for the state. They opt for tradition, or natural law, or the author’s love of some older system. If they do quote Scripture, they quote Scriptures addressing the individual, the family, or the church and apply it to the state. That's mixing jurisdictions. So watch out for books that claim to be Christian civics, but which reject the law of Moses. That is a misuse of Christ's name. There are actually books advocating Christian socialism! The only civics Jesus is interested in is the one that He gave in the Holy Scriptures. He is not a socialist, an anarchist, or anything in between.
And Christian Nationalism hasn't faired much better. It is all over the map. Now I will say that Torba and Isker's book is actually fairly good.1 But Steven Wolfe's book, Christian Nationalism is a collectivist recipe for Christian tyranny. It is horrible. So there is a pretty wide spectrum of people who claim to be Christian nationalists.
And because of all the controversy swirling around what it takes to be a Christian Nation, I have parked a bit longer on these six pivotal verses than I ordinarily would. My goal was to give enough presuppositions that you can easily recognize the counterfeit ideas that are out there. Obviously there are other passages that go into this subject in much more depth, but at least the contours of a Christian nation are clearly here.
Two weeks ago we did a deep dive into what it means to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforming every level of the culture and for God's grace to impact everything we do. Last week we looked at the agents of a Christian nation and especially focused on the four covenantal units of self-government, family government, church government, and the various branches of civil government. Today we will finish off this passage by looking at a collage of all the remaining essentials of a Christian civilization. It's not going to be as ordered, but each of these collage pieces are needed.
Christian civilization has the following essentials
Every level of society must consciously see itself as being in covenant with God (vv. 30-35). A covenant has five parts, that can be summarized by THEOS, the Greek word for God.
And the first essential element for any nation to truly be a Christian nation is that every level of society must consciously see itself as being in a covenant bond with God - including the state. Everyone agrees that the nation of Israel was covenanting with God at this location. It wasn't just the state; it was the whole nation. And by the way, that's what happened to the city of Nineveh in Jonah 3 - everyone in that nation repented, turned from their sins, and submitted to Yehowah. So let's start by asking "What's involved in a national covenant?" Was our nation in covenant with God? Ray Sutton summed up five elements of a covenant with the Greek word for God - Theos. And I think it is a fairly decent way to remember it.
T - Transcendence ("Who is in charge?" - "the LORD God of Israel" vv. 30, 31,33)
The T of Theos stands for Transcendence. Gary North says that Transcendence is just a big word that answers the question, "Who is in charge of this joint?" And here it is clearly God. The word "LORD" in verses 30, 31, and 33 is the covenant name, Yehowah, and Yehowah is declared to be the God of Israel. There is no ambiguity. It wasn't just some generic god as you might conceive of Him, but Yehowah God of the Bible.
And down through history many nations have covenanted with God in a similar way to what happened in Joshua chapter 8. Various kings of Judah did so. But so did Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon in Daniel 4. And so did Darius the Median king in Daniel 6. So did the king of Nineveh in the book of Jonah. Some books spout the ridiculous idea that only Israel could be in covenant with God and that it is wrong for Gentile nations to covenant with God today. That is a very strange idea.
Now, granted, each of the various national covenants in the Bible were eventually broken because if nations don't keep pressing into the Lord, they tend to slide away from the Lord within a few of generations. This is what happened to each of the Christian nations known as the thirteen colonies of America. They explicitly covenanted with the God of the Bible and submitted themselves unreservedly to Him. There is some glorious history back there. I read you some examples last week. But gradually their constitutions morphed.
I'll use North Carolina as one example. In 1663 it established the Church of England as being the official civic religion of the state. 113 years later, in 1776 it changed the Constitution slightly to disestablish the Anglican Church, but went on to establish generic Protestantism as the official civic religion until 1835. That means that until 1835 North Carolina prohibited Jews, Muslims, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or anyone other than an orthodox Protestant from holding public office. Let me read you the exact wording:
“That no person who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.”
This provision remained in force from 1776 to 1835, at which time the word "Protestant" was amended to "Christian" (thus opening the door to Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox to be able to be in civic office). In 1876, the establishment of Christianity was replaced with an establishment of belief in God. Thus, from 1876 to the present it forbids "any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God" from holding office. You can look at the wording of their constitution on their official website.2 Even this looser wording is a kind of establishment, though so loose as to only bar Atheists or Agnostics from office. The point is, North Carolina (like many other states) gradually diluted the T of Transcendence. The Lord of North Carolina is not a real Lord anymore. Apparently their Lord doesn't really care what is going on in that state. They have broken covenant with the true Lord, as the rest of our nation has. And the results have been predictable. Every vile thing is exalted in that state. It just goes with the territory. You can't reject the Bible and be able to consistently reject perversion. You can't. There is no logic to such rejection. Covenanting with the God of the Bible should be explicit.
So that brings up the question, "Was America as a whole ever truly in covenant with God?" Some people say “No” And I will admit that I don't think all five points of this covenant were solidly in place. This point might have been. Our money still says, "In God we trust," and the pledge of Allegiance still says "one nation under God." Even our Constitution's last paragraph calls Jesus the Lord of the nation by dating it "in the year of our Lord" - our Lord. But all of this is way less explicit than what the Bible would call for. Some of our founding fathers spoke out of both sides of their mouths. When talking to the predominantly Christian citizens of America John Adams (our second president) would speak of this as a Christian nation and even a Calvinistic nation. And it was. But when he signed the treaty of Tripoli with the Muslims, the treaty (authored by Joel Barlow) said, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." And that treaty was unanimously ratified on June 7, 1797 by Congress. So there is evidence on both sides.
But I lean in the direction of saying that this first point was in place early on. The Supreme Court, in the case of the Holy Trinity, gave a unanimous verdict that we are indeed a Christian nation, and every branch of government before and afterwards has said so.3 So I will grant them this first point.
H - Hierarchy ("To whom do I report" - God and the agents of the covenant - vv 30-35)
The H in THEOS refers to Hierarchy and answers the question, "To whom do I report?" And as we saw last week, it depends on which government you are focusing on. Self-government reports directly to God (without any representation) on some issues and reports to family, church, and state on other issues. Once married, the individual enters a new chain of command within the family, with the head of the household reporting to God on at least the family issues. And within the church there is God, the elders, the heads of households, and the members of families. Within the state it is God, various branches of government, heads of households, and individuals. So there is a hierarchy where all are accountable to God through various representatives. And we looked in detail at those agents of Christian civilization last week. So I won't look into it today. But they are essential to a national covenant.
But I do want to briefly comment on our American Constitution because people have had questions about that. America was a unique experiment where the hierarchy was different than in England. Granted, this has been interpreted in different ways, but the original signers of the Constitution saw an accountability that the federal government had to the states and vice versa. Even the most centralist of the founding fathers, Gouvernor Morris, believed that states had the right to secede from the union if the covenant was broken. He actually suggested it one time. Secession is an option.
The last paragraph of the Constitution certainly supports their interpretation since it states that the powers of the Federal government listed in the Constitution were granted by the states "in Unanimous Consent of the States." This would make the Christianity of each state define the God that was over the nation as a whole. But this has been a hotly debated topic. I wish that the H of THEOS had been more explicit in our nation just like it was in the Christian states.
E - Ethics ("What are the rules of this outfit" - Biblical law - vv. 31-32,34-35)
The E of THEOS deals with Ethics, or the rules that govern those in covenant. And in verses 31, 32, 34, and 35 it is clearly stated to be the written law of God as given through Moses. Sadly, our Declaration of Independence, in trying to rope in as many supporters as possible, opted to submit to the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God. Now, granted, some people interpret the "and" to mean natural law and Biblical law being one and the same. And actually, I think a majority of the founding fathers believed it was one and the same. They had no problem with Biblical law. And one illustration of that is that all of them accepted the Biblical definition of sexual crimes rather than the Greek definition of sexual crimes that was exclusively derived from natural law - which allowed for bestiality, homosexuality, and many other perversions. But the poor way it was written as a propaganda piece was later exploited by many and it weakened America's position on ethics. By failing to explicitly affirm written Biblical law, our nation weakened its national covenant hugely. I’ll give America credit for upholding this point, but they didn't do so as clearly as they could have. The colonies and states did for the first 200 years, but the federal government was squishy on this point.
O - Oath ("What happens when I obey or disobey" - curses and blessings in vv. 33-34)
The O in Theos stands for the oath before God that calls down blessings or cursings for keeping or breaking the covenant. Obviously verses 33-34 were calling for the curses and blessings of Deuteronomy 27-28 to be upon them. The early constitutions of the states had this to some degree, but the federal government did not - other than the oath of office, which optionally (and traditionally) has had the president place his hand upon the open Bible and add the words "So help me God" to the end of the oath. But that is optional. Again, this made our national covenant somewhat deficient. But I would still say that we were in covenant with God, however inconsistent and weak that covenant was.
S - Succession ("Does this outfit have a future?" - "as Moses had commanded before that they should bless the people")
The S of THEOS stands for covenant succession and answers the question, "Does this outfit have a future?" Well, the law referred to (which was the book of Deuteronomy) told them of a bright future if they would cling to God and a scary future if they refused to cling to God. And other Scriptures apply this to any nation. Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." And I believe America has prospered more than almost any other nation because a lot of its first two hundred fifty years was fairly grounded in God's Word. But there is no nation that is exempt from the covenant curses when it rebels against God. In Jeremiah God says three times, "Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?" (5:9,29; 9:9). On the other hand, lest you give up hope on America, let me quote Jeremiah 18:7-8. It says,
7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
He's talking there about any Gentile nation. That gives hope. Our nation has broken covenant with God, yes, but if it repents and produces the fruits of repentance, God will restore it. But when we re-covenant with God, let's do so with all five parts of godly covenants intact. Let's not be half-hearted on THEOS. So the national covenant was the first thing I wanted to comment on.
Civil leaders must deflect worship and devotion to God (v. 30a,33)
The second thing that characterizes a truly Christian nation is that civil leaders deflect worship and devotion to God, not to the state. Statism does the exact opposite. But look at verse 30. This verse says, "Now Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal..." He built it to the Lord, not to himself. In verse 33 we see that all Israel surrounded the ark and gave their unreserved allegiance to Yehowah God.
In contrast, the demonic religion of communism recognizes no god higher than the state and demands unreserved devotion to the state. Mao Tse Tung sought to destroy any loyalty to even the nuclear family. He certainly opposed loyalty to church or other institutions. He demanded worship of and devotion to the state. He wanted no competitors. In 1961 Carl Jung, who was no paragon of virtue himself, said of communism,
The State takes the place of God; that is why, seen from this angle, the socialist dictatorships are religions and State slavery is a form of worship … The policy of the State is exalted to a creed, the leader or party boss becomes a demigod beyond good and evil, and his votaries are honoured as heroes, martyrs, apostles, missionaries. There is only one truth and beside it no other. It is sacrosanct and above criticism. Anyone who thinks differently is a heretic.
We are getting to that place in Western Civilization. If you questioned the Covid lockdowns, you were considered their version of a heretic. And worse, Canada seized the bank accounts of peaceful protestors of the Covid-19 lockdown. Rushdoony pointed out that when God is rejected as Lord, the state automatically becomes the highest power, and over time it begins to act like the highest power (God), taking on attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, grace, defining a new holiness, etc. When you see unthinking loyalty to a church, a party, a candidate, a state, or a country, watch out. True Christian leaders will always deflect loyalty and devotion to God alone. It is an unhealthy country that does not do so.
Civil leaders must operate with an open-sunshine policy (לִפְנֵ֖י - literally "before the face of" v. 32) with clearly "written" guidelines that can be known by all (v. 32,34)
The next essential in this collage of ideas that we are wrapping up with is that civil leaders must operate with an open-sunshine policy and with written guidelines that can be known by all. Without such a policy there can be no accountability and tyranny will automatically begin to flourish. Verse 32 says literally, "And there, before the face of the children of Israel [so it was public], he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written." Again in verse 34 we see a written law code that anyone could read. You didn't have to guess what the laws were.
In contrast, so many modern governments operate secretly behind closed doors. Who knows what plans are being concocted by world leaders at the World Economic Summit? Little bits and pieces are being exposed, but most of the decisions that these world leaders are making for us are shrouded in secrecy. A recent expose of this push toward a one world government with communism at its core is "Plandemic 3 - The Great Awakening." I think it is a very helpful documentary that illustrates this problem.
America started with an open sunshine policy. For the most part you could count on the government following the Constitution, and when it did not, there was clear and immediate pushback. Were there some conspiracies right from the beginning? Yes there were. I'll just show my hand, on the constitutional debates, I sided with the antifederalists who smelled a power grab by the federalists. But for the most part people operated in the open.
But over time, people began to not care, and now we have come to a place where almost every page of my copy of the Constitution is being violated - starting with Article I, section I. That's just pretty much been chucked out the door entirely. What in the world has happened to Article I, section 8, last paragraph, which states unambiguously that Congress has no powers to do anything than the specified powers entrusted to them in the previous paragraphs? It's ignored. Whatever happened to Article I, section 10, which says that "No State shall... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in payment of Debts"? It's ignored. The first sentence of Article II, section 1 has been violated by presidents left and right. If the written covenant of America can be ignored and added to, you never know what the various branches of government are going to do.
And at the World Economic Summit I heard them saying that in order to solve the global problems there needed to be a global reset of politics and economics in every country. And almost verbatim this reset rhetoric has been repeated by Biden, Trudeau, and numerous other heads of state. The goal is a one world government, with one economy, one system of politics, and an unhindered ability to implement its plan to perfect man without God. And they do mean to perfect man without God - even genetically. As Yuval Harari worded it at the Summit, "Science is replacing evolution by natural selection with evolution by intelligent design. Do not think intelligent design by some God above the cloud, but our intelligent design." Of course, because they mostly have secret meetings, we won't know what the design is until it is unveiled in all of its glory. And we say, “No, God had a better plan. An open sunshine policy where everything is written out so that no citizen is in the dark.” Sin, deception, and conspiracy hides. God's representatives should be open book.
Both anarchism and collectivism are rejected by God in favor of the Biblical interrelationships, mutual responsibilities, and clearly defined authority structures of God's covenantal units of individual, family, church, and state (vv. 30-35)
The next little piece in this collage of remaining pieces is also very opposed to the World Economic Summit. It says, "Both anarchism and collectivism are rejected by God in favor of the Biblical interrelationships, mutual responsibilities, and clearly defined authority structures of God's covenantal units of individual, family, church, and state (vv. 30-35)." And I would simply refer you to last week's sermon to see how clearly God defines the structures that make for maximum liberty and the maximum capacity for dominion. The individual is not swallowed up by the other three governments. There is such beautiful balance.
Every level of society must embrace the Gospel (v. 30-33)
Of course, this can only be achieved by God's grace, which is the next essental of a true Christian civilization. It can't be truly Christian without the Gospel being at the foundation of the nation. Surprisingly, Christian Two Kingdom advocates leave the Gospel out of their civics. They say that the Gospel of grace only applies to invisible things. Absolutely false. Let me illustrate with four Biblical words for the Gospel. The Bible applies the word “redemption” to politics in Exodus 6:6, to the land in Leviticus 25, to a person's house and animals in Leviticus 27, to our dead bodies being redeemed from the grave in numerous Scriptures (Rom. 8:23; Hos. 13:14; Eph. 1:14; 4:30), and in Ephesians 1:7-10 to everything in heaven and earth. It is clear that redemption goes far as the curse is found. If you look up the word "grace" you will see that it too is applied to everything we do and everything we have. The same is true of the word "Gospel." Colossians 1 applies it to everything in heaven and earth. Likewise Colossians 1 applies the word "reconciliation" to “all things” that have been created whether on earth or heaven. To me it is no wonder that natural law advocates and Radical Two kingdom advocates have not made much progress. They have jettisoned the power of the Gospel of grace from what they do in politics. But Christian politicians need God's grace to oppose the demonic in our capitols. They will never succeed against the demonic without the Gospel. They need God's grace to have the courage to stand for truth. But most importantly, evangelism has always preceded Christian civilization. That's what the Great Commission is about - preaching the Gospel and then discipling all nations. We can’t impose Chrstianity from the top down. We will have to evangelize and disciple from the bottom up. Now, God can bring the Gospel from the top down, and has done so on occasion, but normally it is the slower bottom up approach.
During times when Israel apostatized, they also threw off God's law and they also lost the liberties of that law. Why? Because they lost the Gospel. When they came back to God, they came via the Gospel and once they had peace with God, and the law once again produced blessings rather than cursings. But two weeks ago I delved more fully into the practical implications of God's Gospel of grace. True liberty can only be achieved as more and more people sincerely believe the Gospel. So evangelism is essential.
Every level of society must embrace Biblical Law (v. 32) versus some nebulous concept of natural law
But what do individuals do once they are saved? They begin seeing their lives becoming more and more conformed to God's blueprints as God's grace transforms them. Verse 32 says, "And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written." We looked at this earlier under the five points of the covenant. God's grace empowers us to keep God's law and enables us to do so with joy.
Many of the states that formed the union of the United States of America explicitly upheld God's laws. Our constitution only tangentially did so, though Chief Justice Story and Associate Justice Brewer, and many others since then have said that they all assumed Biblical law to be the foundation of the nation. But God calls for us to be far more explicit in our embracing of Biblical law. When revival comes, we will have the opportunity to do so.
Every level of society must be centered around God's Lordship, not the lordship of any other (v. 33b - "ark")
The next part of this collage has already been hinted at, so I will be brief. But it says that "Every level of society must be centered around God's Lordship, not the lordship of any other (v. 33b - "ark")." God declares that He alone is sovereign when He established His throne (the ark of the covenant) in the midst of Israel. None of the other governments are sovereign. There is no sovereign individual in the Bible. I run across all kinds of people claiming to be a sovereign individual who is not accountable to church or state and who has seceded from the United States of America. But there is no such thing in the Bible as a sovereign individual. There is no sovereign patriarch in a family. There is no sovereign pastor or sovereign state. Romans 13 declares that the state must be God's servant, doing God's will for the nation's good.
In verse 33 the ark of the covenant was in the valley surrounded on all sides by people. It could not be more obvious that God was their Lord and He was in their center. In contrast, when Christ and His Word have been ejected from the classrooms, the courts, and various branches of civil government, you know that we are no longer a Christian nation.
God alone defines what is cursed, disgraceful, or hateful (v. 34c - קְלָלָה)
The next part of the collage is a very important one. It states that "God alone defines what is cursed, disgraceful, or hateful," which is the meaning of the Hebrew word kelalah (קְלָלָה) in verse 34. Let's consider what it means for God to consider something hateful and for demon-possessed individuals to consider the opposite hateful.
We are living in a culture where prolifers are beat up, cursed, and considered hateful and disgusting even though we prolifers are doing the loving thing - seeking to rescue the perishing. Theonomy is considered disgraceful even though God says that He loves His law. If you defend your Second Amendment rights you are sometimes called a terrorist, even though you are agreeing with our Constitution and with the Bible. Calling sodomy a sin is considered hate speech. You've probably read about even old fashioned math being vilified as the invention of White Supremacists and therefore disgusting.4 You may question that last one, but its true. I'll put some proofs up on the website, but briefly: Brooklyn College Professor of Math Education Laurie Rubel argued on Twitter that the mathematical equation 2+2=4 “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.” Rubel’s tweet was retweeted and promoted and defended by several academics at universities and colleges around the US. And it's not just our country. The Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association says that 2+2=4 is no longer objectively true because instead of being a mathematically proven equation, it is a white Supremacist's dog whistle - whatever that means. This is an interesting accusation of hate speech because it could be taken straight out George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984. This is exactly what happened in that book. Anyway, another example: according to a Math Equity Micro-Course recommended by the Oregon Department of Education, there is no such thing as objectivity in math, and “upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers” causes fear in minority students. And the list of things that violate community standards of speech or that constitute hate speech is growing all the time - so much so that one editor said that if everything becomes hate speech then nothing is hate speech. Definitions. What makes your idea of what is hateful right and mine wrong?
And the point is, it is inevitable that a society will consider some things to be cursed, disgraceful, or hateful - which is the meaning of the Hebrew word kelalah in verse 34. God considers certain things cursed or hateful and Satan considers the opposite cursed or hateful. Don't be surprised by the vitriol of demon-possessed LGBTQ protestors at a rally, and don't be surprised if they take it out on you. Not believing in God, they can't leave judgment to God, and they feel like they are doing a righteous thing to beat you up, heckle you, or express their disgust with you. Since we believe God is the one who does the cursing, we simply come into agreement with God in prayer and let Him bring His justice. But they don't believe in God - unless their god is the state - and they do call upon the state to punish hate speech, but more often than not they feel like they have to take things into their own hands.
But what were these curses and blessings? Verse 33 says, "Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before." What did Moses command in Deuteronomy 27-28? Let's take a sneak peak at what God considered kelalah, or disgusting, hateful, or under His curse. These will show how far we have drifted from our early American roots. I won't read all of it, but you can see what an inditement it is of modern America. Deuteronomy 27:14 and following says,
Deut. 27:14 “And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all the men of Israel: 15 “Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ “And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’>
This means that blasphemy and public idolatry must be made illegal. And people throw up their hands in shock and say, “You can’t make blasphemy a crime.” But blasphemy laws are inescapable and inevitable. If God’s definition of blasphemy is rejected, there will automatically be an alternative definition of blasphemy. The new blasphemy laws are so-called hate speech crimes - the new intolerance. As far as God’s Word is concerned, a Hindu idol should be considered disgusting and hateful and under God's public curse. There can be no official pluralism in a true Christian nation. Obviously in a Christian nation, not all citizens will be sincere Christians. There may be hypocrites. And while some would get away with worshipping false gods in the privacy of their homes (and the Bible protects privacy), there would be no public Buddhist temples in a Christian nation. A Christian nation cannot make Hinduism, Buddhism, and other idolatrous forms of worship legal. Such pluralism wars with God’s claims and automatically and always undermines our liberties. If we aren't willing to agree with God's curses, we will quickly lose the blessings of His liberties. It goes on in verse 16:
Deut. 27:16 “Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Anything that strikes at the integrity of the family is considered accursed by God. This includes homosexuality, transgender movement, egalitarianism, and any government taxes and programs that disinherit families. There is a reason why every collectivist philosophy in the world has evaporated the family and male-female distinctives, whether that collectivist philosophy went under the label of Communism, Nazism, Fascism, Socialism, Marxism, Stalinism, Leninism, Maoism - you name it.
Just one American example: in an article that is evaluating why BLM is so hostile to the idea of the nuclear family, Gabriel Andrade explains that it is simple - that the leadership in BLM are trained Marxists and are self-proclaimed Marxists, and Marx (like other collectivists) hated the nuclear family and especially the patriarchal family. Andrade went on to say,
Marx and Engels were by no means the first philosophers to rebel against monogamy and the nuclear family. There is a long history of utopian thought that aspires to some sort of communal life, and in such utopias, the institution of the nuclear family is frowned upon. Most of these utopian projects have been disastrous.5
Verse 17 of Deuteronomy 27 says,
Deut. 27:17 “Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Almost all the ancient landmarks in America have been removed by the government. Land taxation alone is a claim to ownership of our land. Communism doesn't fake it with taxation; they just confiscate the land. Karl Marx said that communism can be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property. Well, God curses that. And He curses any other removal of God-ordained landmarks. 98% of the checks and balances of power in our nation have been removed. Historical landmarks are important. And if removal of them falls under God’s curse, then we need to take them seriously too.
And I'll just read a sampling of some of the other curses:
Deut. 27:19 “Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:20 “Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:21 “Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:22 “Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:23 “Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:24 “Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:25 “Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’>
Deut. 27:26 “Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ”
Basically, our nation (and especially many of its leaders) stand under God's curse because they support abortion, sodomy, the LGBTQ+ agenda, and many other things that God outlaws in His law. God considers their behavior hateful and deserving of His curse. But don't be surprised if they curse us for holding to the opposite. We are in a war. But we as individuals, families, and churches stand in covenant with God our protector.
It promotes a climate of peace (שֶׁלֶם - v. 31) and blessing (ברך - vv. 33,34) within the culture rather than a spirit of fear and division
And lest people focus only on the curses, both Deuteronomy and Joshua 8 emphasize that these prohibitions of the law were actually intended to bless the nation as a whole. Again, curses and blessings go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. The moment you remove the curse from the Marxists, the Marxists will take over and they will put you under their curse. The moment you remove the curse of God from the LGBTQ movement, it will take over and begin to persecute you. The nation must once again despise the bondage of sin so as to truly rescue people from that bondage and bring them into the liberty of the Gospel.
So verse 33 ends that sentence by saying, "that they should bless the people of Israel." When you look down through history, it has been as nations approximate Christian civilization more and more that they receive more and more of God's blessings. I was curious to see if Chat Open AI would try to hide this well-established fact, but it didn't. I asked it, "Which nations found blessing from becoming Christian nations?" It prefaced it by saying that the idea of blessing can be subjective, yet it listed quite a few countries over the past 1800 years that were significantly advanced soon after adopting Christianity, including cultural, social, and economic transformations.6
But what Chat Open AI said is tame compared to what you read in Christian history books - the real unvarnished history. Read Vishal Mangalwadi's book, The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created The Soul of Western Civilization, and you will be blown away with the incredible blessings of science, technology, art, and so many other blessings that God brings to countries that Christianize. It's for their good. For a fun and easy read, read Vishal and Ruth Mangalwadi's coauthored biography of William Carey to see how one man brought incredible blessing to India through his Reformed Christian worldview. Within months of nations adopting Christianity and changing their laws to Biblical laws, you can document massive improvements in financial well being, health, lifespans, infant mortality rates, political freedoms, improvement of human rights, literacy improvement, and many other blessings. God's intention for Christian civilization truly is to bless. We need to communicate that widely, and there are good books that document it. The idea of a Christian nation is one that brings huge blessings. To resist becoming a Christian nation is to resist God’s blessings and to receive His curses.
It defines its existence by the entirety of God's revelation, not just the New Testament (vv. 34-35)
The next point says that a Christian civilization defines its existence by the entirety of God's revelation, not just the New Testament. As far as I know, Christian nations that have produced a growing thriving civilization have never been New-Testament-only civilizations. You have to have the Old Testament because most of God's blueprints for society are found in the Old Testament. And by the way, the Old Testament was the only Scripture the early church had for quite a few years. Look at verses 34-35:
34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.
Here's the thing - if every part of a civilization is truly to be Christian, it must be governed by the Word of God in all that it does - in science, civics, marketing, education, ethics, medicine, nutrition, worldview, psychology, sociology, etc. And yes, God's Word is sufficient to provide the foundation for all those things.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Every word. How do you live by the ceremonial law when we are no longer under the ceremonial law? You can live by those laws in several ways. I'll just mention three. First, the ceremonial laws teach us about Christ, His grace, and His kingdom. They are beautiful. They teach us a lot about the New Covenant kingdom of grace that they symbolize.
Second, Sir Isaac Newton pointed out how the ceremonial laws provide all the foundations needed to provide an entire system of geometry. Did you ever wonder why God gave us so many repeated instructions on length, depth, height, rings, angles, bars, clasps, and other measurements when that temple system was designed to pass away? Why would He bother preserving all of that? Well, even though the tabernacle and temple don't continue, the math and geometry underlying them do continue. Those laws are incredibly practical.
Third, the food laws there provide principles for nutrition. Some fad diets make you avoid all salt, or honey, or oil, or meat, or carbs, etc. But God just told us to be moderate and allowed the eating of those things. So even though we aren’t bound by the food laws, we know that God would not command something that is bad for us. So they help to correct fad diets.
And there are other applications.
In 2-3 years I hope to provide a complete set of axioms for over 60 disciplines from the Bible. But it is clear to me that if every part of a civilization is to become Biblical, we will need to live by every word of the Bible. As 2 Peter 1:3 says, God's Word "has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue."
It keeps God's binary distinction of male and female (v. 35)
The next essential may seem like a strange one, but this has been a problem in most civilizations that have come under God's judgment. This essential part of the collage simply says that a Christian nation keeps God's binary distinction of male and female clear. Verse 35 says, "There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them." This not only mentions women in distinction from the men, but the law that they read from Deuteronomy strongly opposed transvestism, gender fluidity, or any other attack on binary genders. Everyone knows that Karl Marx called for the abolition of private property, but his Communist Manifesto also called for the abolition of the family, with the state raising children. Mao Tse Tung cut off women's long hair and forced everyone to wear the same drab clothing - just one attempt at egalitarian erasure of distinctions. But if you are curious about the speedy takeover of America by the LGBTQ+ movement, and why anybody in his right mind would want to cut off his body parts or encourage others to do so, it is the same tired strategy that demons have used for thousands of years in order to undermine the distinctions God has set in place.
The point is, one of the signs that a culture is in the last stages of its decay is the war against God's binary distinctions of male and female. And one Reformed scholar who has written extensively on this subject is Peter Jones. And he does so through what he calls two-ism versus one-ism. He points out that abolition of binary gender distinctions reflects their war with the Creator-creature distinction. The alphabet soup of LGBTQ holds to oneism - that all is one. There are really only two religions - one-ism worships the creation and two-ism sees God as Creator and worships Him.
And the multiplication of genders is simply symptomatic of the war against God. It's actually hard to keep up with the alphabet soup that keeps getting added to the genders. Some time ago it was LGBTQIQA2+ The I being for intersex, the second Q being for questioning, the A standing for asexual, and the 2 standing for two spirit. But nowadays people are identifying as animals and all kinds of things. None of that is considered hate speech because all of it is a war on God's dogmatic definitions. If you aren't worried about America, you should be. The disappearance of these features from America should cause us to fall on our knees, to cry out to God, to repent of the church's failure to be salt and light, and to start influencing culture despite the dangers of being attacked. We have every indication of being near the end of a culture’s history - apart from God granting repentance.
Everyone (whether believer and unbeliever, native born or alien) must be committed to the Christian order (vv. 33,35)
The last part of the collage that we see in these verses is that everyone (whether believer or unbeliever, native born or alien) must be committed to the Christian order. We looked at this last week. This covenanting ceremony included Joshua, the whole assembly, the women, the little ones, and the strangers living among them.
We saw that to shut out strangers who agree with our values would be wrong. But we also saw that to have wide open borders to people who are hostile to America's system just encourages the overthrow of our system. We are flooding our nation with people who have a totally different worldview than our nation was founded upon. Biblically, immigration was restricted to those who could at least outwardly conform to the laws of God. I think it is a good policy.
In any case, let's realize that having a Christian nation is impossible unless God changes the hearts of individuals within a nation. This can happen rapidly, or it can take a long time. May the Lord increase the tribe of those who believe this and promote it within our nation. Amen.
A Biblical Guide to Taking Dominion & Discipling Nations ↩
see NC Constitution, Article VI, Section 8 here https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Constitution/NCConstitution.html ↩
It said, "There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. This is a religious people…this is a Christian nation." Supreme Court , 1892, in Church of the Holy Trinity, v. United States https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/143/457/ ↩
For example, see https://mercatornet.com/is-it-racist-to-say-that-224/65717/ Also see https://equitablemath.org/ In Canada see https://www.newenglishreview.org/2-2-white-supremacy-how-woke-ideologues-corrupted-canadas-math-curriculum/ ↩
The impact of Christianity on nations can vary greatly, and the idea of a "blessing" can be subjective and interpreted in different ways. However, there are several nations throughout history that have experienced significant cultural, social, and even economic transformations after adopting Christianity as their predominant religion. Some examples include:>
The Roman Empire: In the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, leading to the widespread adoption of the faith throughout the empire. This marked a turning point in history, as Christianity became the state religion, bringing about significant changes in Roman society, law, and culture.>
European Nations: Many European nations, such as England, Germany, and France, have a long history of Christianity influencing their development. Christianity played a significant role in shaping their laws, ethics, education systems, and cultural identity.>
Ethiopia: Ethiopia has a rich Christian heritage that dates back to the 4th century. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been a unifying force and has contributed to the country's cultural and national identity. Christianity has played a role in fostering social cohesion and providing a moral framework for Ethiopian society.>
South Korea: South Korea experienced a Christian revival in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Christianity, particularly Protestantism, had a profound influence on the country's development, including education, social welfare, and the promotion of democratic values.>
Pacific Island Nations: Christianity had a transformative impact on many Pacific Island nations, such as Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. Missionaries introduced Christianity to these regions, leading to the adoption of Christian faith, which has influenced their cultural practices, social structures, and governance.>
It's important to note that the influence of Christianity on these nations is multifaceted and cannot be solely attributed to the religion itself. Various factors, including historical, social, and political contexts, contribute to the outcomes experienced by different nations.> Additionally, it is crucial to recognize that the adoption of Christianity by a nation does not automatically guarantee prosperity or positive outcomes. Each nation's history, culture, and unique circumstances shape the impact and interpretations of Christianity within their society.