CAP – Study 7 – Institutions – Introduction
Studies 1-6 explained that we are now living in a kingdom age. Jesus confirmed that many times. Just before His ascension, we read this in Matt. 28:18-20: “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Is there any indication in that quote which might lead us to believe that we will fail in this mission? Moreover, is Christ expecting us to fail in a commission He has given us? Where is the biblical evidence?
Why do so many Christians believe in a failed mission and to whose advantage is that?
If you still have doubts about our dominion commission, please review the past studies and ask God prayerfully to enable you to see it clearly. I know whereof I speak. I’ve been there!
Assuming we’re on board with the kingdom commission, what next? What are we going to do with it?
The next segment of our CAP will cover the instruments that God uses to accomplish His mission. We are part of that process.
Much of what you will be reading you have rarely heard preached, if ever. Is it any wonder why we are ineffective as Christians?
· A Christian society should be different from others. How so? Decentralized
· Only Jesus is sovereign – no human institution has that authority.
· The only three institutions authorized by God – family, church, and state
· A pyramid societal structure is Satanic
· Covenantalism – responsible men under God
The following is from Gary North’s “Unconditional Surrender” Attachment is for your files.
Part Two - INSTITUTIONS
INTRODUCTION TO PART TWO
If Christianity presents us with a unique view of society's crucial foundations - God, man, law, judgment, and time - then we should expect to see important differences between Christianity's view of social institutions and rival religions' view of these same institutions. We should expect to see these institutions constructed on different philosophical foundations. We should also expect to see vast differences in the efficiency of these institutions, depending on whether they are found in a Christian society or a pagan society.
One of the most important features of Christian social theory, or at least Protestant social theory, is the absence of any totally sovereign human institution. No institution is granted final authority, for no human institution is free from the destructive effects of sin. Only Jesus Christ can claim total sovereignty in time and on earth. Jesus Christ alone is the link between man and God. His revealed word, the Bible, is the final authority for man, not the pronouncements of committees, bureaucrats, or religious leaders. Three institutions are covenantal by nature. Covenantal institutions are established by an oath before God. Only three institutions are covenantal: family, church, and state.
The source of social order is God. Specifically, it is the Holy Spirit, who was sent to comfort the church (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit came to guide men into all truth: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). And we know that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Corinthians 3:17b). It is God's sovereign power over the creation that holds all things together, and we know that the established relationship between Cod's law and external blessings guarantees the preservation of social order for those societies that strive to conform themselves to the revealed law-order of God.
Biblical social theory therefore affirms the order-producing effects of a decentralized system of competing, yet ideally cooperating, institutions. No single institution needs to provide this social order. Indeed, no single institution can, since the concentration of power involved in such an attempt is self-defeating and in total opposition to biblical social order. Freedom and order are achieved only when men throughout a society are striving to reconstruct all their social institutions along the lines outlined in the Bible.
Whenever we see a social theory that proclaims the validity of a pyramid structure of institutions, with some institutions at the bottom, and a single institution at the top, we are facing the society of Satan. The pyramid structure, both in social theory and architecture, was basic to pagan antiquity. It is also the reigning social theory of modern socialism and communism. It places men at the base of the pyramid, and it places the state at the top.
The Bible proclaims the existence of multiple sovereignties, multiple institutions that bear lawful authority. Human institutions possess legitimate sovereignty, but all such sovereignty is limited and derivative. God alone possesses absolute sovereignty. Any attempt by any institution to command final authority is demonic. All institutions are under God and governed by God's law. No single institution commands permanent authority over all the others.
What the Bible proclaims as binding is this: responsible men under God, but never autonomous men under God. Neither the one (state, church, family) nor the many (individuals) can claim absolute sovereignty. Neither collectivism nor individualism is valid as an exclusive principle of social order. What the Bible proclaims is covenantalism: individuals and institutions under God and under God's applicable laws.