God is sovereign, not the state
by Carol Fort
If you were one of those 16 million in the weekly television audience watching The Dan Smoot Report back in the late '50s and early '60s, you probably appreciated Mr. Smoot's ability to give such clear explanations of complex concepts.
For example in one of his broadcasts, Smoot discussed the fact that there will always be hazards in a free society, one of which is that there will always be people who will not manage their own affairs as well as they should ... or as well as someone else thinks they should. "But when you start passing laws to force people to do all the things that someone else thinks is good for them," he observed, "you are headed for a slave society."
Mr. Smoot realized that Puritan theologian John Cotton was correct in saying, "Let all the world learn to give mortal men no greater power than they are content that they shall use, for use it they will." Government is not to have unlimited authority. God is the One Who is sovereign...not the state. The state is a creature under God. It doesn't have authority in every area of life, but only where the Bible says it has authority.
It is to maintain justice and defend the people...and that's all the authority God grants to government. It doesn't have a role in education or welfare (those are the family's roles), or in all the other areas where we see it so pervasively expressed these days. The state is to be limited, It is under God.
But as Dan Smoot explained, modern liberals presume that you, an individual if left to your own devices and resources probably won't educate your own children, or provide your own housing, or prepare for your own future or help a neighbor in desperate need. Liberals, therefore, want laws that will force you to do all the things that liberals think you should do. "They take money from you," he observed, "and put it in a big federal pot on the presumption that politicians and bureaucrats will make better use of your money than you would."
Smoot put it all into perspective, though, by pointing out that politicians and bureaucrats are, themselves, individuals. And as individuals, they (according to their own liberal philosophy) are incapable of managing their own affairs. But once vested with political power, he quipped, "they are presumably transfigured and transformed, and automatically injected with enough ability to manage the affairs of the world!"
In short, Mr. Smoot concluded that modern liberalism rests on the assumption that political power makes men wiser than God. But government cannot make men wise or prosperous anymore than it can make men good. Government cannot produce anything. It can merely seize and divide what individuals have produced. Government can give the people nothing which government has not first taken away from them.
And what's ironic and alarming today is that Dan Smoot would have to add that most "conservatives" share that same liberal mindset.
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