A Biblical Case for Limited Government

JP Moreland has written a great article showing that the Scriptures affirm principles of limited government, not big government. Here’s the start:

A few years ago on ABC’s The View, Star Parker and Michael Moore had an instructive exchange. To justify state-regulated universal healthcare, Moore sought to marshal support from Jesus:  Jesus claimed that if you care for the poorest among us, you do this to him. According to Moore, this proves that Jesus would be for universal healthcare. Star Parker’s response was stunningly accurate: Jesus never intended such action to be forced on people by the state. Such acts were to be voluntary and from a freely given heart of compassion.

I subsequently published an opinion piece siding with Parker. I claimed that Jesus would not be for government mandated universal healthcare.  The piece went viral on the internet and most people weighed in against me, including most Christians. In my view, this reaction signaled the fact that there is a lot of confusion about the biblical view of the state and its role in society.

  • Nigel

    I’m intrigued to know where scripture states that we should have western style democracy in the first place. Paul mentions kings and emperors

    • http://www.whatsbestnext.com/ Matt Perman

      A lot could be said here, but for the sake of time I would refer you to Wayne Grudem’s excellent books. First, The Poverty of Nations, where he looks at all the various economic theories and shows why free markets are the best, not just from a philosophical standpoint but also from the standpoint of history (i.e., what has actually happened when other systems are utilized) and the Scriptures: http://www.amazon.com/The-Poverty-Nations-Sustainable-Solution/dp/143353911X

      Second, his book Politics: According to the Bible: http://www.amazon.com/Politics-According-Comprehensive-Understanding-Political/dp/0310330297

      I would argue that democracy is not “Western” if by that we mean that it’s only a matter of cultural preference and style. Democracy is rooted both in the timeless principles of common grace (the freedom of the individual) and the Scriptures (which affirm the dignity and freedom of the individual). Paul referred to “kings and emperors” because that’s the government the Christians in Rome were under at the time.

      If by “Western” you mean that other nations have to do things the exact way the US and other Western democracies do, then of course that’s not the case. There is room for legitimate differences in style. But governing on the basis of the consent of the governed, and having a government of, by, and for the people–that is not an issue of style, but an eternal principle that all governments ought to follow.

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