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THE MORAL BASIS OF GOVERNMENT

Richard Halverson, present chaplain of the United States Senate, wrote:

``To be sure, men will abuse and misuse the institution of the State just as man because of sin has abused and misused every other institution in history including the Church of Jesus Christ, but this does not mean that the institution is bad or that it should be forsaken. It simply means that men are sinners and rebels in God’s world, and this is the way they behave with good institutions. As a matter of fact, it is because of this very sin that there must be human government to maintain order in history until the final and ultimate rule of Jesus Christ is established. Human government is better than anarchy, and the Christian must recognize the “divine right” of the State``. (Richard Halversen, Prologue to Prison (Los Angeles: Cowman Publishers, 1964), p. 223.).


The former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was an unusual politician in that she understood the limits of government and called for its renewal by people able to live a life of true faith. Addressing the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, she said, “The truths of the Judaic-Christian tradition are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe, because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace … for which we all long.… There is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves. Political structures, state institutions, collective ideals are not enough. We parliamentarians can legislate for the rule of law. You, the church, can teach the life of faith.” (Quoted in Charles Colson, with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Publications, 1989), p. 120.)

From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, The Christian’s Response to Government, 5/19/2012

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