Established By Providence, Set Free By Revival

Monday, March 26, 2012

This week a couple of pastors to whom I listen regularly spoke on topics that relate very well to what I'm attempting to do here. Perhaps they've been observing some of the disturbing events I've been hearing about recently, such as the quiet buildup of the Transportation Security Administration's operations, their worsening tactics in airports, and the thousands of surprise screenings they've conducted outside of airports in the past year, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

Never mind that the biggest terrorist threat to our nation has been all but cut down, so much that our government's leaders are now planning to draw down troop levels in the terrorists' countries of origin. By the way, these TSA operational squads are called Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, or VIPR. Could they not have picked a scarier name?

I love my pastor, but none inspires me quite so much as Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. Last Sunday he preached on the topic of Saul's apparent conversion experience just prior to becoming king of Israel. In the final section of his sermon, he spoke about the prophet Samuel's decision to write up a constitution of sorts (1 Samuel 10:25) to limit Saul's government, effectively making it a theocracy. Brother Wilson then began to relate what Samuel did to the current big-government state of our nation. He said something very interesting, something I've been hinting at myself as I speak on this subject: 

"There is no way to bring liberty back to our nation, there is no way to bring a sense of limited government back to our people apart from a revival of the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of God's people."

I feel that Brother Wilson and I are very much on the same theological and ideological wavelength, now more so than ever. This is a statement you probably won't hear from the Mises Institute, but it is something that many Christian libertarians realize. God sets up governments, whether good or evil, and it is only through the obedience of His people, and their holy influence on the people around them, through the Holy Spirit, that evil states can be turned toward the good. I believe, like Brother Wilson, that it will take not only a philosophical enlightenment but also a spiritual revival to bring us into a state of true liberty, if that is God's vision for our nation at all. It's in His hands, for He is in absolute control.

But if He is in absolute control, then, we might ask, why is there so much evil in the world? This is the topic that pastor R.C. Sproul, of Saint Andrew's in Sanford, Florida, tackled yesterday on his program Renewing Your Mind. He asked the question, "How is divine providence related to evil governments?" Did God ordain Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin? "Is evil something that is ordained by the providence of God?" he asked.

Here are a few choice quotes in Dr. Sproul's attempt to answer this important question:
  • "I have no idea why God allows evil to besmirch His universe." 
  • "When God ordains anything [to] come to pass, His purpose in doing so is altogether and absolutely good." 
  • "It must be good that evil exists, or it couldn't exist, because God only will sovereignly, providentially ordain what is good." 
  • "But when God ordains all things to come to pass, He ordains not only the ends, but also the means to those ends, and...He works through all things to bring about His righteous purpose."

I recently swore, along with Thomas Jefferson, "eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." This week I have seen the error of my ways, and I now endeavor instead to love and pray for those who would take the place of God in our daily lives, as our Lord instructed. For though it is difficult to see it, He established our government by His providence, to accomplish His purpose in the world.

Dear Father, as we see the president's TSA and their VIPR teams conducting tyrannical acts across our own land, which You have given us and can rightly take away as You see fit, cause us by Your Holy Spirit to examine our own hearts and see the sin that we have allowed to enter in. Please cleanse us and set us free once again to do Your work in the world. 

Lord, we lift up the president and the leaders of the TSA to You. We ask You to influence them through Your Word and by Your power. We ask that You would draw them near to You and save those who do not know You. Father, these are things we can ask of You because we believe them to be Your will, based on our reading of Your Word. 

Lord, as Your church, we desire to be a holy people, even as we live among those who are evil. We wish to be a holy influence on all around us so that many more will be set free from the bondage of sin and have the eternal life available through the death and resurrection of Your Son. Give us eyes that see the world as You do, we pray. Cause us, by Your Spirit, to be ready to serve when You call. We thank You and give You glory in Jesus' name. Amen.

[Originally published June 24, 2011, on the blog On Faith and Authority]