Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, April 25, 2008

    Skeptical of "Big Government"

    Writing from a biblical framework versus a political framework, I am skeptical of the term "Big Government."

    While the term "Big" government has been coined and serves a somewhat useful purpose in today's dialogue and political sphere, casting the issues in terms of "big" (as opposed to small) sets the issues in "relative" terms rather than terms of foundation, authority, and accountability. For example, when considering the role of the church when it comes to "church-state" relations, suppose that rather than disccusing the role and authority of the church ...dialogue rather centered on the philosophy of "big" church versus "small" church. Or suppose that when it came to the boundaries regarding the family (and leaders staying within or overstepping their bounds), we began speaking of "big" families versus small families. Get the picture?

    Point: While the term "Big" government does draw attention to the role of government, it's weakness is found in that it seems to suggest that the definition of that role and the answers and solutions are relative rather than revealed (and/or deduced, determined, etc.). This is not to suggest that there aren't matters of good debate in certain areas in regard to the decisions in relation to the proper role of government.

    1. Government leaders, regardless of political party, need to remember and be reminded, that issues of government and it's limits are not relative but defined for us in God's Word, the word of Him who not only has established and provided for government, but will hold government leaders accountable for their decisions and actions.
    2. When dialogue is allowed (and allowed to continue) as if issues of this nature are relativistic in nature only, then abuses will exist (and continue). Casting, or recasting issues of this nature in the proper light will lead to and produce better results.

    Note: This does not mean that government will never be "big", for just as their are "big" churches that are healthy and holy and are effective in recognizing and fulfilling their God given role (... just as there are "big" and "small" churches who do not recognize their role and fulfill it); issues of the "size" of the government of the state may vary, but the issue is whether or not they recognize, stay within, and fulfill their roles.

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