God's covenantal order of
creation: Jesus serves as head of His Church, the husband serves as head of his family,
the civil magistrate administers justice and protects the citizenry by means of a civil
government. Herein lies the mystery of mortal man called and ordained by God to work at
His side exercising the rule and reign of His Kingdom on Earth.
Man's chaotic order of destruction: The so-called "church" gathers for service
and attention from God, the family is thought of as antiquated and archaic, the civil
magistrate harbors and protects law-breakers thus victimizing innocent law-keepers. Herein
lies the logical conclusion of mere mortal man who rebels against the call of God and,
thus, becomes a prisoner of the very system he created.
The United States currently faces a condition of bankruptcy in the resource of statesmen.
This bankruptcy can be partly attributed to the compartmentalization and segregation of
the various social orders that comprise our country. Our founding fathers were great
leaders because they were leaders in every sphere of influence: politics, church,
education, science, etc.... The cry for separation of church and state has paved the way
toward the effective neutralization of any potential leadership coming forth from the
traditional institutions of our country (church and family). The church in America is
impotent to produce such a leader; it is politically asleep or, at best, on another
channel. The American family is under assault from literally every front available.
Feminism has neutralized the father to the status of a blundering idiot while enabling the
wife who has "no choice" but to step up to the plate and compensate for his
inadequacies as a provider and ruler. Environmentalists are demanding zero population
growth to conserve the alarming deterioration of the Earth's resources and to ease
overcrowding on the planet. What children happen to survive the abortion mill of our
country are ultimately sacrificed on the alter of the state church (public schools);
whether it be at the lower levels of propaganda (education) or at state, private, or
"Christian" supported higher propaganda. The American academia is dying from
anemia, focusing on political/social correctness in the classroom rather than Godly and
educational disciplines. Not one God ordained institution is doing anything to equip and
train today's young people to be exceptional leaders in BOTH the church and civil
government of tomorrow. The whole thing is enigmatic. If you thought the 1960's were bad,
take a close look at our circumstances today. It is of no wonder that the majority of
voters this November will stare blankly at their ballot.
Hopeless? Emphatically not!!! "...but with God all things are possible" (Matt
19:26) is not just a vain desperate cry. But read it very carefully, starting about verse
21. It doesn't say "with God's help all things are possible" or "if you
bring God along..." No, it says "with God", i.e. being a part of what God
is doing, doing it God's way according to His perfect counsel. When we conform to His
will, His ways, and His plans, then all things truly are possible, even in spite of us.
Art of Statesmanship
Statecraft is defined as,
"The art of leading a country."1 But the definition need not be limited to such
a broad application as leading the civil government of a country. Likewise, it is not
proper to limit the definition of government to such a broad sense that only applies to
civil government. Government is no more than the application of rules to some social
order. Social orders come in many forms: family, church, civil, vocational, school, and
individual. Therefore, statecraft is necessary to successfully lead a local civil
government as well as to lead an ecclesiastical government, a local familial government,
and to be successfully self-governed.
Government is inevitable. The question is, "Whose governmental system does one
advocate and procreate?" The choices are really only two: God's or man's. People
choose to be either receptively constructive by submitting to God's form of social order
or to be creatively destructive by trying to "make it up" as they go. The very
nature of government dictates that there can never be a partial compromise without total
compromise. The humanistic cry of today for tolerance in all social orders is really a
demand for surrender. Tolerance can never tolerate absolutes of truth and justice.
Tolerance demands tolerance and becomes intolerant toward intolerance. In other words
tolerance is a standard of rule in of itself and demands conformity by those who impose it
as an ideal social order. Democracy and tyranny can never coexist within a single society.
Capitalism and Communism can never coexist within a single society. God's ordained kingdom
government can never, and will never, coexist within humanism's system of government. One
or the other must surrender, unconditionally.
The tension of conflicting standards of rulership is within each of us as we encounter and
work within various spheres of governments and the expectations of their standards. The
work place is one of the more common social orders most of us will experience. The
government of a particular work place will be dictated by the rules of a sole proprietor,
an employee manual, and/or other "bosses" designated to manage the affairs of
the business. Simultaneously, we are confronted by the governments of our kid's little
league team, the homeschool support group, the chess club, the 4H club, and yes, even our
One thing every government led by fallen man will have in common is a demand to compromise
God's standard of rule and submit to man's form of rulership. How we respond to various
and often conflicting systems of governmental rule will depend on who truly owns our
citizenship; to whom we are ultimately loyal. Accordingly, our calling as Christians, as
citizens of the Kingdom of God, is to bring the rule and reign of Jesus Christ into every
sphere of government we encounter.
A true statesman demonstrates integrity and Godly wisdom in ALL of the social orders
mentioned above. Therefore, Christians must become ethically self-conscious, that is,
consistently applying Godly convictions as found in God's word across every institutional
sphere of social order they encounter. Accordingly, there must be training of judges and
attorneys who know how to apply God's law-word to civil and criminal cases, accountants
who value honesty in the business world, doctors who have a biblical view towards human
life, politicians who take seriously their calling of God to be ministers of justice and
service to the people, ministers who will defend the pure gospel of Jesus Christ with
their life, employers who provide services and products with integrity, and employees who
are diligent to give an honest days service for an honest days wage.
It was on the individual level that Satan challenged the rulership of God and offered Eve
a different system of rule. It was on the individual level that Satan offered Jesus a
different system of rule. That same challenge remains today for each of us and our
children. The challenge of whose system of government we are going to employ for ourselves
toward the ethical decisions we face every day. Again, there are no compromises available
and no dual citizenship allowed. "Choose you this day whom you are going to
serve" remains to be the charge before us today.
The virtues necessary for a Godly statesman are best enumerated by Paul in 1 Timothy and
Titus where he lists the character qualifications of an Elder and Deacon in the Church.
The text lays the foundation for apprenticeship in Statecraft. Within the text we can
formulate the scope and sequence of Statesmanship.
Godly virtues of a church leader
are necessary qualities if he is to rule biblically, Godly, and effectively. His job is to
judge the facts presented to him and to make a righteous judgement (John 7:24). The facts
may be a dispute between members of a church, an alleged misconduct of a member, or simply
seeking a direction of leadership for part or all of the church. Whatever the facts
pertain to, certain qualities of the ruler must be present if he is to 1) come to a
biblically sound judgement of the facts, and 2) have the respect and confidence of those
he is leading. Because they know him, they know his character, they know he judges
righteously, then they accept his leadership having little or no knowledge of the facts
Lacking these Biblical qualities, the ruler finds that those under his leadership are
reluctant to accept his judgements. He is questioned, second guessed, continually
explaining and justifying his decisions. Not that he should not be willing to do so when
asked, but if he perceives his leadership to be weak or in jeopardy he may resort to what
Peter warns against, "...nor as being lords over those entrusted to you...." (1
Peter 5:3). Rather, he is to be an example of biblical rulership to the flock (vs. 4).
What is it the Godly ruler is to exemplify to the flock? How does he learn the things that
enable him to be a Godly example? The answer to these questions are within Paul's list of
qualities for eldership found at 1 Timothy 3. First, he is not to be a novice of the
faith, lest he become prideful (vs 6). Second, he is to be "...one who rules his own
house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not
know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)" (Vs
4,5). The parenthetical extension of Paul's logic in these two virtues points us to the
training and proving ground of church leaders: The family.
It is within the context of the
family that we are known for whom we truly are. All the games are over, all the facades
are broken down, we are seen at our very worst. I personally believe that this is one
reason why we see so many break ups and divorces around the time of five years of marriage
and two children. Time and children force our true character to the surface.
The overwhelming significance of God's covenantal order of creation begins to unfold
before us as we become ethically self-conscious that Paul equates (and I mean exactly
equates) the standard by which Jesus rules in service to His Church with that of the
husband's duty to rule in service to his family (Ephesians 5:25-33). To say it another
way, I submit to you that Paul goes so far as to say that the exact same standard of
rulership established by the Son of God, the Word become flesh, who was before the
foundations of the earth, over His Church is the same standard of rulership for me, mere
mortal man, who just arrived on the scene yesterday, for my family. Notice there are no
contingencies relating to my fleshly weaknesses, no auxiliary verb escape clauses, only
exactness: "...let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as
himself...." I trust you are beginning to grasp the magnitude of our difficulty.
More important than the difficulty before us, though, is to quickly affirm that as God so
establishes the standard of rule for husbands over their households, He certainly ordains
the means by which they are able to successfully fulfill their calling. Unfortunately, too
many husbands choose to be ethically unconscious (i.e. one whose actions and decisions are
inconsistent with his professed beliefs) and default to grace: "I can't live up to
the standard. I'm only sinful man and the wife and kids know that better than anyone. I
can't rule my family; no one will listen to me"2 While it is true that God's grace
does cover our shortcomings and failings, it is not a valid appeal for apathy, laziness,
indecisiveness, selfishness, self-indulgence; for abdicating God's ordained calling to
The real tragedy of the ethically unconscious father is that he unconsciously apprentices
his children in the art of ethical unconsciousness. Nothing is neutral; everything has
consequences, especially ethical unconsciousness. Alternatively, husbands and fathers are
to recognize that God's grace provides them the virtues, by way of the Holy Spirit,
necessary to fulfill their calling of God. Then they are to be faithful in their
responsibility to apprentice their children in those virtues; biblical virtues that will
equip them with the skill and vision necessary to become leaders of men.
It is within the context of the family that the husband/father is forced to make a
decision. He does make a decision. He may continue in youthful irresponsibility thus
forcing his wife to compensate with dominating tyranny over him and his family OR he may
submit to God's ordained calling to rule his family and do so according to biblical
standards. Be assured though, he will submit to one or the other.
Provided he chooses the latter, it easily follows that if the husband is to qualify as an
elder in the church by virtue of the qualities expressed by Paul to Timothy and Titus,
then those same qualities are the ones necessary for the husband to develop and have as he
leads his home. The home is the training and testing ground for the husband and his
children as statesmen of the future.
The family is not only the first environment of the child, it is also his first school,
where he receives his basic education; his first church, where he is taught his first and
foundational lessons concerning God and life; his first state, where he learns the
elements of law and order and obeys them; his first vocation, where the child is given
work to do, and responsibilities in terms of it.3
By learning to be blameless before God and his family, he understands the significance of
confession and forgiveness and learns to apply God's law-word judiciously to the
situations of his family. Hospitality teaches him respect and service to other family
governments and provides the means of building lifelong alliances with like-minded
families. As head of the Department of Education, he learns the importance of being a good
student of God's word as well as the importance of having the skills to articulate and
transfer biblical knowledge to his family. He learns to be reverent as he leads his family
in times of worship and devotion. As head of the Department of Interior, he learns the
importance of property rights, good stewardship and how to love his wife (you know, that
omnipresent honey-do list?).
By bringing the Bible to bear on social issues that surround his family, he learns to have
the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5) and to "..bring every thought into captivity to the
obedience of Christ..." (2 Cor 10:5). As the father learns to apply these virtues and
the others enumerated by Paul, his children will be trained in the application of God's
word to real life rulership situations. As future husband/father rulers of their own
families, sons will be trained to take authority in areas such as sexual purity and
modesty before they marry and leave the home. By learning that they are responsible for
the purity and modesty of themselves (boy among boy talk), their sisters (outside
predators), and other girls they might have occasion to associate with, they learn skills
of moral excellence and discernment of lustful behavior (men's eyes) and attitudes
(women's desire to be lusted after) that will prove to be, in this age of AIDS, literal
lifesavers for their own family and children while providing valuable leadership to
Issues of ownership, stewardship, hunger, and welfare become real for the children when
the father is serious enough about such things as to be a part of and fiscally fund the
valid ministry of a church who takes these issues head-on. The father leads his family in
participating in such ministries. While there, they all learn what works and what doesn't
work; what are God's truth and what are man's feeble attempts. This aspect of child
rearing cannot be over emphasized or ignored.
It is at the family level that our children are taught how to handle disputes, how to
respond to and respect authority, a sense of ownership and a duty of stewardship. The
training they receive will go with them into every institution and sphere of influence
they encounter for the rest of their life.
Yet, all the practical life examples and lessons will mean nothing if the experience of
all that is said, done, and seen doesn't transfer to the heart of the husband/father and
his family. For you see, "...out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matt 15:19). A
regenerate heart is where it all begins. The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit brings us
to the heart of the matter.
Self-government is where it all
begins; the problems and the solutions. The fundamental kind of human government is
self-government. No institutional government has the financial resources to police its
members to insure compliance. Thus, one goal of preaching God's word should be to increase
the self-governing abilities of every member of society. To extend Paul's logic
i.e., "for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of
the church of God", it follows then that if one cannot rule his own self, how can he
take care of his family? Accordingly, family, church, and state are rendered ineffective
by unruly members.
It is at this point that the ethically unconscious husband surfaces for all to see.
Ethical unconsciousness inevitably leads to double standards and double-mindedness.
"Do as I say, not as I do" is the ancient cry of the ethically unconscious. It
is the epitome of Phariseeism that Jesus so emphatically rebuked. Phariseeism that had so
maligned God's law-standard of rulership for their own benefit, yet even they were
unwilling and even unable to submit to their own established religious rules. Ethical
unconsciousness is hypocrisy personified.
Rather, we are to follow Paul's admonition, "And you fathers, do not provoke your
children to wrath [by your hypocrisy, for one], but bring them up in the training and
admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). What are the biblical virtues we are to apply to
self-governing rulership? Hopefully, it is obvious by now: "...blameless, the husband
of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not
given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not
covetous; one who rules his own house well, ... not a novice, ... reverent..." (1
Timothy 3:2-6), respected by those outside the church, a Godly example.
Herein lie the disciplines of a Godly ruler, virtues that are a good thing to aspire to (1
Timothy 3:1), virtues that equip the man of God to be an effective and respected ruler in
every sphere of government and social order. They do not become a part of us naturally or
easily, only as we submit to and cooperate with the sanctifying process of the Holy
Spirit. We are not only to encourage our children to aspire to these virtues, but we are
to vigilantly train them accordingly.
Apprenticing in Statecraft
Of all the qualities of a Godly
ruler expressed by Paul to Timothy and Titus, there seems to be one above the rest that is
drastically deficient in every governmental sphere of our society discussed thus far:
Blamelessness. Accusations, blame, and guilt have riddled the political scenes, judicial
systems, churches, and educational institutions to such an overwhelming degree over the
past 30 years or so that the public have become much more than desensitized to it, they
actually expect such goings on to be normal, everyday life; just a part of the system.
The result of this is that we have before us today plenty of examples of what it means NOT
to be blameless. We are able to see how accusations proliferate in an environment of
denial and cover-up. As weary and tiresome as these events may be, it is our duty to turn
them into real life teaching opportunities. That is what apprenticing is all about; real
life application towards a goal of proficiency in a particular discipline.
Therefore, if fathers are to have a vision for the future, one that their children can
incorporate and have as their own, they must make a conscious decision today to begin the
training process. For many of us, that means training ourselves also. Whatever the case,
the work must begin and begin now.
As in every educational process, there is to be a systematic approach, a recognized scope
and sequence, and a desired finished product. The sequence of apprenticing in statecraft
is simple. It starts with the individual and self-government. The task of today's parent
is to exemplify and train their children to be self-governed according to God's law-word.
To train them to be faithful, self-controlled, honest, and truthful even when no one else
is looking, when no one else would ever know what they did or said while alone.
A well self-governed individual is then prepared for entry-level family rulership. There
continues to be much to learn, much maturing, much proving at this level. The
husband/father who is diligent and faithful to his calling as a family ruler will
automatically set himself apart as a candidate for eldership in the Church.
Once recognized and affirmed by the local body, there still remains much to learn, much
maturing to happen, and much proving to take place. The faithful and diligent elder will
see the scope of his influence increase as he leads other men in the disciplines of self
and familial rulership. Serving and working with his family and in a local church that is
socially active and relevant, the respect of those outside of the church for him and his
family will be evident; he will be a Godly example.
The sequence leading to a Godly civil statesman is now obvious. Having faithfully
apprenticed and served in the spheres of self rule, familial rule, and church rule, the
Godly statesman is prepared to judge righteously at the city gates. He is equipped to
bring the wisdom of God to bear on the issues of his community and his nation. He is well
respected; known to be blameless, sober minded, not greedy or covetous, not quarrelsome,
but temperate and able to teach others. He is recognized as a Godly example.
In a recent issue of World magazine, Joel Belz wrote, "You can't suddenly develop
expertise in providing Christian insight and leadership for 260,000,000 people, through
all the complexities of public policy, if you haven't first honed your Christian insights
and leadership on lesser levels and in smaller contexts. We [Christians] don't have
anybody ready to play in the major leagues simply because we haven't been faithful at
building a good system of farm teams."
The travesty within the God ordained institutions of our nation (family, church, and
state) is that the past few generations of Christians have failed to apprentice the
succeeding generations according to God's sequence of training: self rule, familial rule,
ecclesiastical rule, civil rule. The lack of training and leadership on the individual
level bears the fruit of crisis within the institutional family. We should not be
surprised by the crisis on the church and civil government levels.
In 1763, a young aspiring lawyer
argued a case before the court on behalf of the colonies. The Parsons case was a
significant turn of events for a young nation-to-be and the part that the young aspiring
lawyer, Patrick Henry, would play in those events. It is of no little significance as to
who sat on the bench of that case; who the civil justice was that determined what evidence
could and could not be presented to the jury; what matters of law were and were not to be
applied to the case. The judge was Colonel John Henry, Patrick's father.
Not since the 1960's has our nation witnessed the influence that one particular family can
have on the course of a whole nation. Be assured that what many of us witnessed in the
1960's didn't come about over night. It took a father with a vision for the future who
faithfully and diligently worked toward a goal and worked at it for decades. The time is
now for Godly fathers and husbands to have a vision for the future that would place them
in such spheres of influence as to pave the way for the success and influence of their
children and grandchildren.
It is up to us as parents to tear down the walls built around us over the past generations
which have not only narrowed the scope of influence by a Godly father, but have actually
extinguished his influence to nothingness. Those walls are to be demolished and the fire
of a Godly father kindled anew in the hearts of fathers and their children. The kind of
fire that spreads into the full arena of leadership spheres. The kind of fire that inspire
children to exemplify the boldness and confidence of an influential father. The kind of
fire that the children can see will make an impact on people and the world around them.
The kind of fire that ignites within the children a vision of excellence, of building upon
the Godly heritage of their parents and grandparents, of faith in God, and assurance of
their calling. Faith that leads to ethically self-conscious decisions of training and
vocation with an eye for bringing the Bible to bear on every facet of life and society.
Francis Shaeffer wrote 20 years ago, "In such circumstances [of deterioration in our
national social order], it seems that there are only two alternatives in the natural flow
of events: first, imposed order [of tyranny] or, second, our society once again affirming
that base which gave freedom without chaos in the first place - God's revelation in the
Bible and His revelation through Christ."6
The line has been drawn in the sand: "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will