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Vine & Fig Tree's

Model of Government
Abraham as a model of Community and Government

What Needs to be Done

How it Can be Accomplished Without "The Government."

What We Need in a "Well-Governed Society"

  1. The Education of Children
  2. Employment and Vocational Training
  3. The Care of the Elderly
  4. Care of the Fatherless
  5. Care of the Ill and Handicapped
  6. Freedom of Conscience

Few tasks are more difficult than trying to set down the proper role of the State. The main reason is the rubbery use of the word "government."

Everyone engaged in sociology, political science, economics, and similar studies, is interested in answering the question, "How are Law, Order, Property, Peace, Welfare, and Prosperity maintained in a society or given geographical area?" How this question is answered determines one's definition of "government." All will agree that in order to provide for law and order, peace and prosperity, the following must be maintained by someone:

1. The Education of Children This includes, indeed, has primary reference to, moral education and the development of productive and responsible character. A society dominated by nomads and criminals cannot long survive. An outwardly "prosperous," "conservative" society without moral leaders ("Patriarchs") populated by amoral technicians and worker-drones will merely die a slower death. A society needs many Christians (Proverbs 14:28).

2. Employment and Vocational Training.

3. The Care of the Elderly.

4. Care of the Fatherless. In tragic manifestations of sin in our world, children are sometimes left without their parents. These unfortunate kids must be cared for, just as Godly parents would have cared for them.

5. Care of the Ill and Handicapped. Some people are born or acquire handicaps such as mental defects, physical deformities, or loss of limb. Others acquire terminal, extended, and sometimes painful diseases. These people must be cared for, whether a toddler or a man in the prime of his life. We must not substitute pharisaical liturgy for holistic real-world sacramental foot-washing.

6. Freedom of Conscience. The freedom to Worship and serve the LORD Jesus Christ in every calling and every area of life free from coercion or threats of force is necessary for the health of any society (Proverbs 28:2,16,28, etc.).

If a society is characterized by these attributes, then you have a well-governed society! That society may be small (the Swiss Family Robinson on a desert island), large (the 5,000 members of the Family of Abraham, uncontrolled by any of the nations of Genesis 14), or incomprehensible ("The United States of America"). A well-governed society: that is our goal.

But there is a warped use of the word "Government" different from that above. It defines the government of a society not as the continuous and successful provision of social necessities, but as a name for those who merely promise to do so.

Thus, when we speak of "the government" of the United States, we do not mean the provision of moral education, health, welfare, and freedom by the moral leaders of America, because these things are not being provided for. We mean a group of people who promise to provide government (in the first sense of the word) or claim to be doing so, and extract from the public exorbitant, above-market sums of money for doing so. "Government" in this sense is usually preceded by the article "the", as in the phrase, "Let the government take care of it."

The problem with the second definition of government is that Abraham's society was very well governed (sense 1), but there was no need for "the government" (sense 2). Society under Abraham was "patriarchal," not "political."

Patriarchy: A Well-Governed Society Without "the Government."

As we show in other essays, Abraham exercised hospitality by picking up refugees from the pagan empires around him. He had well over 1,000 people in his "household," only a very few of whom were related by blood. Just as Christ our Captain (Heb. 2:10) and Prince (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb. 12:2) is also the model for believers (Eph. 4:13), so we are to become captains and kings (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; 1 Peter 2:5,9). We should strive first to lead 10, then 50, then 100, then 1000 (Exodus 18:21).

Who lives on your "block?" A block is about 10 families, 5 houses on each side of the street. If every block had a Godly captain, a patriarch like Abraham, we would have a well-governed society, especially if there were no secular "State" to corrupt the neighbors. Notice how a neighborhood patriarch could begin bringing good government to each neighborhood

  1. The Education of Children
  2. Employment and Vocational Training
  3. The Care of the Elderly
  4. Care of the Fatherless
  5. Care of the Ill and Handicapped
  6. Freedom of Conscience

1. The Education of Children

Education, in Biblical perspective, is not the memorization of atomistic facts and the ability to regurgitate them on demand. Education is primarily moral; a Biblically educated person has the ability to judge the facts of the world in terms of Biblical Law and to persevere in the wise and faithful application of Biblical Principles to every area of his life, even under sometimes frustrating circumstances. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 commands that children be educated in life, not in institutions, and in the Bible, not the wisdom of man. And this means knowledge of how to apply the Bible and obey its commands, not just learning about the Bible (Jeremiah 4:22; James 1:22; Hebrews 5:14).

A Godly patriarch can not only teach his own children, but those of his block. There are plenty of decent curricula available which make this possible. Training takes only a few months. The parents of each block can be trained. Older, responsible youth can work as teacher's aides. Order How to Become a Millionaire in Christian Education by Ellsworth McIntyre, $10.00 (+ $2.00 S&H) to Nicene Press, 4405 Outer Dr., Naples, FL 34112 (941) 793-4022.

2. Employment and Vocational Training

The "Bar-Mitzvah" (lit., "son of command") has long marked the time when a boy becomes a man; when he has mastered the Law of God and has developed the ability to obey. Armed with Godly character, he is ready for vocational training. While Christians are not required to observe any ceremony, and while they also think in terms of both young men and young women (Galatians 3:28), we must still recognize the need to move from the education of children to the training of young men and women for their roles as husbands and wives and as fathers and mothers; as partners in Dominion. Fathers must be skilled in providing for their Families; mothers skilled in preparing and distributing the provisions God gives the Family. Young women must therefore be taught how to reign as virtuous women and queens of the home (Proverbs 31:10-31; I Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:4-5; Psalm 113:9); young men must be trained to work in some capacity that provides for his Family without compromising his integrity. (Genesis 1:26-28, I Timothy 5:8, and Proverbs 31:15 show that the division of labor is not tight here.)

Specialized training in vocations is best accomplished in household apprenticeships, as we shall show in future essays.

3. The Care of the Elderly

The very old often become physically unable to work to provide for their own needs. Often elderly women will outlive their husbands. It is not desirable that the elderly live alone, especially if they haven't enough saved income to survive alone. Grandparents and the elderly in general need personal care and attention. The Family is God's answer to this problem. Crotchety old folks build the character of Christ in us.

We need good government. The answer offered by the State is to give the elderly a small check, and for families to ignore their personal needs and ship them off to an institution. This is not a Biblical alternative. Those who criticize those who would abolish Social Security as "irresponsible" are themselves worse than irresponsible. They are undermining good government.

4. Care of the Fatherless

God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
Psalm 68:6

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27

He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
Deuteronomy 10:18

And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
Deuteronomy 16:14

The slogan of assembly-line abortuaries, "Every child a wanted child," is tantamount to saying "Death to all unpopular kids!" Because God has a special affection and guardianship over the fatherless, we are to as well (Psalm 68:5; 1 Peter 1:15-16). The Westminster Confession of Faith notes the centrality of "Adoption" as an aspect of our salvation. A well-governed society encourages adoption; "the State" makes it more difficult.

5. Care of the Ill and Handicapped

The handicapped need more than a government check. They are not benefited by the State forcing small businesses to spend thousands of dollars on ramps for places the handicapped never frequent. One of the most vital needs of the handicapped is to accept "unchangeable defects." Bitterness against God frequently arises among those who do not see themselves as beautiful as air-brushed Hollywood celebrities. God presents us with physical needs because while we write a check we can minister to these deeper spiritual needs.

6. Freedom of Conscience

When these social needs are met by that institution called "the State" instead of by Christian patriarchs, that same State uses its coercive powers to trample on true religion, because as James noted (1:27), true religion threatens the monopoly claimed by the State over "government."

Make Your Home a Community Center

This is the advice of the famous "Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts" Seminars, led by Bill Gothard. Now called the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the Seminar gives concrete, practical advice on how you can make your home a community center, including "Five Basic Aspects of a Dynamic Home." A Godly Patriarchy ministers to a neighborhood by being:

1. A Worship Center
2. A Learning Center
3. A Hospitality Center
4. A Health Center
5. A Craft Center

1. A Worship Center

My son, keep your father's command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.
For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,

Proverbs 6:20,23

A Godly Patriarch can help his neighbors answer the following questions:

  • Why is it important for a father to be the spiritual leader in the family?
  • What are the first attitudes that a father must teach his children?
  • How can a family identify its present priorities?
  • Why doesn't regular Bible reading take place in most Christian families?
  • How does a lamp picture the commandments of a father?
  • How does light picture the laws of a mother?
  • What are "reproofs of instruction?"
  • What happens when the father fails to give commands?
  • What if the mother fails to give the light of her laws?
  • How should mother and father work together in giving light?
  • How should parents discipline when commands or laws are violated?

2. A Learning Center

The Godly patriarch knows the answers to these questions, and guides his neighbors to the answers:

  • Should parents assume full responsibility for the education of their children?
  • What are the goals of learning?
  • Why does teaching knowledge before character lead to arrogance?
  • Why should education of children begin before birth?
  • Why is it vital to teach the fear of the Lord?
  • What are the consequences of Television?
  • What are the consequences of sensual material?
  • Do you have Scriptural convictions that are worth dying for? worth living for?
  • How can parents make family prayer more meaningful?
  • How can food and meals be made richly symbolic?
  • How can dinner conversation be enlightening and educational?
  • How can interruptions be minimized?
  • How can clean-up be a learning activity?
  • How can children be taught good manners?

3. A Hospitality Center

God commands us all to be hospitable

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? {8} Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:7-8

'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; {36} 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
Matthew 25:35-36

"But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
Luke 14:13

distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Romans 12:13

Let brotherly love continue. {2} Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. {3} Remember the prisoners as if chained with them; those who are mistreated; since you yourselves are in the body also.
Hebrews 13:1-3

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

Hospitality helps cure the addictions of modern society. The Godly patriarch practices hospitality, and helps his neighbors understand:

  • What is hospitality?
  • Who should we invite into our home?
  • What is required for good hospitality?
  • How do we control the things which hinder hospitality?
  • How can we develop the following foundations of Godly hospitality:
    • Alertness
    • Initiative
    • Persuasiveness
    • Generosity
    • Perception/Discernment

4. A Health Center

The State would like us to think that we would all be sick or dead without its management of our health care. God promises that if we obey His Commandments, "I will put none of these diseases upon thee" (Exodus 15:26). A Godly patriarch teaches his neighbors about good health:

  • What is God's directive for increased health?
  • Why does an evil society, dominated by tyrants, hate health and healthy bodies?
  • What are the causes of sickness?
  • What is God's frame of reference for health?
  • What are the reigning false philosophies in medicine?

5. A Craft Center

A well governed society correctly answers these questions, and a Godly patriarch helps his neighbors understand:

  • How does hospitality relate to home industry?
  • How does giving to the poor bring unexpected rewards?
  • What character is reflected in products and services?
  • Why is generosity more important than a Harvard business degree?
  • What is the key to a successful home industry?
  • What are the cautions for a home industry?

All of these aspects of a a dynamic home characterized the Patriarchy Abraham, and are necessary for a well-governed society.

Next: What about crime?

The Christmas Conspiracy




Vine & Fig Tree

Paradigm Shift


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