Part 1: Chapter 5: The Myth of Neutrality

Gary North and Gary Demar

Narrated By: Daniel Banuelos & Devan Lindsey
Book: Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t


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Chapter Text


After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10

Christians are praying for a worldwide revival. If such a revival comes, that last humanist truth will be abandoned. People will believe that the God of the Bible is not only possible, He has in fact entered into their lives personally.

But when this revolutionary shift of faith comes, what will Christians recommend in place of today’s collapsing humanist culture? That’s what the biblical law is all about: building a new world by means of: (1) God’s permanent moral and institutional blueprints; (2) the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Society is required to manifest progressively in history what Jesus announced after His resurrection: the discipling of the nations. Whole nations must be disciplined by Christ. How? Through the imposition of sanctions by Christians in terms of God’s Bible-revealed law – not just in politics, but in every area of life.

Pietists cringe in horror at such a thought. Sanctions? Imposed by Christians? Before Jesus comes again bodily to impose His international bureaucracy? They shudder at the very thought of Bible-based sanctions in the “Church Age.” (Yes, even local church sanctions on church members. When was the last time you witnessed a public excommunication? Nobody is ever removed from the churches’ rolls today except by death or by voluntary transfer of membership.)

This widespread hostility to biblical civil sanctions necessarily forces Christians to accept the legitimacy of non-biblical civil sanctions. There will always be civil sanctions in history. The question is: Whose sanctions1 God’s or Satan’s? There is no neutrality. Only the legalization of abortion on demand has at last forced a comparative handful of Christians to face the truth about the myth of neutrality. There can be no neutrality for the aborted baby. There is no neutrality in the abortionist’s office. There is either life or death.

We need to begin to train ourselves to make a transition: the transition from humanism’s sanctions to the Bible’s sanctions, in every area of life. This includes politics. God has given His people major political responsibilities that they have neglected for at least fifty years, and more like a century. Christians are being challenged by God to reclaim the political realm for Jesus Christ. We must publicly declare the crown rights of King Jesus.

New Sanctions, New Covenant

Christians today have a golden opportunity – an opportunity that doesn’t come even as often as once in a lifetime. It comes about once every 250 years. The last time it came for Christians was during the American Revolution era (1776-1789). The revolutionary humanists who created and ran the French Revolution (1789-95) created a satanic alternative, one which is with us still in the demonic empire of Communism. But that empire has now begun to crumble visibly.[1]

A showdown is coming, in time and on earth: Christ vs. Satan, Christianity vs. humanism, the dominion religion vs. the power religion. You are being called by God to take up a position of judicial responsibility on the side of Christ. One aspect of this responsibility is to render biblical political judgments.[2]

It is time to begin to prepare ourselves for an unprecedented revival. It is time to prepare ourselves for a “changing of the guard” – in every area of life, all over the world. Our preparation must help us to answer the hoped-for question of God-fearing new converts to Christ: “I’m saved; what now?”

The Covenant Structure

To get the correct answers, we need first to ask the right questions. For a long, long time, Christians and Jews have had the right questions right under their noses, but no one paid any attention. The questions concerning lawful government are organized in the Bible around a single theme: the covenant.

Most Christians and Jews have heard the biblical word, “covenant.” They regard themselves (and occasionally even each other) as covenant people. They are taught from their youth about God’s covenant with Israel, and how this covenant extends (or doesn’t) to the Christian church. Yet hardly anyone can define the word. If you go to a Christian or a Jew and ask him to outline the basic features of the biblical covenant, he will not be able to do it rapidly or perhaps even believably. Ask two Jews or two Christians to explain the covenant, and compare their answers. The answers will not fit very well.

For over four centuries, Calvinists have talked about the covenant. They are known as covenant theologians. The Puritans wrote seemingly endless numbers of books about it. The problem is, nobody until 1985 had ever been able to come up with “the” covenant model in the writings of Calvin, nor in the writings of all his followers. The Calvinists had always hung their theological hats on the covenant, yet they had never put down on paper precisely what it is, what it involves, and how it works – in the Bible or in church history.

The Five-Point Covenant Model

In late 1985, Pastor Ray Sutton made an astounding discovery. He was thinking about biblical symbols, and he raised the question of two New Testament covenant symbols, baptism and communion. This raised the question of the Old Testament’s covenant symbols, circumcision and passover. What did they in common? Obviously, the covenant. But what, precisely, is the covenant? Is it the same in both Testaments (Covenants)?

He began rereading some books by Calvinist theologian Meredith G. Kline. In several books (collections of essays), Kline mentioned the structure of the Book of Deuteronomy. He argued that the book’s structure in fact parallels the ancient pagan world’s special documents that are known as the suzerain (king-vassal) treaties.

That triggered something in Sutton’s mind. Kline discusses the outline of these treaties in several places. In some places, he says they have five sections; in other places, he indicates that they may have had six or even seven. It was all somewhat vague. So Sutton sat down with Deuteronomy to see what the structure is. He found five parts.

Then he looked at other books of the Bible that are known to be divided into five parts: Psalms and Matthew. He believed that he found the same structure. Then he went to other books, including some Pauline epistles. He found it there, too. When he discussed his findings in a Wednesday evening Bible study, David Chilton instantly recognized the same structure in the Book of Revelation. He had been working on this manuscript for well over a year, and he had it divided into four parts. Immediately he went back to his computer and shifted around the manuscript’s sections electronically. The results of his restructuring can be read in his marvelous commentary on Revelation, The Days of Vengeance.[3]

Here, then, is the five-point structure of the biblical covenant, as developed by Sutton in his excellent book, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant.[4]

  1. Transcendence/presence of God
  2. Hierarchy/authority/deliverance
  3. Ethics/law/dominion
  4. Oath/sanctions: blessings and cursings
  5. Succession/inheritance/continuity

The acronym is THEOS. Simple, isn’t it? Yet this view of the covenant structure has implications beyond what even covenant theologians have been preaching for over four centuries. Here is the key that unlocks the structure of human government, and not just civil government. Here is the structure that Christians can use to analyze church, State, family, as well as all other non-covenantal but contractual institutions.

Perhaps you can better understand its importance by considering the five basic questions a person needs to ask before joining any institution:

  1. Who’s in charge here?
  2. To whom do I report?
  3. What are the rules?
  4. What happens to me if I obey (disobey)?
  5. Does this outfit have a future?

God gives us the answers in His Bible. (1) He is in charge; there are no other Gods before Him. (2) All men are to serve Him, worship Him, and rely on Him. Covenantally faithful people do this by becoming members of His church. (3) They show their loyalty by obeying His commandments. (4) If they do obey these commandments, He will (a) protect them and (b) dismay their enemies because they are also His enemies. (5) They and their spiritual heirs will inherit the earth. “His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 25:13). “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:9). “For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off’ (Psalm 37:22).[5]

[1] This economic and also ideological crumbling is real, but not necessarily irreversible militarily. The killing power of the weaponry still in the hands of Soviet generals and admirals dwarf anything possessed by the West.

[2] George Grant, The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Blueprints for Political Action (Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1987).

[3] Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1987.

[4] Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1987.

[5] Gary North, Inherit the Earth (Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1987).