In the previous issue of Biblical Economics Today, I discussed a remarkable opportunity that the collapsing economies of the Iron Curtain countries presented to evangelicals. Leaders in these nations approached Western Christians and asked for advice on how to reconstruct their countries’ economies. They were greeted with either stony silence or a reading list of secular humanist economics books (hopefully, free market humanism rather than Keynesian humanism). Then, on August 19, the opportunity was removed in the Soviet Union by the removal of Gorbachev from power. On August 21, the coup failed. Opportunity restored!
For at least two centuries, and really for over three centuries, Christian theologians and intellectual leaders have self-consciously avoided discussing the details of economics and politics from the point of view of the Bible. They have adopted either right-wing Enlightenment thought or left-wing Enlightenment thought (usually the former until the rise of neo-evangelicalism after World War II) in the name of Christianity. They have not turned to the Bible as an authoritative source. They have steadfastly maintained two contradictory positions:
“The Bible has the answers to all of life’s problems.”
“The Bible is not a textbook on [fill in the blank]”
The scenario I outlined–the collapse of left-wing Enlightenment economics–is not hypothetical. It is a reality. This is why Christians have now been given such a tremendous opportunity to evangelize the Soviet world. The spiritual vacuum created by a collapsing Marxist faith is exactly what we had supposedly been praying for in the West. But Christians never really imagined that God would answer this prayer. When He did (perhaps only briefly), Christian leaders had nothing specific to suggest in the way of political reconstruction. They agree with the political worldview articulated in 1976 by Scientific Creationist Henry M. Morris:
Biblical Christianity is pan-political. It can and has existed and flourished under all types of political systems. In fact, church history witnesses to the phenomenon of a church that prospers more during persecution than under more favorable circumstances.
Ironically, this statement appears in his book, The Bible Has the Answer (1976 edition, p. 271). Some answer! What is the supposedly biblical answer to those Christians in Iron Curtain countries who may at last have escaped from the tyranny of the Soviets’ Gulag Archipelago of the concentration camps? “Christianity is pan-political. In all honesty, you were much better off spiritually in the camps! Church history shows this.” Here we have it in a nutshell: the comprehensive Intellectual bankruptcy of modern fundamentalism.
Morris argues brilliantly in his book, The Long War Against God (1989), that Darwinism captured both right-wing and left-wing social theory within a generation of Darwin’s death. He shows how totally Darwinian ideas have permeated modern social theory. He shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Darwinian evolutionary ideas could not be contained within the narrow confines of historical geology, paleontology, and biology. But when he reaches the final chapter of his book, “The Everlasting Gospel,” he offers a 67-page gospel tract. There is not a word on how six-day creationism has inescapable implications for economic and political theory and precisely what these implications are. Silence. Dead silence.
Should we wonder how the Darwinists so easily swept Christians from the corridors of influence? Christians have had nothing uniquely biblical to say. Christians cannot reasonably hope to transform the comprehensive worldview of Darwinian humanism with endless incantations of the words “water hydraulics” and “flood geology.” But the dispensationalists and (to a lesser extent) the Amillennialists who have dominated six-day creationism from the beginning have had as their operating presupposition the idea that God does not call Christians to challenge the comprehensive worldview of Darwinism, let alone transform a social world based on that worldview. They deny that this is possible on this side of the Rapture. They expect us to bear witness to the narrow truths of food geology and the second law of thermodynamics, but nothing more. Anything else is “utopianism,” i.e., theonomic postmillennialism. Their defeatist eschatologies and their implicit antinomianism have undermined their creationism. (I cover this in detail in my book, Is the World Running Down?)
Yet these people are the best of the bunch. Too many of the neo-evangelical leaders–theistic evolutionists all–think that the welfare State is in fact the Bible’s required way.
Spiritual vacuums will be filed. Will we once again see the cults rush in where Christians fear to tread? Will we once again see revival come, but not Christian revival? Will we once again see God’s Church caught flat-footed?
Nobody would have imagined as recently as 36 months ago that an opportunity like this would have been made available to the Church. Nobody in any position of leadership foresaw the collapse of the Berlin wall, nor did anybody suspect that Christians would be brought in specifically to give advice to the leaders of the Iron Curtain countries about what ought to be done. The Church was caught flatfooted by the Soviet Union. Then came repression. Again. Now there is another opportunity.
But it is not just that the Church was caught flatfooted by the Soviet Union; the Church was caught flatfooted by God. It was not that the Church had spent decades and even centuries developing specific answers to real-world problems based on biblical revelation. The Church had no gigantic body of literature and materials available to it, to be able to take anywhere on the face of the earth and recommend the transformation of pagan social institutions. The Church was not caught flatfooted by its failure to come to the Soviet Union and provide solutions; the Church was caught flat-footed because it had no biblical solutions to offer.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)