Posted in Biblical Questions

My Money, My Property: A God Given Concept

In my last post I answered the question as to whether or not the concept of a nanny state was condemned in Scripture. If you’d like to read my thoughts on that then you may click here. Today, I wanted to address another question regarding personal wealth. I’ve been challenged on the idea of “my money” and “my property” as “troubling” by a reader. This post is a defense of sorts of my position. Enjoy.

The commandment “Thou shall not steal” presupposes the idea that people have personal property/wealth. Now there is a legitimate sense in which one might say that all things are God’s. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth (Gen 1.1), and in an ultimate sense all property, all forms of wealth, are the Lord’s (Exod 19.5; Psa 24.1; 50.12). In fact one of the first instances that we see the law of God put on display in the Bible is in the beginning.

No Trespassing, No Theft…

After God had created man, placed him in the garden, and eventually made the woman from his side, the Lord made it very clear to Adam that he (and his wife with him) had been given delegated authority on the earth. All dominion was given to mankind (male and female) in the sense of stewardship to their Maker. In light of this fact, all the earth was presented to the man and woman as a gift from the Lord.

He tells the man in Genesis 2:16, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden…,” for “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (Gen 1.29). The only caveat God placed on the man (and woman through him) was in regards to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That one, of two trees placed in the middle of the garden in Eden, had a “No Trespassing” sign placed upon it. The Lord warned Adam, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” (Gen 2.17a), and the sincerity of the prohibition was marked with a death penalty: “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2.17b). To attempt to steal from the Lord, which in this particular case was an attack on His sovereign position, was to meet dire consequences.

The ability to acquire wealth…

We are told in the Bible that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1.17; cf. Matt 7.11). He not only gives to His friends, but also to His enemies (Matt 5.45; cf. Psa 145.9). And so, He likewise expects His people to do the same thing (Matt 5.44; cf. Exod 23.4-5; Prov 25.21-22).

Therefore, it is rightly said that everything that we acquire in this life is a result of our heavenly Father giving these things to us. This includes the place and timing of our birth (Acts 17.26; cf. Deut 32.7-8). This includes our ability to acquire wealth (Deut 8.18), and even the lose of it (Deut 15.11; Prov 22.2).

After God offers the prohibition against theft in Exodus 20:15, He then lays out for His people a variety of case laws that pertain to not only what constitutes theft, but also the type of penalties to be enacted against the violator of the law (cf. Exod 22). The severity of the punishment was to fit the crime. If a person stole a possession then restitution was to be offered to reimburse what was stolen and to penalize the thief (Exod 22.4, 7-9, 12; cf. Luke 19.8). If a person sought to steal a fellow image bearer of God, to essentially rob them of their life, then the perpetrators life would be forfeit (Exod 21.16; Deut 24.7).

God expected that if a person wanted to acquire a commodity that another person had, then the person in question was to pay for the item. The owner set the limit for the price of sale. If the purchaser tried to rob the seller of their profit, then that act would be seen as theft and the individual in question would be counted liable. Equal weights and measures were the sign of just commerce amongst the people (Deut 25..13-16; Prov 20.10). Unjust weights and measures were the sign of corruption, and a call for God’s vengeful judgment to fall (e.g. Amos 8.4-7).

Although property pertains to more than just land, a persons land was considered their own sovereign domain. This was their heritage from the Lord. They were expected to exercise godly dominion over it, and to build a lasting inheritance for their offspring. To attempt to steal someone’s property by moving the marker was a criminal offense in the land of Israel (Deut 19.14; 27.17).

Wrong on all levels…

Theft is wrong on all levels and this includes theft by government coercion. I raise this issue because of the way in which the civil government here in the United States has encroached upon personal property of individuals and families in the form of theft, called public property. It is one thing for a community to decide what they want to do in a unified voice with their own personal property, but quite another for a government agency to assume that they have the legal right to put their fingers on what is not lawfully theirs.

In short, the “No Trespassing” sign in the garden has been extended throughout creation to the children of God. That is not a typo. All property, all wealth is a gift from the Maker, this is true, and all people come into possession of such things because of the common grace of God, this is also true. However, in an ultimate sense all property and wealth which is God’s, which is in turn lent to mankind in the form of legal stewardship is also temporary depending upon what the person does with the wealth and property afforded to him/her.

All the earth is the Lord’s and it is the meek that shall inherit the earth (Matt 5.5). The wealth of the people that do not serve God is held in reserve by the Lord for His people (Exod 3.22; Prov 13.22). This is why it is said that Canaan vomited the Canaanites out of the land (Lev 18.25), and it is also the reason why Israel was driven from the land through war with Assyria and Babylon between the years of (700-580 B.C.), and later in 70 A.D. by Rome (cf. Lev 18.22). Wealth and property are not guaranteed, they are on loan from God. While you have the property you own it is as a tenant, but if you are an unfaithful servant even what you have will be taken away from you (Lev 20.22; Luke 12.16-21; Matt 25.14-29).

Again this applies to individuals, families and nations. The law of “no theft” holds in a personal as well as civil governing fashion. Today, I want to present two biblical examples that verify what I have been discussing.

Civil Government and Personal Property

The Bible is filled with a lot of information. Some of it is prescriptive other parts of it are descriptive. A prescriptive portion tells how one should act; whereas, a descriptive part relays the events of the past to the reader. The judgment of the descriptive passage, like the prescriptive passage, is left to a determination of the Law-Word of God.1

The Tale of Two Kings…

David was a righteous man. Even a brief study of his life shows a heart that loved the Lord. Yes, it is true that he committed some egregious sins during his life. This shouldn’t surprise us since we are all sinners and our righteousness is imputed by God’s grace rather than an independent trait of our own. Left to our own devices apart from God’s sustaining grace and we are prone to stumble headlong into all sorts of despicable things.

Well, there is one event in the life of David that is offered that demonstrates a loving caring heart. One that loved God and neighbor. And it pertains to the subject we have thus far been discussing. What is interesting is that we have a counter example provided for us a little later in Israel’s history—but I get ahead of myself, I apologize.

At a time when a plague hit Israel because David decided to number the army of Israel (see 2Sam 24.1; 1Chron 21.1). To end the devastation being wrought by God’s wrath, David was commanded by the prophet Gad to make an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite (2Sam 24.18; 1Chron 21.18). When the king approached Araunah the man inquired as to why David had come? When David told him the reason (1Chron 21.22) the man offered to give to David the threshing floor along with wood and wheat for a grain offering (1Chron 21.23). But David said to the man, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (1Chron 21.24; italics mine).

I will grant that most commentators focus on the second portion of David’s comment “not offer[ing] burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” It is true that our service to the Lord should cost us everything, for our lives are forfeit or else carrying the cross of Christ is a meaningless sentiment. However, the first part of David’s explanation should not be missed. He understood that what Araunah possessed was his alone. This was his inheritance from the Lord God. To just take the man’s property without paying for it would have been a dishonorable thing. David realized that what the man possessed had value and that value was worth its “full price.”

A little later down the line another king came to rule and his name was Ahab. Ahab was an unrighteous king. But he saw the property of Naboth the Jezreelite as something he desperately wanted. King Ahab coveted Naboth’s beautiful vineyard. He said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money” (1Kgs 21.2).

On the surface this seems a fair thing to say. Naboth possessed a commodity that the king desired. The king offered what he believed to be a fair price for the land. But it is the owner that possesses sovereign authority to do with his possession as he sees fit. And, it doesn’t matter who is seeking to purchase it, if the owner does not want to sell, then God gives the individual the right to do with it as he sees best. So, Naboth responded to king Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers” (1Kgs 21.3).

When the king’s wife Jezebel learned of this she said to her husband, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite” (1Kgs 21.7). Jezebel had false charges brought about Naboth for blasphemy and had him stoned to death, so that her husband could steal the man’s possession. And God through His servant Elijah condemned the two of them to death (1Kgs 21.17-19).

What’s my point?

Two civil magistrates wanted the personal property of another. The one purchased the property because the owner wanted to sell it. The other stole the property and killed the owner because they coveted what the owner possessed. Theft is theft. Doesn’t matter if it is an individual or a civil governing official, the prohibition “Thou shall not steal” stands as a righteous standard that shall not be crossed.

Once again we see that socialism is evil. And just because someone tells me “Yeah, but our government already does it” doesn’t mean that the government or the person trying to defend it is right. It is wrong for the civil government to steal a family’s inheritance, their land or their money. And it is wrong for you as an individual to want them to do it so that you can have some form of benefit from it. I wish more people took the time to think through these truths. Saying this is my money or my property should not be viewed as a troublesome concept, but a biblical one. God gives and therefore it becomes ours and He says no one else has permission to acquire it by any means without our say so. Period.

ENDNOTE:

1For example, Lot fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah is a prescriptive activity of what one should do when warned by God to flee an area of judgment. On the other hand, Lot sleeping with his daughters in a drunken stupor after being saved from the destruction of the cities on the plain is a descriptive passage of how corrupted he and his children were from living in a culture that tormented his righteous soul. This later event should be taken in light of God’s Word as a warning to guard one’s heart by God’s Law-Word, and not to follow the whims of pagan culture.

Posted in Biblical Questions

Is the Nanny State a Biblical Concept?

A few weeks back I was asked a litany of questions by a reader that I believe are important areas of concern for the Christian who seeks to live their life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. We are all commanded in Scripture to “Love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength” and in a similar fashion to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” These are not guidelines but direct commands.

The question we must ask in answering these commands is “How am I to show love first for God and then for neighbor?” Loving God is only possible when we obey His voice. Meaning when we uphold His Law-Word in our life (Matt 5.17; Rom 3.31). For it is the law of God that defines the proper way we are to respond to our Lord and Savior and to our fellow man. The two “love” commands mentioned above are summations of the entire moral code that God has revealed in the Old Testament (Matt 22.40; Rom 13.9-10).

Today, I wanted to offer a brief answer to one of the questions that was posed to me by the reader of a post I had written entitled “How to Know Whether You Should Stand or Kneel “. He asked, “Can you find any examples of ‘nanny state’ activity being condemned?” This particular person took issue with my stance that socialism and communism are sisters sharing an underlying presupposition about personal wealth and property. In our back and forth dialogue he challenged this premise among others. Looking back I found the conversation very fruitful. Some dislike arguments or debates where two sides cannot seem to come to agreement, but I believe that they may serve as growing opportunities for those who seriously desire to know the truth.

So, does Scripture (the sixty-six books of the Holy Bible) condemn a nanny state? I believe so, but before I explain why, I want to lay out what I believe is a foundational issue that undergirds my response.

An Issue of Authority

It is my contention that the civil government has a limited sphere of authority where it is allowed to operate. I base this line of thinking on the fact that only the Triune Creator God of the Bible is absolutely sovereign. His authority is limitless in that He does whatever He pleases as a reflection of His holy nature. All other authorities are limited because they derive their authority from God (Rom 13.1-2).

This may be witnessed from a variety of examples…

  • As individuals: All people are created in the image of God (Gen 1.26, 28). The image that we are expected to reflect as a byproduct of our being God’s creature is to reflect Him in all areas of life (word, thought and deed). Thus, we are supposed to be self-governed in light of God’s Word. I’m speaking about the original intent of God for man; pre-fall. After the fall (Gen 3), the inward bent of mankind fell under the curse of sin and as a result we all, as children of Adam, are born children of wrath, sons (and daughters) of disobedience (cf. Eph 2.1-3). The two love commands mentioned above are still in effect, because God’s moral law is still in effect (Matt 5.18). The way we live this life will require an accounting our part. We are responsible for our actions, not the actions of others (Ezek 18.20). We are to be self-governed, we do not have authority to govern others.
  • As parents: Parents are supposed to represent God in their household (Exod 20.12; Deut 11.19). They are given authority to govern and discipline their children in the light of God’s Word (Prov 13.24). But a parent’s authority is limited to their own family unit. Parents do not possess the right to govern or discipline the offspring of another home.
  • As elders/overseers: Within the Church God has ordained leaders to watch over His flock (Acts 20.27-28). They are to govern and discipline the children of God in Christ in light of God’s Word (Eph 4.11-16; Heb 13.17). This requires teaching, instructing, rebuking and correcting so that every person is fully equipped for every good work (2Tim 3.16–4.2). The leadership of one local body does not have authority to govern or discipline members of another congregation. The Church’s authority is unique in that it has authority to speaking into the life of the individual, the family and the state on how they should perform their duties as image bearers of God. The symbol of the Church’s authority is the “keys” of the kingdom (Matt 16.19; 18.18).
  • As civil authorities: Within the confines of the civil government the role of the magistrate, which is identified as a minister of the Lord God in Scripture, is to uphold the good and punish the evil (Rom 13.3). Unlike the Church whose symbol is “keys,” the state bears the symbol of the “sword” (Rom 13.4). Their role is limited in the sense of executing justice and purging evil from society (e.g., Deut 19.9b-20).

All of these spheres of governance are to be guided by one universal standard—the Law-Word of God. Since as Jesus testified, “only God is good” the only way one might truly define good versus bad behavior in the individual, the family, the Church or the Civil government is by that which is revealed from God—His Holy Word.

On the Legitimacy of the Nanny State

Having expressed my categorical understanding of authorities and their subsequent limitations, I believe we are now able to begin looking at the issue of whether or not a nanny state is a legitimate exercise of the civil government.

A brief definition…

So that we are all on the same page, I wanted to take a moment and offer a brief definition of the subject being questioned for legitimacy. A “nanny state” is one that attempts to provide for the needs of her people. This includes a variety of areas and/or services. Things like education, healthcare, food and living assistance, employment, wage and price controls on businesses, etc. Some I suppose would include emergency services like EMS/EMT, Fire, and police. I would be inclined to place police in a separate category as they are designated as law enforcement, tasked with protecting the citizenry and maintaining the peace.

An issue of funding…

Now the question is how does a “nanny state” provide those various services? Do they raise their own money in order to pay for them? Often times you will hear those that lean strongly to the social left in our nation (like Bernie Sanders) promise free healthcare, free education, free living, free food, etc. But who pays for the medicine or the medical staff? Who pays for the literature and the teaching fees? Who pays for section 8 housing? Who pays for the credit on the EBT card? Where does the funding come from for such programs? Who fits the bill for the cost of production, for the construction of facilities, for the maintenance and upkeep of services? Where does the money come from?

The nanny state sounds great to those on the receiving end of the promised services (needs met), but from where do they acquire the wealth to provide such things? The backs of others. Since the civil government does not produce wealth, it must glean from the wealth of others. That is to say, they must take from the wealth of the citizens to provide for the needs of others. This is accomplished through taxation.

False Pretenses…

Socialism pretends that property should be public rather than private. That personal wealth must be distributed to others. They take from the first-fruits of some citizens that are considered well-off, in order to given to those who are deemed “poor.” Socialism loves a graduated tax rate. If you work harder than your neighbor, if you are wiser with your time and you manage your resources better, and this is demonstrated in the building of wealth, then you will be gouged at a higher rate.

Why is socialism evil? Where might we turn to find a condemnation of the nanny state? Wait for it. Its really easy. So easy in fact you need to prepare for it:

“THOU SHALL NOT STEAL.”

Exodus 20:15

Closing Thoughts…

According to the Word of God no one has the right to another persons’ property. It does not matter if it is your neighbor, the Church, or the civil government. No one has the right to reach into another man’s wealth and take it for themselves. To argue that all you’re really concerned about is the poor. To say its not fair that you have this much wealth and your neighbor doesn’t. To demand that what another has should be given to others, without the owner deciding of their own free will—apart from any form of coercion—is demonic.

I’m not saying that every one who has bought into this line of thinking is purposefully serving the devil’s desires, but to say you can take from someone else without their permission, without their cheerful desire to give, is to challenge what God has written as holy, good and loving. Judas Iscariot had that attitude and we know who he served (John 12.5-6).

Based on this text alone the concept of the “nanny state” is an unbiblical practice. Period.

Posted in Musings

Musings on the Subject of Theft

I think most people will grant that theft is wrong. If I steal from another, if I rob a store, or my next door neighbor down the street, then the average person will quickly point out that such activity is wrong, shouldn’t be done, and ought to be punished when brought to light. Theft, for the majority of persons on this planet is morally reprehensible.

Situational Ethics…

But what about the situation where the theft occurs? Are there factors that may have a positive or negative effect on the action of the individual or group? In other words, does the circumstance surrounding the situation where theft occurs make it an act of goodness in some cases, but one of evil in others? Can theft be morally acceptable given the proper context?

One way that theft is made to look appealing is through the following popular argument. The argument falls under the subcategory of situational ethics. “What if a man stole a loaf of bread to feed his family?” A similar argument was used this summer to justify the looting during some of our domestic terrorist groups rioting—ur um…peaceful protests! The discussion by some at the political level regarding reparations would also fall into this niche.

In Light of a Biblical Worldview…

During a family home Bible study, our children asked a plethora of questions pertaining to current events and just life in general. At one point one of my teenage boys tried to stump me, but when I cited a text of Scripture that spoke on the issue he had raised, he said somewhat jokingly, “Oh my…I guess the Bible has an answer for everything!”

Yes, the Bible does. It wouldn’t be much of a book at all if it failed to give a full-orbed world and life view. If the Christian faith, which is based upon biblical revelation, were not an all encompassing, every aspect of life is to be weighed by it, type of faith, then it wouldn’t be much of a faith at all. But all of Scripture is God-breathed, and therefore useful (and necessary) for interpreting, knowing, and correcting all of life so that each person who is called of God might be fully equipped to live as a proper image bearer in this world.

Returning the Situational Argument

And so, we return back to the question of theft. Most know and acknowledge that theft is wrong; especially, when they are the one being robbed. But for some, a way is sought around this truth by pulling out of their hat an appeal to pity. The argument of the loaf stealing innocent tries to impress the listener with the idea that we ought to have pity on them. That this “gray” area should remove from it the penalty required for such criminal activity. But what does the Word of God say on this issue?

Insight from the Book of Proverbs:

Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry; but when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house” (Prov 6.30-31; NASB).

This little text is crouched in the middle of a warning against adultery. To sleep with another’s spouse is to commit an act of theft. She is not your bride and so, my son, you would do well to guard your steps by the light of God’s Law (Prov 6.23), rather than walk along a path destined for doom (Prov 6.27-29).

The idea in verses 30-31 is to point out that though stealing of all sorts is wrong, as people, we have a little more understanding when someone does it out of a perceived need. A jealous husband, though, the father warns, will not be so lenient (Prov 6.34). He will repay (Prov 6.35).

Offering a Contrast…

This set of verses (30-31) offers a contrast between the opinions of men on a given situation. What they do not teach is that it is okay to steal, if you are stealing to satisfy your grumbling belly or if you are doing it for a loved one. Better to beg, to beseech or to work on an empty belly in the hope of wages in order to purchase your own food, than to steal. For if the thief is caught, he is still held accountable to the law of God. An objective standard still exists and it does so for good reason.

A quick glimpse at the meaning…

The meaning of “sevenfold” or “the substance of his house” means to convey the perfect penalty under the law. The crime will be met with a complete sentence of retribution. The thief will have to pay back at least two-fold what was taken as the law requires (Exod 22.4, 7, 9). And if he is unable to do that because he is truly poor, then he will have to sell himself into servitude in order to pay off the debt that is owed for stealing from his neighbor (Exod 22.3).

Current cultural insights weighed…

Our current culture believes that all sorts of theft is not only allowable, but also justified. Looting during “peace protests” is one such example. Our current attitude towards taxing the rich is another. Forcing generations far removed from the sins of the past to pay reparations for how one sector of our society was mistreated is another. All are different forms of the same thing: theft. Not one is justified. Not one is good. And not one should be held in high esteem. They should all be vilified, shouted down, and firmly stood against. The situation or the circumstance does not legitimize these criminal acts.

And being an election year…who you vote for will determine whether or not such things are not only propagated but enforced. Therefore, say NO to the party of the Donkey. Say NO to Biden and Harris.

Posted in Worldview Analysis

A Little Folklore Turned Reality: Robin Hood and Redistribution of Wealth

Folklore has a way of taking a look at life from a perspective that some might yearn was reality, though it be nothing more than fantasy. One particularly famous lore that will at least momentarily dominate my comments for the moment and be a stepping stone of sorts to a related topic, is that of Robin of Loxley, a.k.a. Robin Hood. The tale told for centuries with various takes on certain parts of it goes something like this:

At some point in England’s past when kings reigned supreme and there was a great divide between the classes of wealth (nobility and peasantry). Wen wars were fought in the name of Christ on foreign fronts, but they in no way represented the biblical message of Christianity (i.e., the Crusades). An imprisoned noble finally escapes and returns to his homeland that has been ravaged by tyranny. Those in power have acquiesced more, and those who were just trying to etch out a peaceful life in the hovel are barely able to keep their heads out of the cesspits. Many are found starving and heavily burdened under the increased tax load of the Sheriff of Nottingham; the evil mastermind, who has taken possession of lands in the wake of King Richard’s war, including our young lord Loxley.

My favorite depiction of this popular yarn is the one from the 90’s starring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). I watched the newer version with Jamie Fox and Taron Egerton earlier this year, but didn’t really care for it. Preferring instead the older version of my youth. Perhaps that is personal bias on my part, can’t really say, but I just thought the overall story arch was much better. That and I’ve always enjoyed Costner and Freeman as actors.

However, I’m not a movie reviewer. You are free to like whatever version you please. My chief concern is the method of attack that is used by both versions of Robin Hood. Namely, the taking from the rich and powerful and giving to the poor and downtrodden.  

Perverted Justice…

I think that there is something about this perverted form of justice that speaks to our hearts. We don’t like to see others abused; which, is a good thing. Especially, by those who have connived their way to the top over the backs of others.

Governments are meant to govern the people by means of protecting them from evil and upholding the good, not the other way around. And so, there is a sense of “that’s what you get!” when we see Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men robbing the Sheriff’s bloating kitty (i.e., treasury). We feel a sense of justification with the concept of “taking from the rich and giving to the poor.”  Our hearts are momentarily elated when we see the nasty tyrants—the rich and powerful—getting what they deserve!

But as I said a moment ago, this is a “perverted form of justice.” You see, what we forget in this noble tale is that Robin “the” Hood is an outlaw. That is, he is living the life of someone outside the boundary of the law. He is stealing, but it is considered justified (i.e., a good thing), because he is giving to the needy masses by taking from the no good for nothing rich.

“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Lev 19.15; emphasis added. ESV throughout. Cf. Deut 16.19).

A commonly held belief that stealing is okay, not really criminal, if a person does it in need. I’m sure you’ve heard the scenario about the man just trying to steal a loaf of bread or some other form of food to feed his family. While the story is meant to pull on your hearts strings it is not a legitimate argument. In an effort to cover the act of thievery, we play the sympathy card: “What about his wife and/or children? It’s not fair that they should go without.”

“People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry…” (Prov 6.30)[1]

A Dose of Reality…

While a compassionate person will truly relate to such sentiments. (I mean you’d have to be a pretty heartless person to not care about the physical wellbeing of other people). The truth regarding theft has not changed. It is wrong. It doesn’t matter who does it. It doesn’t matter what the motives were. To take from another and give to someone else is criminal.

“but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house” (Prov 6.31).[2]

In the story of Robin Hood, those who serve as civil magistrates—in this case the Sheriff of Nottingham—are wrong for increasing the tax burden on the people to build up the public treasury for their own personal gain. People are not called to serve the government as god, the government ought to serve its people under God.[3] That is why they are in power. And the way that they do this best is when they refrain from going outside their normal parameter of operations. Defending her citizens not harming them by robbing them, is the boundary line they are tasked with not passing.

That being said, Robin “the” Hood is no less guilty for his theft. He too is required to be obedient to the law, he is not above it. Am I then saying it is wrong to fight against government induced oppression? No, I’m not. For there are times when such action is justified.

For the government is not a law unto itself. It is bound by the same Law that binds all hearts. The refusal to submit to this overarching Law is just a much an act of rebellion as when Robin Hood robs the tax trains and steals from fattened nobles benefiting from the tyranny running rampant in the land. But our method of resisting tyranny ought not to be to abandon the law that governs society as a whole.

Wishy Washy…

Of course, I am speaking now as if there is an absolute, universal law-system that is meant to govern the affairs of all people. Which is true. A law-system in flux cannot govern, for the standard to be applied is always changing. As the late R. J. Rushdoony pointed out, such a fluctuating system of law will inevitably go down either one of two paths. Either anarchy will reign (whatever I the individual says is right is right, whatever I call wrong is wrong), or totalitarianism will rule the day (whatever the government says is right is right, whatever the government says is wrong is wrong).  

What one calls theft today might be seen as a viable occupation wherein one might receive a daily wage. How then can you ever get upset if someone takes from you? The consistently rational person realizes that you can’t. If there is no overarching law-system in place that is beyond people, even beyond the government, then you can’t call taking from someone who has in an effort to give to someone who has not (you?) theft. Rather, a better name for it might be “redistribution of wealth.”

Lies of Free under the guise of Redistribution

Does that sound familiar? It ought to. That is the conviction of a great number of politicians in our country. They promise “free” healthcare for all, “free” education for all, “free” food for all, “free” money for all, but in order to give that “free stuff” they have to take from someone else. We have been weaned on this mindset over the past few generations—dating back to some time in the early-mid 20th century (at least here in the U.S.).

By the way there is no such thing as “free” when it comes to the things mentioned above. People work in those fields (healthcare, education, food industry, etc.) and they don’t do the work for free. How are those people paid for providing those “free” services? Why, by taking from the wealthiest among us. It is interesting how popular the story of Robin Hood is. For on the one hand there is a sense of justice involved in it, but on the other the method of acquiring justice is anything but.

Class Envy…

Here in the West we have the same mindset, and it is driven by class envy. I have known some very wealthy people in my life. Do you know how they acquired that wealth? They worked their butts off. They put in time and invested their own money, while the majority of us struggle through our daily tasks, kick our shoes off at the end of a hard day, and sit in front of the Telly.  

I listen to others complain, “Why does anybody need that much money? It’s not right that they have “x” amount of dollars.” The solution they offer, that they are proud to offer, is these richer citizens should pay a higher tax rate in order to provide for those less fortunate. Politicians on both sides of the aisle (Republican and Democrat), although we need to face the fact that socialists are the controlling factor of the Democratic platform, play on the emotions of the people. They play on their covetous nature. They play on their envy. Those socialistic leaders in Washington have clothed themselves in the garb of Robin Hood before the people and all the while they are the incarnation of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Like the poor people receiving scraps of bread from the hands of Robin as he rides by on horseback, the citizens in this nation who have their hands out say “Thank you, sai! Thank you so much for your kindness. Thank you for providing for my needs. God bless you Robin…!”

Being rich is not a sin. Amassing great wealth is not a sin. Acquiring properties and land is not a sin. If a person works hard, puts in the time and effort, it is right that they receive their due wages.

It is wrong to take from others, in order to redistribute their wealth to the masses. That is a sin. It is also theft. Doesn’t matter if it is the citizen who holds her hand out for the scraps from Washington’s table. Doesn’t matter if it is Washington pretending that they are some savior knight who wields a bow. IT IS THEFT, plain and simple. We need to stop looking at this subject with blinded eyes. The scales need to fall off, and we need to see the truth applies to all:

“You shall not steal” (Exod 20.15).


ENDNOTES:

[1] God does make a distinction in the act. There are degrees of evil, some lesser and some greater. But God is the One who weighs the overall motives. At the same time, He recognizes that people are nominally more accepting of a poor man stealing because of some perceived need, than the greedy person taking what they don’t need because they are never satisfied.

[2] However, regardless of the motive of the crime. The criminal act is not justified just because of someone’s perceived needs (real or not). The thief is still held accountable according to God’s law. They are still liable for punitive damages. They must still repay what they have take from another. Better it would have been for the poor, if work was not available, to ask their neighbor for help in humility than justify taking from another in an instance of pride.

[3] That is to say, the governing authorities—whether they realize it or not—answer to a power higher than themselves. Regardless of the personal opinion of so many, the laws on which this nation was founded, the principles that were shared by those who helped form this union, were guided by the belief of the biblical Creator. Biblical precepts, biblical law identified God as the only true Sovereign. Those in leadership were to rule as creatures under His stead. Unfortunately, history is replete with kings or various other forms of civil magistrates that govern a people assuming their own deity. They pretend as if they are a law unto themselves, rather than answerable to One above them. My statement is that people were not created to be slaves of the state, as if that state were their god and master. Rather, the state was ordained by God (i.e., under Him) to serve the people by protecting them from evil at home and abroad.