By Dr. Mark H. Creech, Executive Director
Christian Action League
A cartoon once showed a small boy talking to his toys in the playroom, explaining that his Dad phoned and asked him to pray for him. It seems he had been called in for a tax audit. One of the characters observed, “There are no atheists in the IRS waiting room.”
It’s unfortunate, but many are unaware that the reason our nation’s taxes are so high is directly related to our forgetting God. Because we have neglected and forsaken Him, the state has positioned itself to take his place as Lord and attempts to shepherd its citizens from birth to death with various social programs. Instead of understanding its rightful role as protector of the citizenry’s God-given rights, the state sees its role as society’s Savior.
But the Scriptures are diametrically opposed to this approach to governing. The eighth commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” applies to the state as well as individuals. The ownership of private property is a key element to sustaining liberty. According to Romans 13:4-7, the only taxes the state has a right to levy are those that provide for it to wield the sword to judge and suppress evil.
R.J. Rushdooney once explained why taxes are so astronomical these days. He wrote,
We are taxed because of our sins; we have made the state our god and our shepherd. Men prefer the state’s tax to God’s tithe; the state takes far more wealth than does God, but God requires moral responsibility of us. We prefer rather to be taxed and to whine than to tithe and be godly men.
When a state deserts its spiritual moorings, Criminal law scholar, Julius Goebel, Jr. noted that its objective “is no longer peace and order; it is primarily fiscal.” Isn’t this exactly where we are today? It seems that all matters of state are in some way largely about the economy. The state is so large, so removed from its actual role, so outside the parameters God set for it that the value of our property, our hope of prosperity, are controlled by the state and its power to tax. But we can’t expect the state to reduce its taxation or the national debt if we are unwilling to obey God by being good stewards of the personal and private resources he has given us.
The fact that that we pay more tribute (in the form of taxes) to the state than we do to God (in the tithe) is one of the best proofs that we’ve been poor stewards, forgetting him and his ways. In other words, the state is stealing from us because we’ve been stealing from God for decades. The Scriptures admonish, “[By not making payments] of 10 percent and the contributions. You are suffering under a curse, yet you – the whole nation – are still robbing me. Bring the full 10 percent into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your ground, and your vine in your field will not be barren,” says the Lord of Hosts. “Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land, says the Lord of Hosts” (Malachi 3:8-12).
This is certainly not to advocate that people should stop paying their taxes. It’s only meant to convey that we must work to restructure the tax code to abide within the confines God has ordained for the role of government. We must begin to cut back on government programs that the state has no biblical or constitutional authorization to provide. Still, many of these services will need to be provided and unless Christians are willing to tithe as God commands, the needed resources will be unavailable.
Nevertheless, this is the bottom line; we have forgotten God and substituted the state for our dependence on Him. Because we have looked to government as our Savior, our liberty is now greatly diminished. If we would not prefer the state’s tax to God’s tithe, our hope and prosperity would be greater and our obligation to the state much less.