Reformed Reflections

The Political Realm (1993-94)

Two Views at War

In her Canadian Royal Commission report on Equality in Employment, presented in the 1980s, Judge Rosalie Silberman Abella writes that "law in a liberal democracy is the collective expression of the public will." Such a view of the law puts God into the closet and public opinion on the throne. This belief gives man the sovereign right to create, develop and express the values - he happens to prefer. This is a clear break with our Judaeo Christian heritage. How different from the view expressed by the much maligned Dutch Calvinist statesman H. Colyn (1869 -1944). In 1922 he gave a speech in parliament in which he stated that a man who confesses his faith in an Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, and who daily prays, "Thy will be done in heaven so upon earth," has a basis also for his political thinking and his political action. A man who believes in the sovereignty of God over all that lives, has of course, a different conviction of the extent, the basis, the origin and limitation of all authority here on earth than the man who has as his basis of thinking the sovereignty of man, for whom man is the measure of all things.

Our Christian faith is anchored in the sovereignty of God and in the absolute dependence of man on Him. This is God's world. Scripture never limits God's sovereignty to our personal salvation only. God's sovereignty is the governing principle in all human activity. Whether or not sinful human beings recognize this principle as such does not take away its truth. Ever since Adam's fall into sin, man has tried to escape from God's sovereign rule. In his rebellion he wants to be God himself. And whenever man has succeeded in exercising his own sovereignty, the consequences have been the moral and spiritual breakdown of society. Man may not act independently from God. He is responsible to Him for all his actions. Therefore, the doctrine of God's sovereignty must lie at the very heart of all political, social and economic theory and practice. In all our affairs we must recognize Him. Also in our public life we act for the glory of God and submit to His will as found in Scripture. The norm for political action is the revealed will of God.

In a truly pluralistic society Christians should be able to relate their faith to public morality and social responsibilities. In her report "Equality in Employment" Judge Abella perceives the traditional role of the family as an obstacle to the unhindered development and self-realization of women. If she can state publicly her anti-Christian bias so can Christians declare their Biblically formed point of view.

Johan D. Tangelder