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Monday, March 05, 2018


Life is complicated and it becomes more so when government gets involved.

There are two conceptual forms of government – external and internal.

External government is easily identified as civil government. External or civil government is based upon the flow of power and force worked upon the individual from the outside, in. It is government imposed from the top down.

Internal government presumes that individuals can control and govern themselves, their lusts, and their appetites. It is informed by the New Testament of which the early settlers and writers of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were well familiar. Internal government is not motivated from the perspective that “God’s gonna getcha.” That would be a form of tyranny. Rather, internal government is akin to an internalized understanding of right and wrong and a desire to do right. It is the flow of power and force, working from the inside, out.

Our founders understood the high value of internal self-government. Because they had this general understanding the need for external government was diminished. Consequently, the US Constitution is relatively brief compared to the founding documents of many nations relying on external control. Moreover, it required very few amendments over time.

Without a doubt the essence of the Founders’ thinking underlying the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution was Biblical Christianity. They were steeped in the thinking of Reformation Europe as we as classical learning.

In his important work “Democracy in America” Alexis de Tocqueville observed the effect of internal government at work. “There is hardly any human action, however particular it may be, that does not originate in some very general idea men have conceived of the Deity, of his relationship to mankind, of the nature of their own souls, and of their duties to their fellow creatures. Nor can anything prevent these ideas from being the common spring from which all the rest emanates.”

And again he observes, “Fixed ideas about God and human nature are indispensable to the daily practice of men’s lives;…General ideas respecting God and human nature are therefore the ideas above all other which it is most suitable to withdraw from the habitual action of private judgement and in which there is most to gain and least to lose by recognizing a principle of authority.”

Space limits extensive quotes from multiple sources supporting internal self-government. However, worthy of note are two works in particular dealing with the Christian roots of the American system of government and the notion of internal self-government as the flow of power and force, working from the inside, out. The first is The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government. The second is The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government with Union. Both were written by Verna M. Hall.

In short, man must govern himself according to God’s laws, or be governed by tyrants. Without a Christian perspective, self-government can, and often does, degenerate into rule by appetite, lust by license, and ultimately tyranny.

The proper flow of power and force in government is from God to the individual and from the individual to the state. As stated in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” External government can therefore become a reflection of God-centered internal government working outward. Explicitly, the New Testament becomes the basis for the internal flow of power and force, working from the inside, out.

In civil or external government the flow of power and force assumes various systems. Enumerated they include autocracy, bureaucracy, communism, democracy, elitism, fascism, plutocracy, republicanism, socialism, technocracy, and theocracy.

The record of America as a Christian nation resides in the documented history of her founding. Unfortunately, this record has been deliberately obscured under the rubric of separation of church and state thus depriving individuals of their Christian heritage of individual liberty. Christianity has increasingly been excluded from the public square including public schools.

Many internal government concepts have been lost as Christianity is driven from the public square. The question becomes, “What is to inform the individual of the notion of internal self-governance?” All too often the answer lies in external governance. So many laws, regulations, and ordinances beset us now that undoubtedly we are in violation of some rule unknown to us on any given day. Every time some crisis besets us there are many who call for new laws and regulations even when older ones are not enforced.

External government knows no bounds when attempting to control human nature.


Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).



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