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Kudzu Government: When the State Grows Wild

Chuck Colson | BreakPoint | Friday, May 14, 2010

Kudzu Government: When the State Grows Wild

May 14, 2010

From General Motors to health care. From bank bailouts to national anti-obesity campaigns. Government is becoming more and more involved of every aspect of American life.

Most Christians are rightly uncomfortable with this. But most of us can't explain to our friends and neighbors why that is. That's one reason I broadcast BreakPoint every day—to help Christians understand and defend a Christian worldview as it applies to every area of life.

It's also why I launched the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. At ColsonCenter.org, we feature the work of respected theologians and worldview thinkers—people like T.M. Moore, my long-time colleague.

As part of his weekly "ViewPoint" Bible studies, T.M. Moore has written for us a fantastic study called "Kudzu Government: The Lust for Autonomy and the Roots of Statism."

The fundamental principle of a statist worldview, T. M. writes, is the belief that "government is in the best position to create the conditions and provide the framework for maximum human flourishing. When such becomes the operating principle of a nation, then nothing is off limits for government intrusion, revision, redefinition, and control."

T. M. compares this kind of government to kudzu, a rapid-growing, leafy vine. Kudzu has its proper place—as an ornamental vine in a garden. But when it grows unchecked, it literally devours everything in its path. Any of you who have ever driven down a country road in the South know exactly what I mean.

Likewise, government has its proper, biblically sanctioned role—which is to restrain evil and promote justice. But as T. M. writes, "When government becomes a law unto itself...it breaks the bounds of its proper confines, and forcing its ways on every other area and aspect of life, it smothers and chokes everything it touches—values, institutions, establishments and entities—and replaces them with itself."

The statist worldview is particularly dangerous to religion. As T.M. writes, "Few things rankle the kudzu state more than the loud-mouthed prophet who simply won't go along with the program." So statist regimes either silence religion altogether (a la Communism and Nazism), or, just as insidiously, co-opt religion to use as a tool for government power and policy.

Look at the situation in America today. I've talked many times about the threat of abortion and gay marriage to religious freedom. Revoking non-profit status, laws about anti-discrimination in employment, revoking medical or pharmaceutical licenses—these are all "soft" ways that government can seek to force religious individuals and institutions into conforming to government policies.

What makes T. M.'s study on "Kudzu Government" so useful is the way it employs Scripture to illustrate the dangers of statism. The story of Jeroboam, Joseph in Egypt, Ahab, David, and Solomon—all of these illustrate the tendency of those in power to want to assert more and more authority over their subjects' lives.

Please come to ColsonCenter.org to download a free copy of "Kudzu Government." Use it yourself, and give it to your small group.

And be sure to come back every week for a new ViewPoint study by T. M. Moore on topics of great interest to Christians—all from a thoroughly biblical perspective.

Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.