The Hungry and Insatiable Leviathan

C.S. Lewis is ageless. He died 60 years ago but you would never know it by reading him. I was reminded of that this past weekend at our “Slaying Leviathan” Conference.

Dr. Glenn Sunshine’s book gave us the name for our Friday and Saturday gathering as well as the theme for the weekend:

“Leviathan is rising again, and the first weapon we must recover is the longstanding Christian tradition of resisting governmental overreach. Our bloated bureaucratic state would have been unrecognizable to the Founders, and our acquiescence to its encroachments on liberty would have infuriated them. But here is the point: our Leviathan would not have surprised them. They were well acquainted with the tendency of governments to turn tyrannical: ‘Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty.’”

But sadly our “longstanding Christian tradition” has long been forgotten. And Lewis explained more than half a century ago the danger of doing so:

“Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods….A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age” (from Lewis’s essay on “Learning in War-Time”).

We need historical perspective to understand our own time so that we are not blinded by a “cataract of nonsense” now spewing from our cultural elites. Christians before us have seen the civil magistrate (Leviathan) leave its assigned sphere and reach beyond its scope into the life of family and church.

It is why Dr. Sunshine delivered talks entitled “Church, State, and the Limits of Power,” “Law and Government in the Protestant Reformation,” and “Protestant Resistance Theory.” It is why Dr. John West delivered talks entitled “Politics of Revelation and Reason” and “Scientocracy: Why Scientists Shouldn’t Govern.” And it is why Pastor C.R. Wiley gave a talk called “The Weapon of Prayer” and why I closed the conference with “The Task of the Church and the Means of Grace.”

I encourage you to hit the links provided and listen to what was said. Leviathan is bloated and poised to grab more of what does not belong to him. Not satisfied with what belongs to Caesar, it wants what belongs to God. Eternal vigilance is not just for the citizen, it is even more for the Christian.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
November 3, 2022        

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