Disobedience to Tyrants is Obedience to God

From Gary North, Leadership and Discipleship, Part 5: Dominion Through Subordination

Jesus achieved power over history by His judicial subordination in history. He exercises His power over history through His Church, which represents Him in history. His disciples’ subordination to the Holy Spirit was to be their means of authoritatively announcing His visible kingdom in history. They would cry in the streets. They would now strive judicially — not in a revolutionary sense, but in their public announcement of their unwillingness to obey the courts, either civil or ecclesiastical: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). They refused to remain silent, which was the essence of their judicial insubordination.

Subordination and insubordination

Those who represent Jesus Christ judicially in history — members of His Church — are required by God to remain subordinate to God’s heavenly court. Thus, they must become insubordinate to any human court which requires them to cease bringing God’s covenant lawsuit against the nations. Their subordination to such a human court would constitute insubordination to God’s court. There is no escape in history from subordination and insubordination.

As the gospel spreads by means of the preaching of God’s covenant lawsuit against individuals and institutions, covenant-breakers must resort to force to defend themselves. They must resist the extension of God’s heavenly court in history if they are to defend their way of death. As the conflict between courts escalates in history, those on both sides become more insubordinate: covenant-breakers to God’s heavenly court and covenant-keepers to self-consciously covenant-breaking human courts.

This article was initially written in 1993, where the main political forces eager to silence Christianity was Islam. That’s still true, but since then our Tolerant Secular Friends have demonstrated how deeply they truly value free speech from from a God, a religion, and an ethical system they profoundly despise, backed with the power of the courts, men with guns, and a strictly secular understanding of liberty.

Lessons learned: Loving and Tolerant Secularists seeking power say lots of great big swelling metric tons of cant – all that “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” kind of liberal drivel.

When they gain power, things change in a hurry.

Action point: Christians must work to gain the power and authority to rule themselves – and then disciple the nations, as Jesus Christ demands.

“If Christians do not rule themselves, in accordance to the commands laid out in the Bible and backed by the word of Jesus Christ, then they shall be ruled by those who hate them.”


The adopted sons of God (John 1:12) are not to use violence to reclaim their lawful inheritance. They are to reclaim it by purchase, generation by generation, by means of their own productivity. While ownership of the whole earth was definitively transferred to Jesus Christ at the resurrection, it is transferred progressively to His adopted sons through history. It will be transferred finally at the last judgment.

Christians are not Muslims, and they are not Marxists either. Nor are they to support either the left-wing statist Scottish Enlightenment, nor the right-wing statist French Enlightenment.

We serve a different Lord, and thus must turn to different tools than 1) killing, robbing, and enslaving infidels 2) killing, robbing, and enslaving everyone outside of the Inner Party 3) always looking to maximize & centralize the wealth and power of right-wing governments “in the name of the Elite” 4) always looking to maximize & centralize the wealth and power of left-wing governments “in the name of the People”.

This process of inheritance forces each generation to work hard to increase its legacy for the next generation. Some generations squander a considerable percentage of this legacy. From the late seventeenth century until today, Christians have been squandering this inheritance. Their eschatologies of shipwreck — ghetto eschatologies — have produced a short-term outlook, what economist Ludwig von Mises called high time-preference. In his classic book, The Unheavenly City (1970), Harvard University political scientist Edward Banfield identified this shortened time perspective as lower class. So it is. Without the concept of inheritance over generations, there can be no permanent leadership. This is why God promised His people that their inheritance would last for a thousand generations, if they remained obedient to His law:

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which l command thee this day, to do them. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee (Deut. 7:9-13)

People think that God will never judge the nations.

They think this,

  • AFTER God has effectively destroyed the European Supremacy and their Empires, established 1500.
  • AFTER God has shattered both the Nazi and the Communist nation-states.
  • AFTER God has set in motion technological, demographic & cultural trends that guarantee the collapse (to a greater or lesser degree) of every centralized state by 2100.
  • AFTER the greatest Western Army in the history of the world failed to deal with roughly 10,000 bandits in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts and urban areas of Iraq.
  • NO matter the punishment, no matter the loss, there is no actual possibility of any (Western) European repentance. There is no suspicion on this fact, no consideration that God is hardening their hearts just as He hardened the heart of Pharaoh, to more clearly shatter them in the eyes of the world.

People are blind.

Covenant Theology and Leadership

Because Christians have abandoned the doctrine of the covenant — indeed, have failed even to understand it — they have become lower class. First, the modern Church rejects the doctrine of predestination — the absolute sovereignty of God (Rom. 9; Eph. 1) — as taught by Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. It sees God as transcendent, but He shares His glory with man, who has the power to thwart God’s plan of salvation. That is, He who enforces the covenant often can be vetoed by man. God supposedly will not back up His prophets in history by imposing His corporate sanctions.

Second, Christians reject His covenantal hierarchy. Protestants especially do not fear excommunication. Protestant churches do not honor other churches’ excommunication. The State has become the feared agency today, since the Church is not feared even by Christians.


Third, Christians reject the continuing authority of God’s revealed law. The go running to Aristotle by way of Thomas Aquinas in search of binding civil statutes. “We’re under grace, not law” they shout. No; they are under humanist lawyers.


Humanist lawyers who openly mock and pour contempt on Christians, by the way.

Fourth, they deny that God brings predictable corporate sanctions in history, either positive or negative.


Fifth, they deny that the meek will inherit the earth in history.

Having denied the five points of the biblical covenant, Christians find themselves unable to articulate a distinctly biblical theory of leadership. Christian leaders find themselves laughed at derisively as buffoons by covenant-breakers and reviled by covenant-keepers as power-seeking tyrants. They find themselves confronted by fearful compromisers whose implicit models are those Israelites who reviled Moses and Aaron:

And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us (Ex. 5:20-21).


The Bible sets forth a program for the worldwide dominion: the kingdom (civilization) of God. Dominion is achieved by Christians’ subordination through law, leading to inheritance. This is no longer widely believed by Christians. Because of this, they have been squandering their inheritance. They are not in a position to exercise leadership. They prefer to live on the scraps that fall from the table of humanism rather than subordinate themselves to ministers who come in the name of an absolutely sovereign God and His authoritative law. God has granted them their wish.

Those people who love God’s law would be wise to find ways to associate with others who love God’s law. For just as the entire society will be blessed under Godly leadership, so the entire society will be damned under the leadership of incompetent pagans.

I am weary of belong ruled by short-sighted pagan losers, implicitly supported & spiritually subsidized by Christians who hate the explicit commands of both the Father and the Son, to disciple the nations into obedience to the commands of Jesus (as revealed in both the Old and New Testament).

There is going to be a change of administration. It will be done by repentance, or it will be done by the root-and-branch destruction of Western Society. A destruction powered not by any pagan-imitating, violent Christian revolution or even from fire from heaven, but by its own choices and rank incompetence, from hated of the family; to hatred of reproduction; to hatred of the rule of law; to the hatred of sound money; to the hatred of personal responsibility… and a love of majority-rule theft, perversion, and delusion.

Such born failures will not last long on this earth. God’s people had better start laying the foundations for a better society.


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