In Taxes and Citizenship, North starts by critiquing the saying “I am in the world, not of it” – often used by Christians as an escapist/retreatist/defeatist cover, instead of insisting that their authority and power from God instead of powerful and wealthy men (which is what Jesus meant, and His followers are expected to imitate).
Then, we continue to the natural implications of being rooted in Divine authority and power:
The heart of Christianity is the Bible. This is God’s revelation of Himself to His creation, humanity. It is a comprehensive, all-inclusive revelation which embraces the whole of human existence. God is not a partial Creator, or a partial Saviour. When he created the universe, He did so in terms of a comprehensive plan, totalitarian standards, and faultless sovereignty. Then He pronounced the whole creation good (Gen. 1:31). We know that He has saved the whole creation in principle, and He intends to restore the whole creation to glory (Rom. 8:18-25; l Cor. 15:20-28). Since God intends to restore the whole creation, His revelation is intended to apply to the whole creation. Revelation, like restoration, is comprehensive.
This being the case, mankind is responsible before God to impose godly rule over the entire creation. We are not supposed to look at sections of the creation and conclude that they are in some way autonomous, or neutral — outside the comprehensive plan of God. The creation is to be subdued to the glory of God (Gen. 1:26-28: Gen. 9:1-7]. Thus, we ought to conclude that in order to have our citizenship in heaven, we are to exercise dominion here on earth. The sign of full citizenship in heaven is our willingness to stick it out on earth, subduing our particular portions of responsibility in terms of God’s law.
It all belongs to God – every stick of wood, and every memory stick. Every thought, word, and deed.
Sophisticated moderns insist that it really all belongs to the State, right down to your children (born and unborn), your body, and your bathrooms. But we have a different Comprehensive Lord and Saviour, one not rooted in the desires of corrupt men.
The churches of the twentieth century have prided themselves — pride is the correct word — on their deep spirituality, their commitment to another citizenship, and their lack of concern for the things of this world. They have regarded wealth as a total curse, rather than as a tool, They sing. “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” and then conclude that they would rather have paper money than either. They hang onto their meager salaries, forgetting about the requirements of the tithe. Sure enough, they wind up devoid of silver and gold. They also wind up devoid of cultural and political influence.
We must be in the world, not of it. That means we must be trying our best to overcome the world, subdue it, even as Christ has overcome it. We delude ourselves if we say that we have our citizenship in heaven but refuse to pay heaven’s required tax. We delude ourselves if we think that spirituality is marked by our willingness to retreat from the world’s affairs (or our simple impotence, whether our retreat is voluntary or not). If we are of the world, we will not overcome it; we will sink into its mire.
Retreat is what our fathers, whose foolishness over the last three centuries, did int he face of murderous, arrogant, and lying secularists and atheists.
It isn’t an option for any Christian, who intends to see his grandchildren uphold the Faith.