Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nationalized Healthcare? (Part 2): The role of government

Congress is expected to vote on healthcare reform in September; many people are hoping that congressional action concerning such reform will result in the U.S. government providing healthcare for each citizen. Is government-provided healthcare a good idea? How are Christians to think about this issue? The argument about nationalized healthcare is usually structured around what course of action is perceived to result in the most people being satisfied with their healthcare, or which healthcare system is perceived to "work" in terms of efficiency or economics. These kinds of considerations are, at best, secondary in a Christian worldview. For the Christian, the primary question is not, "is it economical?" or, "is it practical?" but rather, "is it biblical?"

Is government-provided healthcare biblical? To answer this question, we must consider the biblical limits to government. Summarizing the biblical data on this issue, David A. Noebel writes:

Government was established by God to manifest and preserve His justice on earth. This is government's central purpose; as such, the state should concentrate on enforcing justice and avoid meddling in other institutions' business. Generally speaking, the church was ordained to manifest God's grace on the earth, and the family to manifest God's community and creativity (including procreativity). The government, then, as the institution of justice, should prohibit, prevent, prosecute, and punish injustice. The church, as the institution of grace, should preach the gospel and be the chief vehicle of charitable aid to the needy. And families should have chief responsibility for bearing, raising, and educating children, and for creating, possessing, and disposing of property.

Each of these institutions is limited by its own definition and by the other two. Because government is an institution of justice, not of grace or community or creativity, it should not interfere with freedom of religion, attempt to dispense grace through tax-funded handouts, control family size, interfere in raising children (including education), or control the economy and the disposition of property.

If Noebel's analysis is correct, then government is "the institution of justice" and "should prohibit, prevent, prosecute, and punish injustice." Government should not "attempt to dispense grace through tax-funded handouts," and this would include the "grace" of "tax-funded" healthcare.

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