I wrote this book over about two years from 2018-2020. The book is based on research I did for my capstone project in my Master of Divinity degree. I set out to write an 8,000-word essay on Abraham Kuyper’s theology of taxes (Kuyper was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and also a Reformed theologian). I thought Kuyper would give me a biblical foundation for deciding what the “fair” level of taxes would be.
But the research took me in a very different direction. After months of reading, study and reflection, I decided that the only logical, biblical conclusion was that the tax rate should be 0%. All taxes are wrong.
After so much thought about how a Christian ought best to engage with politics, the most helpful comment I have found on the subject is this paragraph from the unanswerable Mr. Lewis:
This raises the question of Theology and Politics. The nearest I can get to a settlement of the frontier problem between them is this: that Theology teaches us what ends are desirable and what means are lawful, while Politics teaches what means are effective. Thus Theology tells us that every man ought to have a decent wage. Politics tells by what means this is likely to be attained. Theology tells us which of these means are consistent with justice and charity. On the political question guidance comes not from Revelation but from natural prudence, knowledge of complicated facts and ripe experience. If we have these qualifications we may, of course, state our political opinions: but then we must make it quite clear that we are giving our personal judgement and have no command from the Lord. Not many priests have these qualifications. Most political sermons teach the congregation nothing except what newspapers are taken at the Rectory.
C.S. Lewis, Christian Apologetics, 1945
Are you a politician? Rejoice that God has given you both goals and guidelines, but has also given you the freedom to put creative energy into the formation of effective policy. Are you a theologian? Don’t presume that your conscience is so tender, and your heart so steeped in scripture, that any opinion which seems to you to be common sense must be the only one within the boundaries of godliness. For to truly shepherd one’s flock in grace is to preach God’s word as far as it goes, and not one millimetre further.
Perhaps the most immoral of all is the injunction to love your enemies. That I will not do. I know who my enemies are. At the moment, the most deadly ones are Islamist theocrats with a homicidal and genocidal agenda. I’m not going to love them, you go love them if you want. Don’t love them on my behalf, I’ll get on with killing them, destroying them, erasing them and you can love them. But the idea that you ought to love them is not a moral idea at all, it’s a wicked idea, and I hope it doesn’t take hold… What a disgusting order, to love those people! Destroy them. – Christopher Hitchens
This is where the difference between Christianity and mere Secular Christendom shines forth. The Christian says wholeheartedly “we MUST love our enemies! The Lord Jesus loved us when we were his enemies, and he commands us to do likewise!” The secularist who has merely inherited the culture of Christian values finds this infuriating and intolerable.
As Islamic terrorism becomes a primary issue in elections around the world, we need to be reminded that secularism is impotent to address the problem of evil. Both the atheist-left and the atheist-right can offer no solution. A secular society that has inherited Christian values will be much better off than a society without them. But it is not sustainable. When attacked by true evil, the impulse of Secular Christendom is simply to return fire. Only true Christianity gives a basis for facing the evil in the world, addressing it with wisdom and force if necessary, and yet remaining determined to love the people who are doing that evil.