THE UNLIMITED LIABILITY UNIVERSE
Related articles:
SOURCE:  Great IRS Hoax, section 4.3.10
“The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the lazy [or irresponsible] man will be put to forced labor.” 
[Prov. 12:24, Bible, NKJV]

In the previous section, we showed how the shift in our culture away from Biblical law has taken us down the path to “humanism”, which turns the “state” or government into a religion and a law system that eventually focuses itself on eradicating all other competing religions and law-systems in the society in order to ensure its own survival.  Humanism is the worship of the “state” and it is the essence of socialism.  Recall that a “state” is simply a collection of people.

StateA people permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common-law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace and of entering into international relations with other communities of the globe.  United States v. Kusche, D.C.Cal., 56 F.Supp. 201 207, 208.  The organization of social life which exercises sovereign power in behalf of the people.  Delany v. Moralitis, C.C.A.Md., 136 F.2d 129, 130.  In its largest sense, a “state” is a body politic or a society of men.  Beagle v. Motor Vehicle Acc. Indemnification Corp., 44 Misc.2d 636, 254 N.Y.S.2d 763, 765.  A body of people occupying a definite territory and politically organized under one government.  State ex re. Maisano v. Mitchell, 155 Conn.  256, 231 A.2d 539, 542.  A territorial unit with a distinct general body of law.  Restatement, Second, Conflicts, 3.  Term may refer either to body politic of a nation (e.g. United States) or to an individual government unit of such nation (e.g. California).”
[Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth, p. 1407]

We will build on that theme in this section to show how the inexorable growth of the power and influence of the state and of humanism is perpetrated in our culture.  Much of the content of this section derives once again from the excellent book The Institutes of Biblical Institutes of Law, Rousas Rushdoony, 1973, pp. 664-669.  The premise of this section is that the growth of humanism, socialism, and collectivism requires the government to exploit the weaknesses of the people.  Thomas Jefferson warned us about this tendency of government, when he said:

"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve."
[Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:207]

The chief weakness that covetous governments have learned to exploit in order to expand their power is to appeal to people’s sinful need to avoid responsibility of all kinds and to thereby evade the consequence of their sinful, lazy, apathetic, and ignorant actions.  People by nature are lazy and will always take the path of least resistance.  They will often pay any price to evade responsibility for themselves and their actions, including giving up all their rights.  In legal terms, the government therefore expands its power by:

  1. Writing laws and creating programs that insulate people from responsibility for their actions and themselves.
  2. Calling those who receive the benefit of these laws “privileged”
  3. Instituting a tax on the “privileged” activities.
  4. Persecuting those who speak out about the above types of exploitation.

In effect, the government “wolf” takes over the public fool (school) system, regulates the media, and coerces apathetic and cowardly employers everywhere into helping them manufacture “sheep” that it may devour and enslave.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way [using the Federal Reserve, the IRS, the media, and taking over the public schools], the same is a thief and a robber.” 
[Jesus, in John 10:1, Bible, NKJV]

“If you make yourselves sheep, the wolves will eat you.” 
[Benjamin Franklin]

"A democracy is a sheep and two wolves deciding on what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting the results of the decision."
[Benjamin Franklin]

"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." 
[Tiberius Caesar]

These sheep are “preprogrammed” to be irresponsible, dependent on government, dysfunctional, ignorant, apathetic, and lazy.  They are taught to evade personal responsibility for every aspect of their behavior.  In short, their sin and violation of God’s laws has made them unable to govern or support themselves, and so they have given government the moral authority to step in as their “Parens Patriae”, or government parent, to take over their lives and become an agent of plunder to support their sinful and irresponsible lifestyle.  These sheep are trained and conditioned by our government “servants”, like Pavlov’s dogs, to succumb to the enticements of an evil government (called a “Beast” in the book of Revelation in the Bible) by participating in and partaking of the benefits of socialism and in so doing, they surrender their sovereignty to the totalitarian democratic “collective”.

“A violent man entices his neighbor,
And leads him in a way that is not good
He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He purses [covers] his lips [by not telling the whole truth] and brings about evil.”
[Prov. 16:29-30, Bible, NKJV]

The brainwashed sheep are unwittingly recruited to join a mob full of treacherous socialists who want to plunder the rich by abusing their voting rights and their power sitting as a jurist.  If a member of the flock of sheep balks at joining the socialist mob, they are censured and punished usually financially for being politically incorrect.  They are denied a job or a socialist benefit and/or credit if they refuse to take the mark of the Beast, the Socialist Security Number, or refuse to fill out a W-4 to begin withholding taxes.  Those who participate in this brand of socialism all share “one purse”, and make the government effectively into one big social insurance company to insulate themselves from responsibility for their own laziness, apathy, greed, and sin.  The role of government in a republic then transitions from that of only protecting the people to that of punishing and plundering success while rewarding and encouraging failure.  Here is how the Bible says we should view this, and note that it says this is “evil” and that we should not participate in it:

Avoid Bad Company

“My son, if sinners [socialists, in this case] entice you,
Do not consent
If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait to shed blood;
Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
And whole, like those who go down to the Pit:
We shall fill our houses with spoil [plunder];
Cast in your lot among us,
Let us all have one purse”--
My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;
For their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed blood.
Surely, in vain the net is spread
In the sight of any bird;
But they lie in wait for their own blood.
They lurk secretly for their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
It takes away the life of its owners.”
[Proverbs 1:10-19, Bible, NKJV]

God, however, wants us to follow His sacred law, and the result of doing so makes government unnecessary, because we become self-governing and self-supporting and do not make government into a false god or become idolaters in the process:

“He [God] brings the princes to nothing.
He makes the judges of the earth useless.”
[Isaiah 40:23, Bible, NKJV]

“How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep--
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man [from the government/IRS].”
[Prov. 6:9-11, Bible, NKJV]

“The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the lazy man will be put to forced labor [working for the government through income taxes].”
[Prov. 12:24, Bible, NKJV]

After government has exploited our own sinfulness to make us ripe for their political control, domination, and oppression, a huge monolithic government bureaucracy steps in as our “sugar daddy” or “Parens Patriae” and not only offers but demands to help us run our marriages, our financial affairs, our businesses, and forces us to pay taxes to support the infrastructure needed to do this.  In many cases, they force us to pay for services and benefits that we don’t want!  What business within a truly free economy could force you to buy or use their product other than a monopoly, and aren’t monopolies illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act?  Tyrants in government thereby appear to the ignorant and complacent masses of sheep as God’s avengers to “harvest” (STEAL) our property, our liberty, our labor, and everything else they covet and lust after, and we not only willingly accept their domination, but we beg for it by demanding ever more increasing amounts of “free” government services!  The resulting evasion of responsibility and acquiescence to government usury by the sheep manifests itself in many forms, a few of which we have summarized below:

Table 4‑2:  The characteristics of the irresponsible and how the government panders to them

# Type of irresponsibility How the government and liberal culture exploits this form of irresponsibility for their own gain How the churches reward and encourage this type of irresponsibility
1 Do not want to take responsibility for the consequences of their sin Passing laws that legalize sinful behaviors.  Promising to pass such laws during election time in order to curry favor with voters. Smorgasbord religion.  Pick the set of beliefs that best benefits you.  Focus on “grace” and “love” absent an emphasis on obeying God’s laws.
2 Do not want to take responsibility for supporting themselves Create social welfare programs such as Medicare, Welfare, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), food stamps Tithes the churches receive are supposed to be used for charity purposes but pastors jealously guard their contributions to maximize their “take”.  Then they try to steer the sheep toward government entitlement programs to make up for their greed and their lack of charity.
3 Do not want to take responsibility for their sexual sin Passes laws allowing children to get condoms in schools.  Teaches sex education instead of abstinance in schools.  Institutes “don’t ask don’t tell” policies in the military.  Supreme court declaring abortion legal, which is the murder of defenseless children. Churches look the other way when parishoners get abortions and do not protest the holocost of abortion by participating in such things as Operation Rescue.
4 Do not want to take responsibility for making their marriage work Offer marriage licenses that put family court judges in charge of you, your income, and all your assets. Churches also demanding that their parishoners get a marriage license before they will officiate a ceremony.  That way people getting married don’t become the churches problem, but instead can be handled by corrupted family courts.
5 Do not want to take responsibility for educating or raising their kids Offer public schools, so that parents do not have to confederate and start private Christian schools to educate their children.  Teaching the young sinful behaviors such as homosexuality, abortion, drugs so they make easy serfs of government.  Showing them how to fill out income tax returns in high school before they even know how to balance a checkbook. Pastors avoiding moral training in church, so that children growing up in single-parent families never learn how to govern themselves from their busy parents and must therefore depend on government to do for them what they cannot do for themselves.
6 Do not want to take responsibility for their retirement Offer Socialist Security and federal retirement programs and do not offer employees the option of taking money earmarked for retirement and investing and controlling it themselves.  This leaves large sums of money in control of the government, which they then use as a carrot to force you to pay income taxes because if you don’t, they will turn it over to the IRS. Not warning people that they should not depend on government and that they should take 100% responsibility for themselves.
7 Do not want to tithe to their church Federal subsidies for charities, which carry with it the requirement for the churches to not criticize government or oppose its illegal enforcement of income tax laws.  Example:  President Bush’s faith-based initiative. Pastors not chastising parishoners who do not tithe for their greed and robbery of God, for fear of scaring away the sheep.  Pastors ingratiating or poaching generous parishoners (sheep) from other churches to join their church.
8 Do not want to take responsibility for bad business decisions Creating a privileged status called “corporations”, in which liability for wrongdoing is limited.  This encourages reckless investment, bad business practices, and corruption like we have been seeing lately with Enron, Worldcom, etc.  Income taxes on corporations then, amount essentially to “liability insurance”. Not censuring or excommunicating those in the congregation who have committed civil crimes involving business corruption and refuse to repent.
9 Do not want to take responsibility for hurting others in the process of operating a motor vehicle Government passes laws forcing people to have insurance in order to have the “privilege” of driving.  

The ultimate result of the universal and complete adoption of the above concepts is as follows, which is a parody of the content of the Bible, Psalm 23:

DEMOCRAT’S 23rd PSALM

The government is my Shepherd,

therefore I shall not work.

It alloweth me to lie down on a good job.

It leadeth me beside still factories;

it destroyeth my initiative,

It leadeth me in the path of a parasite

for politic's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley

of laziness and deficit spending,

I will fear no evil, for the government is with me.

It prepareth an economic Utopia for me,

by borrowing from future generations.

It filleth my head with false security;

my inefficiency runneth over.

Surely the government should take care of me

all the days of my life!

And I will dwell in a welfare state forever and ever.

In the legal field, the process of evading responsibility is called “avoiding liability”.  Amazingly, the government openly admits that it is one big insurance company which exists to insulate people from all types of liability!  Here is what one Congressman said during the Congressional debates on the Sixteenth Amendment, which is the income tax amendment:

“M. Thiers, the great French statesman, says, ‘a tax paid by a citizen to his government is like a premium paid by the insured to the insurance company, and should be in proportion to the amount of property insured in one case and the other to the amount of property protected or defended [or managed] by the government.’”
[44 Cong.Rec. 4959 (1909)]

The natural consequence of the logic of the quote above is that the less responsibility we are willing to assume for ourselves, the greater will be our tax rate and the corresponding slavery to government that goes with it.  If you trace the percentage of the average American family’s income which goes to pay state and federal taxes over the last 100 years, we can see in numerical terms the shift away from personal responsibility and the rise of the “collective” as the sovereign in our society.  This information reveals how we have abandoned the original Constitutional Republican model based on faith and personal responsibility, and gradually drifted to a socialist/humanistic economy like most of the rest of the nations in the world.  God warned us that this would happen but we simply refuse to heed Him because of the hedonistic stupor our government has put us into by bribing us with “free” government benefits and programs subsidized with STOLEN loot through illegally enforced income tax laws:

“And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies [His Law/Bible] which He had testified against them; they followed [government] idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them that they should not do like them. So they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves [through usurious  taxes] to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.” 
[2 Kings 17:15-18, Bible, NKJV]

One congressman has actually quantified this shift from personal to collective responsibility in a wonderful article entitled “The Coming Crisis: How Government Dependency Threatens America’s Freedom” available on our website at:

Governments therefore know that people don’t want to have to accept responsibility or liability and they use this sinful human tendency to expand their power and revenues by transferring responsibility to themselves.  The transfer of responsibility from us as individuals to the government cannot occur, however, without a transfer of sovereignty with it.  Sovereignty and dependency are mutually exclusive.  The buck has to stop somewhere, and when we won’t take responsibility for ourselves, we have to surrender sovereignty to the collective democracy, and this eventually leads to socialism and humanism.  This abdication of our responsibilities also amounts to a violation of God’s laws.  Christians have a MUCH higher calling with their God than simply to depend on a bloated and evil socialist government to subsidize their idleness and hedonism with funds that were stolen from their brother through illegal extortion and constructive fraud:

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” 
[Exodus 23:2, Bible, NKJV]

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 
[1 Thess. 4:9-12, Bible, NIV]

There is nothing new to this government approach of encouraging irresponsibility and indemnifying a person from liability for their own actions.  Government is simply imitating God’s approach.  Throughout the Bible, God warns us that we will be held personally liable for all of our choices and actions.  That liability will occur on judgment day:

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect [in the sight of God]” 
[Hebrews 9:27-28, 10:1 , Bible, NKJV]

Here you can see that God is talking about final judgment for our actions and choices, and He is implying that unless we are perfect in His eyes at that judgment, then we are condemned.  However, God is also promising indemnification from personal liability, which here is called “salvation” to those who “eagerly wait for Him”.  Faith in and obedience to Christ is basically being offered here as an insurance policy against the final judgment and wrath of God.  That obedience manifests itself in following the two great commandments that Christ revealed to us in Mark 12:28-33:

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"

Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."

So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
[Mark 12:28-33, Bible, NKJV]

_________________________________________________________________________________________

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’“
[Gal 5:14, Bible, NKJV]

The important thing to remember is that there is a BIG difference between man’s and God’s approach toward encouraging people to avoid liability.  Faith produces salvation and indemnification because it makes us appear “perfect” in God’s eyes, but it does not relieve us from personal liability for obeying God’s laws. 

Faith Without Works Is Dead

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
[James 2:14-26, Bible, NKJV]

Faith in God does not allow us to avoid the final judgment, but our works provide evidence of our faith and obedience at that judgment.  The final judgment is like a court trial.  With no admissible evidence of our faith at this trial, we will be convicted of our sin and suffer God’s wrath. 

“Then I saw a great throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.  And there was found no place for them.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged [by God] according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.  And they were judged, each one according to his works.

“Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.

“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
[Revelation 20:11-15, Bible, NKJV]

The purpose of God’s law is to teach us how to love God and our neighbor (see the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20).  The Bible says that obedience to God’s laws even after we profess faith is still mandatory:

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." 
[Matt. 7:21, Bible, NKJV]

"But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him."
[1 John 2:5, Bible, NKJV]

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome." 
[1 John 5:3, Bible, NKJV]

"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not DO it, to him it is sin." 
[James 4:17 , Bible, NKJV]

"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city."
[Rev. 22:14; Bible, NKJV]

“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a DOER of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
[James 1:25, Bible, NKJV]

The government, on the other hand, tells us that we can be criminals under God’s law and avoid liability and responsibility for our sins on earth as long as we join the “collective” and worship the politicians and the the government as our false god by surrendering control over our earnings from labor to that god in the form of income taxes.  Basically, we have to serve the government with our labor, and the Bible calls that kind of servitude “worship”.  Below is an excerpt from the Ten Commandments demonstrating this:

"You shall have no other gods before Me.

"You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve [worship] them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
[Exodus 20:3-4, Bible, NKJV]

That false government promise of no liability for sin was the same promise that Satan made when he tempted the first sinner, Eve.  Satan promised Eve that if she sinned by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree, then she would not suffer the consequence of death promised by God.  Remember that the Bible says “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and Satan lied when he promised Eve that she would not die.  In short, there would be no liability for her violation of God’s law and instead, she would be a “god” herself:

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die [no liability].  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 
[Genesis 3:4-5; Bible, NKJV]

In a “collective” form of government such as a democracy, the “collective” is the false god to be worshipped.  That collective is called the “state” in legal terms.  When we join that collective, we become like a god, and share in the unjust authority and power that it has.  That unjust authority expresses itself through the abuse of voting rights and jury service in a way that actually injures our neighbor and offends God because it attempts to indemnify us from the consequences and liability for our sin and irresponsibility.

A limited liability company is one in which the liability of each shareholder is limited to the amount of his shares or stocks, or to a sum fixed by guarantee called "limited liability guarantee".  The purpose of limited liability laws is to limit responsibility.  Although the ostensible purpose is to protect the shareholders, the practical effect is to limit their responsibility and therefore encourage recklessness in investment.  A limited liability economy is socialistic.  By seeking to protect people, a limited liability economy merely transfers responsibility away from the people to the state, where "central government planning" supposedly obviates personal responsibility.  Limited liability encourages people to take chances with limited risks, and to sin economically without paying the price.  Limited liability laws rest on the fallacy that payment for economic sins need not be made.  In actuality, payment is simply transferred to others.  Limited liability laws were unpopular in earlier, Christian eras but have flourished in the Darwinian world.  They rest on important religious presuppositions.

In a statement central to his account, C.S. Lewis described his preference, prior to his conversion, for a materialistic, atheistic universe.  The advantages of such a world are the very limited demands it makes on a man.

To such a craven and materialist's universe has the enormous attraction that it offered you limited liabilities.  No strictly infinite disaster could overtake you in it.  Death ended all.  And if ever finite disasters proved greater than one wished to bear, suicide would always be possible.  The horror of the Christian universe was that it had no door marked Exit...But, of course, what mattered most of all was my deep-seated hatred of authority, my monstrous individualism, my lawlessness.  No word in my vocabulary expressed deeper hatred than the word Interference.  But Christianity placed at the center what then seemed to me a transcendental Interferer.  If this picture were true then no sort of "treaty with reality" could ever be possible.  There was no region even in the innermost depth of one's soul (nay, there least of all) which one could surround with a barbed wire fence and guard with a notice of No Admittance.  And that was what I wanted; some area, however small, of which I could say to all other beings, "This is my business and mine only." [1]

This is an excellent summation of the matter.  The atheist wants a limited liability universe, and he seeks to create a limited liability political and economic order.  The more socialistic he becomes, the more he demands a maximum advantage and a limited liability from his social order, an impossibility.

In reality, living with the fact that the universe and our world carry always unlimited liabilities is the best way to assure security and advantage.  To live with reality, and to seek progress within its framework, is man's best security.

The curses and the blessings of the law stress man's unlimited liability to both curses and blessings as a result of disobedience or obedience to the law.  In Deuteronomy 28:2 and 15, we are told that the curses and blessings come upon us and "overtake" us.  Man cannot step outside of the world of God's consequence.  At every moment and at every point man is overtaken, surrounded, and totally possessed by the unlimited liability of God's universe.

Man seeks to escape this unlimited liability either through a denial of the true God, or by a pseudo-acceptance which denies the meaning of God.  In atheism, the attitude of man is well summarized by William Ernest Henley's poem, "Invictus."  Henley boasted of his "unconquerable soul" and declared,

I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul

Not surprisingly, the poem has been very popular with immature and rebellious adolescents.

Pseudo-acceptance, common to mysticism, pietism, and pseudo evangelicals, claims to have "accepted Christ" while denying His law.  One college youth, very much given to evangelizing everyone in sight, not only denied the law as an article of his faith, in speaking to this writer, but went further. Asked if he would approve of young men and women working in a house of prostitution as whores and pimps to convert the inmates, he did not deny this as a valid possibility.  He went on to affirm that many of his friends were converting girls and patrons wholesale by invading the houses to evangelize one and all.  He also claimed wholesale conversion of homosexuals, but he could cite no homosexuals who ceased the practice after their conversion; nor any whores or their patrons who left the houses with their "evangelizers."  Such lawless "evangelism" is only blasphemy.

In the so-called "Great Awakening" in colonial New England, antinomianism, chiliasm, and false perfectionism went hand in hand.  Many of these "holy ones" forsook their marriage for adulterous relations, denied the law, and claimed immediate perfection and immortality.[2]

What such revivalism and pietism espouses is a limited liability universe in God's name.  It is thus atheism under the banner of Christ.  It claims freedom from God's sovereignty and denies predestination.  It denies the law, and it denies the validity of the curses and blessings of the law.  Such a religion is interested only in what it can get out of God: hence, "grace" is affirmed, and "love," but not  the law, nor God's sovereign power and decree.  But smorgasbord religion is only humanism, because it affirms the right of man to pick and choose what he wants; as the ultimate arbiter of his fate, man is made captain of his soul, with an assist from God.  Pietism thus offers limited liability religion, not Biblical faith.

According to Heer, the medieval mystic Eckhart gave to the soul a "sovereign majesty together with God.  The next step was taken by the disciple, Johnannes of Star Alley, who asked if the word of the soul was not as mighty as the word of the Heavenly Father."[3]  In such a faith, the new sovereign is man, and unlimited liability is in process of being transferred to God.

In terms of the Biblical doctrine of God, absolutely no liabilities are involved in the person and work of the Godhead.  God's eternal decree and sovereign power totally govern and circumscribe all reality, which is His creation.  Because man is a creature, man faces unlimited liability; his sins have temporal and eternal consequences, and he cannot at any point escape God.  Van Til has summed up the matter powerfully:

"The main point is that if man could look anywhere and not be confronted with the revelation of God then he could not sin in the Biblical sense of the term.  Sin is the breaking of the law of God.  God confronts man everywhere.  He cannot in the nature of the case confront man anywhere if he does not confront him everywhere.  God is one; the law is one.  If man could press one button on the radio of his experience and not hear the voice of God then he would always press that button and not the others.  But man cannot even press the button of his own self-consciousness without hearing the requirement of God.[4]"

But man wants to reverse this situation. Let God be liable, if He fails to deliver at man's request.  Let man declare that his own experience pronounces himself to be saved, and then he can continue his homosexuality or work in a house of prostitution, all without liability.  Having pronounced the magic formula, "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior," man then transfers almost all the liability to Christ and can sin without at most more than a very limited liability.  Christ cannot be accepted if His sovereignty, His law, and His word are denied.   To deny the law is to accept a works religion, because it means denying God's sovereignty and assuming man's existence in independence of God's total law and government.  In a world where God functions only to remove the liability of hell, and no law governs man, man works his own way through life by his own conscience.  Man is saved, in such a world, by his own work of faith, of accepting Christ, not by Christ's sovereign acceptance of him.  Christ said, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16).  The pietist insists that he has chosen Christ; it is his work, not Christ's.  Christ, in such a faith, serves as an insurance agent, as a guarantee against liabilities, not as sovereign lord.  This is paganism in Christ's name.

In paganism, the worshipper was not in existence.  Man did not worship the pagan deities, nor did services of worship occur.  The temple was open every day as a place of business.  The pagan entered the temple and bought the protection of a god by a gift or offering.  If the god failed him, he thereafter sought the services of another.  The pagan's quest was for an insurance, for limited liability and unlimited blessings, and, as the sovereign believer, he shopped around for the god who offered the most.  Pagan religion was thus a transaction, and, as in all business transactions, no certainty was involved.  The gods could not always deliver, but man's hope was that, somehow, his liabilities would be limited.

The "witness" of pietism, with its "victorious living," is to a like limited liability religion.  A common "witness" is, "Praise the Lord, since I accepted Christ, all my troubles are over and ended."  The witness of Job in his suffering was, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15).  St. Paul recited the long and fearful account of his sufferings after accepting Christ: in prison, beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, betrayed, "in hunger and thirst,...in cold and nakedness" (II Cor. 11:23-27).  Paul's was not a religion of limited liability nor of deliverance from all troubles because of his faith.

The world is a battlefield, and there are casualties and wounds in battle, but the battle is the Lord's and its end is victory.  To attempt an escape from the battle is to flee from the liabilities of warfare against sinful men for battle with an angry God.  To face the battle is to suffer the penalties of man's wrath and the blessings of God's grace and law.

Apart from Jesus Christ, men are judicially dead, i.e., under a death sentence, before God, no matter how moral their works.  With regeneration, the beginning of true life, man does not move out from under God's unlimited liability.  Rather, with regeneration, man moves from the world of unlimited liability under the curse, to the world of unlimited liability under God's blessings.  The world and man were cursed when Adam and Eve sinned, but, in Jesus Christ, man is blessed, and the world progressively reclaimed and redeemed for Him.  In either case, the world is under God's law.  Blessings and curses are thus inseparable from God's law and are simply different relationships to it.

Men inescapably live in a world of unlimited liability, but with a difference.  The covenant-breaker, at war with God and unregenerate, has an unlimited liability for the curse.  Hell is the final statement of that unlimited liability.  The objections to hell, and the attempts to reduce it to a place of probation or correction, are based on a rejection of unlimited liability.  But the unregenerate has, according to Scripture, an unlimited liability to judgment and the curse.  On the other hand, the regenerate man, who walks in obedience to Jesus Christ, his covenant head, has a limited liability to judgment and the curse.  The unlimited liability of God's wrath was assumed for the elect by Jesus Christ upon the cross.  The regenerate man is judged for his transgressions of the law of God, but his liability here is a limited one, whereas his liability for blessings in this life and in heaven are unlimited.  The unregenerate can experience a limited measure of blessing in this life, and none in the world to come; they have at best a limited liability for blessing.

Man thus cannot escape an unlimited liability universe.  The important question is this: in which area is he exposed to unlimited liability, to an unlimited liability to the curse because of his separation from God, or to an unlimited liability to blessing because of his faith in, union with, and obedience to Jesus Christ?

Along the lines of this section, a reader sent us the following poem which summarizes why our lives will amount to nothing if we do not accept personal responsibility for ourself and learn to accept the unlimited liability that God bestowed upon us as part of his death sentence for our disobedience in the book of Genesis:

Risk..

To weep...
is to risk appearing sentimental,

To hope...
is to risk despair,

To reach out for another...
is to risk involvement,

To try...
is to risk failure,

To expose feelings...
is to risk exposing your true self,

To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd...
is to risk their loss,

To love is to risk...
not being loved in return,

To live...
is to risk dying,

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life,
is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, and live. Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom.

Only a person who risks.
is free.



[1] C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956), p. 171 f.

[2] C.C. Goen, Revivalism and Separatism in New England, 1740-1800, Strict Congregationalists and Separate Baptists in the Great Awakening (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962), p. 200 f.

[3] Friedrich Heer, The Intellectual History of Europe, p. 179.

[4] Cornelius Van Til, A Letter on Common Grace (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1955), p. 40 f.