The Declaration states that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed -." In the years prior to the American Revolution, 1 Samuel 8 was a favorite text preached in churches throughout the colonies. The same passage was Thomas Paine's primary theme in his pamphlet "Common Sense." It's time well-spent reading this passage, but for sake of space here, I'll just give you the story outline:
The Israelites decide they no longer want to be a Theocracy, they want a king like all the other nations, so they go to Samuel to ask him to appoint a king for them. Samuel goes to God about their request and He tells him to grant the people their request, for they have forsaken God as their king and want to go after other gods. But - and here's the kicker - God gives them advance warning about how a king will reign over them. A king will:
Make slaves of them and their children.
He will take a tenth of their produce and give it to his servants. (Try about 50% these days.)
He will take their employees and make them his own servants.
He will take a tenth of their possessions.
Then God warns them that they will cry out to Him for help, but he will not hear them because they have chosen to go after false gods and have rejected him. So, Samuel tells this to the people, and they reply, "No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." Then Samuel agrees to do what they have consented to, and he appoints them a king.
The nation of Israel consented. They consented to sell themselves and their children into servitude. Why on earth would they have traded their independence for that?! For a couple of reasons that we can see in this story: ( 1 ) They wanted to be like other nations. They wanted to be cool. ( 2 ) They were lazy and abdicated their responsibilities. They wanted the king to "go out before us and fight our battles."
American Christians have consented to the government we now have. We've run after the latest and greatest ideas, trading time-proven wisdom and principle for fads. We have been lazy. We've abdicated our responsibilities and now want the government to fight our battles for us. There are hungry people in the street? Oh, the government will take care of them. Can't afford to pay your medical bills? Oh, the government will take care of it. You're company has mismanaged its way into oblivion? Oh, the government will take care of it, after all, it's too big to fail. Our President promises a government that will take care of you from cradle to grave if only you will surrender your consent and abdicate all personal responsibility. Why, President Obama will give you money and refrigerators and new kitchens.
The government is not "them," it is "us." "We the People" have given our consent. Will you continue to consent, or will you withdraw it?