Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has touted Oral Roberts University law professor John Eidsmoe as her mentor and guide, bolstering her already impeccable credentials with Religious Right voters. Profiles by writers such as Ryan Lizza and Michelle Goldberg offered further insight into how Eidsmoe shaped Bachmann’s thinking, and highlighted some of Eidsmoe’s more controversial views, such as his commitment to biblical government and belief that the abolition of slavery was devastating for African Americans. In an interview with Lizza, Eidsmoe said that he thinks Bachmann mirrors the political views he outlined, and Bachmann told an Iowa pastor conference that Eidsmoe was “one of the professors who had a great influence on me” who is “absolutely brilliant.”
In 1984 Eidsmoe wrote God & Caesar, which is essentially a manual to why and how Christians should work in politics and government. Eidsmoe dedicated the book to his children, “in the hope that their generation will more fully implement biblical norms and standards.” In the book, Eidsmoe finds that the biblical view and the conservative agenda virtually always coincide, while the liberal position represents the rejection of God and godly principles. No matter the issue, economic, social, family, law, and foreign policy, Eidsmoe finds that conservatives are always on the right side of the Bible while liberals are on the side of godlessness.
As Julie Ingersoll writes in Religion Dispatches, Eidsmoe is a proponent of Christian Reconstructionism, a philosophy designed by R. J. Rushdoony that wants America governed according to Biblical law.
Eidsmoe frequently promotes Rushdoony in God & Caesar and his dominionist teachings about the role of “God’s Word” in the political field:
God’s Word has a lot to say about government, about crime and punishment, about abortion, about national defense, about war and peace, about the many political issues that face us daily. Paul declared that he had ‘not shunned to declare unto all the counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27). The fundamentalist who refuses to preach or consider what God’s Word has to say about politics is not declaring the whole counsel of God and has a serious gap in his ministry. R. J. Rushdoony put it well when he said,
Man must exercise dominion in the name of God, and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness…. The world, moreover, cannot be surrendered to Satan. It is God’s world and must be brought under God’s law politically, economically, and in every other way possible. The Enlightenment, by its savage and long-standing attack on Biblical faith, has brought about a long retreat of Christianity from a full-orbed faith to a king of last-ditch battle centering around the doctrines of salvation and of the infallible Scripture. The time has come for a full-scale offensive, and it has indeed begun, to bring every area of thought into captivity to Christ, to establish the whole counsel of God and every implication of His infallible word. (p. 56)
Eidsmoe believes that God brings people into the political arena and then uses them to enforce his will. He cites right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly as one such leader that God used to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, and Texas activists Mel and Norma Gabler to “analyze and critique textbooks and expose humanist, anti-Christian, immoral, or anti-American content. I’m sure the Gablers never dreamed God would use them like that” (p. 60).
He goes on to say that America is facing “political and economic decline” as a result of “moral decay” and God’s judgment because of the government’s failure to embrace biblical law. Eidsmoe argues that unless Christians that follow his Reconstructionist positions enter politics, God will judge America in the same way he judged Judah before exiling the Jews to Babylon:
We should add that this political and economic decline is a natural and logical consequence, but it is also a supernatural consequence. It is the result of God’s judgment (Leviticus 26:14-29).
I believe the political and economic decline that grips America today is the result of moral decay. I believe God is calling upon believers today to lead the spiritual awakening that can overcome that moral lapse. That’s how believers can truly be the salt of the earth, preserving their nation from divine judgment.
After decrying the sin of Judah, their oppression and robbery, their vexation of the poor and needy and the sojourner, God declared in Ezekiel 22:30, ‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.’
God is looking for believers today to ‘stand in the gap,’ to assert themselves in the political arena and transform America’s political institutions.
But I omitted the last four words of that verse: ‘…but I found none.’ The Lord continued in the next verse, ‘Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.’
God’s judgment indeed came upon Judah: seventy years of exile in Babylon.
That was true of Judah. I pray it won’t be true of America. Will you do your part, as others have done theirs? (p. 68)