When it comes to the American Christian and politics, I believe they (we) miss two main Biblical mandates: submission and honor. I mentioned this reality the other day in my blog titled: What American Christians Miss.
Paul, in his book to the Romans discussed both of these mandates. In Romans 13:1-2 he says: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
The word subject means submission. Submission is defined as: “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.” We then are to follow the law of the land. We submit to the leader’s authority, knowing they are there because God made it so. I would say too that there is no distinction between corrupt or not corrupt. Simply to submit to their authority. As stated previously too, we are to hold our allegiance to the Chief Shepherd- namely Jesus; which means we don’t break His law to follow the kings law. We also may need to break the king’s law in order to follow the law of our Chief Shepherd.
Peter discusses the same thing: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” (1 Peter 2:13-14).
One of the arguments people brought with my last post was that it seemed I was saying to be inactive. I think it’s quite the opposite. I think what I’m talking about and what the Bible seems to mandate calls us to action. For example in Acts Chapter 6; we see the Church feeding widows. They [The Church] were the ones feeding those in need. These disciples didn’t demand that Caesar take better care of the widows, nor did they ask him to intervene for them during their dispute on how to do it. They simply saw the need and took it upon themselves to act.
Someone mentioned the civil rights movement in the discussion of my last post. Should we not have intervened, seemed to be the question.
What if white Christians who saw the issue before it became an issue decided to act? What if they decided to have interracial church services? What if the church opened stores where all were welcome and there was no racial bias? What if they, by their actions of good, forced a good decision? Then, when things changed they celebrated. What if they threw parties and danced together- black and white- through the night in celebration of the change? Too often we are content to yammer on about a problem when we ourselves could be the solution. Show the world the better way, instead of demanding government to “make the better way”. The Church should be taking care of the poor. The Church should be seeking to find ways to help the refugees of war and of violence. Yet, we demand government do it for us. If the Global Church worked together, there would be no limit to what we could do. Yet, we won’t. We never have. We are too narcissistic. We are content to be noise makers and little else, because it makes us feel better that we “did something”. We should be looking to God to empower us to do good, not the government, whether it’s a good government or not.
A.W. Tozer once asked: “Which is more important to the bird, the right wing or the left? … Which is more important to a Christian, believing or obeying? For a sparrow flying through the air, both of their wings are equally important. With only one it is almost impossible to fly. So, we must believe God’s Word and we must obey it.” (Experiencing the Presence of God, pg. 106) Similarly, we can say we want change, but if we don’t actually do anything but talk about it, the thing we are “fighting for” becomes meaningless rhetoric. Believing something is true, but not living it out is hypocrisy.
When we live in a corrupt world, we should not be surprised at a corrupt government. Many people are lamenting how “far away from God America has become”. I would say, this gal America has always been the same distance from God. Cultural acceptance has changed and so the morality of the land shifts to fit the cultural norms. A government that desired to be close to God would stay the course, despite the cultural shifts. America has not…proving it was never as near to God as we presumed. Under a good King, the land can shift and change for the better. So in our land it is worthwhile to support someone who could become a good President. Yet, even the greatest Kings in Israel could only slow the inevitable. The lives of the people eventually led them to their own destruction.
We are aliens in this land. We are exiles. We need to begin living this way and stop trying to force a corrupt world to fit our mold and simply live the different way. I believe we need to begin living the way Jesus told us to in Matthew 10:16-25 (click to read the entire passage).
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.“ (Matthew 10:16-18 ESV)
We as American believers have not been living as innocent as doves nor as wise as serpents. Let me end this post with something I feel in my bones is coming and how we can begin now to be wise. I will then continue the topic of honor next post.
A day is coming when the government will not be as friendly to Christianity as it has been. This day is coming quicker than I think we all imagined it would. We live in a post-Christian culture and so we should not be shocked that we will soon live in a post-Christian America. I think the first thing to go for “the Church” will be our tax exemption status. No amount of arguing or fighting will change this. It will happen. I have no idea when, but I do believe it will shock a great many people. Many churches rely on this help from the government. In fact many churches I foresee will have to close because they won’t be able to sustain the blow of losing this help. In order to, in just this instance, be wise as serpents; we should look at our books now and determine what it would take in order to thrive during that loss and make efforts to develop our budgets accordingly.
I simply put that out there. I am not a fear mongerer. There is nothing in me that wants to declare these days the end times, nor am I saying so. I am simply stating that America will not be as friendly to Christianity as it has been. America will follow the lives of her majority; and we need to be prepared to live our faith, not beg and demand our government to do so. America’s ears are growing deaf to our concerns. It’s time His Church prepare to expect the the wolves He prophesied would come.