things happened this week one in the news and one around lunch
after church that centered on the following question: Should Christians
always obey their government?
The first event happened in Canada. The governor general of Canada signed
into law a bill adding sexual orientation as a protected category under
Canadas hate-crimes laws. It carries a penalty of up to five years
Christian groups in Canada claim the new law will penalize public criticism
of homosexuality. They fear certain Scriptures will be deemed "hate
speech under the new law. A Saskatchewan man has already been fined
by a provincial court for running newspaper ads critical of homosexuality.
If the new law penalizes the public reading of certain Scriptures as hate
speech, I ask you: if you were a Canadian pastor would you obey
such a law? Would you put another entity before God, in violation of the
First Commandment? Or, would you disobey the law.
And if such a law were passed down here in Baja Canada, and if you were
a pastor, would you obey or disobey the law? Obeying the law would put
another entity before God. Disobeying the law would honor God.
If you understand the Bible, you would either disobey the law or encourage
your pastor to disobey the law. You would recognize that there is a Higher
Authority than the state, and that you are to honor that Authority first.
(Daniel 3 & 6; Acts 4:19, 5:29)
The second event occurred at lunch after church. The discussion turned
to politics and I ever the troublemaker asked the question:
should Christians always obey their earthly government? When one girl
said yes, I asked her to show me the biblical basis for this. She could
not cite a Scripture, so I went to my car and got a Bible. Someone directed
her to Hebrews 13:17, which reads as follows:
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over
you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will
be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Does this mean we should always submit to earthly authority? She evidently
thought so. I asked her if Uncle Sam demanded 100 percent of her money
in taxes, would she pay them? She said yes, because it is Gods
money and not mine. Oh really? Then why did God give us the Eighth
Commandment, which says Thou Shalt Not Steal? Stealing something
means that it belonged to someone else to begin with. Earthly governments
are subject to Gods laws.
Think about it. If someone stole her purse, was it Gods purse
and not hers? If her house was torched, was it Gods
house and not hers? Get a brain, homegirl! It amazes me how people
have all these profound thoughts about how things ought to be, until their
personal interests are at stake.
Does this Scripture mean:
First Century Christians should have renounced Jesus and worshipped Caesar
so as to please the Roman authorities?
Jesus should have just said, Oh well, I am not really your King.
Go ahead and worship Caesar?
Christians in the 1850s should have obeyed the Fugitive Slave Laws and
sent runaway slaves back to their owners?
Rosa Parks should have obeyed the local segregation ordinances and given
up her bus seat to that white man?
America should never have declared its independence from Britain?
Christians should not have defended Jews or otherwise resisted in Nazi
No one should have resisted or fled from numerous Communist regimes of
the last century?
Christians in countries where Christians are persecuted should renounce
Christ and just go along to get along with their earthly masters?
is someone who labors involuntarily for the benefit of another. And if
you believe you should turn over 100 percent of the fruits of your labor
to the federal bagman because your government says so, you
believe in slavery.
The Scriptures are clear: we should not always do as our earthly authorities
command. (See the seventh paragraph of this essay.) Jesus was crucified
on political charges i.e. treason for claiming to be God
and therefore being a counterforce to Caesar. Paul wrote several of his
letters from Roman jails. John wrote the Book of Revelation while in exile
on the island of Patmos. The list goes on.
What does Hebrews 13:17 talk about? Hebrews 13:7-19 talks about spiritual
duties rather than political affairs.
Well, yeah, but what about Romans 13? A fair question, that. I am not
a Bible scholar, so I am not going to hold forth on whether the King James
is the pre-eminent translation. However, have a look at Romans 13:1 in
the New International Version:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities.
Now have a look at Romans 13:1 in the King James:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.
Governing authorities means the secular powers that be. Higher
powers, on the other hand, rule over every soul, including the governing
authorities. The governing authorities are subject to Gods Judgment
to the same extent that you and I are.
If you are a pastor who preaches that Christians should do whatever their
government says, shame on you! Either start teaching the truth, or get
out of the ministry!
As Christians, our true citizenship is not on this earth. (Philippians
3:20) Jesus Kingdom is not of this earth. (John 18:36) Jesus was
put to death by people who had "no king but Caesar." (John 19:15)
And when you place the demands of the kingdoms of this world ahead of
the Kingdom of God, you violate the First Commandment.
To be fair, several generations of pastors and, in turn, several
generations of Christians -- have been lied to about biblical teaching
about government. However, whether you are a pastor or a lay person, this
does not absolve you of the responsibility of studying what the Bible
says about these things.
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. Too many Christians
believe Christianity applies only to personal affairs and not to society
at large. These Christians will believe anything their government -- or
at least their governmental faction of choice -- and its lapdog media
says because they no longer stand for anything. Physical slavery went
out in this country in 1865. Mental slavery is alive and well in 2004.
Many Christians prefer to remain ignorant of biblical teaching about these
issues. When I point out what the Bible teaches, they just dont
want to hear it. They would rather seek comfort in a party or a candidate
than go to the labor of thinking. Many would rather die than think. One
of the slogans of The Party in George Orwells 1984 was Ignorance
is Strength. The more ignorant people were, the easier it was for
The Party to maintain its power. The more ignorant people are in contemporary
America, the easier it is for those who would tyrannize them to tighten
the vise grip. Indeed, a lot of Christians do not even recognize our current
form of government for what it is: tyranny.
Lenin had a term for ignorant people who would believe anything his regime
said: useful idiots. Because of their ignorance, they offered no resistance.
Hence, they were of great value to the Soviet state. Today in America,
we have millions of Christians who offer exactly zero resistance to the
advancing tyranny being perpetrated by Uncle Sam.
When full-blown persecution of Christians comes to America and
I believe it will Christians will have no one but themselves to
blame. For decades, they have gone right along with the riptide of the
modern superstate, never seriously questioning it. To quote the old comic
strip character Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Nothing in life is free. For every "benefit the state offers,
you pay a price either in money or freedom. An omnipotent state will set
itself up as a god, persecuting anyone who resists. Will you still mindlessly
obey it? Yeah, you. I am talking to you.
Ezekiel 33:6 teaches that God will hold the watchman accountable if he
fails to warn of the impending doom. If a Christian swims with the current
of his state-worshipping culture, and is in willful denial of coming dangers,
God will hold him accountable.
In short, if a Christian believes he should do everything his earthly
rulers say, he is brain dead.
Am I being overly hostile? I think not. Jesus was not always nice. Calling
people vipers is not nice. I am not going to say nice things
about people who would enslave me. And I am not going to say nice things
about people who would enslave you. If you love your neighbor you will
not let him become a slave.
with permission of the author
W. Bush: Seeing The Big Picture
Tillman: He Lifted A Finger
And Republics For Dummies