WHILE OUR CITIES BURN — SOME THOUGHTS RELATIVE TO WHAT WE CAN AND SHOULD BE DOING NOW
The following is from a contributing writer to TWMK. He is one of the(
finest and soundest thinking Christian men I know. We look forward to
publiching more of his articles in the future).
Here’s my response to a question I’ve been asked relative to the issue of whether or not it is appropriate for Christians, especially pastors, in America to engage in any resistance beyond prayer – from the pulpit or in the public. Within the context of Scripture such as that found in John 18:36 and Romans 13:1-7 how would you answer this question?
Are you aware of any time in history that true Christians have taken up arms to resist the government in the moment of religious persecution against them? In the moment of direct persecution, I believe we are taught by direct command in the Scripture and by examples within the Scripture to not attack/resist the persecutor. When persecution of those under your care is involved, your obligations and duties may change. May God give us grace in the moment to know how to act boldly, courageously and righteously.
We have a government in which our rights have been proclaimed and preserved in our constitution. I feel that as Christians and citizens, we have both a right and a duty to protect the liberty that we have been granted. In a self-governing system, we are derelict in our duty if we allow any who would strip away the rights of others to do so without resistance. I would argue the following: Without resistance, the citizen in a self-governing system is personally guilty of all known legalized atrocities carried out by the authority of the government. There are many ways to resist, and Christians need to be able to sense the Lord’s direction for how He would have them resist. For instance, not everyone can stand the picket line at the baby killing centers in America, but one who can’t do that may be able to support a candidate who will fight from a chamber of legislature or the executive desk to stop the legalized shedding of innocent blood. Let’s not forget the place that prayer has in resisting evil as well. Without prayer, all other forms of resistance will most likely be futile. As far as prayer goes, I doubt that half-heartedly mumbling a prayer in passing once in a while is really engaging in the resistance of evil.
I have other thoughts as I think through the question at hand. To those who would say that preachers shouldn’t be involved in the political process, because we should only be preaching the Gospel, I would counter that they should also not hold down secular employment in order to maintain a consistency in their world view and to not be entangling themselves in the affairs of this life. The preachers income doesn’t change the world; the gospel changes the world. What a ridiculous position for anyone to take. The preachers income, makes it possible for him to preach the Word. For that matter, at some point, one would have to admit that all work done for the Kingdom of God in this life is at some point underwritten by those who earn income from a secular source. This line of thinking can be carried over into the political realm as well. Every preacher who stands behind a pulpit and preaches that Christians need to withdraw from the political process in America because only the gospel will change things, can only do so because Christian patriots in the past worked, organized, sacrificed and died for them to have the freedom to stand up and loudly proclaim such nonsense. Has God not used wicked men in the Bible to provide for the peace, safety, provision and religious liberty of His people? In dealing with politics, politicians and social issues, the following Biblical examples are at the top of my head: Joseph, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel and his associates, and John the Baptist.