Essay by David W. Gray, Nov. 5, 2010
Recently, I posted the following message and link on my Facebook page:
"For several weeks now I've pondered most of these views presented by Doug Giles. As I've visited several churches across the country, I've noticed that pastors appear to be dead to some issues that matter to the flock's daily lives. While remaining spiritual, we still have the responsibility to make a difference in our environment. Otherwise, I think those who are not led will be overcome by the powers of Satan’s political schemes."
A few days later, a family member posted the following link on Facebook, suggesting I rethink our role as Christians:
I encourage you to read both articles if you have not already. The second article is long but read it entirely.
Some of Zens’ and Bjork’s article is right on and is hard to argue with. The paragraph written after the subtitle, "As You Have Opportunity, Do Good to All," could have been taken from my thoughts over 30 years ago. Overall, I am displeased with their article. Zens’ and Bjork’s tone is that churches and Christians should be relatively quiet in governmental affairs. As you read the rest of my essay, I intend to debunk that tone.
Here is one vitally important thing I think Zens and Bjork failed to consider. That is the political or governmental environment during biblical times. I have learned in recent years how important it is to know the environmental issues of the times in which the scriptures were written. Knowing the environmental issues brings the scriptures to a new level of life and you view it from a different perspective.
During these biblical years, the primary political systems were monarchies consisting mostly of types of kings and queens. These leaders were rarely placed in their position by the people. It was not until the middle of the 5th-4th century BC in some Greek city-states that the infant, “democracy,” was born. I emphasize the word infant because this early democracy was extremely weak.
When our founding fathers of the United States wrote the Declaration of Independence, the premise was to leave the monarchy of England and form a Republic. Not a democracy as so many mistakenly refers the US as being. There is a difference between republic and democracy. I will not define that difference here. You can learn that on your own time if you do not know.
Therefore, during biblical times, the scriptures were written during the strong and powerful monarchies. Since the people did not have much choice in their earthly leadership, God provided guidelines on how His people are to respond and react.
Zens’ and Bjork’s notion that the United Sates is no different than other nations is wrong in my opinion. Our founding fathers created an experiment so vastly different than other nations. They created a Republic; a republic in which the supreme control of the government is retained by “We the People." We the People are the governing authorities. This was so important to our founding fathers and still is today. The reality for the United States of America is “We the People” of today are the beneficiaries of the Constitution and it is our granted governing authority or law of the land which limits the powers of those elected who serve us. It is our nation’s leaders, which the people of this republic put in charge and have the responsibility to lead within the established limits of the Constitution.
So, I would ask you to go back and read the scriptures again pertaining to how we are to respond to our governing authority. This time keep in mind our "governing authority" is the Constitution. We could insert [We the People] as well.
Here are a few scripture examples (in bold) followed by the actual scripture of what I mean from the New International Version Bible:
Romans 13:1 & 5
1. Let everyone be subject to the US Constitution [We the People], for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
1. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
5. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the US Constitution [We the People], not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
5. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
1 Peter 2:17
17: Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the US Constitution.
17. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
21 "United States’", they replied. Then he said to them, "So give back to United States what is United States’ and to God what is God's."
21. “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Notice in Matthew 22:21 what Jesus did not say. Jesus did not tell us we are to avoid giving to the United States. Jesus clearly pointed out we are to give or render to the United States (our Constitution) as well as God.
We as Christians are to be not of this world. Yet at the same time God gave us dominion over the earth. Therefore, we have the additional responsibility to uphold the Constitution and the rights it gives us. If we sit only in our pews and study groups and prayer rooms and neglect our God ordained rights in our nation, then over time we shall fall back to some sort of monarchy. I believe God has ordained us in an incredibly unique place allowing us to have dominion over our form of government.
As for me, I believe God has blessed us. But I also know that blessing could be taken away. It is my prayer God will continue to bless us and that our pastors and churches will awaken from indifference.
So, I ask you, if we fail to follow God’s instruction to render to our Constitution, is that sin?
"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them." James 4:17 NIV
"Until apathy is murdered and the citizens of this country stop hibernating in the comforts of their very small world, the independence we now enjoy will be lost forever." David W. Gray, July 3, 2009
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