Skip to comments.Christians and the President: What do we do?
Posted on 11/09/2008 8:16:08 AM PST by hoagy62
So there I was, on the train, headed to work on Friday. I was bummed about the election, as all of us were. I had been reading FR that morning, and there was a lot of talk of resistance, of hatred, and of a desire to make the President-Elect's days in office a living nightmare...because that's what he was going to do to us...or so I gathered.
So, I got out my little cheapo MP3 player and I start to listen to the radio show "Key Life with Steve Brown". It's a 15-minute weekday radio program that I download so I can listen to him on the train. I listen because he provides a refreshing perspective on the Bible and living a Christian life. Every Friday, he brings in his pastor, a guy named Pete Alwinson, to do a weekly question-and-answer session. Now, here it is, the first Friday after an election that didn't go the way I wanted it to, and what do you suppose the first question is?
"Are you sure that Paul was right that all governments are ordained of God?"
"Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it's God's order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you're irresponsible to the state, then you're irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you're trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear. Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you'll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you're breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren't there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That's why you must live responsiblynot just to avoid punishment but also because it's the right way to live. That's also why you pay taxesso that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders." (MSG)
and 1 Peter 2:13-17
"Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. (MSG)
When I read them, I kind of felt like I'd been knocked upside the head with a 'spiritual two-by-four'. What Paul and Peter were saying was going against everything I had been thinking for the previous 48 hours. Summed up, a follower of Christ was NOT to resist the government, but to obey the government in order to live peaceably in society.
Well, being the big dummy I am, I thought "That can't be what it means! I'm going to go home tonight and look it up in the commentaries". So, I get home after work, fire up my Bible study program, and I look up the commentary of the late J. Vernon McGee. Well...he had quite a bit to say, but here is just a little bit of it.
On 1 Peter 2:
"Then what should be the believer's relationship to the law? He is to obey the law. That is what Peter is saying here -- "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake." Since they were under Roman law, they were to obey it. Although Rome intended that their laws should be just, they were not. Remember that Roman law crucified Christ and persecuted the early Christians; yet Rome boasted loudly about justice. It sounds like modern America where religion -- that is, the preaching of the Word of God -- is very politely being suppressed. Are we to rebel against the government? No. We are to obey the laws of the land....."Honour all men." A Christian should respect other human beings. He doesn't say to love all men -- believe me, some of them are very unlovely!
"Love the brotherhood." While we respect all men, we are to love the brotherhood, meaning other believers.
"Fear God." Certainly we as believers are to reveal by our lives that we are God-fearing people.
"Honour the king." We owe an honor to the office of the man who rules over us. I have never voted for a president whom I really wanted. I have always voted against the other candidate. I have never known a president who I felt was really capable. However, regardless of who is president and regardless of his inability, he should be honored because of his office. I am not impressed by some Scripture-spouting, pious individuals who attack the president of the United States. The office is to be honored." J. Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible
By this time I was feeling a bit sick. I looked up the passage in Romans, and what he said was pretty much the same. Obey the government. Honor your leaders.
Exactly the opposite of what I had in mind.
I sat there and meditated on these Scriptures, and what Dr. McGee had written. I came to the conclusion that, as for me, I am not going to resist the government. I may not like Mr. Obama, but AS A CHRISTIAN I have an obligation to respect him as President and to obey the government AS LONG AS what they tell me to do is not in opposition to Scripture.
I looked up what life was like for Christians under Roman rule...the time the Scriptures in the New Testament were written. There is NEVER any mention of rebellion against the authorities EXCEPT when they tell the early Church to not preach about Jesus. When that happened, they disobeyed...and rightly so. However, there is never any mention in the New Testament where believers were shown to be disobeying the law OR resisting the authorities. Yes, they hid from them when things got rough (the catacombs of Rome being an example) but history records nothing of any rebellion or resistance from early Christians. They lived peaceably with others and the government...even though at times the persecution of believers resulted in their deaths.
So, what am I saying? I was convicted by the Holy Spirit for my thoughts. I needed to repent of what I was planning to do. And I will NOT be taking part in any resistance to the new government. All those suggestions of people trying to pull an "Atlas Shrugged"-type of rebellion...not me. I will live uprightly before God, and I will live peaceably with those around me...and I will obey the government AS LONG AS they don't tell me to go against Scripture.
And...here's the part that'll make me highly unpopular with many of you...I suggest you look into those Scriptures. Pray about it. Find out what God wants you to do about this. Somehow...I don't think He's going to tell you to "fight the power".
The bitterness, the hatred, the vitriol that I've seen on Free Republic in the last few days...I participated in it, and I am sorry I did. No more.
The Founding Fathers of this great country did not submit to their God ordained government, and the American revolution happened. Its not as simple as you have rationalized for yourself.
“”Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear. Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsiblynot just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live. That’s also why you pay taxesso that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders.” (MSG) “
Who knew God didn’t like the formation of the United States of America.
Thought provoking for sure. While I myself have been acting like a really bad Christian lately, God’s been tugging at my heart despite all the immoral things I’ve done and has been making me want to get back to reading the Bible. This is as good of a place to start as any I suppose. Getting to the point, every time I come across these passages they always bother me. Raises questions as to how just the American revolution was in light of this scripture, historic acts of civil disobedience that have transformed history, and so on. It definitely upsets the sense of balance in my own mind as to when obedience to the government is required, and when it’s okay to rebel and say ‘no’. Not even referring to the upcoming administration, just in general. Being in the military it would be awfully difficult for me to defy the government anyways, being bound to regulation and duty. But I do have a difficult time understanding this scripture within my own mindset of being an American who leans toward the position that unconstitutional laws and such should be defied when possible. Maybe some other posters will be able to bring some clarity to the issue for me.
one man’s vitriol is another man’s free speech
you are gonna love the Fairness doctrine
You realize they (some state governments) already are, don't you?
Read what the Bible says about homosexuality. How do you square that with state-sponsored textbooks that teach our children that the "marriage" of sodomites is an admirable thing?
“...Adolph Hitler's totalitarianization of Germany was aided and abetted in no small part by pastors and Christians who went right along with everything he said. When-not if, when-the full-blown persecution of Christians comes to America, the fault will lie with all those false teachers-pastors and lay people—who would have you think that a Christian should always obey his government.”
You need to remember that this country was founded by “We the people...”. We do not have a “king” or a “caesar”, we have a Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. The first duty of the president is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” (Article 2, Section 1). He is the Commander in Chief, can make treaties and recess appointments (Article 2, Section 2). He is to deliver to Congress a state of the union and recommend things he feels are necessary (Article 2, Section 3). He approves or disapproves bills passed in Congress (Article 1, Section 7).
Let me repeat — the president is not the king. He does not have supreme authority. Our founders established a Constitution that ensured that we are governed by the people and for the people.
We are to obey the law except when it contradicts God’s law. We are to seek to change the law when it is evil. IMHO - We are not to support leaders who govern in contradiction to how we have chosen to govern ourselves as expressed in the Constitution.
Just a few thoughts.
Nice post but I wish you had used the King James Version as it say “Insofar as it is up to you” obey the Government. There are times when it is not up to you, when Government’s oppress people or try to repress your free expression of your faith. That does not mean you have to openly rebel using forms of violence or hatred but it does not mean you have to submit to their will. Look at guys like Richard Wermbrandt who wrote “Tortured for his Faith” under The Soviets or others who have been imprisoned in China etc they had to stand up for what they believe.
I’m afraid you’re wrong, very simply...
You quoted the program — “Are you sure that Paul was right that all governments are ordained of God?”
Yes, God does even send evil governments (and put them into place) to punish others. It’s in the Bible. And, that doesn’t stop God from punishing those very same evil nations that have carried out His will. It’s because they were also doing evil.
In Acts, the Apostles did not obey the authorities and the government, when it went against what God said they should be doing.
From the way I see it, it could very well be an evil government that God has put into place, by way of this evil candidate (i.e., Obama, who is *evil* indeed, by his own policies and actions) — in order to punish this nation for its continual slide away from God.
But, that does not mean that Christians are to support that evil kind of government, which does all in its power to discard God from the public discourse and from any and all interaction with this nation. That’s because, even if God does allow this evil Obama in place, as a means of punishment for this nation, Obama and his cohorts (whoever support him and his policies, which are anti-God) will be subject to the same punishment of God for what they are doing “in God’s will” — presently — also.
Hitler was head of an evil government and we fought it and defeated it and destroyed it, utterly.
Saddam Hussein was head of another evil government and we fought him (and his evil government) and destroyed it, too.
You also said — “I looked up what life was like for Christians under Roman rule...the time the Scriptures in the New Testament were written. There is NEVER any mention of rebellion against the authorities EXCEPT when they tell the early Church to not preach about Jesus. When that happened, they disobeyed...and rightly so. However, there is never any mention in the New Testament where believers were shown to be disobeying the law OR resisting the authorities. Yes, they hid from them when things got rough (the catacombs of Rome being an example) but history records nothing of any rebellion or resistance from early Christians. They lived peaceably with others and the government...even though at times the persecution of believers resulted in their deaths.”
The Jews fought off the evil of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and they celebrate it as the Festival of Lights, which Jesus, Himself, sanctioned by His own participation in it. That was the miracle of the light in the Temple continuing to burn for many days (8 days) without enough oil (only enough for 1 day).
Today, in our own government, we do have the mechanisms and the tools to “fight off” the evil of this Obama government that is being instituted and in addition to the primary command of Christians to spread the Gospel message, it is also our duty to resist all evil and the evil of this coming government (and the one that we presently have, even before Obama).
We can do this by many means in our present society, ways and means of which were not available to those in those earlier days and centuries. They had to fight a pitched battle and war against the evil of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who wanted to destroy anything and everything having to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — the same thing that Obama wants to do today.
So, you’re wrong. We must fight a pitched battle against evil and *always* resist evil by whatever means we have at our disposal.
If it is by civil disobedience, then so be it, while at the same time, we realize that those who take that route will be subject to those evil authorities and their powers. God may rescue some, but may not rescue others. Even Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (in Daniel) did not know if God would rescue them (He did), so they said that they would not go along with the King’s command, no matter what, not even if God would not rescue them. Some, God does not rescue and others He may, as we see from the Bible. We see a lot of them in Hebrews 11.
Other Christians may not participate in civil disobedience, but may avail themselves of the courts. Others may avail themselves of the political process to build up Godly candidates (for the long term). Others may fight in the current Congress and by means of our representatives and resist evil as much as we can there. And there are so many ways, means and avenues to do this.
We must use all ways, means and avenues to resist the evil of Obama and his evil administration...
Disagreement with policy is not vitriol.
He’s the president. I do not have to do any more than acknowledge it. I do not have to like it.
I will now increase participation in fighting abortion and eugenics. That’s what’s really important.
We all can do that and we all can increase donations and participation to our faith charities that help women carry, keep and raise their children.
Economics and jobs are important. That’s a given.
But more important is how society sees the individual. Does that individual have the right to life? Too old? Too damaged? Not important enough? Too inconvenient?
The current policies of government see “humanity” not individuals. What is best for “humanity” is not in many cases best for the individual. Is it good for humanity to find a cure for disease? Yes, But not at the expense of the individual, i.e., the infant-in-utero.
Do I go along to get along with programs that are antithetical to my values?
No. I don’t have to and I won’t. This is still a Republic and I am still entitled to my voice.
For now. I don’t know after January if I will still be allowed to speak out without incurring a penalty.
If that happens, well, then I hope to be given the Grace to welcome whatever unpleasant comes from speaking out.
As an American Obama has been elected POTUS, not Emperor for Life. It is neither disloyal nor unpatriotic to oppose policies or a POTUS that you see as antithetical to your constitutional and/or Christian beliefs.
And if you don't believe me you can check with Hillary or any other number of wizened democrats who successfully destroyed President Bush.
I agree with you. As a Christian, it is ungodly to disrespect the President. Barack Obama should be referred to in the same honorable terms you’d use for a parent. Too many Christians want to ignore Jesus’ call to be meek and peacemakers because it’s too difficult to follow through on.
And one other thing, try to have the grace and cojones to defend your vanity crap if you absolutely feel that FR must be subject to it.
To all those who are begging and praying to God to save us...
Get off your knees and start using the brains and the courage He gave us to do it ourselves. Prayer is a last resort, not a first one. The pilgrims who came to this nation knelt and gave thanks for the opportunity to make something of this new land. But they didn’t stay on their knees, hoping God would till their land for them, conquer their enemies, and tidy up their messes.They rolled up their sleeves and did it themselves.
The measure of a great country isn’t how much God blesses it, it’s how much the citizens themselves use their God-given talents and courage to make it great.
(a post at Lucianne.com this morning)
It’s a good post.
Yes, apparently, Hoagy62 took his pusillanimous little ball and went home. He didn't answer my question (Post #7) either.
It is this kind of rationalized, Christian passivity that sat on its hands and quietly gave us Roe v. Wade leading to the ultimate massacre of 40 million children. And you think God’s okay with that?
You forget that this leader, this government, will with the stroke of a pen, over-ride all the advances made in the past 35 years to slow, erode and curb abortion on demand. He is in violation of the Lord’s commands with this action alone, and it is our moral obligation to resist, fight and proclaim God’s disapproval of the massive slaughter of the innocent.
God calls us to be loving and kind and peaceful, but when Jesus got righteously angry at the hypocrite money-changers in the Temple, he didn’t just write a strongly worded email to his representative. He turned over tables, made a scene, shouted and yelled at them vehemently, condemning their unrighteous behavior. He hated the white-washed tombs of the leadership of the Jews, their arrogance, their elitist attitudes towards those who disagreed with them, whom they viewed as ‘beneath them’. I daresay our Lord shutters at the power granted by the people to Obama.
That being said, God blessed us with free-will. While God knew Obama would be elected, I don’t believe He appointed him. I believe God allows bad things to happen because He knows that when we suffer, we turn to Him for comfort and redemption. Our country needs redemption and comfort that only comes from God, but we (not me, but many millions) have turned to a false God, Obama, for redemption. What a wonderful lesson it will be for those misguided masses to learn that Obama, fallible and weak, will not be their Savior. How many will turn to God after the desperation and despair arrives for millions of Americans under the coming Obama travesty of an administration? All the sorrow will ultimately work out for His glory.
But, passivity and tolerance is not allowed where this administration treads on LIFE, for God promises to curse the land that kills the innocent. Don’t forget to read your Old Testament, too. The wrathful, vengeful God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
St. Peter wrote in his first epistle to,
"Be subject for the Lords 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." (!Pe. 2:13-14)
Only a few short verses later, St. Peter warns of persecution from these very same powers (1Pe. 3:8-17).
Anyone who claims the mantle of Christianity to teach otherwise is speaking presumptuously.
. . not to mention the facilitating of the murders of full-term babies and making a huge business of abortion in general with new avenues of revenue for the monsters who make their living off this horrible, barbaric practice; and NOW, we are informed we are going to have to PAY for this monstrosity under the guise of “healthcare”? - Before, women have ALWAYS had access to their own doctors to get any abortion they wanted on their own consciences and to PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES! (”back alley” mouthings notwithstanding)
They ARE now telling me to go “against Scripture”. How much “going against Scripture” do you need, and more importantly how much more is God going to tolerate from this lukewarm Laodicean church age before HE SPUES IT OUT OF HIS MOUTH!!?
If you view my words as “hatred” and “vitriol”, then so be it.
We fight not against flesh and blood but spiritual wickedness in high places. It is not that Obama is a black man, but that he is a Marxist. Marxists are atheists. They are Communists. They have a track record and it is against God and believers. By his fruits we shall know him.
Not at all. Your points are direct and well-reasoned.
And Hoagy62 still won't honor us with answers to our questions, will he?
Christians and the President: What do we do?
Pray for his conversion.
Pray for him and pray for the situation. God is in control and He can ordain great things even in the midst of bad circumstances. In fact the greatest victory is often found in apparently hopeless situations. God is going to use this for His glory. And remember all is not if not done in love. God commands us to love our enemies.
Now, about your question:
You realize they (some state governments) already are, don't you?
Read what the Bible says about homosexuality. How do you square that with state-sponsored textbooks that teach our children that the "marriage" of sodomites is an admirable thing?
We teach OUR children (homeschooled) that it is WRONG. I can't do too much about what textbooks get put in our schools. I do vote, and we in Washington replaced our nitwit Head of Public Education.
What I was speaking of was that I will not disrespect the office, even though I do not like the person IN the office. The Bible does not say that if something goes against Scripture, we sit back and do nothing, or fret and worry.
The people in our country have the rights to speak out against injustice, and to gather peacefully in protest against unjust or immoral laws, and to VOTE out those in power who are abusing/misusing their authority. As I see Scripture, there is nothing in the Bible that goes against that.
What I was noticing was that there has been a marked increase in the amount of hatred spewed forth at this site. I joined this site to express an opinion, not to verbally flay our leaders...or each other.
Do I like Obama? No! Do I like his policies? No! Do I like the direction our country has taken/is taking? No!
Am I going to call the President a bunch of names, threaten his life, or do anything that's going to make me look like I've lost my mind with hate? NO!
And NO...it doesn't matter that the people that inhabit DU, Daily KOS, or HuffPo have done it for the last 8 years! I will NOT lower myself to their level anymore. I mean, what are you suggesting...that I grab a gun and start blowing off heads of people I don't like?
My point is...I am a Christian. Real Christians shouldn't engage in hate. When we can resist and engage in protest peacefully and with respect, then it shows we have a just cause. When we resort to name-calling and slander it just makes us look bitter, childish, and unreasonable.
Just like DU, DailyKOS, and HuffPo.
(And for those who might argue about the American Revolution...Christians engaged in that because the cause was just. King George was engaging in unlawful and sinful acts against the colonies. Back in England, he was also engaging in acts against Christians who didn't want to follow the edicts of the Church of England that countered biblical teachings. It was a time when God called men and women to stand up and fight back. Will He do that in these times? He may...and if He does, I will fight.)
How is it possible that you could misread my Post #7 to pose such a question? I suggest no such thing at all. My philosophical difference of opinion with you is in the facile way you tried to enlist scripture to announce that you would NOT be joining the good fight against the destructive socialism of Obama. You might want to reread your original vanity.
HOWEVER, your reply back to me shows a different side of you: a side with a little more kick and plenty of defiance. Perhaps you could harness a little of that fighting spirit and join us in combating the insidious socialism that we will soon face under an Obama administration. We would certainly welcome you on the battlefield.
Thanks for your reply.
Bump to me.....