The detaching from our constitutional moorings by our government is a reflection of how the church has detached from its biblical moorings. The trampling of justice in our country is a reflection of the lack of justice in the church, where people are quickly declared guilty by slander, gossip, and hearsay without due process. Again, when corruption and darkness grows in our land, we can point to the church for not being the salt and light we are called to be.
As citizens in a Republic, we have the responsibility to speak out against the wrongdoing of our government leaders. In the New Testament, it is the responsibility of the saints to speak out against the wrongdoing and omissions of church leaders. Even the youngest apostle, Paul, stood up to Peter when he was drifting from the core truth of the gospel. If we have been entrusted with the truth, we are required to stand up for it with boldness, even to confront our leaders when they need it.
To be the salt and light we are called to be, we must have solutions to the important issues of the times. The Bible declares that Christians have access to the wisdom from above if we will ask for it. There is wisdom from above that will right any wrong and fix any problem. We have access to The One who can fix anything.
It is the civil authorities’ mandate to make laws, but it is the church’s responsibility to change hearts. To address the ultimate issues requires both. The church cannot do the job of the civil government, and civil government cannot do the job of the church. This requires that each stay within their own lane, but if the job is going to be done, it is necessary that there be a working relationship between the two.
Because the church is called to be a prophet to the nation in which it abides, it may at times need to stand up to the civil government and oppose what it is doing, just as the prophets did to the kings in Scripture. Even so, that does not mean that the church is called to be in opposition to the government. When the government is doing what is right and just, the church needs to support it. Civil government and the church are both servants of The Lord, as we see in Romans 13. We should be first and foremost partners in our national purpose, but willing to confront when necessary.
Laws that control behavior are necessary, but we must not settle for a people who are good because they have to be. There is a higher calling that is the place of the church to write God’s laws on the hearts of the people so they want to do what is right.
When the lights went out in New York, riots and robbery broke out across the city. Observing this, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated an obvious truth, “The veneer of civilization is very thin.” Without the restraint of laws and a system of justice to enforce them, people can degenerate into evil very fast. This is why we need civil government. The pursuit of being a people that do not change their behavior when the lights go out is why we have the church.
The Founders of the American Republic stated that such a government could only work for a moral and religious people. To the degree that we lose our morality, or our religion, this form of government will degenerate into tyranny, just as America is now doing. The root of what is now happening to our country is not the result of a bad form of government, or because there are inept people in it. This is more the result of the departure of morality and religion from the country, mostly caused by the church not being what we are called to be—salt and light.
If we do not change our direction, we will end up where we are headed. Where we are headed is to the same conclusion that many nations and empires have gone when they lost their basic morality: first anarchy, then destruction, followed by tyranny. For a person to change direction is hard, but for a whole nation it is much more difficult. The further we go down the course we are now on the harder it will be, but it will never be impossible if we turn to The Lord. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Changing course begins with the declaration that it must be done. To know the right direction to turn, we must know where we are supposed to be going and where we are. Our founding documents are our compass, and if we do not repeatedly refer to them we will continue to drift from our course, just as we have.
In the journals and personal writings of the Founders, they often refer to how crucial the church was for maintaining the Republic. From the beginning, and until the last half century, there was a strong bond and partnership between the government and the church. It was not perfect because both are made up of imperfect people, but it worked powerfully.
In the 1960s, small but loud movements emerged with the stated goal of breaking this relationship between the government and the church. These enemies of our liberty declared their intent to remove all references to God from government and public places. They knew they could not get such things passed as laws through Congress, so they targeted the courts to pre-empt Congress by making laws from the bench. This was blatantly unconstitutional, but the lawless care nothing for obeying the law—they will do anything to achieve their agenda. The courts proved willing to break out of their constitutional lane to usurp the authority of Congress and the executive branches, and began to undermine The Constitution and erode our most basic liberties.
The nation was shocked by the Supreme Court decision to forbid prayer in public schools. But they got away with this most basic and obvious violation of the First Amendment to not prohibit the free exercise of religion. Neither Congress or the executive branches defended their constitutional authority, so The Constitution was weakened and then unraveled by the courts until today it is hanging by a thread.
The nation that was founded to be a haven for persecuted Christians and Jews is now attacking them and religious liberty itself. If the church does not take the prophetic authority it has to this aberrant and increasingly tyrannical behavior of the government, our Republic is near its end.
Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and assemblies, judges, and governors, shall all become wolves. – Thomas Jefferson
Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual…Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us. – John Hancock
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