Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Christian Governance

The following is a guest post by my friend Det Bowers.

Twenty-three decades ago a Continental Congress declared this gathering of colonies a nation of people independent from all others except “the Supreme Judge of the world.”  In their Declaration of Independence, they left no doubt that one God created them as well as these United States located in America.  In their sober fervor to exercise the task of statecraft, they declared, “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

You are most familiar with the fourth verse of Francis Scott Key’s The Star Spangled Banner wherein all the glory for this nation is attributed to the Lord:
            Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand between their loved homes
            and war’s desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued
            land praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
            Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, and this be our motto:
            ‘In God is our trust.’ And the star spangled banner in triumph shall
            wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

What has changed over the past two hundred and forty years?  “Has a nation changed gods, when they were not gods?” (Jer. 2:11).  Has the dependence of a people upon the very “Divine Providence” that forged a free people become independence from the liberating “Divine Providence?” Could the constitutional magna charta of this national congregation need revisiting so Americans remember the cornerstone of American liberty? 

Neither people nor their governments can be neutral toward religion – secularism is a religion.  When a republican form of government separate the people from their moorings (the Bible), an implosion is birthed, for neutrality is a myth spewing from the mouth of agony.  John Wycliffe (1330-1384) said, “This Bible is for the government of the people, by the people and for the people.”  God says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). 

How do you know when a people have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” and have begun worshiping and serving “the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever?” (Ro. 1:25). 
v  When the lawful are fearful of navigating their streets at night
v  When shamelessness is publicized and yet few are ashamed
v  When social discourse focuses upon symptoms rather than causes
v  When historically aberrant lifestyles and decorum are normalized
v  When churches battle for societal acceptance rather than righteousness
v  When society fails to produce true heroes

Americans’ refusal to address the marrow of their delinquency is perpetuating a race of humanity refusing to advance beyond puberty.  Americans are so enamored with the allure of youthfulness and the Peter Pan theology of never growing up that they have brought upon themselves and their progeny a perpetual puberty. 

Many churchmen are watching the last struggles of a once Christian people, a once Christian church or a once Christian family, and yet are taking no action.  They are as Pilate in MATTHEW 27:24 delivering over Truth to be crucified though he perceives himself innocent of Jesus’ blood.  The sin of quietness is inexcusable in those who have the vigor and yet not the courage to influence policy. 

Today’s America is producing men without chests, without passion and without excuse, “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Ro. 1:19).  Where are the sons of freedom called by God to engineer a continuing progressive reformation?  Why are sons of glory refusing to move with singleness of purpose?  Do they not know that Christianity is America’s most effective social program?

Samuel Francis Smith wrote of the hand of God upon this America. Though many remember the opening verse of America (My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing), far fewer remember the fourth verse of that hymn:
            Our fathers’ God to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing;
            long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light,
protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.

God’s people are equipped as patriots for godliness.  In 1778, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to the French declaring, “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.”  America’s populace is religious – it always has been and shall forever be.  Therefore, when revisionists attempt to re-write America’s history in order to deprive generations of the Christian influence upon this nation and societal engineers attempt to keep religion out of the public square, they shall discover a nation fraught with civil discord and psychological disorder.

America’s Founders established this commonwealth with a holy vision in their minds, Bibles in their hearts and psalms upon their lips.  Their commitment to Christ assured that their lines did fall upon them in pleasant places and their heritage would be beautiful (Ps. 16:6).  Their God has not dealt with them according to their national sins, for if He had the heavens would be brass and the earth would have swallowed them up. 

Your God expects you to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Lk. 20:25).  Are you rendering to Caesar the things that are God’s? Victor Hugo said that Columbus’ glory lay not in his arrival, but in weighing anchor.  Have you weighed anchor?

Your America is in a moral plummet because it is in need of another spiritual and cultural reformation.  These United States are becoming increasingly disunited.  Americans are becoming more fractured by ethnicity, economics and ego. This graced land needs tutors to instruct Americans in thinking Theocentrically (God-centered) rather than anthropocentrically (man-centered).  The clarion call is for new leadership and statesmanship that is no longer covetous to accumulate wealth and power, but willing to sacrifice all in the cause of righteousness. 

God-appointed watchmen access the Holy Spirit to discern appropriate advances.  They baptize every thought in the word of God and their prayerful minds seek to capture the mind of Christ.  Christians will not quail because they refuse to bow their knees to fallen public opinion, societal acceptability and cultural conformity.  Retreat is no option for God’s beloved, for they have nowhere to flee except the bosom of Christ.  They shall remain unflinchingly biblical regardless of the ugliness of men and the assaults of demons.

Self-deniers can change the course of nations. Never in the history of these states united have so few been enabled and ennobled by so great a salvation to accomplish so much in so brief a time with such lasting effects.  Christian fifes and drums must pulsate for an American renaissance wherein “righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34).

Return to the American Spirit of 1776 and reflect upon the conflict that birthed the land of your birth.  Read again the four gospels and the Spirit of eternity will remind you that Christianity itself was birthed in conflict.  The Washingtons, Madisons, Hales and Henrys were willing to go into harm’s way for a cause greater than themselves.  America is again in travail and calls you to labor at her bedside.  Holy patriots are needed to address the assailants battering their homeland (Isa. 1:26).

Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was a member of the First Continental Congress and the first governor of Virginia.  In an address delivered at the Virginia Convention, St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia, on March 23rd, 1775, he said,

            Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God
of nature hath placed in our power.  Three millions of people, armed in the
holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are
invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.  Besides, sir,
we shall not fight our battles alone.  There is a just God who presides over
the destinies of nations, and who will raise friends to fight our battles for us. 
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the
brave.  Besides, sir, we have no election.  If we were base enough to desire
it, it is now too late to return from the contest.  There is no retreat but in
submission and slavery!  Our chains are forged!  Their clanking may be heard
on the plains of Boston!  The war is inevitable – and let it come!  I repeat
it, sir, let it come! 

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.  Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace!
– but there is no peace ….  Our brethren are already in the field!  Why stand
we here idle?  What is it that gentlemen wish?  What would they have? Is life
so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? 
Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take, but as for
me: Give me liberty, or give me death![i]

God has gifted you with birth so that you would lead His people.  Cowards cannot be effective Christians. Christians must again dare to express their Christianity in the governance of their America. 

This nation was founded upon the teaching of Jonathan Edwards, the courage of George Washington and the Christianity of Jesus Christ!  The courageous one unsheathes the scriptural sword of naked unvarnished truth – He refuses to trim his sails or reduce the meat of the doctrines of grace to tickle the ears – He speaks and lives as though seeing Him who is invisible – He pursues lions into their dens of iniquity so that the Holy Spirit through him might restore all that the locusts have eaten. 

Perhaps the most appropriate closing for this writing is captured in a familiar song. Katharine Lee Bates’ America the Beautiful expresses America’s dependence upon God in all four verses. She affirms the heart of your nation’s indebtedness to the true Sovereign with such phrases as:
¨      God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea
¨      God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law
¨      May God thy gold refine, till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine

When Paul was in Athens, “his spirit was being provoked within him as he was beholding the city full of idols” (Acts 17:16). Your spirit is provoked by a nation filled with idols. What are you to do?  Engage the public square. Come to know the joy of being invested in the eternal cause of Christ. Aim at God’s glory and you shall become the vehicle of the Lord to reform a society and redeem a culture.

- Written by Det Bowers, June 22nd, 2016

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