I believe that we, the modern American evangelical church have compromised (prostituted?) our message in our too cozy relationship with the political right. The words “conservative,” “Republican,” “patriotic,” and such, are perceived as being synonymous with “evangelical,” even “Christian.”
This borders on blasphemy. Where do we get this thinking? Not from Jesus! Not from the Old Testament prophets! Not from the New Testament apostles!
When Jesus said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” (Mt. 22:21; Mk. 12:17), He was definitely not equating Caesar with God, nor was He equating their spheres of authority. He was simply recognizing that human government has a sphere of authority, but He was not putting the spheres on an equal level. As a matter of fact, at His trial when speaking to Pilate, the Roman governor, Jesus announced, “You would have no authority over me unless it had been given to you from above. …” (Jn. 19:11).
Human authority always operates in a limited sphere within the sphere of God’s authority and is not to usurp the prerogatives of God, as the Old Testament prophets reiterated over and over.
Daniel the prophet, for example, dared to stand up in the face of the arrogant world ruler of his day, to tell him that “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes” (Dan 4:26), and informed him that God was going to humble him.
Nathan the prophet could point his finger in the face of David, the God–appointed King of Israel and point out his sin and its consequences (2 Sam. 12:7-14).
I cannot imagine any of our self-appointed evangelical “prophets” doing anything of the sort today. They are more like the sycophantic prophets who stood before King Ahab and prophesied nothing but success (1 Ki. 22:6, 10-12).
As a matter of fact, any evangelical teacher or preacher who questions our current political leadership, especially our president, is branded as a “liberal,” a “democrat” or “unpatriotic” (all three words regarded as synonymous). Well, brand me as whatever you wish to, but I do question our current administration as to its ethics. But that’s another story!
“Our country, right or wrong! When right to be kept right,
when wrong to be put right.” ~~ Carl Schurz, 1872
March 29, 2006