SUNDAY DEVOTION: A Christian Republic

Today is Pentecost. Nearly two thousand years ago, twelve disciples of Jesus Christ and a few other followers sat in a room in Jerusalem waiting for… something. They had watched Christ be crucified, then rise again, but now He was gone, and they surely had no idea how to implement His final instructions to preach the gospel to the whole world.

We all know what happened next. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles like fire and they began preaching to Jews from all nations in their native languages. The Church began on that day, and now more than a billion people claim to follow Christ. Christendom began with twelve frightened disciples and within a few centuries had reached every corner of the globe.

Christianity was a persecuted religion in the early days. First the Jews, then the Romans, tried to stamp out this new sect, but it only grew, appealing to the poor and oppressed in a world growing ever more decadent. Eventually Constantine converted to Christianity, and for the next 1,500 years the Church enjoyed both political and spiritual leadership in the western world.

When Paul wrote in Romans 13 that Christians should be obedient to political leaders, it was in the context of an empire that continuously persecuted the early church, even to the point of death in many cases. Yet the example of Peter and John defying the Sanhedrin when it ordered them to cease preaching Jesus Christ shows that there are limits to temporal authority. The question before us today is how to live as Christians in a democratic society, a modern world, and a culture that is increasingly hostile to our beliefs.

Our forefathers took a tremendous leap of faith when they rebelled against King George III and fought for American independence. There were surely many who believed that Scripture taught that rebellion against kings was rebellion against God. However, our Founders followed the philosophy of John Locke who said that people had the option, even the duty, of appealing to Heaven for the redress of their grievances against the king. Thomas Jefferson inscribed on his personal seal the phrase “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

We might someday be required to make the same choice that our forefathers did when they took up arms against the government, but right now we have the ability to influence our society via both the soapbox and the ballot box. The Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people,” explicitly recognizing that supreme authority is vested in the people rather than kings, princes, or priests.

What does that mean in the context of Scripture? You and I share in the sovereignty of this nation, and of this state. You and I exercise that sovereign authority both by voting and by petitioning our representatives for a redress of grievances. We are not called upon to simply accept the decisions of our elected representatives, rather we have the authority to replace those representatives with ones who are more willing and able to implement our moral vision for society.

Today we see a push by the left against Christian participation in government. They dismiss any concept of Christians voting according to our moral beliefs as “Christian nationalism”. Even so-called Christians like David French want you to believe that moral issues have no place in political discourse; that we must simply accept the leftist redefinition of issues related to gender, sexuality, diversity, etc.

Do not listen to demands for surrender from bad faith actors like that.

Others dismiss voting as irrelevant, pointing to evidence of fraud or the way in which unelected bureaucrats wield more power than our elected representatives. This ignores the fact that the direction of local and state governments can turn on just a few votes. In 2022, Jeff Cornilles defeated Machele Hamilton by 74 votes, and Britt Raybould defeated Ron Nate by only 36.

The Launch Grant passed the House of Representatives by a single vote.

Do not listen to demands for surrender from those who have themselves already given up.

America was founded as a Christian nation, but today it is descending into a morass of paganism and secularism. That does not mean we hide away in our monasteries, rather it means we fight harder to preserve the legacy of our fathers. The battle is not hopeless, neither is it irrelevant. As a member of the sovereign “we the people” of the United States, it is your duty to shepherd our government back toward what it was meant to be: the guarantor of our God-given liberties.

Cast your votes on Tuesday for candidates who reflect the values and principles of our forefathers and who are willing to fight for them. Like the apostles on the morning of Pentecost, we have been given direction and power to achieve our mission.

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