One day this week as I was reading my Bible, a verse jumped out at me, leaping right off of the page and into the daily news:
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Prior to the election, we urged our brethren to acknowledge that our hope is not in Washington, and that no man who will not live and govern by that rule will restore America to faith. Voting for people who do not understand this is often little more than futile in the quest for revival. But resistance is also futile, in the form that certain parties are encouraging it today. In fact, the Bible condemns resistance against lawful authority, instead admonishing us to “do that which is good” (Romans 13:3). And now that the election is over, we’d like to make it very clear that this is where we stand, that this is that to which we call those who would seek a revival of our nation: do that which is good.
Resisting Oppression #
Of course, we acknowledge that there is a difference between defending the right of people to lawful governance against oppressors, and anarchy, revolution, and the overthrow of lawful government. At times it is indeed necessary to oppose those in power in order to defend right and truth. The American founders understood this, and that understanding was informed by scripture.
In the Old Testament, the tribe of Judah seceded from the kingdom of Saul, to follow David, the LORD’s anointed. They defended their right to follow God’s chosen leader with arms, but notably did not attempt a violent overthrow of Saul’s kingdom. Instead, when Saul’s son Ishbosheth was slain by some of his own servants, David had them put to death for their vile act.
In a similar fashion, historians do not count the “American revolution” as a true revolution at all. The founders of our country did not attempt to overthrow the British Crown. Rather, they defended their right to live as a free and independent people, and to have a lawful government upholding the rights that God has ordained for man. The founders were not acting in rebellion against government, they were acting in defense of government. They were rebelling only against that highest form of anarchy: tyranny.
(And further, though some will find this statement uncomfortable, much the same could also be said for the southern states during the Civil War: the Confederacy never had any intention of overthrowing the northern government, only of defending their own right to independence. And they likewise refused any aid to those who would seek the assassination of northern government officials.)
While Evils are Sufferable #
But this acknowledged, we would do well to take heed to the wise words of the founders:
[M]ankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.[emphasis added]
The founders thought it right that man should suffer evils, rather than engage in revolution. It was only after a long train of abuses that they could see no other course but independence from tyrants, to secure true forms of government for themselves and their children.
Those currently engaging in resistance have thus surely been too hasty. It is only a few weeks since the inauguration of our new President, and as such it is impossible to argue that we have endured a long train of abuses at his hand. Yet many began to engage in resistance before the oath of office had even been administered. This betrays to the astute observer, that whatever their intentions might be, the untimeliness and folly of their actions are more representative of anarchy itself, than of opposition to it.
Opposing Anarchy #
And considering the above admonition from Romans, opposition to anarchy is indeed the duty of the Christian. And this includes opposing anarchy at every level where it is found, even in our rulers. For tyranny is none other than the highest form of anarchy—anarchy of those in the government itself. But prudence must always be urged in regard to such actions, and we must first count the cost: those that resist will receive damnation, that is, punishment of their actions at the hands of the power. One must indeed be willing to pledge their life, their fortune, and their sacred honor. And that is not something to be done lightly. Which is why only a long train of abuses should induce us to consider such extreme measures.
And until such a time as our nation has endured such a train of userpations without likelihood of lawful remedy, we must make our position clear: do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same, for he is the minister of God to thee for good.
Our Mission #
In closing, we should state once again that our mission is a revival of the godly. The only reason that we have mentioned politics is to encourage our brethren to approach it circumspectly, lest it distract us from our higher callings. Politics must indeed have its proper place in the restoration of America, but it should not sidetrack us from the ultimate goal of saving men’s souls. Political change will come, but if the word of God and godliness are neglected, no true restoration of constitutional government can occur. The founders openly proclaimed that the Constitution was designed for a fundamentally moral society, and could not be used to govern any other kind. Indeed, they admitted that no such constitution could be devised. If we therefore seek to restore true government, and end anarchy, tyranny, and oppression, a revival of the godly must first take place. This is the vocation wherewith we are called. And to it, as followers of Christ taking up our cross in his service, we must indeed pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. So help us our God.