The only significant and clear cut message from the Bible concerning the state, we are told in Romans 13:1-7 concerning the Christian's submission to Governing Authorities:
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
You will notice, however, that nothing in the groups of scripture above mentions nor implies that believers need be involved in the political process that leads up to the establishment of those governing authorities. Obviously, political involvement by individual Christians and groups has increased as never before these past four to five decades; the Christian Right and its organizers (including former church leaders Jerry Falwell and other professing Conservative Christian political activists such as Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed and others) have taken politics to a new and (some may say) dangerous level. A level that has actually had damaging affect on how the "church" is perceived by our nation, and maybe the whole world.
Actually, much of the damage to the church has not come from its failure to elect "Christian" candidates, but for taking its eye off the Gospel, whose mission (and power) has nothing to do with the political arena. We won't examine this issue with any greater elucidation other than to say that those who still (and insist) in this involvement are actually going against the will of God. Is that a sin? Those who are involved in political matters say "No" but many of us believe that the Bible presents a greater and more important message for the church, simply put (in James 1:26-27):
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
In his book, Idols For Destruction, author Herbert Schlossberg has provided us with one of the most lucid explanations against Christians becoming involved with the political machinations of the state. While many modern day prophets and church leaders subscribe that disciples of Christ should become involved in the political process (with no Bible support) they offer much patriotism rhetoric, as if the welfare of America is more important than God's will for mankind.
"When Jesus spoke about the truth's making men free (John 8:32), it was in the context of faith and discipleship and had nothing to do with the reasons these words are inscribed on the lintels of twentieth-century American libraries. Christian freedom stems from the separation of the creation and Creator; from the repudiation of a demiurge that binds man to the round of his being; from the rejection of determinism and the affirmation of responsibility; and from the limitations on Caesar, the declaration that he is a creature, and the removal of the divine status that he continually seeks to acquire. Christian liberty rests on the foundation that man's responsibility to God may not be abridged or compromised by lesser loyalties.. This is the conviction that made it possible for Peter to say that he would obey God rather than man, and thus relativizes all human power. When loyalty to God disappears, there is no longer a barrier to an omni-competent state. Social democracy makes society increasingly dependent upon the state for continued sustenance, thereby cementing its bondage. That is the wisdom in Chesterton's definition of a despotism as a "tired democracy."
Daniel Bell has said that the central question before us is whether, with society's repudiation of Christian faith, culture can provide sufficient cohesion to prevent disintegration. His answer is that the state takes the place of the discarded religious tradition . But that cannot happen, says Ellul, until it is transformed into a cultic object. "It is not state which enslaves us, not even a centralized police state. It is the sacral transfiguration ...which makes us direct our worship to this conglomeration of offices. "The Enlightenment prepared the way for one manifestation of this , that which was directed toward the nation with its appurtances of flag, army, anthem, and national glory. That has now been displaced by the state with its humanitarian ethic, its bureaucratic framework, its function as symbol of the aspirations of humanity. The state now fulfills the cultic function.
J.L. Talmon's studies of secular messianism reveal this clearly. "...all Messianic trends considered Christianity...as the arch-enemy. Indeed they triumphantly proclaimed themselves substitutes for it. Their own message of salvation was utterly incompatible with the basic Christian doctrine...and its denial of man's power to attain salvation by his own exertions. Redistribution takes its central meaning from this cultic function. The state giveth and the state taketh away. Blessed be the name of the state, (Idols for Destruction)."
Obviously this edict applies more so to the paradigm accepted by American Christians. Moreover, for those Christian who believe they must also support the Zionists' theory, based solely and primarily by a misinterpreted scripture verse (Genesis 12:3) that they apply to the state of Israel, perilously dance on the thawing floor of frozen ice. This belief system becomes even more dangerous to Christian Zionists who are going against God's will, which therefore qualifies it as a sin. As Jesus tells us in (Matthew 12:30), you are either on His side or the side of the state.
Support for the state of Israel has become one of the primary and contributing causes to a world-wide conflict that cannot be solved through the political machinations being practiced by both the United States and the state of Israel. We can labor and debate who is correct about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict until hell freezes over. However, based on scripture, this conflict will never be resolved until Jesus Christ returns to set things straight.
No political system has ever been employed throughout history that has even come close to a viable solution to this two-millennium old conflict, nor has any cogent answer been proffered that is amenable to all parties involved. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one that cannot be solved by geopolitical alignments, nor by any racial or religious formula. The cause of the conflict is truly a spiritual issue that only God can resolve. While many will continue to support the Israel state based on a much debated scripture verse (Genesis 12:3), there is sufficient proof throughout the Bible that the initial covenants made by God were intended for a faith-based people, those who would obey and abide by His will. Unfortunately, both Christian and Israeli Zionists are ill-informed not only as to who can make the claim of owning the land of Palestine, that patch of land in the Middle East has never been the true Promised Land the patriarchs were looking forward to (read all of Hebrews - Chapter 11, especially verses 14 through 16) as their eternal resting place.
Yet, the state continues to set itself above God and the uninformed (or ignorant) and will continue to bow before the will of the pernicious state idol, which (by God's laws and standards) is destined to be destroyed and replaced by the Kingdom of God!
Whose side will you take? God's or the state?
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