(Posted September 25, 2014)
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,
whether to a king as the one in authority,
or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evil doers and the praise of those who do right.”
(I Peter 2:13-14; bold added)
|This theme of subjugation to God-appointed government and leaders, as well as leaders and governments that ensure justice for the people, is replayed many times throughout the Old and New Testaments. Yet, we recognize that there is sometimes a point at which the government or the leaders appointed over us become the oppressor themselves. In the extreme case, think of Nazi Germany. How did German Christians know when to resist the oppression of a dictatorial and evil government? Regrettably, most did have the wisdom, courage, or conviction to push back. Gratefully, we have the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and many others which inspire and inform us in our role as true Biblical citizens.||
The Liberty University Helms School of Government is rolling out GOVT 376, Resilient Nations, for the Fall D Term. It is designed to inform and inspire LU Students and beyond regarding “Biblical Citizenship and Statesmanship.” You can find out more by contacting LUO Advising at email@example.com or (800) 424-9595, or by watching this video here. This IMR BLOG introduces some of the content to be addressed in GOVT 376, using the course textbook, Resilient Nations, by Robert F. Dees.
Let me provide a few ideas from the pages of Resilient Nations to regarding a mandate for “We the People” as Biblical Citizens:
Personal Spiritual Renewal. As Americans consider solutions to national ills, we must first take personal spiritual inventory. What do we believe? How do those beliefs affect our lives and the lives of others? Do these beliefs lead to moral character, inner fortitude, and lasting relationship with God and others? The famous mathematician and philosopher Pascal maintained that, “within every human heart is a God-shaped vacuum.” Humans often attempt to fill this vacuum with things other than God, with differing value systems, such as secular humanism, which worships man as a poor substitute. Another popular value system even professes to be “value free,” a religion of pseudo-objectivity. These “religions” which do not recognize God’s authority over men and nations produce spiritual bankruptcy and ultimate despair. The people and the leaders of numerous formerly atheistic, humanistic, and totally secular nations daily attest to this fact, and many are turning to God for solutions. America and Americans must do the same, returning to our God-based constitutional foundations. This begins with personal spiritual renewal—an individual decision and a critical first step. National revival begins with each of us!
Strong Traditional Families. President Ronald Reagan said it well: “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation for our freedoms… the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation.”
With an abundance of Biblical and empirical justification, “We the People” need to make it happen in our own homes first, and then in our society. As you may well know, this is easier said than done, particularly in our increasingly secular and humanistic culture. May we align with Joshua when he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Civic Responsibility. The civic responsibility mandate for “We the People” extends beyond consistently voting in local, state, and federal elections, to being an “informed” voter (versus the newly-minted term “low information voters”). We should align with like-minded citizens and organizations in this regard. For example, the Salt & Light Council (based in San Diego, www.saltandlightcouncil.org) does an excellent job offering citizenship training to those seeking to be informed and responsible voters. Many organizations such as Wallbuilders (www.wallbuilders.com) and others highlighted earlier in Resilient Nations also offer useful national election guides and civic education tools.
In addition to civic responsibility exercised through participation in the political process, engaged citizens embrace a spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism. None of us can solve ALL the problems of our local community, nation, or our world, but we can ALL DO SOMETHING to help others with the time, talents, and treasure that God has placed in our hands.
Cultural Change Agents. I often use the expression “If not now, then when? If not me (us), then who?” as an exhortation to action. This is certainly true as each of us sees the accelerating trends of cultural decline in our nation. You may be familiar with the “Seven Mountains of Culture.”
It may be that your “point of passion” to win back culture aligns with your vocation. If you are a media executive, how do you act as “salt and light” in your media marketplace, serving to positively influence those around you and then the entire media industry? Or maybe God has placed you vocationally in arts and entertainment, or business, or education, or family care, or government (including the military), or religion.
In addition to vocational access to a certain mountain of culture, you may also be personally aligned with a particular cause. For example, you may be a mother or father alarmed by the impacts of historical revisionism, or gender miseducation in our schools, or abysmally low math and English proficiency of our students, or bullying and violence in our nation’s schools. You may be the parent who gives courage to other equally concerned parents. Remember, you are not alone. I encourage you to become informed, align with other like-minded individuals and organizations, and then stand up to be counted, to do the right thing. You may save your children and your country in the process.
Perhaps you want to reverse the tacit persecution of religion, particularly Christianity, in our culture today. What would God have you to do? Perhaps your heart breaks for those held captive in prostitution and human trafficking. If not you, then who? Perhaps you have a prophetic personality that is righteously exorcised by a lack of integrity and transparency in government. If not now, then when?
Prayer Warriors and Merchants of Hope. While we have addressed these topics in earlier blogs, here are a couple of useful reminders.
First, regarding PRAYER:
“First of all, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgiving, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (2 Timothy 2:1, 2, underline added).
In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul addresses such hope: “… we exult in hope of the glory of God (an eternal expectation), And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations (a temporal expectation), knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5, italics and bold font added).
To be a merchant of hope, we must first have hope, both an eternal expectation and a temporal (here and now) expectation that gives us courage and strength. This hope, found in Jesus Christ, “does not disappoint.” Having such hope, we are equipped to be “Merchants of Hope.”
(Adapted from “Mandate for ‘We the People’" by Robert F. Dees in Resilient Nations. San Diego: Creative Team Publishers, 2014, www.ResilienceTrilogy.com.)
Respectfully in Christ,
LU Institute for Military Resilience
What are YOUR thoughts about Biblical Christianity?