Christian Priorities on July 4th

The U.S. Flag flying over the Christian Flag

What’s wrong with this picture?
©2013 Joshua Gorton

I was prepared to kill for my God.

That was almost 40 years ago. I was raising through the ranks of the ROTC, and the Christian Karate Association preparing to fight. As I understood it, Roe Vs Wade had declared open season on the killing of the unborn. If you believed in your right to kill someone trying to rape your daughter, but were not willing to kill an abortionist to save the life of an unborn baby–you were either a hypocrite, or a coward.

That was then. Christian priorities on July 4th meant honoring a country God had blessed for honoring Him. Now I see that while the logic was sound, the premise was flawed. My God has called me to put down the sword–if in His defense, how much more so in my own, or for any country. He has an annoying habit of allowing those He most loves to suffer the most. It sounds bizarre but 1 Peter 2:20,21 make it sound as if this is the reason He called us to Himself:

For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps

I would be enjoying some measure of financial security if I had a dollar for every time I was told that my refusal to fight for the U.S Government, or pledge allegiance to its flag, is a direct violation of God’s command in Romans 13. They insist that “When the Government says to kill to protect freedom–it is OK to kill.” Those same people don’t seem to see it in the case of abortion. Nor do they seem to see an inconsistency in the celebration of the rebellion in which this country was born, with their understanding of Romans 13.

This week America celebrates its rebellion against the unjust king that God had ordained to rule her. Those who recognize the U.S. Government as their sovereign are commemorating these words (click here for the full text):

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

 …We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,… 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…. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people…. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends….these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Stirring words of rebellion written by a Deist, who published his own “Bible” after removing all references to the miraculous. Is there any indication in scripture that our King Jesus would agree with Jefferson’s “Declaration” any more than with his “Bible?”

As my last post indicates, the RadicalFish of the 1st three centuries did not fight with arms for, or against Rome. They refused to use violence to save their own lives or those of others. They lived as aliens and strangers in the lands of their first birth–giving deference and allegiance to the land of their second. For this they gladly suffered. Are we willing to follow them, and their king?

It seems that too often we allow our faith to be defined and constrained by our culture–to allow it to set our priorities, rather than do the hard work of trying to apply His teachings to our lives. Christian priorities on July 4th should be the same as they are every day–To love God, and our neighbors as ourselves.  To love our enemies, and do good to those who wish us ill.  To take up our cross and follow Him. Laying down our lives for others does not mean killing for them.

Sadly, it is not just the exposure of the picture which is dark.


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