So as citizens, how are we to face and evaluate the threats our freedoms have from those who would like to remove them? On earth we have two defenders established by God to take a stand against such tyranny…our faith in God and the government we have established. Our faith in God cannot fail as long as we maintain it; however, the same cannot always be said about our government as it is made up of various principles…some based on our Christian foundation principles and some evolved within the mind of man, many of which have been implanted by Satan himself.
At worst, our government officials are unwitting servants of God. (Romans 13:2). Even pluralistic, pagan systems provide important infrastructure and social order. Even tyranny can be better than no law at all. This is not an easy conclusion for me to come to, but if we read further in Romans, Paul makes a point that when weighing whether or not to resist the government for the sake of our conscience, we must also consider how we are to respond to an institution ordained by God. It is an exercise in balance and perspective. To fully accept this an exercise in balance and perspective is required requiring careful wisdom. I must admit I have not yet attained that level of ‘wisdom’. I still have that warrior spirit engrained in me by 29 years of military service.
Respect for government means having a healthy fear of its power. We are reminded that ‘rulers’ carry a sword for the purpose of establishing order and enforcing the law. (Romans 13:3-4,7). I my mind I have a difficult time coming to grips with ‘whose order’ and ‘what laws’…man’s or God’s? However, before resisting ‘the powers that be’, we must be sure that our cause is worth our imprisonment of death. If we must resist, we need to do so with respect for the people who govern. This is not easy when we come to know the dictates by which they govern. In some cases, the followers of Christ had reason to see their government as an enemy of the gospel. Under such circumstances it became necessary to remember that such officials will be required to give account to God for the authority entrusted to them. We, too, will also be held accountable to God…the highest authority…for how we respond to government officials. Any actions we take concerning government must include concern on how our actions will reflect on Christ.
Throughout history, there have been those who have had to take a stand against tyranny and unjust laws. There is a fine line between anarchy and taking a righteous stand against evil. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, with a purpose beyond self, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. Many of our peace-loving patriots and citizens have had to make this decision. So, if we are compelled to resist government, we must ask ourselves three vital questions:
> Will a watching world see our resistance as a self-serving effort to protect only our own rights?
> Are we protesting in order to protect the interests of others and fight for a higher sense of justice?
> Are we prepared to accept the penalty?
Today we see a correlation of government control with what was originally designed to be a free press. In some arenas it has come to be known as ‘fake news’. It has made the news media more of a source of propaganda than a source of what is really going on in our world. So, what can we do to encourage the media to be a source of factual information rather that a source of irritant used to divide the nation? How much discord is found in our nation today because of the ‘slant’ the media puts on facts? Is the media being truthful? Is our government being truthful? Much of the public action is based on media distribution. So, what suggestions might be made to encourage a beneficial media that pulls together rather than divides the nation?
> Keep in mind the constant effort of the Communist apparatus to plant its agents in all mass communications media.
> Familiarize yourself with the current Communist line (Save people from themselves). Watch for individuals who shift with that line…often contradicting themselves to accommodate the latest zig or zag of party strategy. (Russia must kill Ukrainians to protect them from themselves and to defend ‘mother’ Russia.)
> Be careful not to destroy confidence in American institutions…after all it is these institutions that will be used to destroy democracy.
> Run features on current issues that reflect a solid American interpretation of a situation…i.e., print only the truth. The Communist avalanche of literature is often compounded by a left-wing slant to the news on a syndicated wire which leaves the American point of view practically unexpressed.
> Develop a program of liaison with public officials so they will have an assurance of your ability to keep a confidence. Most officials…I say ‘most’…start out with a desire to cooperate closely with the press, but they become secretive when distortions and premature releases weaken or destroy their capacity to get their job done properly.
> Some members of the press have the knack of detecting Communist influences in public life and have made excellent contributions by pointing these out. Others have played right into the hands of Communist apologist and agents.
During the founding period of this nation, our Founding Fathers recognized the value of the press to influence society. It will only have a positive influence if we can rely on it to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That truth may not always be what we want to hear but at least it is factual, and we must, as citizens, make decisions based on the facts…not what some pundit wants us to believe. In the Communist/socialist world the government decides what it wants the citizens to be exposed to, and in so doing makes adjustment to political opinion. Do Russian citizens approve of the Russian army murdering Ukrainian men, women, and children? It’s not a war, it’s an invasion, with Ukrainians only trying to defend themselves and their country. Do you think that Russian citizens are being told this? The world is starving for truth and the media is one of the last remaining options as a source. When that source goes away, the world becomes open to tyrants and the works of Satan. The only other source of truth then becomes the Christian church and its ministers and pastors. Next week we will look at the challenges Satan has erected and what the church can do to influence society. We must start with prayer, knowing that not all people believe in the power of prayer, and then exercise the forces necessary to open the ‘eyes of the world’ to the evil that is at work. This will by no means be the first time that Christians have been called into action.
“When a nation or an individual has no fear of God, destruction is sure to follow. The fear of God is based on the knowledge of God. Those who have no fear of God are worse than the merely senseless; they have completely lost touch with reality.” A Nation in Crisis by Ray C. Stedman