Should Saints Relate to Society?
Pilgrim separation may be called as "The Great Omission" from
fulfillment of The Great Commission. In English-speaking
and most Spanish-speaking countries I have visited, the failure
of leaders to teach it may well be the greatest of losses
to Christians. The Lord Jesus is our Pilgrim Prototype. May
you see him as you read this.
a Christian Vote?
Many prominent ministers urge church members to become involved
in political activities. How far should the Christian become
involved? Should he stop at merely voting? Why did George
Mueller, D.L. Moody, C. I. Scofield and so many others .
. . in the past teach God's people to abstain from politics,
while so few leading teachers do that now?
It is the fervent thesis of this writing that "strangers
and pilgrims" should remain aloof from the world's politics.
Our method of establishing this thesis will be that of considering
in chronological order the major passages, plus several others,
in the New Testament on the Christian's relationship to the
world. Will you read this with a heart to do God's will when
you see it? "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for
out of it (not the head) are the issues of life" (Prov.
4:23). Be aware of the principle underlying our Lord's statement
in John 7:17, "If any man wills to do (God's) will,
he shall know" God's guidance.
Testimony from the Lord Jesus
1. Just before the Son of God began public ministry
to establish His kingdom, "the god of this world" challenged
Him: "The devil, taking him up into a high mountain,
shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment
of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will
I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered
unto me and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou, therefore,
wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and
said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan, for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou
serve" (Luke 4:4-8). It is a fact that "the whole
world lies in the power of the evil one" (see I John
5:19 in various versions). So, Satan does have power over
kings and nations, as he claimed (Compare I Chron. 21:1 with
II Sam. 24:1; Prov. 16:1 and 4 explain this.)
This partly explains why there is so much moral corruption
in political and governmental circles, and why governments
in general do an inferior job. They are sufficiently sinful
and satanic to make it doubtful that a Spirit-filled person
could last for a whole year as a real activist in party politics.
His strict honesty, zealous witnessing, exposing of Satan's
tactics and crusading for righteousness would so repel sinners
that the holy offender would be forced out Do you think that
Eph. 5:11 would apply here? "Have no fellowship with
the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
2. Beginning with the moral breakthrough called The
Beatitudes, the Master Teacher shows that citizens of His
superior kingdom will be so poor in spirit, pure in heart
and persecuted in life that they would be alienated from
ruling society and from society's rulers (Matt. 5:1-16).
Was Paul the apostle thinking of this when he wrote, "Evil
companionships corrupt good morals"? (1 Cor. 15:33--a
literal translation). As a follow-up to the Beatitudes, Jesus
declares, "Ye are the salt of the earth" (5:13).
Salt penetrates pungently without becoming of the essence
of that which it affects. Salt seasons meat without becoming
meat. The Lord Jesus uses the salt illustration to teach
how His followers' testimony would influence worldlings.
We are "in the world, but not of it," as a boat
should be in water, but not water in the boat. We are called
to pilgrim separation.
3. "Seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these
(temporal needs) shall be added unto you" (Luke 12.31;
Matt. 6.33). "The kingdom of Christ and of God" is
our political position. We have no worldly patriotism. We
have no other party nor platform for which to sacrifice.
One brother in Christ impressively expressed it like this: "My
Candidate was rejected long ago. He is the only Man in Whom
I have ever had enough confidence so that I could choose
Him to rule over my loved ones and me." It is also true
that real pilgrims "lay up treasure in heaven," not
4. "The law and the prophets were until John;
since that time the kingdom of God is preached..." (Luke
16:16). The Messiah brought in a new order of things or heavenly,
spiritual character. God's people now do not have an earthly
kingdom with a visible throne and a literal army; so, we
must follow Christ and the apostles and not imitate old Israel
(nor Daniel in Babylon) in matters political and governmental.
It is vital to understand the marked difference between God's
program for His earthly people, Israel, and that new program
initiated by Christ for His heavenly people, the Church.
More Testimony from the Lord Jesus
5. "1 am become a stranger unto my brethren
and an alien unto my mother's children" (Psalm 69:9).
Since the immediately connecting words are quoted of Christ
in the Gospels, we see that this is a confession of "God
manifest in the flesh". The God-man was "wandering
as a homeless stranger in the world His hands had made," as
a hymn-writer poignantly expresses it. The Royal Lamb was "despised
and rejected of men," but "he was wounded for our
transgressions" so that we would follow Him in salvation
and in rejection as aliens. Strangership is a recurring theme
in the New Testament. An early reference to it is John 15:19: "If
ye were of the world, the world (fallen humanity organized)
would love his own; but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world
hateth you." "Be not ye partakers with them (be
nonparticipants, separatist, strangers)1 for ye
were formerly darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord;
walk as children of light" (Eph. 5:7,8). "Dearly
beloved. I beseech you as strangers (since we came from someplace)
and pilgrims," because we are going somewhere (See I
A follower of Christ must accept strangership. "If
any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and
wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea, and his
own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26).
The happy, successful pilgrim keeps "looking unto Jesus" and
looking for the city that hath foundations," so he discreetly
and resolutely avoids getting entangled in affairs of the
country he is passing through. In fact, he realizes that
he has no right to interfere. Pilgrimhood and politics don't
mix. The saint must not lose his pilgrim character, but be
Spirit-filled and Christ-like.
"No home on earth have I,
No nation owns my soul
My dwelling place is the Most
I'm under His control."
6. "Render, therefore, unto Caesar the things
that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Man.
22:21). God's N Word specifies what we are to render to Caesar
in addition to praying for magistrates, namely, (1) subjection,
(2) tribute money, (3) other "taxes," (4) fear
and (5) honor (Rom. 13:5-7). Then the Holy Spirit returns
to His theme of "love' from verse onward, which recalls
to our minds what we render to God before all others, that
is, love, allegiance and obedience. "Thou shalt love
the Lord thy God with all thine heart"; this is our
first and big order of business every day. So, we must be
careful not to render to Cesarean politics or government
our prime time, energy or money that belong to God and His
work. Wholehearted devotion to the local church pretty well
eliminates Christians form other activities after a day's
labor in the field, workshop, store or office. Happily, in
most lands the government doesn't strictly require citizens
to vote, so God's children don't render to Caesar in this.
7. "1 pray not that thou shouldest take them
out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from
the evil. They are not of the world, even as lam not of the
world (or "world system'). Sanctify them through the
truth, they word is truth."
"As thou hast sent me into the world, even so
have I also sent them into the world" (John 17:15-18).
This priestly petitioning gave rise to the old proverb, "The
Christian is in the world, but not of the world." The
saying is true, but a trite truism by now, so that people
take it lightly without thinking things through and making
due applications of it. Just what is "the world"?
How far "in" is the saint? Does 'C not of it" mean
that he doesn't form part of organized society?
"As thou hast sent me into the world, even so
have I also sent them into the world" to evangelize
the lost while remaining "separate from sinners" by
insulation or by isolation. The pilgrim maintains separation
by insulation from their sins in his casual contacts with
them. He also experiences successful pilgrimage to Heaven
by isolation from their political parties and organizations
in general. Thus lived our Prototype Pilgrim.
"This world is not my home,
I'm just a-passin' through,
If Heaven's not my home
Then, Lord, what will I do?"
8. "Jesus answered (Pilate), My kingdom is not of this
world . . .but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John
18:36). Presently, His real rulership and "holy nation" are
spiritual and mystical, although actual, international and
interplanetary: "All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given unto me" (Matt. 28:18--a literal translation).
Christ is reigning now, mediatorially, and when He returns
to the earth at His Revelation, He will have a literal, "political" Dominion
here. "Our citizenship is in heaven whence also we look
for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." Praise the
from the Apostles
9. The verbal and life testimony of Christ in the
Four Gospels is paralleled by the apostles in Acts and the
Epistles. The antagonism between the two humanities, old
Adam and new Christ, is evident in various ways in the Book
of Acts. It is so obvious that members of the new creation
couldn't have seriously considered participating in politics.
For example, you see this in Acts 5:11-14: "Great fear
came upon all the church and upon as many as heard these
things. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs
and wonders wrought among the people (and they were all with
one accord in Solomonís porch. And of the rest durst no man
join himself to them, but the people magnified them. And
believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both
of men and women.)" Strict separation engendered much
conversion. Spirit-baptized, gracious separationists have
holy power; their testimony is that "to live is Christ."
Paul "claimed his earthly citizenship" (as
in chapter 22) to the extent of enjoying police protection
and due judicial process, not however, to the extent of intruding
into politics nor governments. It was not merely a matter
of limitation by persecution, but of pilgrim abstention.
Pilgrims witness, but do not try to reform society. In fact.
you rejected this Christ-rejecting human society when you
were voluntarily baptized in water (I Peter. 3:20-22).
10. "Be not conformed to this world' (Rom. 12:2),
politically, socially, religiously nor otherwise. C. I. Scofield
(for one) explained in the early edition of his Reference
Bible that Christians should abstain from politics. Other
noted teachers in past generations, such as John Bunyan,
were emphatic in inculcating entire separation from the world.
Now, in the midst of the culminating apostasy of Century
20, a vast army of preachers has succumbed to "the offence
of the cross" instead of teaching and practicing Hebrews
13:12-14: "Jesus, also, that he might sanctify the people
with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go
forth, therefore, unto him without the camp, bearing his
reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek
one to come." Will we be Christ-like in our separation
and in our citizenship?
Pilgrimhood in the Epistles
11. Romans 13:1-7 is a classic passage on human
government and our relationship to it. What a shame that
many Christians have not really studied it, so all they can
quote is "the powers that be are ordained of God"! "Let
every soul be subject to the higher powers...the powers that
be are ordained of God." They are providentially ordered
by God in the same sense that a river is: "The king's
heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water;
he turneth it withersoever he will" (Prov. 21:1).
The Most High God "setteth up kings" and
the satanic god upsetteth kings. Verse two 'Yams us not to
take part in violent revolution against the divinely placed
or divinely permitted "powers that be." However,
neither here nor elsewhere does Gospel Scripture suggest
that 'Ye take part in governing. Contrariwise, this very
portion shows that Caesar is to serve the Church: "He
is the minister [that is, servant] of God to thee for
good." This leaves the Christian outside of the bureaucracy
and all divisions of human government. God expects him to
remain outside in pilgrim separation. He is not to serve
as a policeman, judge, governor or military officer, all
of which violate principles of Christ's kingdom, such as
faith, love and nonviolence. But he is to be served by civil
and milita6 governments. The New Covenant Scriptures require
strict separation of Church and state.
12. "Man's day". Did you know that this is actually
the way the Greek original reads in I Cor. 4:3? God is letting
man have his "day" since he rejected the God-man.
God will not allow rebellious man to have successful governments
since the God-provided King was rejected. Human government
is a provisional arrangement whose primary function is to
restrain evil. . . .
13. "Seek ye out of the book of the Lord and read" I
Cor. 5:9-6:3. We are to fellowship with God's enemies in
the marketplace and in other necessary c6ntacts in which
we seek to love them into the Kingdom. This is the day of
grace, so we are not to judge them: "What have I to
do to judge them that are without?" -- outside the Church
or the local church. Since voting, politicking and much governing
are judgmental (in contradiction to Christ's principles of
conciliation and forgiveness), this rules out our participation
in these activities. In God's time, we will judge or govern
the world and angels (6:2,3). Meantime, we do well to honor
the rule that John Wesley gave to his early followers, which
went something like this: "A child of God should only
engage in those activities that are necessary to maintain
his life and testimony on the earth,"
14. "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I
Cor. 11:1). Christ and Paul are the only two great and explicit
examples that God has set before us in the New Testament
to be imitated. This simplifies guidance. A young man once
asked the writer, "Should a Christian take part in politics?" The
answer was, "When you find a Scripture showing that
the Lord Jesus or Paul directly engaged in some political
activity, then you should do the same." Of course, there
is no such Scripture. The question, "Where does God's
Word say that I can't vote or bold office?" displays
a carnal attitude. The spiritual approach is, "What
can I do to be like Christ and Paul?"
15. Christians are ambassadors: "Now then we are ambassadors
for Christ . . . " Who was "made sin for us, that
we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2
Cor. 5:20-21). Saints are royal representatives of Christ
the King to worldlings in general and to earth's provisional
governments; this is particularly true of ministers of the
Gospel in full time ministry of the Word. By calling us Heaven's
ambassadors, the Holy Spirit teaches, graphically, that we
avoid politics. Does the reader need to be reminded that
an ambassador is strictly forbidden to interfere in the civic
and political affairs of the country to which he is commissioned?
God's Word does not use terms carelessly.
16. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers;
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
And what communion bath Christ with Belial? Or what part
bath he that believeth with an unbeliever? (what do they
have in common?). And what agreement hath the temple of God
with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God
hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will
be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come
out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and
touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you; and
I will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises,
dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness
of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear
of God" (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
This superb section of Scripture teaches that the
righteous and the unrighteous have so little in common that
born-again believers should "come out" from their
organizations. This applies, especially, to religious ones
such as churches and lodges. Don't even "touch the unclean
thing." God forbids the "unequal yoke". Two
oxen in a yoke are on the same footing. The teaching here
is that the all-wise Father forbids His child to form a religious,
matrimonial, commercial, political or other partnership in
which the two or more partners are on an equal footing. If
they have an equal voice and vote, the child of God would
share the guilt of the child of the devil in wrongdoing or
failing to do God's will. And such alliances are of the nature
of things in the world of politics. Do you see this?
17. Christ "gave himself or our sins,
that he might deliver us from this present evil world. according
to the will of God and our Father;" "God forbid
that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and!, unto
the world" (Gal. 1:4; 6:14). The Savior sacrificed Himself
to save us from sinning and from sinful civilization. Egypt
is a type or symbol of the civilized world. so Golgotha was
our redemption from Egypt's slavery, Presumably, Christians
have escaped from the attractive, systerhatized [sic] errors
of artful mankind.
Notice how Peter (Acts 2) exhorted his convicted hearers,
Save yourselves from this untoward (perverse generation." Scripture
urges men to repent, believe and surrender to the Lord Jesus,
because salvation liberates sinners from sinning and from
the world and, secondarily, from Hell. No wonder Paul prays,
God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me
and I, unto the world." Crucifixion brought separation
(for death is separation) from Christ-rejecting society,
from natural, fallen man in Adam.
18. "Our civil-political orientation is in heaven" --this
is a literal rendering of Philippians 3:20. The Greek work
here is politeuma. It means "civic and political
affairs." So it can be summarized by either "citizenship" or "orientation." Why
not check this in reliable reference works? It is not for
those who properly belong to another world to "mind
earthly things". We are to think and live as taught
in Colossians 3:14. God's called-out ones should have a strong
sense of belonging to another world. What if earthlings taunt
with the jibe, "Some people are too heavenly minded
to be any earthly good"? They said worse things about
our blessed Saviour.
God intends the local assembly to be "a colony of Heaven" on
earth. Church or assembly comes from ecclesia in the
Greek. It means a gathering of called out (separated) people.
This requires a clannish attitude. We need an "our community" spirit.
The congregation should serve the surrounding community,
while remaining a distinctly different culture, ruled by
Scripture, love and faith. "As we have, therefore, opportunity,
let us do good unto all men, especially to those who are
of the household of faith." To worldlings Christians
who dress conservatively and modestly look foreign or strange.
They are of a different culture, namely, the kingdom culture.
19. Colossians 3:1-4 describes our heavenliness. Verse two
orders us who have "risen with Christ" and are "with
Christ in God", "Set your mind (and affection)
on things above, not on things on the earth." This demands
much intensive Bible study, loving visitation in homes, frequent
attendance at worship meetings, etc., when free from work
hours. So the child of God simply will not have time, energy
nor money for the world's political activity. Isn't that
20. In I Timothy 2:7-15, Paul begins by asserting his veracity
as a spokesman for God and his authenticity as an apostle
from God. He is giving divine revelation, rather than personal
opinion. Then he teaches the men ("males" in the
Greek) to take the lead in praying and in holy living. He
follows up by urging women to display submissiveness to God
by modesty, good works, and quiet, retiring conduct. Next,
he explicitly forbids women to teach men or take authority
over them. This was not a matter of that culture or Jewish
mores. Notice that he takes us back to man's beginning to
give the two reasons for these two restrictions in woman's
role in life: (I) "Adam was first formed, then Eve" (the
priority of the male in his creation) and (2) "Adam
was not deceived, but the woman" was. So, at the beginning
God had ordered that man should lead and woman follow in
the relationships of society as whole.
This obviates women's voting, office holding in civil government
or doing military service in which they would exercise authority
over men. Which the Church is not mentioned in the immediate
context, God's original, natural order for the sexes would
be at least as strictly applied in Church relationships,
since the members are still male and female. Galatians 3:28
does not modify this, since it refers to our equal position
in Christ and to Christ as our life within, not to external
relationships. Women in thousands of churches around the
world gladly follow God's order and do not try to take authority
over men, thanks be to the Lord! Shouldn't they show a "meek
and quiet spirit" like blessed Mary of Bethany? "A
woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" (Prov.
31:30). It was a sad day in U.S. history when Women were
franchised to vote.
21. "Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier
of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with
the affairs of this life, that he may please him who bath
chosen him to be a soldier. If a man also strive for masteries,
yet is be not crowned, except he strive lawfully" (according
to the written instructions) --2 Tim. 3:5. In the spiritual
warfare with invisible "principalities and powers," such
as demons, the dedicated soldier of Jesus Christ will build
up the local church and spread the Gospel without allowing
himself to be entangled or distracted by the world's affairs.
You want to please Him who has chosen you, don't you? Then "lay
aside every weight" of worldliness, "looking unto
Jesus," the "captain of our salvation." Strive "lawfully" by
obedience to Scripture and nonconformity to the rebel world.
As dear John Wesley said, "You should engage only in
activities that are NECESSARY to maintain your testimony
22. "Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,
consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. Christ
Jesus" (Heb. 3:1). Consider Him in His separation and
pilgrimhood. Consider, also, and follow the faith example
of the patriarchs: "These all died in faith, not having
received the promises and confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things
declare plainly that they seek a country (patriotism to the
Fatherland). And truly, if they had been mindful of that
country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity
to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that
is, an heavenly; wherefore, God is not ashamed to be called
their God, for he hath prepared for them a city" (Heb.
11:13-16). Men of faith don't say, "My country, right
or wrong." We say, "The Kingdom, come what may!"
Epistles and Revelation
23. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses (spiritually
speaking), know ye not that the friendship of the world is
enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, wants to be a friend
of the world (Christ-rejecting society) is an enemy of God" (James
4:4). One has to choose sides and go wholly with one or the
other. The Spirit-filled person will not feel affinity for
the world; with such steadfast peace and joy in his heart,
he doesn't need to indulge in worldly pleasures. He will
not make common cause with a civilization whose institutions
in general, and even many laws, militate against God's ways:
this is especially true in Communist or strongly socialistic
countries. "Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship
with thee which frameth mischief by a law?" (Psalm 94:20).
The Lord Jesus decreed, "He that is not with me is
against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth
abroad" (Matt. 12:30). The author who warns that friendship
with the world system is animosity toward God also explains, "Pure
(devotion) and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and
to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).
. . .
24. In our beloved King James Version [sic] , 1 Peter 2:13
reads like this: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance
of man for the Lord's sake . . . ". Other versions do
not use the word "ordinance," since the meaning
of this Old English word was different from our modern meaning
of "a law". Other versions render this Greek word,
which is kisis (literally, "creation"),
as "institution" or "ordination". From
what follows in I Peter 2:13 and 14, it is evident that the
idea is an arrangement made by man for governing: "--whether
it be to the king, as supreme (the federal government) or
unto governors (lesser rulers), as unto them that are sent
by him (a human institution) for the punishment of evil doers
and for the praise of them that do well."
This exhortation to be subject to rulers is consistent
with the Scriptures on the subject throughout the New Testament.
They call on us to submit to the rulers. God doesn't say, "Obey
the laws" (or ordinances). This distinction
is decidedly significant. President John F. Kennedy referred
to the distinction between "a government of laws" and "a
government of men". One can see the wisdom of the Holy
Spirit in maintaining this discrimination in the New Testament
in that (1) rulers interpret the law (and disagree as to
the interpretation) and, (2) they apply it loosely or strictly
or, (3) they choose not to apply it at all. So, God specifies
submission to magistrates, rather than to laws or ordinances.
Notice that the two functions of earthly government that
God has authorized are, first, "the punishment of evildoers" and,
secondly, "the praise of them that do well".
What if a government goes beyond what the Sovereign has
authorized and forbids Gospel preachers to preach the Gospel?
You will answer, "Then we ought to say and do what Peter
and the apostles did; we should go ahead and preach, because
we ought to obey God rather than men". All right, picture
yourself in Holland in the '40's during the five years when "the
powers that be ordained of God" were the German military
who were persecuting Jews. Should you help "the underground" transport
Jews, secretly and against Caesar's will, to a place of safety?
If so, what becomes of the theory that we must be subject
to all laws and ordinances? Are you even being subject to
rulers in this case? While being law-abiding citizens of
a temporary, provisional, earthly "kingdom," we
must be careful not to render to Caesar the things that are
In I Peter 2:13 and Romans 13, God is speaking of
normal government; the reigning emperor, Nero, had not yet
become despotic as he later would and was not persecuting
Christians. So, "let every soul be subject to the powers
that be" can be qualified: it means that we should submit
as a rule, not when they are like Stalin, Hitler or Idi Amin,
wicked, lawless oppressors. God has not given, as legitimate
functions of human government, such things as welfare and
insurance programs nor other policies that characterize socialism.
Neither has the Most High authorized rulers to compel citizens
to participate in governing, not even to the extent of voting.
When Caesar oversteps himself, compelling churches to register
with the government and be much regulated by Caesar, Christ's
loved ones must choose to become an underground Church, an
25. "Love not the world, neither the things that arc
in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust
of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world
passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the
will of God abideth forever" (I John,2:15-17). The world
includes human government; certainly the latter is not part
of the Church. A national government is of God in about the
same sense that a river is: The king's heart is in the hand
of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever
he will" (Prov. 21:1). Again in ] John 2, the drift
of Scripture is that a Christian should avoid involvement
in the pride, lusts and other corruption that characterize
political and governmental circles. "Be not deceived;
evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15).
Such relationships are not "NECESSARY to maintain one's
life and testimony on earth".
26. "All the world wondered after the beast--and power
given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations"--see
Rev. 13. This is the culmination of man's efforts to govern
himself, after having rejected God's Man for King almost
two thousand years ago. Scripture warns of the anti-God nature
of most governments: "The kings of the earth set themselves
and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and
against his anointed" (Psalm 2:2 and quoted in Acts
4 as applying to our age). . . . Even the best forms of government
must fail, because Christ is not truly recognized as Lord.
But it is God's will that "in all things he should have
Effectively praying Christians accomplish more good in civic,
national and world affairs than do mayors, presidents and
generals. Why? "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong
holds, casting down imaginations (rationalizations) and every
high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of
God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience
of Christ" (2 Cor. 10). "The effectual, fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5).
Electioneering church members do not have as strong
a testimony as praying Christians. Early Christians had a
prayer-warrior reputation. They were so withdrawn from worldly
pursuits and civic matters that they were sometimes referred
to as "haters of the human race". There is not
a single clear instance in the New Testament of a saint's
being a government official or seeking to become one. Erastus
was a city treasurer, at least temporarily, and may or may
not have been a true convert (Rom. 16:23). This and the case
of "they of Caesar's household" are borderline
cases that certainly cannot be used to justify Christian
participation in these earthly matters in light of the overwhelming
number of Scriptures that teach the opposite.
Don't allow yourself to be deflected from the truth by extra-biblical
cases. For example, it doesn't help to ask, "What if
Gladstone hadn't been prime minister of England?" In
which chapter and verse of our "only rule of faith and
practice" do you find Gladstone's name? "Faith
cometh by bearing" God's Word, not by bearing case histories.
The Lord Who is Truth only guaranteed one way to know the
truth: "If ye continue in my word (the Holy Bible),
then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free" (John 8).
What great cause is left in the world for which one should
live and, if necessary, die? There are two, surely; world
evangelization and crusading for freedom of conscience. A
noble soul should devote himself to prayer, speaking, writing
and otherwise promoting these causes by legitimate, non-violent
Only the extremist can be victorious in the midst of today's
John Bunyan in his book, "The Pilgrim's Progress," dramatized this
fact that we must be radical to be successful. Strong winds of adversity oblige
the pilgrim to lean forward into the wind with faith, courage and love. The carefully
calculating extremist will appear to others to be unbalanced, but he knows and
God knows that only thus can he stay upright. "The prayer of the upright
is (God's) delight" (Prov. 15:8). So, keep praying and persevering without
politicking. As one keeps "looking unto Jesus" and "beholding
the beauty of the Lord," he will be a successful pilgrim.
Lord Jesus Christ,
Thou bright and Morning Star
Our heart gives all its love to Thee
Thy Name is near and dear.
Oh beautiful Lord Jesus Star,
Transcendent God art Thou
The Father's Son and Son of Man
Whose blood doth cleanse us now.
This is an edited version of chapter two of "Fresh
Food." Warren William Coles, Paw Paw, Michigan 49079. (Edited
edition, May, 1997.)