There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the biggest reason America is in the mess that it’s in today is directly due to the apathy and indifference of the American pulpit. I am reminded of what Charles Finney, the famed 19th Century revivalist, said: “If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that they very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
Our second President, John Adams, put it this way: “It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example, if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominate, ought they not to warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, howmuchsoever it may move the gall of Massachusetts?”
Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer, was even more direct. He said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. And to be steady on all the battle fields besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
For at least the past half-century Christian pastors and churches have been all but neutered. On the whole, they have ignored Christ’s admonition to be the “salt of the earth,” and as a result, have failed to do much of anything to preserve freedom’s Biblical Natural Law principles in this great land. In fact, the average church is so sugary sweet that it is downright sickening!
And the two main reasons for this dereliction of duty by America’s pastors and churches are the IRS 501c3 non-profit tax status, which turns the Lord’s church into a government corporation; and the erroneous, fallacious interpretation of Romans chapter 13 that teaches Christians are obligated to submit to government regardless of whether government acts within the confines and jurisdiction of God’s law or not. In reality, the American church today, on the whole, is not even a church. It is a government corporation whose loyalty is offered first to Caesar, not to Christ, and whose message is first politically correct before it is Biblically correct.
It is more than interesting that some 95% of the 14,000 evangelical churches that graced the German landscape during Hitler’s rise to power bought into the identical misinterpretation of Romans 13 that the vast majority (probably at least 95%) of the 300,000 evangelical churches that grace America’s landscape have bought into today.
For example, one German pastor in 1933 gushed, “Christ has come to us through Hitler.” In like manner, many pastors today foolishly preach that God directs us through our President (whoever he is), or our Supreme Court, or virtually any other government agency. And speaking of the ignominious infatuation with government by Nazi-era German clergymen, Erwin Lutzer, in his brilliant book, “Hitler’s Cross,” wrote, “The swastika meant more to some pastors than did the Cross.” And there is absolutely no question that many pastors in America today place far more value on the US flag (symbolizing to them the power and authority of the state) than they do the Cross of Christ or the teachings and authority of the Holy Scriptures.
Without a doubt, tyrants of all stripes love to exploit this asinine attitude of these sheepish, slavish preachers who idolize the state! Lutzer quotes Hitler as saying, “The parsons will dig their own graves. They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.” And that is exactly what many pastors, deacons, elders, and churchmen are doing today: for the sake of their paychecks, insurance premiums, and retirement benefits, they are betraying the lawful authority of Christ to the tyrannical authority of the state. And the bastardized teaching of Romans 13 is one of the major tools by which this is being done.
Therefore, before we can see any significant return to legitimate constitutional government in this country, the thinking and philosophy of Christians and churches regarding Romans 13 must change. This is absolutely obligatory!