America's most celebrated jurist, Daniel Webster (himself a dedicated Christian man), said, "God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." Obviously, Christian men down through our history have personally and collectively shown themselves more than willing to "guard and defend" our liberties. From Bunker Hill to the Alamo, Christian men stood tall in the defense of America's freedom. So, it is more than a little disconcerting to realize that there is a sizeable percentage of today's Christians who seem completely unwilling to "guard and defend" liberty in these United States of America.
Oh, I know that almost all of our pastors and church leaders will laud and honor a young Christian man's decision to join our armed forces and go overseas to fight enemies abroad. But when it comes to opposing those within our own country who seek to dismantle constitutional government or the principles of liberty, their support for resistance turns to apathy and indifference. (The reason for this couldn't be because they simply don't want to do the hard work, could it? Please tell me it ain't so!)
I have even had Christians tell me that we should not make any attempts to resist draconian developments within our country, because doing so would actually be resisting God. The reasoning goes something like this: "The Bible says things will get worse and worse. Therefore, all this 'bad' stuff happening is God's will, and if we try to prevent it, we are fighting against God's will." I know it sounds incredible, but we might be shocked as to the number of professing Christians that actually subscribe to such nonsense.
Isn't it interesting, however, that these same Christians did not believe we were fighting against God's will when we sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. military forces (many of them Christians) to fight and destroy the evil regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq? If things are supposed to get worse and worse and we would be opposing God's will by resisting, why should we interfere in Iraq? Why should we send troops to Afghanistan, if we are not to resist evil?
And, of course, the bigger question is, If it is right to resist evil in a foreign country half way around the world, why is it not right to resist evil in our own country?
Furthermore, the same Christians that tell us we should not oppose any evil being perpetrated by those within our own government will scream about the importance of going to the polls in November and defeating the "evil" Democrats. But why? If Christians are not to resist evil, because the Bible says things will get worse and worse, why should we worry about who wins an election? In fact, it would seem that the best thing we could do would be to identify the absolute worst, most evil candidate we could find and vote for him (or her). After all, if God intends for things to get worse and worse, why don't we help Him out by assisting the efforts of evil people?
I wonder if Christians actually think about what they are saying?
When Jesus said, "resist not evil," (Matt. 5:39) did He mean that we should not oppose a would-be rapist or murderer? Did He mean we should not oppose those who would destroy our homes or country? I know a few honest pacifists. However, this is not the belief system of most Christians. Most Christians believe in lawful self-defense (including this writer).
The fact is, if it is right to oppose evil in Iraq (and I am among those who question the constitutional right and authority of the war in Iraq), it is right to oppose evil in America. If we Christians are willing to send our fellow believers to fight and die in opposition to tyranny half way around the world, it is right that we should be willing to fight and even die in opposition to tyranny right here at home. It is absolute lunacy for Christians to flippantly dismiss their moral, spiritual, and civil obligation to resist the tyrannical tendencies of corrupt political powers in these United States.
Christians are plainly commanded to resist the Evil One (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9). When Abraham's nephew, Lot, was taken captive by an alien army, did Abraham say, "Things are going to get worse and worse and there is nothing we can do about it"? Or did he gather his own army and attack the invaders and deliver his nephew (see Genesis chapter 14)?
During the dark days of Israel's captivities, did not God raise up deliverers to stand against the evildoers? When David saw Goliath, did he say, "Things are supposed to get worse and worse"? Or did he gather his sling and stones and march out to face the pagan?
The history of the early church in New Testament times is one continuous example of resistance to tyrannical authority. The apostles repeatedly refused to submit to the dictates and demands of both Jewish and Roman authorities. Every apostle, save John, was killed for resisting carnal authority.
Throughout church history, martyrdom was common. Some such as Huss and Tyndale died passively at the hands of various religious and political elements, while others such as Zwingli died on the battlefield resisting corrupt and tyrannical governments.
The fact is, for more than two thousand years of Church history--from John the Baptist to John Witherspoon--Christians have repeatedly and consistently resisted evil authorities. How dare pastors and Christians now say that we should not resist the evil, tyrannical tendencies of powerful politicos? How dare they suggest that it is "God's will" that we allow evil to triumph in our land?
Worse still is the apathy and indifference that many Christians display toward the great freedoms and liberties into which they have been born as Americans. We enjoy these great liberties, because our forebears (many of them Christians) were willing to fight and die to bequeath them to us. We do not enjoy the rights and freedoms enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and announced in the Declaration of Independence by chance or luck. These freedoms were secured by the blood, sweat, and tears of brave Americans who chose to fight evil in our own country.
America has enjoyed the blessings of liberty, because, as Webster said, our fathers and grandfathers were willing to "guard and defend" it. Will this be the generation that refuses to "guard and defend" liberty? Will this be the generation that permits the evil machinations of powerful, but corrupt, authorities to steal liberty from our posterity?
There is another statement by Daniel Webster that today's Christians need to take to heart: "There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing."
Should Webster's warning come true for America, it will be because our pastors and Christian leaders refused to "guard and defend" liberty in our own land. Should this happen, our tombstone will read, "Here lies the United States of America: killed by the apathy and indifference of its pastors and churches."
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