Having to write this column is so very frustrating. I think I’m beginning to know how the Old Testament prophets of Israel felt. And how they basically felt was ALL ALONE. Their messages were not popular, to say the least. Many of them faced not only the ire and condemnation of the citizens of their country, but also the abuse and persecution of the established powers. And believe me, if some of the “good Christian” people who have written me the past three or four weeks had the legal power to do it, Chuck Baldwin would have already faced the same fate of the prophets of old. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.
For one thing, when a man such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Elijah, or Micaiah delivered a message, they were drowned out by the hundreds and thousands of the king’s prophets. In one way or another, these men were on the king’s dole. They received the king’s “faith-based initiative” monies. They were invited to the king’s banquets. They received the king’s tax exemptions. They were afforded the king’s perks and privileges.
Therefore, it was not surprising that when a Jeremiah or Micaiah brought a message of judgment upon the land, he was drowned out in a cacophony of public rebuke by the king’s prophets. God’s prophets almost always stood ALONE.
And amazingly enough, the same scenario is taking place again in what is now the American Empire. (America was established and built as a constitutional republic, but now it does not remotely resemble its heritage. It has, without a shadow of a doubt, taken the form of an unaccountable, might-makes-right-hegemonic empire.) The vast majority of America’s prophets (preachers, pastors, evangelists, etc.) are directly or indirectly in the employ of the government (king). A host of them are receiving federal tax dollars directly from the federal government in the form of “faith based initiative” monies. Do you think for one minute that these pastors are going to say a peep in protest about the unlawful, unconstitutional conduct routinely taking place by the federal government? Not a chance in Hades!
As soon as someone goes on the public dole, for the most part, the government has successfully and thoroughly purchased their SILENCE.
In the second place, the vast majority of pastors and churches have voluntarily placed themselves directly under the supervision and authority of the federal government by accepting the 501c3 non-profit organization status from the Internal Revenue Service. And by so doing, the vast majority of pastors and churches will consciously do or say NOTHING that could jeopardize that non-profit tax status. And, once again, the federal government has successfully and thoroughly purchased their SILENCE.
Add to the above the perks and privileges that go along with being “Caesar’s friend.” I know a little bit about what I’m talking about here.
Back in “the day” when I was a young up and rising star among the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, and Republican Party, I experienced my share of what it feels like to sit at the king’s table. I had personal audiences with untold congressmen and senators. I couldn’t count the number of governor’s mansions I was invited to. And I was twice invited to the White House: once to dine with Vice President George H.W. Bush, and once to meet President Ronald Reagan. Believe me, I know what it feels like to be a prophet who has been in the king’s inner chamber.
Of course, the other problem we have in our pulpits today is the demonic interpretation associated with Romans 13. Every Sunday all across America, the king’s prophets (puppets would be a better word) are emphatically telling their congregations to obey the civil government “no matter what.” Every Sunday, there are hundreds of pastors regurgitating this demonic doctrine to their people.
Without a doubt, America’s pastors are doing more to enslave our country than any foreign power.
The egregious misinterpretation of Romans 13 is a blight that is turning the most courageous champions of freedom-loving Christian men the world has ever known to some of the most sheepish, pathetic, indifferent, and milquetoast wimps in the universe. And it is the devilish misinterpretation of Romans 13 that demands Christians obey civil authorities “no matter what” that is responsible for it.
This Hitlerian teaching of Romans 13 is ubiquitous. It pours out like a rain that never stops. The vast majority of preachers, well-known and otherwise, disseminate this fallacy like clowns throwing out candy during a circus parade. The latest notable example is Franklin Graham.
On his Facebook page on March 12, Graham wrote the following:
Listen up–Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong–YOU OBEY! Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr. President, this is the message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority ‘because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.’
All of that sounds well and good. I, too, was taught by my father to respect and obey authority. And if a policeman points his semi-automatic handgun in my face and tells me to get on the ground, I will get on the ground for fear of my life. BUT THAT DOESN’T EXCUSE A POLICEMAN WHO GIVES UNLAWFUL ORDERS OR WHO THREATENS THE LIVES OF CITIZENS UNNECESSARILY AND ILLEGALLY.
I can promise you that if I am on the ground at the point of a policeman’s gun, it is NOT respect that has laid me prone on the pavement; it is FEAR. Fear for my life.
As I have noted before in this column, my eighty-year-old mother-in-law was pulled over for a minor traffic violation here in the State of Montana; and when the officers exited their patrol car, both of them had their handguns pointed at her head. (She must have been pulled over for driving too slow.) This is the height of irresponsibility by these two police officers. And if this happened to my mother-in-law, imagine how many other senior citizens this is happening to? Talk about “public endangerment!” If one of these elderly souls fell over with a heart attack from the shock of such a thing, would the policemen accept any responsibility? Of course not. Talk about showing NO respect!
Mr. Graham’s comments may have been intended to teach respect for law enforcement officers, but that is NOT what his comments taught. What his comments taught is total submission to civil authorities NO MATTER WHAT. That’s the impression he gave.
Then, Mr. Graham attempted to use the Scripture to enforce his comments. Unfortunately, he obviously doesn’t know the Scripture well enough to use an appropriate one. Maybe he felt that Romans 13 was overused (it’s not overused; it’s misused), and wanted to reinforce his position with a similar Scripture–but he failed miserably.
The Scriptures Mr. Graham alluded to were Hebrews 13:7, 17. Here is what they say:
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Vs. 7)
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Vs. 17)
Clearly, these verses have NOTHING to do with obedience to civil government. Rather, the focus is church members being submissive to their spiritual leaders (pastors, overseers, etc.) in the church. When Paul said “they watch for your souls,” he was not talking about policemen. Ladies and gentlemen, law enforcement officers are NOT watching for your souls. Mostly, they are watching out for their own safety (they wear a gun for their safety, not yours), for their careers, and for a reason to make an arrest. That’s what policemen are mainly looking out for.
If he is a God-called pastor, however, he is watching out for the souls of his flock. At least, he should be. That brings up the problem that so many pastors are NOT looking after men’s souls; they are looking out for their building plans, size of staff, amount of offerings, size of congregation, and how many programs the church offers. That’s hardly looking out for men’s souls.
But I would love to hear Franklin Graham say to church members (since that was the focus of the verses he alluded to in his Facebook post), that no matter what the pastor tells them to do, “YOU OBEY!”
Really? Church members should obey their pastors NO MATTER WHAT? Well, if Hebrews 13 was interpreted the same way that Romans 13 is interpreted, that is EXACTLY what Mr. Graham and the preachers of America would be promoting. I would love to see this interpretation of Hebrews 13 taught in ANY church this Sunday.
In Ephesians 6, Paul addresses authority in the home and in the work place. Husbands and fathers are given authority in the home, while employers are given authority in the workplace. But in neither instance is the father or employer (“master”) given unlimited authority. NOT AT ALL. Fathers and employers are given jurisdictional authority to exercise their authority in such a way that does not abuse the Natural rights given to man by God.
Would Franklin Graham, or any other preacher in America, get up next Sunday and tell their flock that fathers and husbands should be obeyed NO MATTER WHAT? Would they teach that husbands and fathers can be abusive to their families? Must employees submit to their bosses NO MATTER WHAT? Must employees submit to being battered and intimidated? Must they allow themselves to be used for illegal or immoral purposes? Of course not. There is not a pastor in America who would dare to even suggest such a thing. And rightly so.
But when it comes to civil authority, when it comes to Romans 13, all bets are off. Christians must submit to civil government NO MATTER WHAT. Christians must submit to police officers NO MATTER WHAT. So why is it that only civil government has God-ordained tyrannical power? God puts family government in a superior position to civil government; yet to the average pastor and Christian today, officials within civil government have unlimited power, while a husband and father’s authority in the home is (rightly) understood to be limited, jurisdictional, and under the greater authority of God.
Mr. Graham is an outspoken critic of Islam. I wonder if he would spew forth the above “YOU OBEY!” message if Sharia Law was the law of the land. Had he lived in Germany at the rise of the Third Reich, would he have spewed forth the same message? Or maybe in Stalin’s Russia? And I suppose he would preach the “YOU OBEY!” message to those suffering saints in Red China who are languishing in the gulags for preaching the Gospel or for operating non-state-licensed churches contrary to China’s law enforcers.
Again, this constant and perpetual message of total submission to civil government “no matter what” that is pouring forth from our nation’s pulpits is doing more to enslave America than anything any foreign enemy could ever hope to do.
In order for us to respect law enforcers, they must act respectfully, which means THEY must respect both the law they represent and the citizens for whom they work. It takes more than a badge and a gun to earn respect.
Yes, honest, God-fearing folks respect the POSITION held by law enforcement officers; but there can be no respect for those individuals who use the position of law enforcer to misuse and abuse the law!
The examples of police abuse and the “trigger-happy-cops” syndrome are now a regular occurrence in our country . Every day in America, harmless, innocent citizens of all ages and races are subjected to police thuggery. It may not be true, but it seems that more and more police officers have a “shoot-first-and-ask-
I urge readers to take a few minutes to peruse through my “Emerging Police State” page on my website. You will read of only a small fraction of the accounts of police abuse taking place all the time. Here are a few of the headlines from just the past few months:
See my compilation of stories revealing America’s Emerging Police State here:
Believe me, folks; the stories I have compiled are only the tip of the iceberg. It is absolutely no hyperbole to say that we are witnessing the creation of a Police State right in front of our very eyes. And one of the reasons for it is the teaching and preaching of America’s pulpits to submit to civil government “no matter what,” per the misinterpretation of Romans 13.
This is such a major problem that my constitutional attorney son and I co-authored a blockbuster book entitled, “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission.” The book goes through the entire Bible and shows unequivocally that nowhere does our Creator demand that His people submit to unlawful, oppressive authority. And nowhere in the Bible is civil government granted unconditional authority over man.
Order the book here:
Furthermore, I delivered four complete messages on Romans 13 that have been put on one DVD. The DVD is entitled, “The True Meaning of Romans 13.” If you prefer to watch the video messages, you can order it here:
The Bible is replete with examples of God’s people who deliberately DISOBEYED civil government and received God’s supreme approbation. I wonder if Franklin Graham and America’s pastors are still teaching the stories of David and Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and practically every Old Testament prophet, including John the Baptist. I wonder if they are still retelling the stories (and explaining the significance of them for us today) of Simon Peter and the other apostles, including Paul, who spent about as much time in jail as out of jail for their defiance of civil authorities. And I further wonder if they have ever bothered to teach the life of Christ, which shows that He CONSTANTLY defied the authority of the Pharisees, who were acting as governing agents of the Roman Empire over Jerusalem and Judea.
By the way, I have a three-message DVD entitled, “Christ And The Pharisees.” Dear reader: ask yourself why you never hear your pastor talk about Christ and the Pharisees? One cannot fully understand the life of Christ and the Gospel narratives of the Bible without understanding the continual contest between Christ and the Pharisees. Watch my DVD; and the next time you hear a naïve Christian friend or pastor say, “Jesus never challenged civil authority, so neither should we,” you will know how to educate your ignorant friend on the truth of Christ’s constant defiance of civil authority.
Order “Christ And The Pharisees” DVD here:
What America really needs to be hearing from our preachers today, including from Mr. Graham, is the whole counsel of God related to the fact that EVERYONE, including those in law enforcement, the U.S. military, those in Congress, and even the President of the United States, is obligated to obey the Natural and moral laws of God and the Constitution of The United States, that NO ONE is above the law–not even policemen or soldiers.
Why don’t our preachers exegete the words of John the Baptist to the law enforcers of his day? Like most totalitarian regimes, the law enforcers of John’s day were military soldiers. This is the way it is in most every totalitarian regime.
John plainly told the soldiers to “do violence to no man.” What? That’s what soldiers do. They kill people and blow up things. They are trained killers. What did John mean, “Do no violence?” He meant soldiers and law enforcers must never commit violence unjustly or unlawfully. God’s moral laws regarding killing apply to soldiers and policemen as much as they do to the everyday citizen on the street.
John also told them, “neither accuse any falsely.” Many soldiers and policemen have used the power of the gun and badge to illegally take people’s property or to advance their own careers by arresting people who should never have been arrested. I can give you a true personal story about this. In fact, I included that story in my message last Sunday that I wish all you would watch. The message is entitled, “When Worship Means Nothing.” And it has a lot to do with what I’m addressing in this column. Watch or order the message here:
John also told the soldiers to be content with their wages. Why would he say this? Because many unscrupulous soldiers and policemen will use their position and power to exact or extort money and position from and by the innocent and defenseless. In fact, in many of today’s police departments, promotions are based on the numbers of arrests. Arrest quotas are even often required of officers. Advancement is often determined by the number of arrests an officer makes. Thus, the officer is turned into a state revenuer; he is working for career advancement on the backs of (often) innocent people. Truly, if we released all of the people from prison who genuinely do not belong there, we would end the prison overcrowding problem instantly.
How many police officers carry untraceable handguns, called “throw down” weapons? These guns are carried by officers for the purpose of planting them on someone whom the officer may have just shot and killed but who was unarmed. So, to cover and justify the killing, a “throw down” weapon is placed near the victim so the officer can claim self-defense. How often does this take place? Far more than most of us want to admit. And hardly ever will a policeman “rat” on his partner. So, the crime is never accounted for. And, again, there is no telling how often this goes on.
John the Baptist was addressing all of these sorts of things in Luke 3:14. When is the last time you heard your pastor (or Franklin Graham, for that matter) deliver these very relevant principles from Luke 3:14 to the people of America? I would bet NEVER.
In the United States–a once-free republic–soldiers were absolutely forbidden to engage in domestic law enforcement. No more. Today, our local and State police more and more have the function and form of military units. They wear military garb; they use military weapons; they have military vehicles, tanks, helicopters, etc.; and they employ military tactics. Most of our police and sheriff’s SWAT teams are trained by U.S. Special Forces military units, i.e. Green Berets, SEALS, Rangers, etc.
Of course, we respect the POSITION of peace officer. But it is also incumbent upon the peace officer to respect the citizens for whom he works and the Constitution that he is sworn to uphold. Most people normally behave respectfully when they are treated respectfully. Of course, there are exceptions. But even then, the onus is on the one who volunteered to put on a badge and place him or herself in between the law-abiding and the lawless.
No, Mr. Graham, the Bible does NOT command us to obey everything civil government may tell us to do. Our country was founded on the principle of lawful resistance to unlawful authority. When British troops demanded of our forebears, “YOU OBEY!”, our brave Christian pastors and laymen responded with the “shot heard ’round the world.”
Of course, I’m going to lie face down on the ground when a cop is pointing a gun at me. But that, by itself, doesn’t make it right. And if it did happen to me (and he didn’t kill me in the process), you can bet I would use every available legal recourse to make sure that that officer never put on a badge again.
But the problem is, that cop probably goes to church somewhere where he has NEVER heard a message from God’s Word regarding his responsibility, under God, to conduct himself in a manner that God demands of HIM. All he has heard is what he heard Franklin Graham say to us citizens: “YOU OBEY!” And his police training is coming straight out of the Department of Homeland Security, which is hellbent on turning the United States into a Police State. So, the good officer has heard absolutely nothing about his duty before God to not abuse the power of his position, to respect the constitutional rights of our citizens, and to submit to the moral and Natural laws of God relative to his position as a law enforcer.
Again, this is so very frustrating!
P.S. Once again, I am in touch with a group of patriot Christians near BRADENTON/SARASOTA, FLORIDA, who very much desire to start a new non-501c3 fellowship. In fact, I am scheduled to conduct a Liberty Church Project conference for these folks on April 29-30 at the Hilton Garden Inn SARASOTA/BRADENTON Airport hotel. If you live nearby, I would love to see you at this conference. Furthermore, if you live in or near BRADENTON/SARASOTA, FLORIDA, and would like to join this group, here is an email that you can use to connect with them.
The email address is: libertyfellowshipflorida@
© Chuck Baldwin
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom