What Would Grandpa Say?
editor's note: Published in the June 2014 issue of Think magazine,
used by authors permission.]
The Christian and Government
by Jim Mettenbrink
In the popular
1939 film Mr. Smith goes to Washington, we observe what most
of us suspect is the reality in government. Mr. Smith is selected
by the governor to replace the deceased US senator. Because of his
fathers adulation of the other living senator as an honorable man,
Mr Smith also had a deep respect for him. Soon he discovered the corruption
in the political process, involving the senator whom he highly respected.
Mr. Smith confronted the corruption and in a pang of conscience, the
senator shouted, Im a politician, Im a liar.
In a late April, 2014 TV interview, the mother
of one of the four men who were murdered at Benghazi reviewed that to date
she had heard nothing from the US government about his murder. She
boldly proclaimed, My government lied to me! What
kind of government is this in the land of the free, where we expect honesty
For those of us over age 30, we are conscious
of perhaps the greatest and most abhorrent disregard of freedom and national
security, and lying by dishonest and dishonorable government. In Sibel
Edmonds discovery of espionage and sale of, amongst other things,
nuclear secrets, she was persecuted. She is a Turkish immigrant who
began working as a translator for the FBIs Middle East intelligence
section a few weeks after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.
Within weeks she uncovered, espionage by a translator who was connected
to organizations in the USA, which involved Pentagon officials, half dozen
representatives in the US Congress, high officials in the State department
and the Presidents administration. FBI officials threatened
her and her family. The US attorney general invoked the state
secrets privilege, which is rarely used. A couple of senators
became interested in her case, but soon dropped her like a hot potato. Most
egregious was the conduct of the judges (supposedly the guardians of
our freedoms), during the four year period of her discovery and constitutional
lawsuits against the government. After many delays, the appellate
court finally heard the case, but barred the media from the court room.
During the testimony of the US attorneys, the judge barred Ms. Edmonds
and her attorney from the courtroom, thus not hearing the testimony, they
could not respond to the governments defense. The case was dismissed.
The last path for justice was to the US Supreme
Court, which refused to hear the case. Espionage covered up by the
highest court in the land! Again no justice! This did not stop
Ms. Edmonds from soliciting two congresses (2006, 2007) for new laws.
Failing to get a single congressman to support new laws, she wrote,
We are a constitutional democracy in name only.
All of the guilty violated their oath of office
to uphold the constitution. Whether they prostituted their vow because
of fear, privilege, or financial gain is unknown. Yet, we Americans
wonder how God could let this happen in God bless America, the
last bastion and haven of freedom? Indeed, where is God in the midst
of this governmental lying and abuse of power...shutting down freedom, honesty,
national security and justice, and besmirching their personal and national
Oh, uh, before we answer, just one more example
of this abhorrence. Unwittingly, Henry Kissinger revealed this arrogant,
above the law attitude of those who hold power. He said The
illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
(March 10, 1975, meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Melih Esenbel
in Ankara, Turkey). Worse, on another occasion, he berated, Military
men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.
Is it any wonder that government has such low ratings in polls measuring
trustworthiness? Yet, paradoxically, he is held in high regard. How
we have been deceived!
Kissinger also said Blessed are the
people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also
without attempting to play God. Indeed that is the problem,
mere sinful and prideful men in government.
Knowing that most would be downhearted, my
sermon on the Sunday after the last presidential election was Obama
is Gods man. Heres the reason. In Judahs
king Jehoshaphats prayer, he acknowledged Gods role in the nations
God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over
all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and
might, so that no one is able to withstand You
(2 Chronicles 20:6). God had selected the pride filled Nebuchadnezzar
as the king of Babylon which would take Judah, His chosen special people
into exile from their homeland and destroy their nation as well as others
(Jeremiah 25:9). Obviously this explains the changes in nations;
borders and even their existence. God revealed to him ...That the Most High rules in the
kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest
of men (Daniel 4:17, also
vs 25, 32; 5:21; Isaiah 45:1). God is the king maker and remover
(Daniel 2:21). Although Israels first king was a disappointment
to God, David recognized that Saul was Gods choice and thus held him
high regard, not because of Saul himself, but because of respect for God
(1 Samuel 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 23). Like Judahs King David
in his relationship to King Saul, even though a leader might be evil, Christians
must respect the office, knowing that God put him there for His purposes.
Not only does God establish rulers, He also establishes the nations.
Regarding the existence and borders of of
makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides
them (Job 12:23). It
is not clear when the exact moment Gods patience has ended before
He destroys a nation, but it is clear that He controls their very existence
beginning and end.
When God promised to give the territory of
Canaan to Abraham, He said it would be 400 years later. The reason
was because the Canaanites had not descended to the depth of evil to deserve
to be destroyed (Genesis 15:13-16). God indeed formed the new
nation of Israel 400 years later (Exodus 19:1-9) and gave them the
land of Canaan another 40 years later (Joshua 1-24). God warned
Israel, if they became evil, He would destroy the nation (Deuteronomy
28:45-68). That destruction began in 722BC with Gods chosen
instrument [Assyria, taking the northern 10 tribal territories and exiling
90% of the population throughout their empire (2 Kings 15:27-29; 17:1-23;
Amos 5:3)]. Although Judah deserved to be destroyed, God allowed
their existence for another 135 years because King Hezekiah prayed to God
(2 Kings 17:18; 19:20, 35, 36; 2 Kings 20:5-7). But destroy
them He did! In 586 BC Babylon destroyed Judah and the Jews went into
exile for 70 years (2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36:15-21). Further
the prophecies of the destruction of the nations reflects Gods control
of their existence (Isaiah 30, 32, 47 ; Jeremiah 46-51; Zephaniah 2:13).
Basically the account of Israels formation and destruction reveals
that God determines the origin, existence and destruction of nations and
their borders. Some might salve their pride with, That was in
the Old Testament, but not today! That is essentially a deist
attitude, i.e., God has gone on vacation and lets mankind create its own
mess without any controls. There is no indication in the New Testament
that God has given up control of the nations to mans whims. Knowing
this what should Christians do?
The apostle Paul wrote Let every soul be subject to the
governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God,
and the authorities that exist are appointed by God Therefore whoever resists
the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring
judgment on themselves (Romans
13:1-2). That might be difficult for some to stomach, but it reflects
the attitude of King David. We must respect government simply because
God put them there. In reality our obedience or disobedience reveals
whether we really trust God. Its a faith issue weak or
About 30 years ago when teaching a Muslim
in a Muslim land which prohibits proselytizing for Jesus, another Christian
excused himself from the risk of arrest or worse, by saying, we must obey
the government citing Romans 13:1-2. Was I going against God by teaching
the gospel to the lost? When Peter and John were commanded by the
Jewish supreme court not to preach the gospel, they responded, We ought to obey God rather than
men (Acts 5:29). Gods
commands supercede those of men. Thus Christians must not support
abortion or homosexual marriage laws. In the face of this what shall
we do? Paul exhorts, ...first
of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks
be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may
lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Grandpa says knowing that government (made
up of mere sinful and often lying, dishonorable people) first serves Gods
purposes, even though they might rail against God in their own purposes,
we must trust God, pray for the national repentance and for righteous leaders
exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people