PATRIOTISM, NATIONALISM, AND POLITICS VERSUS BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY
A Patriotic is one who intensely loves and zealously supports his own country. The word Patriot comes from the Greek word Patris, which means, fatherland. Patriotism is the love of the land, this is also called Nationalism. Allegiance is the duty of being loyal to one’s government or country.
In the Remnant, December 2004 edition, pages 8 through 16, by Michael McDaniel, is a list of 12 points, against Patriotism.
I will briefly list his 12 points, and discuss them.
1. A Patriot loves the Flag and Pledges Allegiance to it.
“Patriotism causes us to idolize an ideal; we become enamored with “country” “freedom”, and “rights”. These ideals call for icons (images) or symbols to endear us to the cause. One such icon is the flag”. – From the Remnant, already cited.
For a non-Mennonite, how true this is! I remember the first time, God had convicted me not to Pledge allegiance to the Flag. I was in a Baptist camp meeting, and I did not stand for the Pledge. It offended these Christians so bad, they wanted to take up an offering to send me one way to Cuba. I was told that if I didn’t love this country, I should leave it. I was told I was as bad as a liberal Democrat, and all of this was stated by Christians, who “love” America. I remember, in Bible College, the I Love America Rally’s, and the Moral Majority. However, this country is not Old Testament Israel, and we are not Jews!
there anything in the Bible that would clearly show anyone,
who is open to the voice of God, that Pledges to any flag,
is against God and the Bible?
Nebuchadnezaar was trying to unite various groups of people from various lands and cultures, into supporting himself and mighty Babylon (See Temper Long III, Daniel, Zondervan, 1999). Patriotic politicians had gathered in response to Nebuchadnezaaer’s orders. After having seen the future from God, Nebuchadnezaar had a statue erected that defiantly indicated the permanence of his empire. In his book, Old Testament Times, by R.K Harrison, Eerdmans, 1970, Harrison suggests that this ceremony was a clear deviation from the secret rituals normally associated with pagan worship. John Collins, Daniel, published by Fortress, 1993, suggest that obeisance to the idol erected by the king, would no doubt imply an affirmation of loyalty to the king himself. According to Pliny in his report to Trajan, early Christians were given a similar test of loyalty, when asked to bow to a statue of the emperor. See Klaus Wengst, Fortress, 1987. When they refused they were executed! However, the bottom line is, were the Hebrew children or anyone actually told to WORSHIP an idol? The answer is no. To understand this fully a word study is needed.
Throughout the entire Old Testament the Hebrew word for worship is shachah. Strongs gives this word number 7812. This word is always used for worship, throughout the Old Testament, but in eleven places a different word is used. This word is seg-eed. Strongs gives this word number 5457. This word is used all eleven times in Daniel chapter two and three. The first time the word is used is in Daniel 2:46. Nebuchadnezaar is said to worship Daniel. Nebuchadnezaar did not worship Daniel, but gave him honor. The word is also used in Daniel 3:6; Daniel 3:11; Daniel 3:5; Daniel 3:10; Daniel 3:12; Daniel 3:14; Daniel 3:15; Daniel 3:15; Daniel 3:18; and Daniel 3:23. A study of this word in all eleven places, shows that this word is best translated do honor, or do homage. (See The book of Daniel by Daniel L Smith-Christopher, Abingdon press, 1996, page 63).
It is also interesting to note that music was played when the peoples were to bow to Nebuchadnezaar’s idol. Maybe it was the Babylonian national anthem? What then is the pledge of allegiance? It is a semireligious act! The flag, like the idol in Babylonian is a symbol of the power behind it. It usually begins with the playing of the star spangled banner. In 1940 the Supreme Court voted 8-1 that the flag –salute was mandatory in Minersville School District vs. Gobitis (1940). The Court claimed the pledge was a civic duty. Justice Frankfurter writing the majority opinion (8-1) stated, “The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities, page 108”.
George Bush drew a line in the sand and declared that all who are
not for the US are against the US. There is no room for being neutral.
Sanctions are now in place for nations which did not support the
US war in Iraq. Would Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
have pledge allegiance to the Babylonian flag (idol)?
The emphasis of Patriotism is never on Heaven, but always on an earthly land mass. Are citizenship is suppose to be Heaven, according to Philippians 3:20 (conversation is Citizenship in the Greek). Many citizens claim duel citizenship, not denying Christianity, just placing it somewhere in the closet. Yes, I was born in America, and I was born an American citizen, and I will always be an America, but, when I got converted, my Allegiance, my loyalty, and my Citizenship, was given over to God, and I am now a pilgrim, passing through this life, on my way home to Heaven, not America. In Hebrews 13:13-14, the Bible states, “Let us go forth therefore unto him without (outside) the camp, (the camp of religion, the world, the flesh, and the devil), bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city (might we also say country), but we seek one to come.”
3. Patriotism Esteems the Gift more than the Giver
Nathan Hale’s last words in 1776 were, “ I only regret that I have one life to lose for my country”, he did not say to lose for my God! Remember these famous words from Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death”. How many soldiers have died, just to protect the interest of America. In the war with Iraq, no Christian can say he is fighting for America to help spread the Gospel, when America wants to set up an Islamic Republic. Many Christians have forgotten that President Bush stated that Islam is a peaceful Religion, and that Christians, Jews and Arabs, all worship the same God! If this be true (and it is not) there would be peace on earth! I know two men, who are now in Iraq, both professing Independent Baptist Christians, who are probably killing others. One man has left his wife and four children home, so he can play soldier boy, he volunteered. The other, in order to make big money, in order to pay bills off his family owes, went to Iraq. A third man has left his pregnant wife at home, with the blessing of his Independent Baptist Church, to go to a Military Camp, in preparation to go to war. Since these Christians are not loving their enemies, what are they doing for Christ? What is their purpose of being here on earth, to be a pilgrim for Christ, or a war hero?
4. Patriotism has Its Roots in Pride
Pride is taking the credit for what God has done. In Isaiah 25:11, the Bible states, “And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadest forth his hands to swim; and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands.” The Bible condemns arrogance, haughtiness and self confidence rather than dependence on God. Is this why many American missionaries, try to make many converts on foreign fields, good Americans?
5. Patriots Are Confident In Our Nation’s Strength
Why are most fundamental Christians registered Republicans? Could it be because wars are generally started by Republicans, and large amounts of money are spent on the Military, making them feel safe. Does a saved Republican, vote for a saved Democratic, or a lost conservative Republican? The problem here is, where is God in all this? It is true that there are few pro-life Democrats, but why are not these political Christians members of the Constitutional party, which is 100%, pro-life, 100% Conservative? Could it be they want to be a power factor in this world’s system?
6. Patriotism is Often Blind
Stephen Decatur stated, “Our country right or wrong”. When America was bombing professing Christians (Serbia), to help the Moslems, where was the out cry from Christians. When a Pro-Abortion Republican, gets elected by Christians, is this of God? Some will say the opponent was worse. Do two wrongs make a right? Recently I have heard Christians boycotting French products, just because France did not support the war. French fries are now being called Freedom Fries, or just fries. Does the whole world have to go along with America, or else they are ungodly? Just because America presently has might, does that make them godly? Was Rome godly? Was Germany godly?
7. Patriots Feel the Need to Defend their “Rights, “Freedoms,” and “Possessions”.
As a Christian I have no rights, just liberties and privileges from God. I will not kill a man for stealing from me. When I die I can take nothing with me. My joy is Christ, not the things I possess. Most Americans, even professing Christians, will kill to defend their possessions!
8. Patriotism typically demands revenge for wrongs perpetrated against One’s Country.
The Bible is clear that vengeance belongs to God. (Romans 12:19) Many Christians state, that if they didn’t defend America, then the Devil would take our Country. It is still God that defends and destroys nations. God does not need our help. If all Christians were not Patriotic, the Country would still go on. Wars would still be fought, and conservatives would still fight for their values. God does not need Christians, to join up with the world, to fight worldly battles. All saved Christians put together, is still the narrow road (a minority).
9. Patriotism is Brotherhood.
Is their any question that Patriotism causes Christians to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. How about those candidates your party wants you to support who are not Christians? To get ahead, you must compromise. How about those orders in the military to kill innocent people? You say, I can resist such an order, but will your fellow soldiers support you afterwards, or leave you on your own to be killed. Remember, it’s a brotherhood. As one Independent Baptist stated to me, I kill anyone I am ordered to kill. Personally, I don’t think Jesus lets us kill anyone, but for those of you who do, whose standard are you going to use? God’s or mans?
10. Patriotism, For Some, Misplaces Priorities.
John Adams stated, “Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination”.
Was this not the attitude of the Jewish Patriot, and because of it, rejected Jesus. Have we so changed our Lord Jesus Christ, that the Patriot can now be a Christian and a Patriot, and see no conflict? Just who is the Biblical Jesus?
11. Patriots Get caught Up in political and social Fervor.
Why do so many professing Christians listen to Rush with his sewer mouth? Shawn, Mister, always right Republican, and Catholic’s Liddy and Coleson, are often talked about, by political Christians. Most Christians spend more time in politics than ever in their Bible. Is it any wonder that Bible doctrine means very little today.
12. Patriotism promotes bearing arms and taking human life.
Jesus stated in John 18: 36, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, than would my servants fight, ” The Bible states in Matthew 26:51, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”. In Luke chapter 6, Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, and to love our enemies! In Romans 12:17- the Bible states, “Recompence to no man evil for evil”. In Romans 12:21- the Bible states, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Michael McDaniel also states two ways you can always support any country.
1. By Praying.
We can pray for God’s will to be done. We do not pray that our boys will swiftly kill the enemy. We can pray for peace to come, and doors to be open for the Gospel.
2. By living Godly Lives
Our influence on others might lead to the salvation of a lost soul, and the glory going to God alone.
Just what has Patriotism done for the fundamental Christian?
1. Our sons (and now our pregnant daughters) are in the military. Isn’t it wonderful to share quarters with homosexuals?
Our churches honor the soldiers by having flags, even in worship services. Not to be out done, our churches also have a Protestant (Catholic) flag in Church too. We even pledge allegiance in Church.
2. We even have government farming. Our government pays farmers not to raise food, and extra to raise certain foods.
3. We now have mass weapons of destruction. Therefore we should feel safe.
4. Because we support the war effort always, when the boys go to war, our ladies have gone into the factories to work like men. (non-keepers of the home)
5. We have willing paid higher taxes to support our great military.
6. We have willingly allowed government to take certain property for the military effort. Everybody must do their part.
7. Because our safety is so important, we have allow more taxes and more taxes, to give us the greatest military possible.
8. However, because of all the worldly influences that have come into our lives, we have cry out to God for godliness to be maintained, in the mist of an ungodly society. However, WILL GOD ANSWER!
However, a close look at the Bible, will show that when Israel went from a Theocracy (trusting in God) to a Patriotic Kingdom (Trusting in Man), that God condemned Israel for all 8 points listed above. Even though this is an Old Testament passage, surprisingly it has a New Testament teaching.
Notice what the Bible states in I Samuel 8:4-22, “4Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. 7And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. 11And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12And he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear (plow) his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, (makers of ointments and perfumes) and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. 19Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 21And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord. 22And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city”.
Point 1 – Verses 11 & 16
Point 2 – Verse 12
Point 3 – Verse 12
Point 4 – Verse 13
Point 5 – Verse 15
Point 6 – Verse 14
Point 7 – Verse 17
Point 8 – Verse 18 – However, God will not Answer!
These verses are also interesting to ponder!
I Samuel 10:19, “And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us”.
I Samuel 12:16-19, “Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king”.
Michael Sattler, (who was latter burned at the stake on May 21st, 1527, for being an AnaBaptist) presided over a conference of Swiss AnaBaptist Brethren on February 24th, 1527. What they came up with, is commonly called the Schleitheim Confession. Point 6 of the confession is very interesting. ”The civil government is an institution of God outside the perfection of Christ, to punish evildoers and protect the good. In the Church no other means of correction are used than the discipline through admonition and expulsion of him who has sinned. The question is ask, Can a Christian become an earthly ruler if he is elected to such an office? The answer is: Christ was to be made a king, and He fled (John 6:15). We should do likewise and follow Him, and we shall then not walk in darkness. He forbids the use of violence, and says (Matt. 20:25): The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion, etc., but it shall not be so among you”. Again Paul says (Rom. 8:29) that the believers are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, and Peter wrote (I Peter 2:21) that Christ has suffered, not reigned, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps”. (Quoted from M.I.E., page 73).
Michael Saddler put point 6, this way in the Legacy of Michael Sattler, pages 39-41. (The full version)
“Now many, who do not understand Christ’s will for us, will ask: whether a Christian may or should use the sword against the wicked for the protection and defense of the good, or for the sake of love.
The answer is unanimously revealed: Christ teaches and commands us to learn from, Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart and thus we shall find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29). Now Christ says to the woman who was taken in adultery (John 8:11) not that she should be stoned according to the law of His Father (and yet He says, “what the Father commanded me, that I do) (John 8:22) but with mercy and forgiveness and the warning to sin no more says: “Go, sin no more,” Exactly thus should we also proceed, according to the rule of the ban.
Third, is asked concerning the sword: whether the Christian should be a magistrate if he is chosen thereto. This is answered thus: Christ was to be made a king, but He fled and did not discern the ordinance of His Father (Jesus did not evaluate the action of the people wanting to make Him king as having been brought (ordered) by His Father). Thus we should also do as He did and follow after Him, and we shall not walk in darkness. For He Himself says: “Whoever would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24). He Himself further forbids the violence of the sword when He says; “The princes of this world lord it over them etc., but among you it shall not be so (Matthew 20:25) Further Paul says, “Whom God has foreknown, the same he has also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, ” etc. (Romans 8:30). Peter also says: “Christ has suffered (not ruled) and has left us an example, that you should follow after in his steps”. (I Peter 2:21).
Lastly one can see in the following points that it does not befit a Christian to be a magistrate: the rule of the government is according to the flesh, that of the Christians according to the spirit. Their houses and dwelling remain in this world, that of the Christians is in heaven. Their citizenship is in this world, that of the Christians is in heaven. (Phil.3:20).
The weapons of their battle and warfare are carnal and only against the flesh, but the weapons of Christians are spiritual, against the fortification of the devil with steel and iron, but Christians are armed with the armor of God, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and with the Word of God. In sum, as Christ our Head is minded, so also must be minded the members of the body of Christ through Him, so that there be no division in the body, through which it would be destroyed. In Matthew 12:25 the Bible states, “For every kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed.” Since then Christ is as is written of Him, so must His members also be the same, so that His body may remain whole and unified for its own advancement and upbuilding. For any kingdom which is divided within itself will be destroyed. (Matt 12:25).
EDITOR’S NOTE – Since every New Testament local Church is a body of Christ, it might be destroyed, but there will always be another one to carry on (Matthew 16:18).
It has constantly been asked, “Can a Christian vote?” The answer is Christians should never vote(without much prayer), being heavenly citizens. Thus all elections are foreign elections "earthly ones". To begin with, most people who do vote, belong to a party. If they do, they are probably unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Having run for office, and having been on the county Executive committee of the Republican party, I can say if you are a Christian you will compromise to be there. Most party functions contain Alcohol. They are highly Patriotic. There is a room full of cigarette smoke. They expect you to support all party candidates. They expect you to dress and talk, to fit in with the world. Can you be a helper, without changing? Most candidates will use anybody to hand out things for them, but how about your Christian testimony to people who don’t support your candidate? Is it any wonder we can’t get lost Democrats to come to Republican Churches! Finally, the perfect candidate, if he won, would be corrupted by the world system. He would still have to compromise, and a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
A wise Christian reminded me that we are Ambassadors for Christ, our home Country being Heaven. Ambassadors don’t vote in a foreign country’s elections, nor do they get involved in politics of a foreign country. The older I get, the more I wish to be separated from this world’s system. How about you?
In Summary, think about these Scriptures!
John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”.
Matthew 5:43-48, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”.
John 18:36, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight….”
Philippians 3:20, “For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:”.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, (after the flesh) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;”.
Ephesians 6:10-12, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not (we do not fight) against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.
Another point, commonly mentioned by Christian Patriots, is that Christians must get involved in Politics, because of Abortion and Homosexuals. However, the Apostle Paul, instead of getting involved in the evil slavery trade in his day, told Onesimus, to return to his Slave Master, Philemon. (Remember, the Book of Philemon, is still in the Bible) Commonly, I here Christians saying, God is always with the right. Is this so? In the 1860’s, America fought a Civil War. This war was fought over State Rights, not Slavery. This was basically the same issue As the War for Independence. America won the War for Independence in 1776, but lost the Civil War in 1865. You say, but the right side won in the Civil War? Why was it, that as much as 80% of true Christians were in the South, during this period, and the South, in spite of the great Southern Revivals, and Spiritual Renewal, lost? (Have you ever heard of the Bible belt?). It should also be mentioned that the North, broke the Constitution in invading the South, yet they still won. Could it be, that God wants Christians to be Heavenly Citizens, and not Patriotic?
In Conclusion, what practical applications, must we make?
1. We cannot support the military, even by some prayers, (example – Lord please help our boys to kill the enemy) by joining, by signs, (including on cars, or buildings), or by any other Patriotic action.
2. We cannot be patriotic in any fashion. (We do not pledge allegiance to flags)
3. We need to see the world as one parish (all lost souls, needing Christ)
4. Are culture is to be the Bible only. This view works for any time, any where in the world.
5. We need to stand for God’s values, not a party, State, or Country.
6. We must never compromise for political, financial, or social gain.
7. We must never use the terms, people of faith, faith based people, moral majority, etc., as acceptable terms, for they deny Biblical Christianity.
8. We should be careful about being a member of any political party, or ever run for an office for our citizenship is heaven!
I am very glad to suggest to the reader, all the articles on a new web site, that I have been introduced too! Besides minor problems, (Bible Versions, and doctrine of the Church), it has an excellent article on the founding fathers that must be read by all. The web address is: www.politicsinheaven.com
| General Editor: Rex Duff | Webmaster: Charles Felts | Updated: 03/01/2008 |