Sam Caldwell, May 2020
1) Christians should act like Christians first, and like Americans second (or third or fourth)
Our citizenship is in heaven. Our American license and passport are secondary to that fact. Actually, your national status may be even lower in both your and God’s eyes than second place. For example, you could be a Christian, and then a husband, and then a musician, and then a baseball enthusiast, and then an American. You could even be a Christian and only think about your nationality in terms of obedience to the government, paying taxes, and location.
There is absolutely no necessary connection between being a Christian and any national identity.
However your nationality ties into your personal identity – and again, there is much freedom there for the Christian – you should be very clear that God made Christianity to be practiced absolutely anywhere. Christianity does not need American civil liberties to thrive. Christianity can be practiced under a rock, under tyranny, in a plane, under communism, and, yes, even under COVID-19 government mandates. See John 4:21–24.
In the current COVID-19 crisis, if you find yourself always talking and thinking about “your rights,” you may be thinking more as an American than as a Christian.
Please understand me: our American civil liberties are a beautiful thing. We should bless God for them. But they are not the primary thing in our lives. Our life in Christ is the primary thing. That cannot be taken away from us.
If you are truly a Christian, then your Lord’s kingdom is not of this world, and your primary right is this one: “…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name,” John 1:12.
Are we greedy for more rights? Do we need more rights than the right to become children of God?
We may need to be reminded that if we are Christians, we are not our own. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
While we ought to be thankful for all the civil liberties we have been afforded in America, this is a good time for us to ask ourselves: If we no longer had any of these rights, would we still bless God?
Do we still glorify God when we are asked to submit to a government we don’t agree with?
2) Christians who are attending rallies against current government mandates should be strongly discouraged from doing so
First, if you are attending such rallies, you should first ask if you are doing so in a spirit of love and leading a quiet life. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12: “…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
Second, if you are attending such rallies, are you showing your hatred for the very government that God has placed above you? Or are you doing so with pure, civil motives?
Please take some moments to ask yourself if this is honorable Christian conduct. In the majority of cases, I believe it is neither honorable nor wise for Christians to attend rallies or protests.
Rallying or protesting could be right for the Christian to do for two reasons: 1) If Christians are being persecuted, and 2) If the government is practicing evil that needs to be exposed.
Under our current COVID-19 government mandates, the government is neither persecuting Christians nor practicing evil. At the very most, one could claim that the government is being unwise in the specifics of their mandate and plans for reinvigorating the economy, but the government is neither persecuting Christians nor practicing evil in the current mandates.
3) Christians should shift their focus to submission and obedience
If you have been rebelling against the government or occupying your mind with conspiracy theories, please consider if this is a wise use of time.
Instead, I beg you to occupy your heart, soul, mind, and strength in the following more honorable pursuits:
If you are a citizen, obey the government (Rom 13:1–7, Titus 3:1–2, 1 Pet 2:13–17), unless they are persecuting you or doing evil that needs to be exposed.
If you are a congregant, obey your pastors (Heb 13:17).
If you are a wife, submit to your husband (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, Titus 2:5, 1 Pet 3:1).
If you are a child, obey your parents (Ex 20:12, Eph 6:1, Col 3:20).
If you are a Christian, obey Christ and love as He loved (John 15:12).
If you are a Christian, pray to Christ. If you have wasted time thinking about conspiracy theories and rebelling against the powers that be, ask yourself if you have spent as much time on your knees. We must continue to use this COVID-19 season to pray, to repent, and to act like Christians. We must pray for God to send a flood of awakening and humbling to His church.
For the glory of Christ.