By Michael Ware – BarbWire guest contributor
I confess that it is hard to shake off the old thinking that we were taught growing up. I still struggle with Dispensational thinking. It is even harder to break the idea that the Federal government has all power and can make what laws it wishes. However, what we have to see is that this is neither what the Bible teaches is right nor what our Constitution has set forth for us as law. The question that we have to answer is easy to confuse. When is civil disobedience called for in Scripture? For one SBC official, it is as a citizen but not as an official of the government.
A prominent Southern Baptist leader who raised concerns last year after he advised that Christians should support the rights of other religions and also traveled to the Vatican for an interfaith conference on marriage is now stating that probate judges in Alabama should either follow the recent federal ruling in favor of “gay marriage” or resign.
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Russell Moore, who speaks for the Southern Baptist Convention on matters of faith and public policy, went on to explain:
As citizens, and as Christians, our response should be one of both conviction and of respect for the rule of law. Our system of government does not allow a state to defy the law of the land.
In a Christian ethic, there is a time for civil disobedience in cases of unjust laws. That’s why, for instance, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail. In the case of judges and state Supreme Court justices, though, civil disobedience, even when necessary, cannot happen in their roles as agents of the state.
Now, what Mr. Moore has done is set up a false dichotomy that the Bible does not mention. He has not imposed the requirement to sin, but he has placed all power in the state. This then means that we can either be officials or Christians, but we can never be Christian officials. The state does not allow such things.
How has Moore come to this conclusion?
It seems that Moore has bought into the myth of neutrality. That is, if we are to serve in civil government, then we are not to do so as Christians. We are to lay aside the teachings of Christ in our official capacity. If we feel that handing out marriage licenses to homosexuals is a violation of our consciences, then our only recourse is to resign.
Given the high bar required for civil disobedience, the way to address same-sex marriage in this circumstance is not by defying the rule of law, but by making our case before the legitimate authorities. If we lose, our responsibility is to advocate as citizens for our views, even if that project is (as in the case of the pro-life movement) a long-term project, while we work for our constitutional guarantees of freedom of conscience and religious liberty.
I hope we can see this as foolishness. Let’s sit back and campaign like we do against abortion. This way we can vote in politicians who make promises they never intend to keep. These people talk big when it comes to abortion, all the while we continue to murder over a million babies annually. These men will risk less to stop the sodomy-based unions, which they see as a victimless crime.
We are left with the Dispensational view of Christian citizenship. Allow the state to be run by the godless and hope for the best. If this is all the hope we have, then we cannot expect things to get better. What has a Christian to add to the political system and society if he has to think like a humanist? And this is the flaw in Moore’s theology.
Christ said to be about His business until He comes (Luke 19:11-27).
Hopefully, the Church will wake up and begin to obey this command.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.