The Oxymoron of Christian Protest
Lots of problems in the reasoning in this peace. The writer selects protest and even petition as things we should not do because God is in control and we can pray.
But why isolate protest and petition? The reasoning works just as well applied to blowing your nose... Why take any kind of action at all about anything? God is in control and you can pray.
Quote:Protesting is an act of assertiveness, which is the opposite of nonviolent action. If a Christian believes that God is in control, then he/she will submit to the ruling authorities and proclaim his/her faith by obeying God to be at peace with all men. A Christian will not sign petitions, but petition their father in heaven through prayer.
Are not "We the People" the American Caesar?
1. In I Peter 2, God gives us guidelines for approaching those who are in positions of authority. We are to do so with grace, humility, and confidence in our Sovereign God. It seems that appropriate petition is biblical.
2. After his Philippi beating, the Apostle Paul used his Roman citizenship to point out the wrong behavior of the civil authorities. He used that as an opportunity to bring credence to the new church plant.
3. At his arrest in Jerusalem, Paul appealed to his Roman citizenship for protection when there was the possiblity of examination by scourging. Again, he used his legitimate civil rights to make an appeal that ultimately resulted in gospel witness.
4. The Scriptures reveal that civil authorities are ultimately servants of God. As servants of God, they are accountable to Him. When we make appropriate redress to authorities, we are holding them accountable to their position before our God.
In our protests, we must be kind, gracious, honest, and not resort to the rabble rousing exaggerations often used by those who oppose our Biblical position on issues of marriage and morality. Our words are commanded to be full of grace and seasoned with salt.
Are we Ceasar? Sort of. It would be more accurate to say the law is Caesar... the law is king, lex rex. But the people are designed into the law-making process.
1. Argument that we can pray so we should not act - doesn't work, because Scripture commands us to pray and act in a variety of contexts
2. Argument that Jesus did not have any conflicts with the Roman authorities - doesn't work because a. He did (a guy named Pilate comes to mind) and b. It isn't possible to consistently argue that if something is absent from Jesus' life it must be absent from ours (He also did not marry or work a regular job, and we have no record of Him ever taking medication for an illness).
I do think a case can be made against certain kinds of protest. 1 Tim. 2.1-2 call us to pray that we may live "a quite and peaceable life." One could argue that this excludes your typical sign-waving, slogan-chanting protest march (but it certainly can't exclude signing a petition). But I think the point of that passage is prayer that governing authorities would leave them alone to live the Christian life and worship obediently in a setting where government was a much more top-down reality. So peaceful and quiet there probably refers to not being dragged off to prison and beaten.
What the op ed misses is that in a land where law is king and the law invites you to make yourself heard, there is no obligation to be passive.
When reading the Gospels, we see that Christ never spoke against the Roman government. Even after he found out that John the Baptist had been decapitated- which would have been a perfect opportunity to denounce the injustices done by the government leaders- Christ did not speak ill of the government. The bible merely tells us that Christ went off by himself to mourn his death. And when Christ had been handed over to Pilate by the Jews, Christ did not speak ill against the Roman government. Rather, he used the moment to emphasize that he would have no power over his life, except it be given to him by the Father.
Rather, we see throughout the Gospels, that Jesus saved most of his denouncements and harsh words for the religious leaders of the day. Christ came to proclaim the message of the coming kingdom of God, and He was more concerned with men who claimed to be keepers of religious truth, yet lived in disobedience to it. Christ would constantly warn His disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and Scribes. It was they who sought to test Jesus and to destroy Him.
In the book of Acts we see that even while wrongly imprisoned, Paul was always gracious towards the Roman guards and governors, and showed them the honor due to them. He never showed bitterness towards them, but instead desired that they should hear the Gospel as it was entrusted to him. Paul had many opportunities to share the gospel with the Roman authorities. But it was not because he was an activist. It was just his habit to preach the Gospel publicly in every town and city that he entered. And often times he met resistance from the Jewish leaders, and that is how he ended up in prison and before the rulers and authorities. But even while in prison, Paul wrote in his letters, that he rejoiced at being able to suffer for the sake of Christ, and to have opportunities to speak the Word boldly. He new that God was always in control.
We have to remember that our citizenship is in heaven. And our lives should be centered on believing, understanding, obeying, and proclaiming the Gospel. I believe that the Lord Jesus wants us, not to focus/waste energy on trying to change the government, or change people through legislature, but to proclaim the Gospel, warn people of the coming judgement, and make disciples of all the nations.
We are citizens of Heaven first, Americans second.