As I explained in Part 1, the implications of the legalization of SSM are a real and present danger for genuine Christians. For those of us not sleepwalking through life, and who were savvy enough not to swallow the propaganda peddled by the SSM lobby, realise that SSM was no just about letting two people of the same gender, who love each other, marry. (You’d have to be brain-dead to fall for the fatuous “Love is Love” slogan).
Rather SSM is about the ‘decommissioning of the Judeo-Christian institution of marriage’ (Quote from our former Prime Minister John Howard) and replacing it with a Marxist deconstructed family.
Cases In Point
Imagine you’re asked to bake a cake celebrating homosexual marriage, as a Christian should you obey the law of the land, or your God informed conscience?
When you’re children are taught at school, that homosexual intercourse and marriages are of equal intrinsic value, to God authorised heterosexual marriages. Can you send your kids to school knowing that they being taught a practice, which is unequivocally condemned by God?
Or you’re asked to participate in some program at work, which openly celebrates homosexuality. Should you join in, or refrain and thereby risk losing your job?
These are the vexing questions, which sear deeply into our consciences.
What Does the Bible Say? Should We Obey God or Man?
Here’s where it gets interesting. At face value there seems to be a dichotomy, when it comes to a Christian’s responsibility to the State. On the one hand, some passages in the Bible seem to require obedience to the State, while others encourage conscientious objection. Let’s take a look.
In Romans chapter 13 verses 1-7, Paul enjoys us to pay our taxes, and obey the divinely appointed government, in this case the pagan emperor Nero. Now, since God himself has appointed the Government to punish wrong doers, (ie those who break the laws of the land), it’s case closed - or is it?
Let’s take a closer look. Historically there’s been a dark side the use (or misuse) of this passage. For instance it was used to justify the National German Church’s support of the Nazi Party, which murdered 6 million innocent Jews. This is not the moment to cite the countless other atrocities that governments and dictators have committed, with either the vocal or tacit support of the State Church.
Then we’ve the passage presenting the countervailing position. In Acts 4, where Peter and John are ordered to stop preaching Jesus, or else suffer the consequences, to which Peter replied, “You decide, whether it’s right in the sight of God, to obey God or Men?” Peter response was courteous, but in open disobedience against the State.
How Do We Reconcile These Contradictory Positions?
I offer the following explanation. When we consider the historical context of these passages, along with the concept of diachronic revelation (ie God’s revelation unfolding over time), then the dichotomy is resolved.
Scholarly consensus places the date of writing Romans somewhere between 55-57AD, which is at the beginning of the Emperor Nero’s reign (Nero reigned 54-68AD). Let’s say Nero being new to his job of running the Empire was yet to find his infamous and nefarious role as Emperor. It was only in his latter reign did he earn the reputation of being the most malevolent and despicable despot, Rome had ever seen.
Disdained by even a fellow Roman; Tacitus (a renowned historian), who says after using Christians as human candles (set in vats of oil and set alight) at his dinner parties and inflicting similar acts of barbarity on others, that
“They were sacrificed to the gluttony of one man’s (Nero) cruelty ………..” AD64
Consequently at the time of writing Romans, before Nero’s transformation into a monster, Paul held an optimistic view of the role of the Emperor (of Government). It would not be unreasonable to suggest that had Nero’s violent and barbaric persecution of Christians occurred earlier Paul, then he’d be offering a different version of our relationship to the State.
I put it to you that Paul would’ve place a caveat on our obedience to the Government. Something like yes the Government is appointed by God, and we are to obey its laws in order to avert anarchy, and to promote the common good.
However where the Government requires to follow laws, which violate divine laws, the principles of which are found in scripture, then we are exempt.
This exactly what the Christians of the 1st to 3rd Century did. They were commanded to worship the Emperor (the Divine Cult). Tens of thousands refused, their consciences told them that Caesar was not God. They lost their lives for honouring God before obeying the law of the land.
Jesus put it perfectly, when asked is right to pay taxes to Caesar (render obedience to the State). He said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”
There are some things that we as Christians must do to in the service of the State. But other things, like worship and compliance to God’s values belong to God. They are His, and no point should we consider surrendering to them State.
Surrender what belongs to God, and we’ll surrender our conscience with it.
Vic Matthews, has three degrees B.Optom, B.Arts& B. Christian Studies. He is a kiteboard tragic, who now works as a Christian Copywriter. He can be found at http://trustworthycopywriter.com/writing-services/christian-copywriter/
Vic Matthews' previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/vic-matthews.html