The Church Doesn’t Need The Government

By Joel A. Hess

Surely, this 4th of July has been one of saddest for me. It’s hard to get excited about the freedoms our country was founded upon as they are speedily being stolen from us by the current administration, aristocratic courts, and big businesses. The current forced cultural revolution looks exactly like the one imposed by the Chinese tyrant Mao Zedong. Leaders who come in the name of progress almost always leave the people they say they are helping dead.

As an American, I am certainly distressed to see fundamental freedoms being restricted and even outlawed. Freedom of speech and freedom to practice one’s religion are freedoms to be practiced in public not just private settings!

As a Christian and shepherd of God’s people, I should be frightened, I suppose. I should wonder if I’ll have a job 20 years from now. I should be afraid of the Church’s future. But I’m not at all!

Christ’s Church doesn’t need the government in any way! She doesn’t need tax exemption. She doesn’t need to be legal. She doesn’t need a law that guarantees the freedom of speech or the freedom to practice the faith.

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After all, the very head of the body, Jesus Christ, was executed by the government. That very execution is what we celebrate today! God used the worst of our sin to become the salvation of the world! So why would Christians be afraid of antagonistic governors?

The Church grew as the culture and governing authorities continually harassed it. She grew, and she wasn’t full of dismal unpleasant complaining people. Instead, Christianity was quite alive, full of people living out the faith in hope in Christ with smiles on their faces. Great thinkers and leaders not only shepherded the Church but contributed magnificent works of literature, even in the midst of suffering. The Church thrived both in members and activity.

I foresee that the United States of America will not be around 100 years from now. It will either break down like Rome or become something unrecognizable from what it once was. Quite frankly, I see Western society falling into chaos, as it is unable to hold order because it is unable to agree on any sort of truth! Christianity is not what is suffering in America, not at all. Reason, logic, and even modern science are what suffers. As in the fall of Rome, the Church may be the only form of organization left to offer stability in society.

Regardless, the Church will not only be around, but it will be alive and well until the Day of the Lord. That’s a promise! The Word will be preached, calling people to repentance and showering them with forgiveness. The Lord’s body and blood will be joyfully dispersed to sorrowful hearts, casting away fears and shame. People from all walks of life will be dying and rising in the waters of Baptism, joining the Son of God and all the saints.

As an American, I’m pretty negative about the future. As a Christian, I’m quite pumped!

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5 comments

  1. It has often been this way, but not always. Sometimes, government has been very helpful to the church. In any case, God says we do need government in this world. Romans 13 would be hard to ignore on that. It’s here to serve him, like everything else. And since we are a part of it, especially here as citizens, we should fight for it to be better – and not for our own benefit alone, but for the rest of the world, for which it was given. However many times I hear how much we should expect it to go away or be minimalized in the good it will do, that many times it feels like fatalism and really irritates me. I know that’s not what you meant, but it is what I heard.

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    1. As much as it saddens me, I do think our government is being fundamentally changed right now. Of course, society needs government, but government has a definite role in society. It is not absolute. What we’re seeing right now is a failure of our government to seriously deal with many of the issues at hand. We’re losing the war in Afghanistan as the Taliban are regaining territory, and the Obama administration is focused on forcing the military to pay for sex change operations for transgendered soldiers… what!? How is that relevant to the role of the military in defeating our enemies abroad for the security of our country?

      The government is not going away. Quite the opposite. They’re imposing their Cultural Revolution on us the same way Chairman Mao did in the 1960s (and Pol Pot did in the 1970s). They’ve decided that conservatives (especially Christians) are the greatest enemy of their revolution, so they are actively seeking to relegate us to the sidelines of the cultural and political conversation. In California, students at Christian colleges are no longer eligible for financial aid, because they do not embrace the LGBT agenda. Christians were faced with the prospect of not being able to open their own business, because the Federal Government would have forced them to pay for their employee’s abortions (thankfully Hobby Lobby won the case). Already, Christians can’t open a bakery or a photography business if they’re opposed to participating in a gay wedding, otherwise the government will force them against their will. A fire chief in Atlanta was fired because he wrote a book that makes a passing comment stating homosexuality is a sin.

      We’re being silenced in public discourse, our universities are the only ones in the nation that are no longer eligible for federal funds, we’re being driven out of the business world, we can no longer serve as public officials… this is the agenda of the Cultural Revolution. You’ll notice that Muslims, who have pretty extreme views on the treatment of homosexuals, aren’t receiving the same treatment. Why? The Cultural Revolution is directed primarily at the destruction of a Christian culture. Yes, we have a flawed and imperfect Christian culture in this nation, and there is much to be critiqued, but the Judeo-Christian worldview has been predominate in this nation since it’s founding, and as a general rule this has been a blessing to us.

      I believe this is just the beginning. Things are going to get bad for us in the next 50 years. Our government has not only turned on us, they’ve become completely incapable of governing. That’s a bad thing, as you’ve pointed out. We rack up more and more federal debt. The economy shows signs of recovering until we stop pumping money into it through QE and low interest rates, and the economy becomes sluggish again. We start wars or respond to an attack, we grow tired of it, so we quit. Our enemies are strengthened in their resolve, our country is out a whole lot of cash, and nothing has been accomplished. Our young men are growing up to be man-children who can’t hold down a job and get married. Our population would be plummeting if it weren’t for immigration. We don’t even produce enough children to replace those who are dying.

      As a nation, we’re toast. As Christians in this nation, we’re persona non grata. We have much to fear and to be dismayed at. If it weren’t for the promises of God – that He will build His Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it – we would have much to trouble ourselves over. The good news is that Christ has overcome and His will shall not be thwarted. That is the only thing we can comfort ourselves with as our nation crumbles and turns against us. The Church is going to be the only place where classical education, values, and the family are preserved. Every other institution is going to be so wrought with confusion, chaos, and self-important narcissism that order and civility will disappear.

      I think Joel is right, we’re headed for the collapse of Western Society and the aftermath is going to parallel the fall of Rome and the rise of a new dark age. The question is, who will be the barbarians tasked with rebuilding our empire?

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  2. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[a] but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ (John 15:18-27)

    Any religious freedoms we imagined were simply tools to make us complacent, blind to the truth. The world has never permitted Christianity or welcomed Christians. The best we can hope for is to be treated like everyone else. too long there has been a delusion of special status for the Church in this country. we should welcome the political climate as, in our separation, we shine more brightly (Matt 5:14).

    People have forecast the doom of this nation for a long time – they’ve all been wrong. There will always be some recovery of civility if only to expand the groups to which civility is extended, to forge friendships with outcast groups under evolving terms. The genius of this nation lies in deriving rights from profound spiritual inclinations centered on humanity. It combines rationality with a formless, nameless Creator and relies on the current self-evident and the best argument, not anything objective. Has this ever been “light” in darkness? No! Where Christ is, there is light. All else is darkness and it has always been that way. There will be no “decline” into a deeper darkness. If anything, each day brings us closer to the last day and each moment sees heaven grow nearer and nothing this or any nation or any power can do will stop it.

    Notice how Spark Networks acted in the most American manner to the court ruling? Stay in business, make money, create niches for any faith that merits one (except it seems confessional Lutherans aren’t as special as Latter-Day Saints or Seventh Day Adventists?) or other groups – plus-size women, race-based, age-based. When pressed, no hard-line stance for freedom (they could have avoided California clientele or gone out of business on principle). Instead, they chose money and the fact that all they were being told to do was treat the LGBTQ community like everyone else on their boards. So, many Christians will drop off the computer dating scene. But the Word has not been muzzled, the altars are still here, and fonts still flow.

    Our freedom in Christ is so great that, even if they try to quiet us on pain of death, we can simply, comfortably, confidently, and willingly die because there is no temporal power over us. We are pardoned. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) How wonderful that our struggle, our suffering, our crosses are carried in victory!

    This July 4th may have been the last one and I am still free to sit here and write this – I’ll call that daily bread and move on. If the day comes when God determines I no longer need that as part of my ration, I’m good with that.

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  3. Wow! Profound thoughts. As an American,it is sad and hard to see the complete breakdown of the nation,I’ve grown up in,served,and loved. It’s hard to see the military I was a part of immasculated,so that soon it will be defeated by our enemies,who will fight and show no mercy; and that despite any technological marvels,we may think protects us. We are like ancient Babylon,hiding behind it’s great walls. We think we are impregnable,but we are deluded. The Persians are inside,litarally. That’s a frightening thought. On the other hand,as a Christian,my hope isn’t in this world. Christ is triumphant,and,in Him,so is His Church. The New Heavens and New Earth have already begun,in us in the Font,the bath of regeneration,and nurtured by Confession and Absolution, and by the Holy Supper. Let us encourage each other,even as we see this world come apart. The Church’s best days are still in our future,because She is held up by Christ’s Everlasting Arms. Thanks Be To God!

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