Chuck Baldwin Many of us grew up in Sunday School and church. We have heard the great Bible stories over and over. We heard about the story of how Mosesâ€™ mother defied Pharaoh and hid her little baby boy in bulrushes. We heard the story of how Moses killed the Egyptian taskmaster defending a Hebrew slave and later became the great deliverer of Godâ€™s people. We heard the story of young David going out alone against the Philistinesâ€™ greatest warrior, Goliath. We heard the story of how Saulâ€™s servants refused to carry out the kingâ€™s order to murder the priest Ahimelech. We know well the story of Daniel who defied his governmentâ€™s order to refrain from praying. The names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are very familiar to us. We heard our teachers and preachers extol their courage in defying the governmentâ€™s order to bow to the image of their emperor. We remember that John the Baptist went to prison (and was eventually beheaded), not for preaching the Gospel, but for criticizing the king for his immoral behavior. We certainly recall the story of Simon Peter who bluntly told his civil magistrates, â€œWe ought to obey God rather than men.â€ We know that the Apostle Paul wrote many of his epistles from inside government prisons. We certainly recall that before John penned the Revelation, he had been banished to an island-prison by his civil authorities.
I challenge Christians to objectively look at the great stories of Bible heroes (in both testaments) and observe how many times they are noted for either being martyred for defying a civil authority, or, perhaps, for being delivered from death for defying a civil authority. The stories of defiance to civil government (in one form or another) comprise a great percentage of all the stories contained in the Bibleâ€“perhaps even a majority of them.
So, how has it happened that a majority of todayâ€™s Christians, it seems, have become such sheepish slaves of government? How has it happened that, for the most part, the concept of courage in the face of government oppression has been totally lost to the average Christian, pastor, and church? For all intents and purposes, it is time for many Christians to shred their Bibles, because the lessons and principles of Godâ€™s Word have absolutely no influence over their attitudes and conduct.
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