Authority: Patriotism

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

Whenever I bring up the things that have been discussed in this series I am inevitably labeled an “anarchist” or “unpatriotic”.  I have discussed the topic of anarchy earlier.  But what does it mean to be patriotic?

Among conservative Christians patriotism is equal to or greater than biblicism.  Thousands of conservative Christian pulpits have the Christian flag and the American flag side by side.  Patriotism is in many ways deemed to be the equivalent of being Christian.  At least it is considered difficult to understand how somebody could be a Christian and not be patriotic.  After all, is not the United States a Christian nation?

The answer to that question is an unequivocal, No!  I would strongly recommend that readers of this essay pick up a copy of Gary North’s “Political Polytheism” and read it.  He persuasively argues that the United States was designed to appear outwardly religious and Christian as a means of pacifying the populous, but that the Constitution is a document that purposefully removed Christianity from the public arena.

American Christians have been sold a bill of goods.  President John Kennedy’s famous dictum, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country” has been raised to the level of Scripture.  But it is the Scripture of statism.   The truth is just the opposite.  According to the Bible, the State is to serve the citizens.  Romans 13 describes the state as a “minister” of God.  The word that is used is diakonos, the Greek word for servant.  Paul instructs the Romans that they pay taxes in exchange for the service of the State.  The notion that the citizens are to serve the State is absurd and dangerous.  That concept leads directly to the deadly idea that individuals somehow owe something to the State other than taxes and submission.  It leads to the belief that citizens owe the state military service and any “civilian” service that the government may deem necessary.   Millions have died in unjust wars because of that belief.  Christians should be prepared to give their lives in service to the Church but should rarely, if ever, give their lives in service to the State.

Patriotism was originally defined as a love of country.  ‘Country’ included the land in which a person lived, his own private property, and the life and property of his neighbors.  Defined accordingly, there is no contradiction between the Bible and patriotism.  However, patriotism is now defined as love of government.  Any criticism of what the government decrees is deemed to be the activity of a traitor.  Any disagreement with the stance and policies of the government is called unpatriotic.  This is absurd.  All decrees of men, whether they be in the Church, Family or the State, are to be examined in light of the Bible.  If the decree is inconsistent with biblical truth, it needs to be criticized.  To argue that the conscience of the individual  is bound by the law of patriotism to uncritically accept everything said by the magistrate is foolish at best, sinful at worst.

Just as the State has managed to twist by 180 degrees our stance before it, so the stance of the individual before the Church has been equally twisted.  Christians look at the church and expect public service.  Many expect it to be a public service institution; feeding the hungry, housing the poor, offering free counseling services, and just generally being nice to people.  The idea that it is the duty of the believer to serve the Church is foreign.  However, that idea is the truth.

The level of service that “patriots” expect from citizens to the State is the same level of service that God expects from believers to the Church.  It is not a coincidence that these two conceptions of service have been reversed.  As statism has advanced in our culture, most Christians have lost the ability to think critically and analyze what is going on.  The State is not neutral.  It has the goal of destroying the biblical Church by changing it into an institution after the image of the State.  This has always been true throughout church history and will always be true until the end of time (read the book of Revelation and just look for church/state relations).  There is no value to being a patriot to a state that hates God.  God makes it very clear.  As things stand today, we can serve man, via the state, or we can serve Him, via the Church.

View all posts in this series

One thought on “Authority: Patriotism

Leave a Reply