It is heartening recently to see some Christian leaders placing themselves in a position of interposition between the people and their evil rulers.
In one example of interposition, Newsmax recently reported that “the Rev. Billy Graham has thrown his support behind embattled Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy and announced plans to stop by the fast food restaurant next Wednesday as part of Mike Huckabee’s “Eat Mor Chikin” promotion.”
In like manner, “Dr. James Dobson is taking a defiant stand on Obamacare and issuing a loud and clear message to President Obama: ‘I WILL NOT pay the surcharge for abortion services. … So come and get me if you must, Mr. President. I will not bow before your wicked regulation.’”
These are encouraging signs and a departure from the prevailing head-in-the-sand mentality that has characterized most evangelical church leadership for much of the past 100 years.
MYTH: Christian leaders are obligated to obey every edict of the civil magistrate without resistance of any kind, in accordance with Rom. 13:1.
It is the responsibility of church leadership to inform the civil magistrate when his law does not conform to God’s law. It may also be the responsibility of church leadership to disobey such a law because the church is a separate legal jurisdiction. The great failing of church leadership in America today is its refusal to proclaim the law of the King of kings to the civil magistrate.
For John the Baptist, announcing Christ’s authority to Rome was as much a part of “preparing the way for the Lord” as was his ministry of baptism (Ps 2:10-12). Baptism was John’s “priestly” preparation, but he was also announcing to Rome that a new King had arrived and Rome must obey His law: Mt. 14:4,5 – “For John had been saying to him (Herod), ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.” That was the kingly preparation.
This would make proclaiming God’s law to local magistrates as much a part of the job description of church leadership, as baptizing new converts. This kind of interposition is not an option. That’s the reason early Christians were sent to the lions: they boldly proclaimed, “there is another king, Jesus and His law is supreme.” Rome could care less how much they baptized.
The Failure of Modern Church Leadership
Our civil leadership today at every level is guilty as Rome in defying the law of God. How does American church leadership respond to this? From what I’ve seen across the board, it’s pretty much apathy — none of our concern. Is not that very apathy and rejecting the duty of interposition that has led to our current desperate plight?
The most energetic response the contemporary church can muster at this time of crisis seems to be scheduling the next church picnic or rock concert. But, throughout the Bible we see church leaders standing before kings and taking the initiative to instruct civil leaders in the law of God. We may protest that we have no time, but John the Baptist was probably short on time also.
If we don’t start taking God’s law seriously in the matter of interposition how can we avoid His displeasure or judgment of even our worship, just as He smote Uzza in the midst of a very charismatic worship service (I Chr 13:9,10). “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination” (Pr. 28:9).
One pastor indicated to me that has denomination had made several overtures to the Obama Administration a while back. There was no response and therefore that fulfills the church’s responsibility. That was a good start toward interposition, but refusal of the evil “king” to respond to this and many other appeals leads necessarily to the 2nd Biblical step. That is appeal to the local or lesser magistrate to fulfill his oath-bound duty to position himself between the people and the evil king. That is the Biblical answer to tyranny, seen many times in the book of Judges (e.g. 3:9; 4:2,3; 6: 6-12).
Failure to do this leaves the congregation and the community exposed to the wrath of God, as was the case with David’s census. Almost every day we see outrageous assaults on our freedom. These are doubtless orchestrated gradually by God in mercy to wake us up.
America is under the authority of a man who 1) defies the law of God in the most audacious manner and 2) is intent on using his executive power to enslave the people. We have economic insanity, strip searches in airports, the government encouraging people to spy on each other in 4,000 WalMart stores, the FCC taking initial steps to neutralize the internet, and much more.
This is all right out of the “1984” playbook. Or more specifically the “Rules for Radicals” playbook for Communist takeover as taught by Mr. Obama in Chicago. This is a direct result of an isolationist church that refuses to represent the Kingship of Christ to the civil magistrate. It is in danger of being thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
The Biblical Doctrine of Local Interposition
The doctrine of interposition is seen throughout the book of Judges and summarized by Calvin in Chapter XX, par. 31, pp. 1518-1519 as follows:
“For if there are now any magistrates of the people, appointed to restrain the willfulness of kings…I am so far from forbidding them to withstand, in accordance with their duty, the fierce licentiousness of kings, that, if they wink at kings who violently fall upon and assault the lowly common folk, I declare that their dissimulation involves nefarious perfidy, because they dishonestly betray the freedom of the people, of which they have been appointed protectors by God’s ordinance.”
Calvin here denounces failure of leaders to interposition at the local level in the strongest terms. He is calling for the “magistrates of the people” to refuse obedience to the lawless king and not to “wink” at him as the Nazis blindly followed the orders of Hitler.
Mr. Obama has been advised by the godfather (Soros) to ignore Congress and the courts and impose his will via the agencies. They are testing our tolerance for tyranny a step at a time. Would our Puritan forefathers have tolerated this? Would Patrick Henry or George Washington have tolerated this? Would John Knox or John the Baptist have tolerated this?
The current strategy of many churches is to raise up future generations who will eventually deal decisively with these problems. It seems to me we are passing the buck to our grandchildren or great-grandchildren to perform the work of reformation that is staring us in the face. If we do not take the necessary Biblical action of interposition in the present I think it is more likely that our great granchildren — if any survive — will look back and curse this generation for its passive response to the clear and present danger.
Case Closed: It is the duty of the lower magistrate, supported by the clergy, to lead the people against a tyrant who refuses to obey the law of God. How can we expect anything but judgment from God if we refuse this duty? Like Jonah who fled from Ninevah at first, maybe God will spare us if we turn and carry his law into the heart of our city and warn the rebellious officials.