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My King and My Kingdom

It’s election year again. The candidates are having it out, sparring over everything from the economy and foreign policy to abortion and the definition of marriage.

As usual, God-fearing, church-going, Bible-thumping Christians are lining up. It is time for us Christians, they say, to stand up and retake control of the direction our country is headed.

And as usual, on the fringes of this vast group of Christian activists is a motley crew of people who dress plain and don’t vote. They say their kingdom is not of this world, and that’s why you don’t see them at the ballot box. But by their rhetoric it seems some of them wish their kingdom were of this world.

I am one of them. One of the plain people, I mean; not one of those who wish their kingdom was of this world. At least in my better moments I don’t. But sometimes when I see the issues laid out, and see what’s at stake for America and the world my children will have to live in, I feel my blood start to warm. You mean all I can do is pray?

Then it’s time I remind myself of the following truths.

I pertain to the Kingdom of Heaven. And because I have a Kingdom, I have a King. No, not a democracy where I get a say in the procedures, but a monarchy where we subjects gladly yield all our rights to the One who lovingly rules over us. So in other words, I don’t have a president… I have a King. And though I have no rights as a citizen of a democracy, I have perfect freedom and abundant life in my King.

My loyalty makes me an alien here. No country on this earth, and certainly no party, is Kingdom-friendly. No type or hypothetical type of earthly government is similar enough to my Kingdom for me to get involved.

Whenever ideals from my Kingdom are imposed on earthly countries by their governments, the result is not righteousness, but rather a hypocrisy that results in more ungodliness later. Attempts to legislate righteousness always disappoint. Our country is composed of people who are sinners, and no legal means can ever make such people good. Stiff laws against moral perversion serve to inflame the passions of those so inclined. I had not known lust except the law said “thou shalt not covet.” Republican declarations against perversion will straighten no gays and convert no terrorists. Such declarations, by the way, are not declarations in favor of my Kingdom.

America glories in her freedom. We love that freedom. But we forget that the sword of freedom has to cut both ways in order to be real. A government that allows a disloyal alien like me to live freely, finds itself thereby obligated to also give freedom to false religion and moral aberration. The pattern of governments is that they expand their powers under the pretense of dealing with what we call evil, and then having gained that power they turn and use it against what we call good. A government that today takes to itself the responsibility to curb false religion or moral aberration, takes to itself a power that it may tomorrow use against such aliens as myself. The war against terrorism seems to be just such a campaign for power. When the government has achieved blanket power against terrorists, will the next ‘terrorists’ on the list be such as openly confess allegiance to another King?

Our freedom to live on earth as Kingdom Christians doesn’t depend on either party. This freedom, incidentally, may have as much to do with our lack of bold allegiance to our King as it does with government benevolence.

Any show of morality by either party is an illusion. Our government is no more Christian than ancient Rome was Christian. Neither party is nearer the Kingdom of Heaven than the other. Hating immigrants is no better than abortion. Warfare is no more moral than welfare. Incursions into Middle East countries, in the name of national security, are but thinly disguised lust for world dominance. The Democrat’s recent decision to eliminate “God” from the party platform was simply a moment of honesty. Nothing was lost, because He wasn’t there anyway. His Name on the other party platform is little more than political propaganda.

Neither party promotes a course of action that will make it easy for my children to be Kingdom Christians a generation from now. Neither promotes a way that runs parallel to the King’s way. Neither offers a way to destroy evil that will make the Gospel triumph. Both hasten the destruction of the world.

I believe there are Christians in high places honestly trying to make the country better. I believe they are there because God wants a witness in the high places. I believe they have received their positions by the intervening hand of God, not by a remaining streak of godliness in the system that puts men into power and takes them out, nor by activism on the part of faithful Kingdom Christians.

So why should I vote, or even want to vote? I see the demoralizing of the world, and I take courage, for it is a confirmation of my hope that this world will pass away. I see the destruction of the world, and look up, for my redemption draws nigh. I pray for the election, but in the end, whoever wins, I am an alien either way. Soon my King will come, and everything will change.

—James Troyer

4 comment(s)

"Our freedom to live on earth as Kingdom Christians doesn’t depend on either party." - Assuming that it doesn't matter to you if Christians can legally proselytize, run a VBS, or run a homeless shelter with a gospel message, or be imprisoned for doing the above. Our religious liberty DOES depend on politicians. Now if living for Christ were outlawed, then we should follow Peter's example and obey God rather than men. If our Anabaptist ancestors are any example, they would prefer religious liberty to religious oppression.

"Any show of morality by either party is an illusion. Our government is no more Christian than ancient Rome was Christian. Neither party is nearer the Kingdom of Heaven than the other." One political party is for recognizing sodomy as marriage, and taxpayer funding of abortion. The other is full of politicians who have voted against those evils again and again. Are those votes an illusion? Remember that if sodomy is recognized by the state as 'marriage', every public school will be mandated to teach that sodomy and marriage are "equal". Do we want our property taxes to promote this evil? Also about our government being as pagan as ancient Rome, have you read the US Constitution, or PA Constitution?

"Neither party promotes a course of action that will make it easy for my children to be Kingdom Christians a generation from now." - Exactly, That is a parent's job, and to a lesser extent, Sunday School/VBS.

"A government that allows a disloyal alien like me to live freely, finds itself thereby obligated to also give freedom to false religion and moral aberration." This is religious liberty, freedom to exercise religion, or not exercise religion. This allows Christians to witness to others. What would we want instead?

"So why should I vote, or even want to vote?" In the past, Christians like William Wilberforce felt obligated to outlaw the slave trade. Early Mennonites and Quakers outlawed slavery in Pennsylvania in 1780. Was that wrong? Currently many Christians feel obligated to curtail the holocaust of abortion, including not forcing Christians to pay for abortion. The pro-life movement includes many parts: pregnancy centers, church ministry, and for some, the political process. FYI, the Obama administration is forcing everyone to buy insurance that covers chemical abortion, contrary to their religious beliefs. This is the subject of 31 lawsuits. Should Christians willingly buy insurance that pays for abortions?

Bottom line: We can live as Christians wherever we live. The question is if we want to preserve the religious liberty promised by William Penn that attracted the early Anabaptists. The journey was a dangerous 3 month passage in small wooden boats, with the death rate approaching 25%. This is detailed in the book "The Herrs". After more than 300 years of religious liberty, I think we sometimes forget how precious it is.

Posted by Jeremy Martin on Sat 6 Oct 2012, 18:13pm

Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” The political process by its very nature is of this world. As the efforts of early Mennonites and Quakers in Pennsylvania show us (like many others in history), efforts at establishing a civil, political, territorial kingdom of God ultimately fail.

As we look at and name the unspeakable horrors that human perversion and corruption would unleash upon our society in the name of freedom, we are almost moved to believe that any means at our disposal would be justifiable in working against these things. And it is not my desire to judge those who feel obligated to use the political process to protect our freedom, or to defend the unborn. Sometimes God in His mercy allows such efforts to be effective, in a measure. Prayer, the proclamation of the gospel, and acts of charity that demonstrate the love of Jesus to a hurting world are ultimately far more powerful.

As children of the Prince of Peace, the weapons of our warfare are not of the world. Both the ballot and the bullet are of the world. Rather, our weapons are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Any appeal to these worldly weapons brings about a weakening of our ultimate cause, and a compromise in our ultimate loyalty.

While a political party may be nominally Christian, yet nationalistic agendas, war, limitless power for law enforcement, spying, torture, the union of church and state, etc. are all completely foreign to and incompatible with the Kingdom of Jesus. Further, the growth of government in these areas may ultimately prove at least as hostile to our cherished freedoms as the civil liberties and leftist agendas promoted by the other party.

These reasons are why I cheerfully own Jesus, the Prince of Peace, as my King; and leave the political process to those who are of this world.

Thank you and God bless you,
James Troyer

Posted by James Troyer on Mon 8 Oct 2012, 16:02pm

Thank you for this open exchange. May God bless each of you.

A brother in Him,

Posted by Java on Mon 8 Oct 2012, 23:16pm

Since the Ken Miller case has linked to this blog and other websites, I am reading to try and understand why persons such as James Troyer and Ken think and believe like they do. For instance, there is much of the Word of God that is either misunderstood or ignored. Take the fact that most professing anabaptists believe the Bible teaches the payment of taxes to Caesar (gov't of any kind). In Matt. 22, verse 19 is where Jesus asked those sent to trick him to show him the tribute money given to Caesar. They produced a penny with the picture of Caesar on it. Note, Jesus did not say to give some of this money to Caesar, but to give it ALL to him, because it was his money--it was not the money used by the Israelites, as they were not allowed to have graven images!! They had their own money used to pay the temple tax, as explained by Jesus in the earlier account found in Matt. 17:24-27, where Jesus asked Peter of whom the kings of the earth demanded tribute. Peter said "of strangers" and Jesus said "then are the children free". This teaching meshes perfectly with the rest of the gospel, such as Gal. 1:10 where Paul says if he was a servant of man he could not be the servant of God--no man can serve two masters or be in two kingdoms. The lynchpin of evidence that those who are born again do not pay for the promotion of evil in worldly governments, is found in Luke 23:2,3, where Jesus was accused of being king of the jews and of FORBIDDING the paying of tribute to Caesar. Jesus agreed, saying "Thou sayest it." So why are people claiming to be in God's kingdom still paying for and supporting the evil works of Caesar? Maybe they are scared of persecution? Maybe they want to live in peace at all cost? (Der still in der landt). Here is further explanation: Tribute: "A tax imposed by a king on his subjects (Sa2 20:24; Kg1 4:6; Rom 13:6). In Matt. 17:24 the word denotes the temple rate (the "didrachma," the "half-shekel," as rendered by the R.V.) which was required to be paid for the support of the temple by every Jew above twenty years of age (Exo 30:12; Kg2 12:4; Ch2 24:6, Ch2 24:9). It was not a civil but a religious tax. In Mat 22:17, Mar 12:14, Luk 20:22, the word may be interpreted as denoting the capitation tax which the Romans imposed on the Jewish people. It may, however, be legitimately regarded as denoting any tax whatever imposed by a foreign power on the people of Israel. The "tribute money" shown to our Lord (Mat 22:19) was the denarius, bearing Caesar's superscription. It was the tax paid by every Jew to the Romans. But Jesus taught that we pray "thy kingdom come..." and he answers that prayer, so we do not owe taxes to governments that pay for warfare and other evils.

Posted by Leon Moyer on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 20:40pm

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