I received the following important response to the article “Churches Must Address Fundamentals, Not Symptoms,” June 15, 2020:Thank you for sending this. One thing that I am struggling with is what is my responsibility as an American Christian in all of this? Are we to sit idly by and watch our country fall to this communist backed chaos? ----- from where I live a small town was invaded by BLM & Antifa protesters on Friday night. They were threatening a local business owner who was also on the school board. He refused to bow to their social justice demands by apologizing for statements that he made against them. Heavily armed militia groups surrounded his place of business. The BLM protesters issued threats of intimidation on social media and said they were coming to town armed. In the middle was ------ who was on the police swat team. In the past month he has been to two riots and seen one of his fellow police officers brutally gunned down by two black thugs who car jacked an innocent woman [see website report]. None of this of course made the national news.
The weekend prior to this in a small town close to where I live nearly a thousand protesters from Detroit were bused in by Antifa and BLM. ----- who is a firefighter and EMS medic was on standby for trouble all weekend. He trains with the county SWAT team as a medic. In both of these cases we prayed much for peaceful resolutions. So far, that has been the outcome, however my patience with doing nothing is wearing very thin. These groups are openly using intimidation tactics and receive praise for doing so.
I am an ex paratrooper and I know many Christian veterans who are struggling with watching this mess unfold and doing nothing. My first allegiance is to Christ. I am willing to do whatever His will is concerning this matter even if it means watching our country fall to communism. Unfortunately as a nation we have chosen the path that we are on and God had been no where near us for a long time.
That said, is there a responsibility as an American Christian to bear arms to defend our freedom in such a time as this? I have asked this question to many a preacher and have never received a straight answer. I am not looking for a green light to follow my flesh. What I would like is a Biblical answer in relation to the God given right to bear arms and free speech that we were granted by our founding fathers. Do we have a Christian responsibility to stand up against tyranny? Like I said my first allegiance is to Christ. I just don't want to watch my country fall to communism having not done anything to try and stop it if I should have. I hope this makes sense.
I also totally agree that prayer is the greatest weapon that we have, and that is has been the most under utilized.
REPLY FROM BROTHER CLOUD
Following is an edited edition of my reply to this man:
I appreciate the response. You have expressed the issue very well.
There is not one answer to your question for everyone, but Scripture gives us some clear truths that provide light in these times. Following is how I understand the practicality of the Bible’s teaching for today:
1. Americans do still have some rights to bear arms, and they should be used to defend life and property insofar as possible. Legal firearms have stopped multitudes of rapes, beatings, thefts, and murders. Legal firearms have stopped would-be mass murderers, even in church services. Many churches have appointed armed guards within the membership, and that is wise. The citizens of most nations today don’t have this liberty, and Americans should use it as long as they have it. But beyond that, what can be done with arms? Shall conservative Christian militias go to war with Antifa, BLM, et al? You know very well that it would only make matters worse and it would be very short-lived. The U.S. government today is much more likely to side with Antifa/BLM than any Christian militia or even someone lawfully bearing an arm in self-defense against Antifa/BLM. The following is an example -
2. We do have some free speech, and it is a precious, hard-won right that we should use. I would love to see more pastors and Christians speak out publicly to give a biblical perspective on prevailing issues. In my experience, most pastors are hiding and not even speaking out much when they are behind the pulpit itself. They are truly the silent majority. Some write to me and say, “I support what you are saying, but please don’t use my name.” Cowards! I thank the Lord for men who are outspoken, but they are certainly in the extreme minority. Speak out for truth and righteousness, brethren! We would hasten to say that one must be very careful about he uses his time. Speaking out against the problems that blight our nation can easily become a full-time job and can entice you into the addicting and unwholesome world of “conservativism.”
3. We have the responsibility to obey God when man’s laws contradict God’s. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Ac. 5:29). Many churches exercised that responsibility during the coronavirus lockdowns when some state governments put Walmart before churches and tried to force unreasonable conditions on the assemblies. When the government impudently exalts itself over God’s laws, such as in the matter of marriage, we must obey the higher law. We have to be ready to pay the price, of course, but this is legitimate Christian duty.
4. Personally, I’m not going to spend any time with demonstrations and sign waving and politicking, and very little time even speaking out on such matters, because God has given me more important things to do, as I have described in the report “Churches Must Address Fundamentals, Not Symptoms.” I’m going to spend my fleeting time in prayer, lots of prayer, serious Bible reading/study/meditation, preaching/teaching God’s Word, building New Testament churches, building up godly homes, discipling youth, training preachers, preaching the gospel. There is infinitely more life-changing, community-changing, nation-changing power in those things than standing on a corner holding a sign or waving the flag or going face-to-face with BLM. Others can do those things.
5. We have to understand the times. “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). The 21st century is not the 18th. Taking up arms as a patriot in the 1770s was an entirely different thing than taking up arms today. I am convinced that it is God who is judging America, and I have no intention of fighting against God. We could wish that America could be split into two parts, one that holds to its founding principles and the other a leftist state, but it’s nothing going to happen. It’s not time to build nations; it’s time to build churches. It’s time to focus like a laser on the imminent return of Christ and let loose of this old world and be ready to go, to make sure we are not like Lot’s wife, whose heart was so attached to Sodom that she could not bear to leave it. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:1-14).
6. The America of today, and the American government of today, is not that of the Founding Fathers; it is not that into which I was born in 1949; it is not even that which I served in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including a tour in Vietnam. I love America and thank the Lord for what it has stood for and for the blessings and liberties I have enjoyed as an American citizen. The flag still thrills me, but I can’t wave it very passionately today. It stands for too many things that are evil and wrong-headed: abortion on demand, moral license, homosexual rights (the Supreme Court strengthened those rights just recently), socialism (even the Republicans are redistribution-of-wealth socialists, as far as I’m concerned), the welfare state, vast corruption and insane waste, unsustainable debt, speech control (is there freedom of speech in the public schools, law enforcement, the military?), among others. America’s real problem is not systemic racism, it is systemic wickedness.
7. As for law enforcement, it is essential, of course. It is of God (Romans 13). The city, county, state, and federal police forces are absolutely necessary, and more than ever when the spirit of anarchy has spread so widely. It is time for every law-abiding citizen to show support for and to encourage the men and women who stand between us and anarchy. The two black women in Nashville did the right thing in paying for a deputy sheriff’s meal at a Cracker Barrel, leaving him a note saying, “BLM but so does yours! Thank you for your service. Breakfast paid.”
The “defund the police” movement is tyranny on the part of the movers and shakers, and it is utopian nonsense on the part of their gullible pawns. Ultimately it will fail, but many lives will be destroyed and America will be weakened, which is the fundamental objective, of course.
At the same time, we aren’t going to wave a “blue flag.” We know that law enforcement personnel are just people. We don’t idealize them. The Bible tells us that law enforcers, like all other men, are sinners (Romans 3:23). They come in all varieties. Some serve God and man; others serve only themselves. Some are diligent; some lazy. Some are honest; some corrupt. Some are kind; some aren’t. We have lived about half of our 70 years overseas, and in our experience American law enforcers are far better than those in most countries; there is more professionalism, more true justice in America. But there is no semblance of perfection anywhere.
There has been a deep corruption of the American justice system by the application of humanistic thinking and the brash rejection of biblical truth. There is a coddling of the wicked, who are treated with more respect and compassion than their victims. There is a revolving door that releases violent criminals back into society to wreak more havoc. There are endless appeals that delay justice beyond reason. Procedure is often more important than justice. There is the acceptance of psychological mumbo-jumbo. Lawyers are too often allowed to manipulate the system to thwart justice. The U.S. justice system has become more about money than justice. It’s big business. Politics plays a major role at every level.
There has been a militarization of the city, county, state, and federal police forces in the last few decades that is disturbing. We realize that the drug phenomena and the increased violence of American society has required corresponding changes in law enforcement, but when you see hyper-armed, militarized agents make heavy-handed arrests of non-violent people (such as for possession and distribution of some supplement or for simple possession of an illegal firearm or for disobeying a medical lockdown order or for homeschooling or for trumped up charges of child abuse or for assisting a mother who fled the country to protect her daughter from being forced to live with a lesbian--the Lisa/Isabella Miller Case--and other things). Why dress like and act like SS troopers in such cases? Consider the intimidating SWAT personnel who lined up against a peaceful “reopen California” demonstration in May that was composed of families in Sacramento, California; the SWATers were rightly rebuked by a former Marine.
Even the FBI has been corrupted at a high level in recent years. Some have broken laws and probably committed treason, but there have been no real consequences from the justice department.
There has been increase in unlawful harassment of street preachers and churches by law enforcement in many parts of the country. Many cases occurred during the coronavirus lockdown. A recent example occurred at a Black Lives Matter protest in Clovis, New Mexico, where police threatened to arrest preachers for “inciting a riot” when all they were doing was preaching that Jesus Christ desires to save all men of all colors. The inciters are the BLM crowd, not preachers of the gospel! We have reported many cases like this over the years, including actual arrests of law-abiding street preachers. Law enforcers should know that their best friends are Bible-believing Christians, and they would be wise to defend their friends’ Constitutional rights.
8. I hope you will treat the report “Churches Must Address Fundamentals, Not Symptoms” seriously and not just skim it. We must address the fundamentals, and God has given us the resources to do so: the frightful condition of the churches, the spiritually weak condition of the families, the issue of a regenerate church membership, the issue of the weak biblical character of the churches, the general lack of skill in handling God’s Word, the prevailing worldliness in homes and churches, the lack of vision and real passion for evangelism in most churches. You mentioned prayer and said it is our greatest weapon and it has been under utilized. But this needs to be emphasized and corrected. Until our individual believers, our homes, and our churches are the prayer warriors they need to be, we shouldn’t be thinking about anything else. I doubt that there are 50 truly praying churches in America. (A true praying church must not only be engaged in a lot of prayer, but it must be on “praying ground,” which requires a holy, pilgrim, separated lifestyle.)
I am trying to say that these are the things that most of God’s people are not doing very well, yet these are the very things God has told us to do. Any fleshly person can sit around and grumble about Antifa and BLM and socialism and coronavirus, etc., but only spiritual people can do the things God has told us to do that would make a real difference. You mentioned soldiers, firefighters, medics, and police. They usually take their jobs very seriously and do their very best, train hard, seek to improve. We need that type of energy focused on spiritual things, but very few members of fundamental Baptist churches are doing this. For the most part, they love sports and fishing and hunting and guns and barbecue and video games and politics and their jobs and Rush Limbaugh and Fox News and Breitbart, but they don’t have that passion for the Bible and prayer and holiness and ministry. A few do. But a few real disciples in the midst of a bunch of half-hearted and lukewarm is not a New Testament church. It is a mixed multitude of little power.
9. Unless you are a very, very unusual Christian today, you would do well to follow the counsel in the recent article “For Those Frustrated by Coronavirus and Rioting.” (1) Take a fast or near fast from secular news and political commentary. (2) Cut your social media time way, way down, if not cut it off entirely, and cut your entertainment time way, way down. (3) Take all of those precious hours that you gain from cutting way down on political news and social media and playing and spend them immersing yourself in the Word of God and prayer. Following are some suggestions for this: Go through the course Understanding the Bible for Yourself. Make your own timeline of Bible history. After that, read the entire Bible twice in six months, which requires about 14 chapters a day. Engage in memorizing and meditating on Bible verses. Increase the time you spend in intercessory prayer and in seeking wisdom from God. Make sure you are having daily family prayer. Get a prayer partner and meet daily for prayer, or as regularly as possible. Spend more time in congregational prayer. These kind of things bring real change, to individuals, to homes, to churches, to nations. Let’s stop fighting spiritual battles with weapons of the flesh.
How is your prayer life? How is your home? How are your children doing? How is your church doing? How many are hearing the gospel by your efforts? I would urge you to focus on these things like a laser and up your game in these matters no matter where you might currently be.
More than paratroopers and SWAT, America needs real Christian soldiers. Paul was a special forces spiritual soldier, and he said, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17).