By Doug Newman

April 22, 2008

Posted at Freedom4um, Liberty Forum, Christian Liberty Party, Covenant News, Rational Review,
Bartleby's Blog, The Price of Liberty and Novakeo.

Even when he was at the height of his glory and fame and at the depth of his debauchery, Elvis Presley was uneasy with being called the “King of Rock and Roll.” One more than one occasion, Elvis made the point that Jesus was the only King.

If only all Christians were as sound as Elvis in their understanding about Who their King really is.

I had never heard of Pastor Mark Jeske of Milwaukee until the other day. However, some clips from a sermon he preached – captured on YouTube – epitomize the very dangerous direction in which so many pastors are leading their flocks nowadays. He preaches what the maker of the video calls “The New American Theology of Civil Submission.” This is the big fat lie that Christians should just go ahead and do whatever their earthly government tells them to do.

Jeske states that we are "free to give up our freedom" to earthly authorities.  He plays fast and loose with Scripture, telling us that I Corinthians 9:19 means we should enslave ourselves to earthly rulers. Never mind that I Corinthians 7:23 tells us not to be slaves of men. The context of I Corinthians 9:20 tells us what every good salesman knows: to sell your product successfully, you need to mirror the personality of your audience. Indeed, if you look at I Corinthians 9:19 in the KJV, you will see the word “servant” rather than “slave.”

Jeske also wants us to think that I Peter 2:17 – “honor the king” – is an injunction to blindly obey your secular government. No it is not!

This is America. The last time I checked, we don’t have a king. More on this in a minute. As Christians, our King is Jesus Christ. His Kingdom is not of this earth – John 18:36. Moreover, our primary citizenship is in Heaven – Philippians 3:20.

In America, our supreme law does not come from the president, the House, the Senate or the courts. Rather, the supreme law of our land is the Constitution. The powers it delegates to the federal government are, in Madison’s words, “few and defined”. The ultimate power rests in “we the people.” When Uncle Sam oversteps his boundaries, it is he who is in rebellion and he who has dishonored authority. “We the people” rebel when we to not act to restrain governmental overreach.

Hence, it is a monumental lie that Romans 13 commands Christians -- especially American Christians -- to blindly obey every edict of their earthly government.

Unlimited submission to earthly authority violates the First and Second Commandments – Exodus 20:3-5.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…”

Scripture is full of examples of God’s people dissing earthly authorities because their allegiance was to a Higher Authority. See Daniel 3, Daniel 6, Acts 4:19 and Acts 5:29. Paul was a chronic jailbird, writing four of his Epistles while in the joint. The prophet John wrote Revelation while in exile. Jesus was crucified for treason for claiming to be God and, thus, a counterforce to Caesar.

In addition to numerous biblical examples of civil disobedience, there are many examples throughout history of Christians saying “we don’t think so” to earthly rulers. For its first few centuries, Christianity was an outlaw religion. America’s Founders, many of whom were Christians, were, among other things, smugglers, tax resisters and militia members who engaged in armed shootouts with the king’s troops. Many Christians violated the Slave Laws in the 1850s and Jim Crow laws in the 1950s. The Confessing Church in Germany consisted of those Christians who opposed Hitler. Numerous Christians have resisted various communist regimes around the world. Today, Christians around the world defy their governments in order to practice their faith. Indeed, the largest Christian population in the world is in Red China and most of those are in the underground church.

Sermons such as Jeske’s are a symptom of what I call the Big Ramp-Up to the End Times. To grossly oversimplify, this is a five-step process.

  1. In the early 1980s, the churches were turned into partisan – i.e. Republican – political tools. Some folks say that GOP means “God’s official party.” I sure hope they are being facetious.
  2. Since 2000, there has been a huge effort to promote the image of GWB as this Great Christian Man. This evangelical adoration of him is totally unmerited. They have set up a king without God’s consent – Hosea 8:4.
  3. America’s most fervent supporters of unprovoked war and the wholesale slaughter of innocents can be found in evangelical megachurches.
  4. Now, more and more pastors like Mark Jeske are promoting the big lie that Christians should just go ahead and do whatever their government tells them to do. Watch this video on “clergy response teams.”
  5. I predict that large numbers of Christians will be deceived by the Antichrist, who will be both a spiritual and political figure. For years, many churches have been softening their brains and dumbing them down in preparation for this.

Many dictators and emperors have deified themselves. However, the Antichrist will far outdo them in his blasphemous ways. Consider Revelation 13:7-8:

“He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast -- all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”

Now consider Revelation 13:14-15:

“Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.”

Do the Mark Jeskes of the world want Christians to nonchalantly surrender their liberty to this earthly ruler?

Pastors who preach unthinking submission to earthly government are merely latter day versions of the chief priests in John 19:15. When Pilate asked “shall I crucify your king?” they responded “We have no king but Caesar.”

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I hadn't heard of this Jeske guy; he is a real piece of work -- lisping, precious sanctimony coupled with a message of unconditional submission to whoever is in charge. He would have fit right in with the "Positive Christianity" movement in 1930s Germany. -- WG in Idaho

That preacher video is a frightening abomination that proves the pulpits are empty and the pews are filled with empty heads. -- N in Texas

I learned years ago that the best people in the world are Christians and the worst ones are Christians. The difference, of course, is not Who we believed in for eternal salvation at one point of time in our life, but applying (through learning the Word of God) what we have learned. The best people in the world are those Christians who know the Word AND apply it. The worst people are Christians who live ignorant of or greatly misinformed about the Word and let the Old Man (old sin nature) run rampant. I agree that we cannot know what someone has believed at any point since God alone is the judge of the "thoughts and intents of the heart." Also, He "looks on the soul while man looks on the outside" (David who was picked by God through Samuel.)

My belief on the judging the fruits of others is all about discernment and making right/best choices using the Bible as our measuring stick of what is good and bad -- it isn't about being able to tell whether someone is a Christian or not -- and your article said as much. -- AL in Colorado

I fail to understand today's "Christians." It seems as though the greater the depravity in our government, the greater the loss of liberty, the more they turn a blind eye. Have "Christian men" become so cowardly and soft that they would rather submit to wickedness than stand for that which is righteous and good? God forbid. It is why I stopped several years ago from attending "church." Though I miss the fellowship with others I cannot submit myself to a wolf in sheep's clothing. I've yet to find a pastor in my area that will stand for truth. We worship at home as a family, teach our children ourselves, and watch Pastor Butch Paugh's video sermons. 

Thanks for this commentary Doug. I've sent it to every pastor and "Christian" I know. -- MG in Tennessee

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman