What is the Responsibility of the Church (again)?

   I’m continuing my series on the government shutdown and the church. Don’t worry, I got the memo that the shut down is over. To quote the President, “let’s be clear,” he really likes to say that, doesn’t he? The shutdown has given me some much needed clarity on the church’s responsibility. It has opened my eyes to the all encompassing reach of the government in this Republic. And to quote Francis Schaeffer’s title- How Should We Then Live? How does the Church do her job? And what is Her responsibility in the the city, the state, the nation and the world?

“ I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
-I Timothy 2:1-4

     So first, we pray. How do we pray in a nation that believes (erroneously) that church and state should be separate? Franklin begged the Continental Congress that prayers ‘imploring the assistance of Heaven’ every morning. Where do the United States stand on prayer now?

     In 1947, in the case Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court declared, “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” The “separation of church and state” phrase which they invoked, and which has today become so familiar, was taken from an exchange of letters between President Thomas Jefferson and the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, shortly after Jefferson became President.- David Barton 
Again, I ask, what is the responsibility of the Church?

17 Tell us then what You think about this: Is it lawful to pay tribute [levied on individuals and to be paid yearly] to Caesar or not?
18 But Jesus, aware of their malicious plot, asked, Why do you put Me to the test and try to entrap Me, you pretenders (hypocrites)?
19 Show me the money used for the tribute. And they brought Him a denarius.
20 And Jesus said to them, Whose likeness and title are these?
21 They said, Caesar’s. Then He said to them, Pay therefore to Caesar the things that are due to Caesar, and pay to God the things that are due to God.
– Matthew 22:17-21

     I think we have the rendering to Caesar part down. We tend to remember that. Pay taxes. Fill out forms, jump through the governmental hoops, albeit with grumbling, but what about the last part of the verse?
“Pay to God the things that are due to God”?

     What is due to God? What are Christians doing about that? I am sad to say that many of the Church’s responsibilities have been taken over by the government- the feeding of the poor, the clothing of those who have none, the care of widows and orphans.

” External religious worship religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.”
James 1:27

     Many ‘Church run’ organizations are actually funded by government grants. Foster care is government run and regulated. When are we going to stop screaming ‘less government’ and replace it with more action.

Jennifer Toth, author of Orphans of the Living shares in the author’s note:
“One director of a children’s home acknowledged that immediately after a girl in his home begins menstruating, she is taken to the local Planned Parenthood clinic once a month for Depo-Provera shots to prevent pregnancy.”

     These government run and government supervised institutions obey the law of the land and the popular thinking of the day, not Biblical principles. Toth laments “I intended this book to be about the kids and their lives in foster care….(the system) It was falling apart as I watched, and damaging children not just by simple errors but by systematic failures as well…The bureaucracy seems almost designed to entrap and then prohibit a healthy outcome for its wards.”

     The humanistic system does not work. The government run- foster care system is failing, the orphanages are failing because they have no godly or moral foundation. It cannot have one, the Supreme Court ruled in 1947 in Emerson vs. the Board of Education, the wall must be ‘impregnable’. That is not to say that there are not godly social workers, Casa workers, foster parents, group home leaders, orphanage directors- but the Supreme Court has, in many cases, pulled the rug out from under them as running their state and federally funded organizations according to Biblical principles. Again, I ask what is the responsibility of the church? What does Jesus say?

And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.”- Matthew 18:5

     Receive. Accept. Welcome one little child for His sake.

“There are a lot of intractable problems in the United States, but the problem of children in need is curable. We can all do something about it today, individually through the smallest acts….if every church in the United states would see to it that just one child is adopted, the problem of homeless children in this country would disappear.”- Leigh Anne and Sean Tuouhy

     Don’t give up hope. As we look around the nation, we can see the pin pricks of light of those who are making a difference, those who fly under the radar, those secret agents, ambassadors of Christ, who despite the current social and circumstantial events do the work of the Church. Next week, I’ll be sharing about some of these stories. Individuals are making a difference in individual lives.  Isn’t that amazing?  God works through weak human flesh to accomplish His work, first that all should be saved and whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.(Matthew 26:45)  If you are not sure what you should/could do, pray.  God in His infinite wisdom will show you.  He gives wisdom to those who ask liberally and ungrudgingly.(James 1:5)  Join me next weeks for stories of saints who are doing the work of the Church!

Government Shutdown and the Church

With the government shutdown hanging like a tumultuous black cloud over the United States, bickering over who should back down, concede, give in, and headlines scream SENATE DEMS GO OLD TESTAMENT: AN EYE FOR AN EYE.  The government shutdown’s tentacles are far reaching, affecting every walk of life- weather research, National and State parks, the military, the FBI, NASA, research projects, etc.  The list itself is exhausting to read.

The overwhelming effect on my church family has made me stop and think, Hey, why is the government ‘in charge’ so to speak, of so many realms where private industry, family government or Christian charity should reign?  Why do we rely so heavily on the government? And, most importantly, where is the CHURCH in all of this?  What is the responsibility of the church? What is the responsibility of the government?

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”- The Preamble to the Constitution

Where is the perfect union?  The blessings of liberty?  Posterity? What are teaching or handing off to future generations? The idea that the government owes them but God is not able to care for them- He has been excused from the establishment of said pursuits?

The church and state debate has been fresh in the media too as the Supreme Court takes up the issue of government-sanctioned prayer.  The left cries ‘separation’ and that prayer in government meetings defies the first amendment while conservative wall-builders remind that the first amendment protects religious freedom, not bans it. let’s time travel for a moment to witness the birth of government-sanctioned prayer.

“On the brink of rupture, Franklin called the Constitutional Convention to prayer.-

I have lived Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: God governs in the affairs of man.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is  it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (Psalm 127:1) I firmly believe this, and I also believe this and I also believe without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.  We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.

I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning…. and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.””- America’s Providential History

Benjamin Franklin called for prayers ‘imploring the assistance of Heaven’ every morning.  This is the first thing we Christians should do.  Pray.  Don’t believe the revisionist Constitutionalists. Is someone suffering from the government shutdown? Pray.  Is your church family at a loss? Pray. Is someone you know furloughed?  Are you rethinking the direction of our country and the nation?  Pray.  Are you (like me) astounded at how far reaching the octopus of the government is?  Pray?  Are you concerned that the church is not doing the job she has been given and instead of ‘the company of believers being of one heart and soul’ and ‘nor was their a destitute or needy person among them’ (Acts 4: 32 &34) the body of believers is sending their own to nurse at the breast of the government?  Pray.

*This is the first in a series of my ramblings on the Church’s responsibility, more to come.