Yesterday, I mentioned that in church, I had a short discussion with a brother concerning his view that our citizens need to rise up "to take back our country." Many times over the forty years I have been a Christian, I have had mixed emotions about whether or not a Christian should participate in an armed revolt. My having spent twenty years in our military serving to protect this nation should be ample proof that I am not a pacifist, but there is a huge difference between fighting to protect what exists, and fighting to change it; one is loyalty, and the other is treason.
Through the years, some have asked me how I justified being in the military. My answer to them is based upon the verse that says, "...if any provide not for his own...he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8). A man's responsibility to his family includes their protection "from enemies foreign and domestic." When he asked me if I would defend myself, I told him I didn't believe a Christian should, but that we should "turn the other cheek" (Matt. 5:39). He made a valid point when he said, "If you do not protect yourself and you are killed, then who will protect your family?" To me, that seemed reasonable.
One of the comments he made had to do with the fact that America was founded by our revolution against British rule. He was suggesting that if it had not been for our founding fathers rising up in armed conflict, we would not exist as a free nation today. I cannot say how our history would have played out, but I know that there are several examples of independent nations today that peaceably gained their freedom from the British Empire: Canada, Australia, South Africa, and India, to name a few. Who knows whether or not God would have done the same for us?
He asked me if I would have fought for America's freedom. I told him that if I were a born-again, Bible-believing Christian back then, I would not have participated. He looked shocked. He asked me why. I told him that as a Christian, my allegiance was to the Lord, Who told His children to submit to the government (Matt. 22:17-21; Rom. 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). I do not know of any situation in which I would find it necessary to take up arms against my country. Jesus lived under the rule of Rome, and He did not advocate revolt. Gandhi lived under the British and he chose to "fight" for his nation's independence by means of a hunger strike. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood against racial segregation by peaceful marches. All of the Apostles were persecuted and except for John, all suffered a martyr's death under governmental authority. We cannot control what our government does, but in America we have a voice, and we have a vote. When politicians want to be re-elected, they listen. Christians need to let their voices be heard!