The early Christian church had a period of 38 years of peace during which the Christians were softened by “good times.” Then Roman Emperor Decius issued an edict commanding everyone to sacrifice to their pagan gods within a specified period of time. Each citizen was required to offer sacrifice or burn incense and be issued a “certificate of compliance” by local magistrates. (Bureaucrats and politicians never change!) Some soft Christians complied with the order (after all, it “was” federal law) and “it really didn’t mean anything of substance” (except obedience to the Scriptures).
A second group of Christians refused to burn incense, but they bribed officials to procure the necessary certificates! What a warped sense of values: “No, I won’t bow to Caesar, but I’ll bribe his officials to say I bowed to him.” I suppose they were among the modern Evangelicals and Fundamentalists who believe that “preaching the Bible is the most important thing in the world.” No, “preaching the Bible” is not the most important thing; obeying it is! You can preach the Bible without obeying it, but you can’t obey it without preaching it. If obeying the Bible is not top priority, then any compromise can be justified. However, that second group did manage to keep breathing between seizures of guilt.
A third group of Christian simply refused to obey Caesar and surrender the lordship of Christ. They didn’t bow, they didn’t bribe, and they didn’t breathe–for very long. They quietly went to their deaths and the churches grew stronger.
That was another day, another issue, but the tyrants living then were similar to those living and “reigning” today in the U.S. White House. Tyrants don’t like principled people refusing to bow to their commands. The major issue with tyrants is control–total control. A similar issue is gathering steam as I write: ObamaCare includes forcing Christian churches, schools, hospitals, and businesses to provide abortion coverage in health insurance.
Recently, Hobby Lobby lost their case for an exception to the federal edict because it was a business, not a religious organization. But then, the First Amendment does not refer to “church” or “school” but to “religion.” That can mean organizations or individuals. The family that owns Hobby Lobby is highly dedicated and will face fines of over one million dollars per day if they refuse to burn incense to “little Caesar” and disobey their Bible convictions.
ObamaCare demands that any business or philanthropic organization (including churches and Christian schools) with fifty or more employees must cover contraception and abortions in their health plans or be fined into submission by the White House Caesar. It’s interesting and noteworthy that he would not have been elected had it not been for “Christians”!
Some Catholic bishops have gone on record stating their non-compliance, “We will not obey that law.” Non-thinkers, even some church members, retort that those religious leaders must think they are above the law and expect special privileges. The fact is they are above that law since it is obviously contrary to the First Amendment. Those Catholic bishops are to be commended for their courage, commitment, and convictions.
Some non-Catholic universities have made the same commitment, but only a few. Where do many other famous schools and denominations stand? Many of them are good at talking, some at balking, and only a few at walking. Even Fundamentalist schools that have walked the walked are strangely silent. They have been willing, more than willing, to lecture others on “taking a stand” and “paying any price,” and always “doing right, whatever the cost.” Where are they on this issue? Will they “come out from among them” and close their ministries rather than comply?
Major American Evangelical and Fundamentalist universities and seminaries are silent. Are they willing to defy, disregard, and disobey the feds in order to stay true to their convictions? Of course, if they have real convictions, they have no choice but to obey God rather than man–even the man in the White House. But are those institutions willing to lose everything by standing for biblical commands? We will probably see some incredible mental gymnastics from Christian leaders and some will even twist Bible teaching like a pretzel to justify obeying Obama.
In addition to Catholic churches and schools, Louisiana College (Southern Baptist) in Pineville, Louisiana, Geneva College, Wheaton, and a few others are challenging the law. Question: will they refuse to obey “Caesar” to the very end or will they “make an accommodation”? Another question: what will Evangelical and Fundamentalist schools do? My opinion? Most will cave like a house of cards.
Christians were told by Caesar: “You can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ if you also say that ‘Caesar gives you permission to say Jesus is Lord.” They replied that Caesar owed every breath to Christ and bravely went to their deaths. Christians today have to decide in every area of life if Jesus Christ is truly Lord. The cost of accepting Christ as Lord is higher and higher each year.
We will see if the Roman Catholics show more courage, character, commitment, and convictions than some Fundamentalists and Evangelicals!