To my Fellow Clergymen:
We live in a very strange and divisive time. No matter the time, as believers in Christ we must respond to the culture of our day with both truth and love (Ephesians 4:15). As we attempt to live up to that Biblical mandate, we must recognize that there are two very powerful voices arising in America in response to the various unlawful acts that have been committed against the American people by their government in the midst of the pandemic (sic). In the first case, one group desires to appease the current culture. This group believes that by going-along-to- get-along, peace can be found. However, by not standing for individual liberty, this group essentially allows themselves (and their posterity) to become enslaved to a system of power mongers who rule by fiat. On the other hand, another group of people wants to take justice into their own hands by picking up firearms and waging a revolution that they believe will restore our Constitutional Republic to what our founding fathers intended it to be.
Many Americans are increasingly expressing their desire to bring to justice those in power who are responsible for the great overreach of their authority. These two aforementioned positions (indifference and violence) are both morally and theologically unacceptable for Christians; especially when there is still another lawful and Biblical course of action we can take.
As ministers of the gospel, we are called to be “Peacemakers.” Now more than ever, our nation is in dire need of peacemakers. Still, our actions need to be conducted according to a standard of “righteousness and justice” (Psalm 89:14). The clergy can no longer sit idly by while many are calling for secession, revolution and civil war, without first letting the spiritual voices of wisdom and sanity to be heard throughout the nation (Romans 10:18). Therefore, before we can seek a solution, we must first understand the purpose of a solution. Ultimately, the solution we seek is in response to the injustices we now face.
The express purpose of the US Constitution was to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility. The two terms “Justice” and “Tranquility” did not just happen to follow one another in the text. The founders understood that you could not have one without the other. They knew from all of their experiences that denying “justice” destroys “domestic tranquility.” The antonyms of Tranquility are “agitation, disturbance and violence.” When justice is denied to any people group, it ALWAYS results in chaos. As Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) recognized, “justice too long delayed is justice denied,”and America is currently experiencing justice denied. We are presently like a people inside of a pressure cooker. The righteous indignation that is growing among many Americans is the result of this injustice. As clergy members, we continue to ignore these warning signs at our own peril. Any true historian will tell you that it was government injustices that led to the American Revolution, the American Civil War and the Civil Right Movement of the 1960’s.
Those with historical and prophetic insight have been warning that a revolution is coming. What type of revolution it will be is up to us. Robert F. Kennedy warned us that “A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability”
Yet, our Lord grows wary of the isolationist and pacifistic positions of many pastors. The familiar excuse that “Jesus never got involved in the political affairs of the nation” is indefensible. Jesus also never left the nation of Israel to promote the gospel. Are we going to denounce all missionary efforts for the same reason? The function of any chief executive (King) is to establish the vision for his servants to carry out. Jesus also spent very little time within the four walls of their religious institutions, but did spend most of His time being the “salt and the light” in the community. He continued seeking and saving the lost and creating disciples. Is not the chief command of Christ’s follower to “Go” and “make disciples?”
How many modern-day pastors leave the four walls of the church or empower the members of their congregation to fulfill this mandate? As a result, many pastors in America are relegated to mere administers of million-dollar bushels that hide and obscure the light from the community. Is that how we show the world that we are salt and light?
Pontius Pilate had a responsibility to ensure that Christ was receiving justice against the false allegations levied against him. Pilate actually wanted to have nothing to do with sentencing an innocent man to die (Matthew 27:19). Washing his hands and declaring his innocence did not absolve him of the fact that he allowed the sentencing of an innocent man to die (Matthew 27:24). Do we think that we can absolve ourselves of our responsibility as our nation falls into darkness? Let us not be deceived!
In the meantime, many of these same pulpits see teachers twist and distort the Biblical requirements for lawful government that is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. These clergy members are mistaken if they teach that scripture passages such as Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 instruct followers of Christ to forge their own chains by bowing down to the illegal and unconstitutional mandates of unethical “leaders” and “rulers.” “We have been bought with a price” and are forbidden from making ourselves the slaves of men (1 Corinthians 7:23).
In America, the transfer of sovereign governmental authority was taken from the “king” and given to “We the people” through the American Revolution; this process was then finalized when the last state ratified the US Constitution. Therefore, the scripture passages concerning submission to civil government that some like to quote do not have the same application as when they were written 2000 years ago. In America, we DO NOT have “leaders” or “rulers,” WE HAVE REPRESENTITIVES AND CIVIL SERVANTS — and they serve at the “consent of the governed.”
What is the function of a servant? It’s to serve their masters, of course. Who are the masters of the American Republic? WE THE PEOPLE! As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently put it: “The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts, not to over-throw the Constitution, but to over-throw the men who pervert that Constitution…” Being elected to a government position in the American system of government IS NOT a promotion to unchecked and unchallenged tyrannical power – it is an act of service. As Benjamin Franklin reminds us: “In free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” This is an important principle that many of our government officials do not understand, nor do they want to in some cases (Matthew 20: 25-27).
Far too often, government figures today are looked upon as celebrities. They are given Hollywood-like status as if they are above the people of the nation. They are not and should never be treated as such.
According to the Declaration of Independence (the American Statement of Faith) we are taught “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these [God-given] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” So, then, the primary function of any government official is to protect our God-given rights.
Therefore, any and all power that an elected American government official has comes from the “Consent of the governed.” The American people have no need to ask their “servants” for permission to exercise rights that have already been endowed by their creator.” We do not have to beg our public servants to exercise a right that has been endowed to us by heaven and protected by the US Constitution. Rather, the people are to demand that these public servants fulfill their oath to defend said rights.
Any true shepherd, who wants to faithfully preach the word of God and the righteous mandates towards their government officials, needs to explain that to “obey our rulers” means we must obey God and His law first and foremost. Furthermore, our “rulers” in our system of government are not the same kind of “rulers” in Biblical times. In the American system of government, supreme authority is lodged in the hands of both Almighty God and the US Constitution. A failure of the clergy to explain our system of government to the church, leads our nation down a road in toward civil unrest. The clergy, who should be the foremost authorities on Law and Government, often find themselves ignorant of God’s commands on the subject. The American clergy needs to recapture the understanding that God and his Moral Law are the foremost authority of the restrictions of human civil government.
America’s founders all agreed that government was a “necessary evil.” So, when forming the American system of government, the challenge was how to create a government that would grant them enough power to restrain lawless people, while simultaneously restricting the amount of power that they are given so that they do not have the power to enslave their own people (See Federalist No. 51). Since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, how do you restrain this necessary evil once it is created? That is the dilemma.
Throughout history, man has sought the perfect remedy for restraining their government officials from wielding unrestrained and arbitrary power over the citizenry. This has taken the form of laws and what would later become known as constitutions.
The need for a method of restraint for government officials can be traced back thousands of years. In Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar wielded absolute power. He was king, lawgiver and judge. He passed a law demanding his people worship the statue of a false god. When three Jewish men who worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship a statue, the king sent for them to be arrested. They were soon tried, found guilty and thrown into a fiery furnace. Other than An Appeal to Heaven, Nebuchadnezzar’s power was unchecked by mortal men.
However, by the time King Darius began to reign over Babylon, there were provisions in their laws that restricted this type of unchecked and arbitrary power. When the king issued the decree and put it in writing, it could not be altered, repealed or rescinded in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians. Once the king signed a decree, he was powerless to alter or retract the law (Daniel 6:8). Thus, by reading the scriptures, we begin to see the purpose for government restraint; government is made of sinful people.
During the reign of the Roman Caesars, there were laws in place that restricted the actions of otherwise unchecked government officials. The Apostle Paul routinely called upon his “civil rights” as a Roman citizen, to stop government officials from abusing their power (Acts 22:22-30). Today, many faithful shepherds who are protecting their flock for simply exercising their God-given and constitutionally protected rights, are being criticized by the hirelings who are siding with the oppressors rather than the oppressed. They have forgotten or failed to keep the command to: “Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).
To better understand this Biblical mandate, we must first understand the
3-tiered system of governmental authority. They are, in descending levels of authority, Divine Law, Constitutional Law and Statuary law.
1. Divine Law – Divine Law is the supreme law of the world. It is superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over the entire globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to these God-given laws. “Divine” carries the idea that there is a moral authority higher than even earthly governments and the laws and rulings of government officials. The idea that Divine law is the source and basis for all laws was also expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence when he used the phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Alexander Hamilton, quoting William Blackstone in The Farmer Refuted, explains what these terms mean: “This is what is called the law of nature, “which, being… dictated by God himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over the entire globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid, derive all their authority, mediately, or immediately, from this original.” Romans 13:1-4 teaches us that all authority comes from God and that being the case, man, government official or not, has no authority to override divine law.
2. Constitutional Law – Constitutional Law is second in authority only to Divine Law. While Statuary Law places restriction upon the citizenry, Constitutional Laws are enacted by “We the People” in order to place restrictions on the government (i.e., government officials) from exercising or wielding absolute and/or arbitrary power that would otherwise go unchecked. The American Bill of Rights is essentially the “Thou Shall not…” to our government officials.
3. Statuary Law – Statutory Law is the term used to define written laws that have been enacted by some legislative body. It is third in authority behind Divine Law and Constitutional Law. Any Statuary Law that has been enacted by man that is contrary to or antagonistic to either Divine Law or Constitutional Law is null and void as the signatories had no legal authority to enact the Statuary Law in the first place. And since the so-called law is “null and void” from the outset, the people are under no legal or moral authority to obey the unjust law. On the contrary, they are actually duty bound to resist the unjust law as it carries no legal authority.
The historical challenge for the citizens of all nations has been what recourse do you have when your government officials, drunk with power, enact Statuary Laws that violate both Divine Law and Constitutional Law? We can always use the “Redress of Grievance” clause of the 1st Amendment; unfortunately, history shows that tyrants, thinking of themselves to be almost gods, ignore the Grievances and leave the people with no recourse but civil disobedience.
The American people have been subject to many violations of both Divine and Constitutional law by their elected representatives. This lines up with what has been seen through history. Government power brokers have used one crisis after another (and the fear that it creates) in order to grant themselves greater control of the people. Those in power seem to take advantage of a situation by “not letting a good crisis go to waste,” thus, exploiting the crisis to increase their power. However, our elected servants have no authority to suspend constitutionally protected rights even during a crisis.
In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers listed a series of crimes that their government leaders were guilty of committing. Likewise, the history of tyrannical governors is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. To prove this, let the facts be submitted to a candid world by looking at the scriptures:
Almighty God has commanded mankind “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” (Exodus 34:21). Thus, our fellow citizens, who are our government servants, have NO AUTHORITY to order those in the private sector to close their place of business, rendering them incapable of taking care of their families. Even a few thousand dollars in stimulus checks is still not enough money to pay the bills in many cases. Yet some leaders have declared illegal mandates and threatened severe repercussions for defiance to their stay-at-home orders, while all along they continued to receive paychecks for themselves. This is hardly fair. Americas founders understood that “Disobedience to tyrants is obedience to God.” Many speaking from the pulpits of America today have instructed their congregations to “Obey man rather than the commandments of God.”
The Supreme Court acting beyond its constitutional authority has made laws which either directly prohibit or indirectly inhibit the free exercise of the Christian religion, and instead promoted an agenda antagonistic to the original intent of the First Amendment, falsifying the meaning of said Amendment, and falsely built an argument for separation of church and state, which separation was never found in the Constitution and cannot be proven by history.
The Supreme Court has barred the posting of the Ten Commandments on public property and in government while the Supreme Court chamber in which oral arguments are heard is decorated with a notable and permanent – not seasonal – symbol of religion: Moses with the Ten Commandments.
The Supreme Court has destroyed the original intent of the First Amendment by banning religious speech, prayer, and voluntary reading from the Bible from our public schools – schools which are supported by tax dollars from those who believe in the Christian God and His Word as the highest ultimate authority in the universe.
Governors and their surrogates have denied the American people their constitutionally protected First Amendment rights of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Assembly by banning church services. Scripture commands that “not to forsake the gathering of yourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25). Some Governors have forbidden churches, congregations and even Bible study groups from coming together, all the while forcing people to “forsake the gathering of yourselves together.” Again, many in the pulpit have instructed their congregations to “Obey man rather than the commandments of God.”
Governors and their surrogates have violated their oath of office by depriving the citizens of their state “the equal protection under the law” guaranteed us in the 14th Amendment. Government arbitrarily and unilaterally declaring citizen businesses “essential” and non-essential” is a violation of the 14th Amendment. Imagine the outcry if the declaration were that white businesses were “essential” and black business were “non-essential.”
Today, we are faced with a struggle that is not between black and white. This pandemic and its government overreach, has been used to divide us as Americans. The struggle is obviously between those Americans who refuse to be enslaved by corrupt government officials and the corrupt corporate and special interest groups that control them. Ask yourself why only the big corporate stores were allowed to remain open while “it was too dangerous” for churches and small businesses to stay open. These businesses were owned and operated by all people of all races and were forced to close. The discrimination, therefore, was not racially based. It was economically based discrimination by the power elite.
Government officials and their corporate power brokers have denied the American people access to goods and services by use of these illegal government mandates. The same type of corrupt practices was once used by government to deny black Americans access to goods and services based upon racial discrimination. Yet, we are now being denied goods and services for not wearing scientifically unproven face masks.
This means that Governors and their surrogates have violated their oath of office by depriving “We the people” of their 5th Amendment protected right. “No person shall… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. The America people have not been “quarantined” but rather placed under a form of house arrest. Depriving a citizen of their Liberty without the due process of law is a criminal offense.
Every offence listed above is a violation by a government official of both of constitutional and statutory law. According to the US Justice Department under Title 18 U.S.C. Section 242:
“Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
“Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties… The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
The American people must understand that some Governors are law breakers. Placing COVID-19 infected elderly people in nursing homes, causing the spread of the virus to others who then die as a result, is nothing short of criminal. These leaders are in violation of Divine Law, Constitutional Law and Statuary law. The American people have every right to demand that these injustices cease and those responsible be brought to justice.
The Christian church has a long heritage of rebuking the oppressors and defending the oppressed. “Time would fail me” (Hebrews 11:32) to cite all of the men and women of faith who had the courage to stand toe-to-toe with government tyrants. Every story that we tell our children in Sunday school class (the Hebrew midwives, Moses, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel and the apostles), is the testimony of courageous saints defying the unlawful mandates of tyrants. If you have never read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” now would be a good time because we are engaged in the same reoccurring type of struggle. This letter was written to the other Clergy who were publicly criticizing MLK’s efforts. This resulted in about 60 black ministers and other Christian leaders attending Ebenezer Church in Atlanta; where they formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This group of clergymen advocated peaceful civil disobedience to all unlawful laws. The letter engaged the clergy:
“So often [the church] is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust. Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?”
Therefore, as American Christian leaders we have to draw TWO LINES in the sand from which we refuse to budge. They are God’s law and Constitutional law. When we allow these lines to be encroached upon, we are setting up our children and grandchildren to be incrementally enslaved. We place our children on a slippery slope toward Christian persecution.
As a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, I took an oath to Almighty God to “Support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” Whether a veteran or a public office holder who has taken the same oath, the government may release a person from the oath at the end of their obligation period. As a theologian, I can assure you that Almighty God DOES NOT releases us (see Ecclesiastes 5:4).
Secondly, I refuse to resort to any type of unlawful violence. You can see the damage that the “capitol riots” (sic) did to our movement. Even though there is evidence that it was not actual patriots who were responsible for the violence, but radicals on the political left and right. It has caused the Christian patriots to “stand down” at a time when we need to peacefully and lawfully be “standing up” and defending our Constitutional Republic. Biblical and world history teaches us that there is still a third option that does not have to resort in either slavery or bloodshed. We need a peaceful Christian civil rights movement, much like the one led by Martin Luther King, Jr, along with the Appeal to Heaven Flag that symbolizes the movement now more than ever.
Our omnipotent Lord knew beforehand where we would be as a nation today, “for such a time as this.” Through the mouths and writings of many prophetic voices, He revived that age old “Appeal to Heaven” flag in order to point us to the solution. That solution can be found in my book An Appeal to Heaven: A Cry of Divine Justice. Even though the solution that we have been seeking has been used over and over again throughout Biblical and world history, honest and sincere people, just keep trying to “reinvent the wheel” rather than relying on both the wisdom of God and the cloud of witnesses that have come before us.
After the people are made to understand the divine strategy that has been successfully used for thousands of years, the next thing that people need to be made aware of is that this is not a struggle for the fearful or the faint of heart. This movement will have to be composed of individuals who have the faith and courage to follow this through to the end regardless of the threats and consequences. Before we bring people into a leadership position, these individuals have to be told to “count the cost;” Luke 14:25-34.
MLK asked his followers in the training sessions: “Are you willing to have batons, police dogs and firehoses turned on you and not retaliate with violence?” He did not sit by and allow his people to be enslaved by unjust laws, but also did not go to the extreme of advocating violence to counter the lawlessness like the Black Panthers were once proposing. Watch the YouTube video titled: Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Debate and ask yourself if we needmore people likeMLK or Malcolm X leading our nation.
Anyone who finds themselves engaged in the fight against government enslavement must count the cost. Those who are not willing to be spoken ill of, to lose friends, jobs, business clients or even be jailed or martyred, will not have the faith and the courage to LEAD this movement. You people have to know that the forces of hell are not easily conquered. Those who try will quickly find that Hell’s children will rise against you (Matthew 5:10-16). This is just evidence that you are being used by God as the salt of the earth.
We are presently re-living the historical cycle of 1776. ONLY a “Give me liberty or give me death” level of commitment will be able to overcome this level of government and corporate tyranny. As Thomas Paine declared in his revolutionary War writings titled The Crisis:
“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
The founding fathers mutually pledged to each other their “Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” This was not hyperbole; this was a literal pledge of everything they had. Anyone who does know what it cost the Signers of the Declaration of Independence needs to watch Paul Harvey’s YouTube video titled: “The Declaration of Independence! Our Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honor! Anyone who does not know what it cost the founding fathers of the Christian faith needs to read Hebrews chapter 11. Unfortunately, if the “pandemic” (sic) revealed anything, it is that many of our clergy do not possess this level of faith.
In closing, allow me to remind my fellow clergymen of theological truth. What we are facing today is not as much about Right vs. Left or Democrat vs. Republican matter, but right vs. wrong as God’s word defines it. America is being polarized into two groups: those who are walking in the truth vs. those who are walking in darkness; those who believe lies and those who believe truth.
This polarization should not be surprising because light cannot (and should not) have any fellowship with darkness. (Ephesians 5:11). We are told that at the “End of the Age,” truth would go forth as a sword. The purpose of the sword is to divide or separate. [1 Kings 3:16-28 Hebrews 4:12]. When Christ returns, the entire world will be found polarized into two groups: The Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30). Those who will hear: “Well done good and faithful servant” and those who will hear “Depart from me wicked and lazy servant” (Matthew 25).
The question that has yet to be answered is in which group will you be found as an individual? Which group will America be found in as a nation? The American nation WILL be found as either a “sheep nation” or a “goat nation.” We will either be found following the shepherd (Christ) or we will be found as stubborn and rebellious goats. The church is the only institution on Earth that has the power and authority to ensure that we are found as a sheep nation (Matthew 25:31-46). This will not occur if we stay within the four walls of our church and continue to allow our nation to be engulfed by darkness.
As I have said for years, using the lawful process that we have before us as Americans, combined with peaceful civil disobedience to unjust laws, we can restore our Republic. The time for inaction is over. We must adopt the attitude of William Jennings Bryan, who once said:
“We do not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest; we are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked… We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them!”
Dr. John Diamond
Director – Peacemakers Outreach