Welcome to the Torch Leadership Foundation’s Cross in Culture Podcast where we consider different perspectives on what is happening in our culture and apply a biblical worldview. I am your host, Daniel Whyte III. This is episode #22.
This episode is titled, The London Bridge Massacre, Trump’s Vision for American Security, and Where the Church Should Stand
During his campaign, two of President Trump’s biggest promises were building a wall along the southern border with Mexico and cracking down on immigration to this country, particularly from Middle Eastern countries. Within his first two months in office, he has moved to keep both of those promises. His administration has opened bidding on the border wall for construction companies. And he has signed two executive orders halting the entrance of refugees for 120 days and banning immigration from six Middle Eastern countries for three months. The first executive order was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court, prompting the issuance of the second order which has also been temporarily stopped by a judge in Hawaii. The president has said he will appeal the decision on the travel ban to the Supreme Court if necessary.
While many people support the ban as the legitimate use of a president’s power to protect the country’s borders, many oppose the ban as un-American and discriminatory. The church has also been divided over the issue. Some Christian leaders have spoken out against the ban out of concern for refugees who are fleeing war, persecution, and unrest in their country. Others have defended the ban out of concern that Muslim terrorists would otherwise be allowed to enter the country at will. Obviously, this is an issue that is hard to reconcile from any angle. But there is room to support the president’s authority to protect the country while also remaining true to the Christlike work of caring for refugees and the poor who enter our country.
The way to reconcile these two objectives is to simply understand the division of power that exists between the church and the government, both of which are God-ordained institutions.
Based on Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, we know that the job of the government is to protect citizens from evildoers. The terror attack in London this week reminds us of this critical need. Unfortunately, we live in a world where evildoers who live in one country plot to do violence in another country, and it is the government’s job to stop them. In our country, the Constitution and Congress give the president broad authority in the defense of our borders. According to the 1951 “Inadmissible Aliens” law, “Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” Christians, no matter our concerns or misgivings regarding President Trump’s intentions, must respect that authority.
On the other hand, the Church has its own responsibility to care for immigrants, refugees, the poor, and the persecuted in Jesus’ name. It is not the Church’s responsibility to try to dictate immigration and border control policy to the president. We ought to let him do his job as we do ours. There are plenty of people who could use the Church’s help already within our borders. And there is nothing preventing Christians in this country from traveling abroad to help those in need. And there’s certainly nothing stopping Christians from supporting organizations that are already in place around the world such as Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, and Compassion International. Yes, your money matters.
Does this mean that individual Christians cannot speak out to their government representatives on these matters? No, it does not. Even as Christians, we are citizens of this nation, and we ought to seek to influence government according to what the Bible and the Holy Spirit tells us is right. But we ought not to make the mistake of being so dogmatic on these issues that we foment division in the Church by claiming that God or Jesus would support one position over the other. God’s government has its job to do and God’s church has it’s job to do. In the words of Super Bowl winning New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, “Do your job.”
In closing, let me leave you with a Scripture and a quote to think about.
Romans 13:1-5 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”
Dr. Michael Oh, Global Executive Director and CEO of the Lausanne [LOH-ZAHN] Movement, said, “Civil governments act as God’s agents of justice. Ultimate justice and vengeance belong to God alone, yet governments ‘bear the sword’ and carry out earthly justice against wrong. The largest-scale expression of the power of the sword is in the waging of war. The clearest Biblical justification for war is in defense of the citizenry from ‘those who do evil.’ Governments are also to act on behalf of the good of all people. It is right, therefore, for Christians to seek to influence governments to protect society’s weakest members, including the poor, foreigners, and the helpless.“
In light of what we have discussed today, I want to remind you that in our ever-changing world, there is one Person who never changes. That person is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is not subject to the whims of society or popular opinion. He has an unchanging, eternal love for you. If you do not know Him as your Savior, I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thank you for listening to this Torch Leadership Cross in Culture Podcast.
Visit us online at www.torchleadershipfoundation.com
Until we meet again, remember to keep Christ first in our ever-changing culture.