Local Churches as Centers of Resistance by Michael L. Brown
It is true that our elected officials help determine the direction of the nation. That is why we emphasize the importance of voting and staying involved in the political process. But it is also true that God’s people, gathered together in local congregations, can have an even greater influence on the direction of the nation, especially when we make up a substantial part of the population. As Jesus put it, we, His followers, are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
But what, exactly, does this look like? How do we fulfill these sacred and sobering roles?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
Again I ask: What, exactly, does this look like? How do we make a transformative impact on our society? How do we resist the destructive trends that threaten to destroy our nation? How do we push back against real forces of wickedness?
It is certainly not by taking over our neighborhoods through intimidation and fear, forcing non-believers to live by our moral codes.
It is even more certainly not a call to take up arms and literally go to war with our ideological opponents (although it is perfectly appropriate for Christians to serve in their military to fight in what theologians have dubbed “just wars”).
This past Saturday, at a “Jericho March” rally in Washington, DC where Christians gathered to pray against election fraud, one of the speakers said, “President Trump has been betrayed at every step of the way … he needs to invoke the Insurrection Act and suppress this insurrection.”
He continued, “You can be called up as the militia to support & defend the Constitution… if he does not do it now while he’s commander in chief, we’re gonna have to do it ourselves later in a much more desperate, much more bloody war. Let’s get it on now while he’s still commander in chief.”
This is most certainly not how local churches are to function as centers of resistance. (For the record, we are not yet in a situation that parallels our situation during the Revolutionary War when we went to battle against British tyranny.)
Interestingly, it appears that some of the speakers invited to the Jericho March had no idea it would go in the direction that it did (including a visit from Alex Jones). And the last speaker of the day, Jonathan Cahn, declined an invitation to be there in person precisely because he was concerned about the political overtones of this prayer event.