Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Christianity [The Kingdom of God] is not to be equated with any particular nation or any national political philosophy IMHO.

This doesn't mean that as a nation we can't see God's grace and blessing on us and thank Him for that since He causes [grace] the rain and sun [blessings] to fall on the just and the unjust. [Matthew 5:45] But since the nation of Israel in the Old Testament fulfilled her purpose by bringing the Messiah into this world, there has ONLY been one holy nation and that is the one spoken of by Peter when referring to the Church, also called the Bride of Christ. [1 Peter 2:9

I also do not believe any political system on this earth can correctly be connected with Christianity as it's source. For instance, neither socialism nor capitalism is Christian at it's root. There may be some over-lapping in those two political views and Christianity, but each is distinct and an overlap is not representative of the whole area of concern.

Think three circles drawn with a slight overlap of the three. [I read this somewhere and my math major wife tells me it's called a Vinn diagram.] There's a lot more area NOT shared than IS shared.  Let me illustrate using Socialism and Capitalism, [Think any other political system as well.] compared to Christianity........ 

1__Personal profit is the goal of Capitalism, but it is NOT the goal of Christianity.
2__The redistribution of personal assets according to need is the goal of socialism, but it is NOT the goal of Christianity. 
3__Conversion to a belief in Christ Jesus as Lord and becoming a citizen of His Kingdom, is the goal of Christianity. But it is NOT the goal of Socialism or Capitalism.

As I said, there will a bit of over-lapping of course. Christianity DOES have some redistribution responsibilities, for example, when widows [Acts 6] and others are in need. [The Jerusalem church under persecution.] And Christians ARE FREE to make a profit as seen in Paul's tent-making. [Acts 18-21]

But the showing of grace and mercy seen in the message of Christ dying for us, which is called the gospel, IS NOT the message of Socialism or Capitalism or Americanism for that matter. But it IS the message of Christian. Then the bible becomes our moral compass as Christians. [And it correctly deals with the nature and character of fallen man I might add.] 

As you can see,  just because there is a slight overlapping does not mean they represent the same thing at all. To say it clearly, we recognize that being a Muslim means you can't be a bible kind of Christian. Neither can you be a bible kind of Christian if seeking personal profit is your ultimate or primary goal. [Capitalism] Nor can you be a bible kind of Christian if redistribution of wealth and personal assets is your ultimate or primary goal. [Socialism] Mixing either one of these with the Christian message is dangerous.

There is a point made in  Deuteronomy 22:9 that is interesting to me. It says, "You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, for all of the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled."

That verse offers a principle [Much like don't muzzle the ox that treads the corn] which may have some bearing on our message as Christians today. The two seeds idea can be seen in illustrative form in the two different sources for Christianity and Americanism this way......

The Bible is the source book of guidance for the Kingdom of God living. It's citizens [Christians] are under it's Ruler King Jesus. This guiding source book [The Bible] is seen by followers of Christ as both God-breathed and infallible.

The Constitution is the source document for guidance for the American Republic living.  It's citizens [And all religions therein] are under that documents as a Rule of Law and this guiding source document  [the Constitution] is simply man-breathed and is fallible.

When Christians address, in message form, what they think the government should do on some political issue using the Bible instead of the Constitution as a political tool, things can get dicey. [For Muslims to use Sharia law produces the same diceyness.] It is the mixing of the seed of the two messages that must be guarded against because it's destructive.

Let me hasten to say three things here however....[This is rather lengthy but very important.]

One__ Any Christian can speak about any issue using the bible as their source of guidance. But when they do it, they are speaking AS A CHRISTIAN, having a higher allegiance to the bible than our allegiance to the Constitution or any other man-made document. This is important on behavioral issues based on moral conscience. 

Two__Any American can speak about any issue using the Constitution as their source of guidance, but when they do it, they are speaking as an American citizen, regardless of their religious association, and are bringing the AMERICAN MESSAGE of Federal Law to bear on America's political and social relationships. So they are addressing ONLY things legal, with national, personal and relational behavior and actions in mind.

Three__When a nation makes a moral issue, a political and even a legal one, as in say abortion, a Christian MUST speak to that issue. But will, of necessity, be speaking both morally and politically when they do speak. So it's legitimate, it seems to me, for Christians TO USE BOTH MESSAGES.  The one being the Christian message, [Bible] because the American society is trying to make a moral issue a legal one, and the other being the American message of law, [Constitution] since it is now a legal issue that American Christians face. We Christians are forced to think clearly about both. It's tricky, but it can be done. 

This was the very thing Paul the Apostle faced when beaten and wrongfully imprisoned. But he did not use the Bible principle of "preaching the gospel to all nations" [Matt 28:19-20] as the grounds for demanding his freedom to do so when Rome refused to leave him alone. He used Roman law as a Roman citizen. and he was willing to pay the consequences of any law violated if it conflicted with his fulfillment of a conscience or bible issue.

I believe we can speak about abortion on BOTH a moral [Bible] and legal basis. [Constitution] But making the clear distinction is important when carrying on a debate AND knowing the audience helps determine which is used.  What is wonderful is when a Christian is articulate enough and can make arguments from both moral and legal grounds.

Now, were we to find ourselves facing any kind of consequences of our sharing our true message because of a law established forbidding it, [or any moral issue because of a law that our government establishes] we would fight for our free speech rights to continue to do so by challenging the law based on the document that is our source for law as Americans. [The Constitution] Thus, we would be bringing the American message of Constitution law [freedom of speech] to bear on our life at this point.

 If there were to be a law against us sharing the gospel, violating our free speech amendment, and we couldn't get the law changed, as Christians, we would then fulfill our higher allegiance to our Lord and His Word and embrace any legal consequences for doing so. This is in living color what the previously mentioned experience of Paul the Apostle was all about.

It goes without saying that I'm grateful for our Founding Fathers who were also members of the Kingdom of God and under King Jesus as Lord, But I'm also grateful for those of our Founding Fathers who were NOT Christians and YET accepted the reality of a Divine Being as revealed in Natural Law and saw Him as the source of the unalienable rights embedded in the Constitution and the Bill Of Eights that guide us in establishing our rule of law as Americans. I could hope we would never leave or lose that belief.

But never forget that as American citizens we are protected from enforced belief in any deity.  

This is why I personally, when speaking of the gospel of Christ, do not tie it in with Americanism or any government system. But when speaking of government and, say, socialism, which I personally do not hold to politically, or government and capitalism, which I do hold to, I speak as an American citizen.

But when speaking on moral issues that become politicized, and I see my moral guidance coming from the bible, yet am forced to address what is law on that issue, I speak as a Christian who is an American citizen. It helps me keep my seed [message] separate and some corruption in my thinking is avoided.

It may not work for you but it does work for me.[And that good even though I'm not a pragmatist.]

Paul B.


Bob Cleveland said...

Yes. When we're citizens of two "kingdoms", it gets tricky.

I have an acquaintance who is a citizen of the USA and the Bahamas, where he was born. His higher allegiance is to the USA, because that's the latter citizenship and the one he chose.

Same deal with us.

Paul Burleson said...


Knowing how to live in both with grace, courage and wisdom is a tricky thing isn't it!

I've always been captivated by the fact that Paul never insisted the Roman government do things his way and was willing to pay the price when his way was punished.

Thankfully, there are different issues in our government, to be sure, but the same wisdom and courage are needed that Paul had in never mixing the two and never losing his higher allegiance to the Kingdom of God .

Aussie John said...


An intriguing title!

Your words certainly have a clear ring to me, as I've run into many a debate with fundamentalists who want to legislate Christian values/principles/truths.

The import of your words applies to the isms which have been attached to followers of Christ, Arminianism,Calvinism,Wesleyanism,
Pentacostalism,Revivalism, etc., etc., and, I think you will agree, including Protestantism and Catholicism.

Burlesonism! Now there's a good one. Whadeyareckon? :)

Scott Leonard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Leonard said...

Very helpful, Paul! And if I get it right, it is OK if fundamentalists want to legislate their values/principles/truths (so much of our Constitution is, in fact, the legislated morality of our Christian and non-Christian founding fathers!), as long as they say, "These are ideas that will benefit our nation and individuals," and then see if the majority votes those things in. Every law on the books is, theoretically, the moral value (you might even say, "religious view") of some majority.
Does that sound correct?

Scott Leonard said...

OK, so this may or may not be relevant, but right after I posted the above, I continued my reading of Whitefield's bio (the 2-vol Dallimore one), and this happened to be where I was. Does it excite any urge to further instruct on the subject, Paul? I'm not sure what it shows:

"...when the news reached Philadelphia that the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 against the King in England had been put down, Whitefield preached a sermon entitled 'Britain's Mercies and Britain's Duty'. [Benjamin] Franklin [a friend, but not a Christian] reported:
"Last evening the Rev Mr Whitefield preached to a very large auditory (among whom were many of the principal persons of this city) a most excellent sermon on occasion of the late victory over the rebels, in which... He exhorted to repentance and amendment of life in gratitude for that signal deliverance. No discourse of his among us has given more general satisfaction; nor has the preacher ever met with more universal applause; having demonstrated himself to be as sound and zealous a Protestant, and as truly a loyal subject, as he is a grand and masterly orator."

Paul Burleson said...


I'm not sure of any connection between my post and the uprising of "Bonny Charles" and his band of 45 and Franklin or Whitefield.

But I did discover that "preaching" and "taking an offering" have gone together for many years it seems.

1738 British preacher George Whitefield impressed Benjamin Franklin, who writes in his Autobiography...

"I happened soon after to attend one of his Sermons, in the Course of which I perceived he intended to finish with a Collection, & I silently resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my Pocket a Handful of Copper Money, three or four silver Dollars, and five Pistoles in Gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the Coppers. Another Stroke of his Oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to give the Silver; & he finish'd so admirably, that I empty'd my Pocket wholly into the Collector's Dish, Gold and all."

Quite interesting and a little funny. LOL

Paul Burleson said...


On second thought, you may be tying it in with preaching, which Whitefield did so well and England's political life being something about which he spoke.

If so, it was,indeed, a different day then with England having a State Church mentality as did Scotland. That was the basis of our new way of governing in America. There was to be no State Church OR Church State. We're the benefactors of that and must do our part to keep it true.

Rex Ray said...

Great post!
Now that I’ve bragged on you, I get to be picky. :)

You wrote: “He causes [grace] the rain and sun [blessings] …”

The earth would be a ball of ice if not for [grace] the sun.

“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls…” [blessings] (2 Chronicles 7:13 NLT)

My brother and I changed our major from agriculture after our corn crop failed because of no blessing of rain.

You wrote: “Paul the Apostle…wrongfully imprisoned.” You should know that’s like saying ‘Sic-com’ to a dog. :)

“Paul…went to the High Priest in Jerusalem. He requested a letter addressed to synagogues in Damascus, requiring their cooperation in the persecution of any believers…After a while the Jewish leaders determined to kill him.” (Acts 9:1, 2, 23 Living)

Two charges were made against Paul by the High Priest.

1. “We have found him to be a troublemaker, a man who is constantly inciting the Jews…to riots and rebellions against the Roman government.”

2. “He was trying to defile the Temple when we arrested him.” (Acts 24:5-6 Living)

These charges kept Paul in prison the rest of his life.

“Here is what we want you to do…Go with them to the Temple…” (Acts 22:23-24 NLT)

I believe these leaders could have said he was there at their request and was not defiling the temple nor inciting rebellions against the government.

In fact, one word from “The Just”, the most respected man in Israel would have set Paul free.

But Paul wrote: “At my first answer [trial], no man stood with me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 2:16 KJ)

Some of Paul’s prayer was what Paul heard Stephen pray. Had the same crime been done?

Paul Burleson said...


I really agree with what you said about the ball of ice the and the sun. But, honestly, I have no idea what you are saying or meaning with the second, "wrongfully imprisoned" thing.

I'm not saying you aren't saying it well, I'm admitting my inability sometimes to comprehend what is meant by some things sometimes. My bad.

Paul Burleson said...


For the sake of being up front and open, I want to admit that I have a personal policy, FOR MYSELF ONLY, that I don't feel under any obligation to respond to a comment or answer a question asked in a comment at all.

When I do respond or answer a question, it will be because I choose to. When I don't, it's because I choose NO to. Why I would do either I also choose to share or not share.

I view EACH comment as a gift and I view ANY RESPONSE I may give as a gift as well. I do say "thank you" to your comment, but there will be no "shame on you" if you don't comment.

I see my responses or answering questions asked in a comment the same way. Gifts are received with no strings attached or it removes them from the gift category. That's just me, but it IS me.

Thank you all for all your comments. Now continue as you wish.

[with the guidelines listed above in mind.} LOL

Paul Burleson said...

Make that "not" instead Of "no." Sorry. :(

Rex Ray said...


I wrote what you wrote: “Paul the Apostle…wrongfully imprisoned.”

I should have written all you wrote so you would recognize it; which was:

“This was the very thing PAUL THE APOSTLE faced when beaten and WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED.”

I just quoted the words I was interested in for my favorite subject which was off topic and hoping for forgiveness instead of permission. :)

Paul Burleson said...


It WAS a matter of my lack of perceptiveness. I see with your explanation. Thanks.

Now I can honestly say...I don't know if the same crime had been done.

Rex Ray said...


Where’s the TV “Monk” when he’s needed? ;)

Paul was in a war with lost Jews and Christian Jews.

If I could chose only two references picturing the ‘war’ that raged between Paul and his Christian brothers, they would be (Galatians 1:8 NLT) and (Acts 21)

1. “Let God’s curse fall on anyone…who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.”

2. “They praised God BUT then said, “You know dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they are all very insistent that Jewish believers MUST continue to follow the Jewish traditions and customs. Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem HAVE BEEN TOLD that you are against the laws of Moses, against our Jewish customs, and that you forbid the circumcision of their children. Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come. We suggest this: We have four men here who are preparing to shave their heads and take some vows. Go with them to the Temple and have your head shaved too—and pay for theirs to be shaved. Then everyone will know that you yourself obey the Jewish laws and are in line with our thinking in these matters.” (Acts 21:20-24 Living)

(Notice they presented ‘the problem’ and the ‘solution’ at the same time, so the elders must have agreed in a previous meeting.)

WHAT? Paul was NOT in line with their thinking: “… He wrote: “…he died to annul that whole system of Jewish laws…” (Ephesians 2:15 Living)

“…The old way, trying to be saved by keeping the Ten Commandment ends in death…” (2 Corinthians 3:6 Living)

In the first place, the lost Jews plotted to kill Paul, (Acts 9:23), and sending him to their Temple was insult to injury. In Acts 23:12-13, more than 40 men conspired not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.

If the elders were worried their congregation would stone Paul, why didn’t they have their pastor tell them how great Paul was? Maybe they didn’t because they were the ones who TOLD that Paul was against their Jewish laws.

Paul’s vow was for 7 days, and for 6 days no one recognized him with his head shaved. How did men from Turkey recognized him on the last day unless someone tipped them off? Maybe the tipster didn’t want to be recognized by locals.

Paul’s preaching was twisted: “…This is the man who…tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws.” (Acts 21:28 Living)

“The whole population of the city was electrified by these accusations and a great riot followed. Paul was dragged out of the Temple…As they were killing him…” (Acts 21:30-31 Living)

How many thousands of church members were in the mob? Had the elders’ suggestion, “everyone will know that you…obey the Jewish laws”, failed, or was their suggestion working perfectly?