Chuck Baldwin’s Blatant Appeal to Violence

In his most recent column, Remembering the Alamo, Pastor Chuck Baldwin extols the gallantry of the Alamo defenders and implies that Christians may soon be required to to take up arms against tyranny here in America.

Beyond that, how much longer do we have before it will become necessary for freedom-loving States such as Texas (and maybe Oklahoma, Montana, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Vermont or South Carolina) to declare their independence one more time? An argument could be made that Washington, D.C., is considerably more brutish and tyrannical than old Santa Anna ever was. I’m not so sure that it isn’t already time to again hoist the “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, shout “Remember The Alamo,” and renew the faith and courage of William Travis and Patrick Henry.

This is not the first time Baldwin has suggested that violence may be called for in defense of freedom in this country but it is certainly his most blatant appeal to rebellion. It is a direct invitation to discard the teachings of Christ and give heed to our carnal instincts. Pastor Baldwin is not the only one traveling the road to rebellion. Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily recently penned a column (Is It Time For A Revolt) in which he suggests we withhold our tax dollars to protest the administrations Middle East policies. Jesus said render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s but Farah says render unto Caesar only what you think Caesar rightfully deserves.

Let me begin by saying that I am a native Texan. I can trace my family roots back to the days of the Republic of Texas. I am directly related to one of the most famous figures in the history of Texas independence. I am also a student of history. I say this to let you know that I am not some Johnny-come-lately with a revisionist view of history. But neither am I swayed by the heroic and rather simplistic view of freedom loving Alamo defenders put forth by Mr. Baldwin.

The story of Texas independence is not as simple as is often portrayed by those on either side of the Rio Grande. After gaining independence from Spain, Mexico found that they had neither the resources nor the population to fully occupy and develop the territory of Texas. Many also felt they needed a buffer zone against westward US expansion. The solution was to allow people to come from the US and other nations to settle the land. In exchange for land rights, the settlers were required to swear allegiance to Mexico and become citizens. Becoming a citizen of Mexico at that time also required them to convert to Catholicism. This was all done under the Mexican Constitution of 1824.

When Antonio de Lopez de Santa Anna was elected President in 1833 he decided that Mexico was not ready for democracy. Nullifying the constitution, he named himself military dictator for life. As you can imagine this did not go over too well with a large percentage of the population and it was particularly distasteful to the men and women who had left the United States to become Mexican citizens in Texas. Eleven Mexican states went into open rebellion with several of them forming their own government. Texas was the only one to defeat Santa Anna and gain independence.

Many of those who fought for Texas independence felt they were fighting for a noble cause. They believed they were simply upholding the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution of 1824. Like some in the US today they saw the document to which they had sworn allegiance usurped by a tyrannical ruler.

At the same time there were others who came to Texas with not so noble intentions. Many had come from the US with the express intention of taking Texas from Mexico and making it a separate nation or bringing it into the United States. Some of these men wanted to extend the reach of slavery in North American. Others simply wanted land and treasure for themselves. Some were criminals fleeing from their past evil deeds.

The struggle for Texas independence involved many complex motives and agendas. Some of these motives were noble by human standards and some were not but none of them had anything to do with advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Baldwin writes some moving words in his homage to the Alamo defenders. I must admit that something within me is stirred when I think of heroic men standing against hopeless odds in the face of certain death for the principles of liberty and justice. The question though is this; are these principles of human liberty and justice the ones for which we are called to stand and die as Christians or are we called to proclaim a higher standard of liberty.

Nowhere in scripture are we encouraged or instructed to take up arms for or against any of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus said specifically that his kingdom was not of this world therefore his servants would not fight to prevent him from being persecuted and even crucified by a worldly kingdom.

John 18:36

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.

Paul was a citizen of Rome.

Acts 22:25-28

And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”

He was imprisoned by Roman authorities on false charges brought by his Jewish adversaries. His rights as a Roman citizen were violated. Yet in all this he never suggested that the answer was to fight in the flesh against the Roman government. Paul did not imply that perhaps it was time to revolt against the wicked leaders of that day. He did not suggest to his followers that they form a political action committee to protest his imprisonment. In all the persecution endured by the apostles and early church fathers we never see any hint of fighting against human governments and kingdoms.

Too many Christian leaders have falsely equated patriotism with godliness. Patriotism is not something unique to the United States. Patriotism is common to every nation and culture. It appeals to mans fleshly sense of pride and sectarianism. It causes us as Christians to feel no connection or responsibility to our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Patriotism mixed with Christianity makes us think that just because someone is patriotic they are also Godly.

The founding fathers of this nation were great patriots but they were not all Godly men. Benjamin Franklin was an avowed atheist all his life. Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense which was instrumental in stoking the embers of revolution in America. But Paine was a radical Deist who compiled his own list of bible inconsistencies along with his advocacy of Deism in a tract called The Age of Reason. Thomas Jefferson believed in God but did not accept Jesus as Lord. He did not believe in the virgin birth and created his own version of the bible by editing out all references to miracles. John Adams was a Unitarian who, like Jefferson, denied the doctrine of the Trinity, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and any other aspect of orthodox Christianity which could not be explained by human reason.

Today we see the same sort of carnal reasoning among many of our so called Christian leaders. Some, including Chuck Baldwin, have become quit adept at twisting Romans 13 into something other than what it says.

Romans 13:1-2

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

That seems pretty straight forward doesn’t it. All authority is ordained by God who is sovereign over the affairs of man. If you find yourself under the authority of a tyrannical government it is because God has ordained (or at least allowed) it. Even in these cases we are admonished not to resist the authority lest we bring judgment upon ourselves. This interpretation is entirely consistent with the actions of all the apostles in their dealings with human kingdoms. But Baldwin and others think they have found a loophole.

Rom 13:3-4

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Now we are told that our obedience to authority is applicable only as long as that authority is doing good. And who decides when a government is doing good or doing evil? Why we do of course! With this simple stroke of human reasoning, we rather than God become sovereign over our affairs. By mixing our reasoning with the Word of God we make the Word of none effect.

This was the same mistake our founders made. They decided that taxes were too high and they weren’t being properly represented in London therefore they had the right to rebel. Remember they already had the right to the free exercise of religion. They had the right to own and carry firearms. They operated businesses and civic organizations. They were able to assemble and speak freely. Certainly there were other issues but the love of money was really at the root of all the unrest.

Was it good that Paul was imprisoned on false charges? By our natural reasoning we would all say no. But God used it to advance His kingdom. The same applies to all the hardship and persecution endured by the saints. Even when governments are doing that which we see as evil, God can and often does use it for His own purpose. If we do what is right we have no reason to be afraid of authority even when we suffer by it because we know that in our suffering Gods sovereign plan is being carried out.

John 15:20

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Now please do not misunderstand me. I have not said that our submission to human authority must be absolute. The whole counsel of God as well as evidence from church history demands that we resist human authority under two conditions.

1.) When any government compels Christians to commit sinful or immoral acts.

2.) When any government prohibits Christians from carrying out the instructions of our Lord such as proclaiming the gospel.

When either of these elements are present we must obey God rather than man. At this time however, with the exception of a few isolated and mostly correctable incidents, our government has forced neither of these conditions upon us.

Like many of you I can see a time, perhaps in the very near future when one or both of these conditions will be present. The threat of laws against “hate speech” are very real and I believe may soon be implemented in our country for the purpose of stifling the proclamation of the gospel. Rest assured when that time comes I am determined that I will continue to speak boldly as God commands. I will also be prepared to accept whatever consequences follow just as Paul, Peter, John, James, Thomas, and all the other persecuted saints of old endured.

We as Christians must stand for a greater liberty than that for which our human forefathers fought. Our liberty is true liberty that sustains us regardless of our temporal circumstances.

2Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Paul and Silas understood true liberty when they were imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:23-25) Beaten with many stripes for casting a devil out of a fortune telling woman, they were placed in chains and cast into prison. But at midnight they were singing and praising God while all the other prisoner listened. The Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of true liberty was there with them and sustained them.

Peter understood true liberty when he was in prison. Herod had already killed James the brother of John and had decided to kill Peter as well. He put Peter in prison and had four squads of soldiers guarding him. (Acts 12:1-7) But the Sprit of the Lord, the Spirit of true liberty was with Peter and he was found to be asleep, chained between two guards as an angel came to deliver him. Though he was chained yet he was free.

John 8:36

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Jesus was the living embodiment of liberty. By giving up his life to do the will of the father he had true liberty. Even so he never challenged any human kingdom or authority in the flesh. Though he could have destroyed his enemies single handedly he submitted to the will of his father.

Mat 26:52

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?”

As he stood before Pilate Jesus knew who wielded true power.

John 19:10-11

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above…..

Jesus proclaimed the sovereignty of God and his own willingness to submit to that heavenly authority regardless of the personal cost. This is the liberty for which I am willing to stand and even to die if necessary. This is the freedom we are called to proclaim.

Human freedom is transitory and illusory. It is always based on the willingness of men to govern themselves and allow others to do the same. Unfortunately the sinful condition of the human heart will never allow that sort of freedom to last for long. That is why the freedom we have enjoyed in America is such a rare thing in human history.

It is obvious to me that the sins of America have brought Gods judgment upon us. A big part of that judgment will be the loss of many of the freedoms we have taken for granted. We will not stop this judgment with petitions, laws, constitutional conventions, or guns. Neither will we delay it with prayer. God has ordained this shaking and through it He will discover which of His people truly love Him and which love their lives in this world.

American Christians will soon begin to endure the kind of persecution that so many saints have endured down through history. This persecution will bring about a great separation between those who are willing to lay down their lives in this world and those who will not. America and all that it has stood for, both good and bad is and always has been a a part of the world system. Anyone who loves his life in this world more than Christ is not worthy of Him.

Mat 10:38-39

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

I encourage you by the Sprit of God not to be seduced by carnal reasoning and appeals to our fleshly notions of liberty and freedom. Stand fast in the freedom in which you’ve been called and do not be entangled with the yoke of bondage to human kingdoms and empires. Don’t sell your citizenship in the heavenly kingdom for a lesser citizenship in an earthly kingdom that is temporal and will soon pass away.

1John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Steve Lumbley 2009

This article may be reproduced and distributed free of charge as long as it remains in its original form.