Christian = Treason?

8 05 2008

So here are some thoughts I’m having this morning. In the early centuries the proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord was nothing short of a treasonous denial of Caesar’s lordship. Caesar was, definitively, not lord. To be a Christian, then, was very much high treason against the Empire.

Is this still true? I call Jesus Lord, which means Caesar is not lord. Who is Caesar in this case? The ruling power in America: The President, Congress, and since we’re talking a quasi-Democracy here, “We the People”.

I’m a Christian. So am I a traitor? I want to lean toward yes, I am. To commit myself to Jesus Christ and His uncompromisable Lordship I am denying the authority of Caesar, I am a traitor against Caesar and I am therefore guilty of high treason against the United States of America.

Does being a Christian equate to treason?




2 responses

15 05 2008

very interesting question. I think initially I would say that no, being a Christian is not treason in itself – we are supposed to obey the laws of the land (obviously that don’t go against our true Lord), pay taxes, pray for those in authority that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, etc. Plus, I wouldn’t say that we are actively trying to overthrown the current system, knowing that in all of its error and pride, it is ordained (though not endorsed) by God. Since you are asking this question to Christian living in America, this would be my answer – Rome was demanding allegiance and confession of Caesar as Lord – and no other. If I lived in another nation or at another time, perhaps my answer would be different.

At the same time, those who are following the Messiah are resident aliens do live according to a completly different standard – that of their king. We do not go along with what the nations of this world are doing – while they war, we are for peace. While they exploit, we are for justice. While they cheat and take advantage, we are for truth and redemption.

Great question though – I look forward to your thoughts.

16 05 2008

I think in a certain sense we are traitors–having turned our backs on the ruling powers and principalities of this world–we are now pledging our allegiance to Christ. The Apostle calls us to live in peace with all men (Romans 12:18), in this the Christian has no business in revolt against the Empire, our battle is waged not against flesh and blood with fleshly weapons, but spiritual weapons against spiritual powers. Insofar as we are Christians we cannot have our loyalties with Caesar, but I believe we are called to pray for Caesar. In this, I think Origen’s words in Against Celsus are relevant,

To this, our answer is that we do give help to kings when needed. But this is, so to speak, a divine help, “putting on the whole armor of God.” And we do this in obedience to the commandment of the apostle: “I exhort, therefore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all men; for kings, and for all who are in authority.” So the more anyone excels in godliness, the more effective the help is that he renders to kings. This is a greater help than what is given by soldiers who go forth to fight and kill as many of the enemy as they can.

It is our priestly duty to pray for and intercede on behalf of all. So rather than pledging our allegiance to the ruling powers, we offer up our prayers for their salvation. So we are traitors in a real sense, I believe–having no longer any affection for the principalities of this world–but in our treason we have become a greater benefit to the imperial power structures, by imploring the mercies of God and refusing to shed blood in their name. Hopefully that makes sense.

Those are just some of my thoughts.

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