Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Pledge My Allegiance To....

[I wrote this in May of this year but never published it because I felt it may be too pointed. However, these are my opinions and convictions from reading, contemplating, and meditating on Scripture and history. You are free to disagree with me, in fact, I encourage you to test what I say rather than taking it at face value, but this is what I believe.]

I was at a Christian highschool graduation tonight. There was a good size class, many people who had attended Christian school their entire life and learned the truth of the Bible and hopefully are walking in a relationship with God. The ceremony started out with a procession of the flags followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a singing of the National Anthem.

I was reminded again that a large mass of American Christians everyday are pledging allegiance to this great country in which we were born. I choose not to pledge allegiance. Many of you may be aware of my belief that it is wrong to harm another individual even for sins against other people, society, or God based on Jesus' restatement of the eye for an eye principal (Matthew 5:38-48), however my conviction about the pledge of allegiance is a different issue entirely.

I must start with some definitions, for the people who have said these words all of their life but never took the time to sit back and think about what they meant.

Pledge - To offer or guarantee by a solemn binding promise. Synonyms are "devote, promise". I think that in our culture we have lost some of the understanding of this concept, we do whatever seems best at the time even if we've already agreed to something else. We do what's fun and nice rather than committing ourselves. Jesus talks about this when he says that we are not to swear (pledge) by anything, he is not saying that it is wrong to commit ourselves, but rather he goes on to say that every "Yes" and "No" should be in our mind a commitment. We as Christians should not have to swear or pledge, because we are pledged to everything and everyone we say yes to or agree/align ourselves with. However, this is not my issue with saying the pledge.

Allegiance - Loyalty or devotion to some person, group, or cause. Synonyms are "devotion, dedication" Loyalty implies a steadfast and devoted attachment that is not easily turned aside, and devotion is earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc...

How many Christians realize that when they say the Pledge of Allegiance they are earnestly attaching themselves to a steadfast, devoted, earnest attachment to a body of individuals who are in no way affiliated with Christ or His work in this world? And this is a binding life-long commitment that should never be broken. No matter what the actions of that body of individuals is, when you pledge your allegiance to them you say that you will follow with them, you are attached to them, no matter what. I believe that as followers of Christ we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Can a man have two masters? Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. We understand in the church today that it is not right for a Christian to attach themselves to a non-believer in the covenant of marriage, but yet we teach that it is fine and even good for them to attach themselves to a whole body of individuals who want nothing to do with God and even fight against Him. Have you pledged your allegiance to this group? Do you pledge your allegiance to them? Or do you pledge your allegiance to God and His Church? Are you fully devoted to Christ and to spreading the Gospel, not American ideals, all over the world and this nation? Are you devoted to Christian teaching and fellowship (Acts 2), other believers in brotherly love (Romans 12:10), to the service of the saints (1 Corinthians 16), to prayer (Colossians 4), to Scripture (1 Timothy 4), and to doing what is good (Titus 3)?

May you see through the lie that freedom and democracy are as important as grace, peace, and love. May you see that you are not your own, you were bought with a price, and so you may not give yourself away by attaching yourself to a governing body. May you see that God may call you to Iraq to share the Gospel, and you would soon find yourself in the very place that you have been pledging allegiance against. May you be devoted to the church and the furtherance of the Gospel, not attaching yourselves to things of this world that will not last, but rather seeing the eternal in the temporary. Do not be yoked together with [attached to] unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? But rather attach yourself to Christ, the author and the finisher of your faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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