2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2, King James Version)
Yesterday, I wrote about “Forgetting Our Heritage”. While we can quibble all day about whether or not the USA is a “Christian nation”, it is disingenuous to ignore that our forefathers based our government on what they perceived to be Christian principles. Yet, today’s history books have virtually taken a giant eraser over anything that mentions “God” or “Christianity”.
I also mentioned that David Barton of WallBuilders spoke on this topic for the podcast Focus on the Family. His emphasis was very different, but he did mention how when ancient Israel forgot God, bad things happened to them. He even used that as an example for what can happen to our nation today!
OK, he fell short of what some of us would call a warning message, and I’m sure he doesn’t understand that many in the USA are descendants of ancient Israel, but it is still a sobering reminder of the importance of the righteousness of a nation.
We in Church of God (COG) circles often talk about national leadership and how important it is. Our leaders can take us down a path of prosperity and success, or they can take us down the road to ruin. We also talk of how God often sets up leaders according to what we deserve. A righteous nation is much more likely to have a righteous leader, while a wicked nation is much more likely to have a wicked ruler.
One thing I want to talk in more depth tomorrow is the fact that just because God does not deal with wicked people right away does not mean a group of people is righteous. In other words, a lack of immediate punishment is not an indicator of God’s favor. The caricature of God sitting up in Heaven with lightning bolts in His fist ready to zap people at the first sign of transgression is highly inaccurate and unbiblical.
However, let us not forget that righteousness will bring automatic rewards. We need to focus in on the fact that God setup His laws and decrees for our benefit, both individually and collectively. It is hard to get an STD when you are chaste, for example. Blessings can even extend to those around us. On the other hand, the fruits of wickedness can bring misery to all around us as well.
When we are wicked, we allow wicked rulers to take hold of the land and lead us collectively down the path to ruin. When we are self-seeking, then aren’t we more likely to put in charge people who seek their own? When we are righteous, though, we aren’t very likely to put up with unjust rulers. When we are loving, kind and just, how much more likely are our rulers to be loving, kind and just? We get the type of rulership we deserve.
Can this principle be applied to a church?
When thinking about the last paragraph with it's questions and wondering whether it can apply to a church, here's an interesting approach:
How did Joseph Tkach Sr. base his changes to the WCG? Was it with the same values and principles the forefathers of America had?
Was he self seeking and put in charge by someone seeking his own?
With the righteousness he followed and those likeminded, who did they not put up with?
Is not the Tkach family loving kind and just, who lead a fellowship which is likewise loving, kind and just?
Norbert wrote: "How did Joseph Tkach Sr. base his changes to the WCG? Was it with the same values and principles the forefathers of America had?"
That answer would be "No", actually. If anything, he had more in common with King George, IMO. Both of them were fine examples of "Do it my way or the highway."
"Was he self seeking and put in charge by someone seeking his own?"
I suppose God will have to decide that one. Both men probably thought they were doing the right thing.
"With the righteousness he followed and those likeminded, who did they not put up with?"
The wicked don't mix well with the righteous and vice versa.
"Is not the Tkach family loving kind and just, who lead a fellowship which is likewise loving, kind and just?"
Again, that would be "No". There is nothing loving, kind or just in hijacking a church. Nor is disfellowshipping people simply because they continue to believe what they always have and entered into fellowship because of those beliefs.
Not sure what you're driving at exactly, but there are actions that occurred in WCG under HWA that I cannot defend. Fortunately, some of those things were changed later on (in some cases to the other ditch).
However, HWA seemed to have a bad habit of surrounding himself with yes men, and I think that was a real blind spot of his. Joe Tkach was probably the right yes man who was at the right place at the right moment. The rest is history.
That's my opinion, at any rate, for what it's worth.
PS: Maybe if you take it down a notch and consider whether or not we deserve the leadership that is over us in the Church, and, if so, what it is we need to do about it.
A good thought-provoking post.
I've heard one UCG Pastor mention that phrase several times since President Obama took office that God gives us "the leaders we deserve." I've yet to hear him turn that phrase on the Council of Elders or UCG Presidents.
In a phone-in Bible discussion Tuesday night, we turned to Romans 2. Specific words there also could be worth an introspective review by COG members these days:
"To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." – Rom. 2:7-8, NIV
The sphere of practical influence among individuals only goes so far. Pray and fast is all most everyone can do, other than the specific individuals involved.
I have heard and read comments from both sides, each of them are being examples and hopefully everyone can learn something edifying from the events in their own walk with Christ.
Also the basic thrust of those questions were to give something substantial for those who are familiar with CoG history.
I believe citing the fathers of the USA can become problematic. Their vision for the people when using the name of Christ does not automatically lead to the same message as Jesus Christ taught.
Frankly I would like to read an indepth study paper along the lines of "Just what do you mean, 'National repentance'?". Seeing that the forefathers of the USA in all their ablility to reference the Bible decided to make war against their brothers.
@Norbert: I would like you to consider that Paul and the author of Hebrews (who I personally believe was Paul) both cite examples of ancient Israel, good and bad (unfortunately, usually bad). So, it is not without precedent.
I have no illusions that they were righteous men, but I also have no illusions that church leadership is infallible either. I you read the following day's article where I reference Jehu, perhaps it will give you a better idea of where I am going with this.