is Your True Allegiance?
By Marshall "Rusty" Entrekin
The apostle Paul was a citizen of Rome.
He did not renounce this, but rather, asserted his
citizen's right to a trial and appeal when his enemies sought
to kill him. The twelve apostles, likewise, were citizens of
the nation of Israel. However, it is clear that the ultimate
allegiance of Paul and the Twelve was to the Kingdom of
Heaven, not to any earthly kingdom or power.
While on trial, Paul faithfully and boldly
proclaimed Christ before Caesar, even when no one else spoke
out in his defense. According to Eusebius, “after defending
himself successfully, it is currently reported that the
Apostle again went forth to proclaim the Gospel, and
afterwards came to Rome a second time, and was martyred under
Likewise, when Peter and the rest of the
Twelve were brought before the ruling Jewish council for
proclaiming Jesus as the One who had just healed a cripple,
this is what happened:
And then the
High Priest questioned them. "We strictly forbade you to teach
in that name--did we not?" he said. "And see, you have filled
Jerusalem with your teaching, and are trying to make us
responsible for that man's death!" Peter and the other
Apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than man."
Plainly, the highest allegiance of the
Apostles was not to any earthly kingdom or power. Is our
greatest allegiance also to the Kingdom of Heaven?
If we, like the Apostles, desire to be disciples of
Jesus, we also must be willing to boldly risk persecution,
death, imprisonment or torture, when the laws of our nation or
the decrees of it's rulers and judges contradict the laws of
That is one reason why the leaders of
communist dictatorships, like Nero of old, persecute true
Christians. They want the people's allegiance to lie with
them, not with God. But don't fool yourself into thinking that
there are not similarly inflated egos, who will also greedily
consume your soul here in the West, if you will only let them.
Even here in the democratic West, you will inevitably have to
choose between following men, or following God.
Theologian Paul Tillich identified a
principle which, while it was intended to guide us in our
reaction to the customs of pagan religions, can also be
applied to the subject at hand. He said that Christianity
should be the "center of crystallization for all positive
religious elements after they have been subjected to the
criteria implied in this center."
In other words, if we Christians see certain
practices of other religions that are more in line with
Biblical principles than our own, we ought to adopt them
(stripped clean, of course, of any idolatrous elements).
This is because our first allegiance is to God and
His kingdom, not to any extra-Biblical "religious" customs or
course, in order to judge these practices accurately, we must
be careful to correctly identify the biblical criteria which
lie at the center of our faith, which are love and it's
out-flowing expressions, including truth, mercy, kindness,
We should apply this principle to every
new thing we encounter.
If a new custom, idea, technology, medicine, clothing,
invention, or any other thing is found to be more in line with
Biblical principles, then we ought to adopt it. Why?
Again, because our highest allegiance should to be to
God and His kingdom, not to old customs, or to old things.
"Custom without truth," Tertullian said, "is error grown old."
On the other hand, following this
principle of subjecting everything to Biblical criteria also
means that we should not embrace something merely because it
is new. Since
our first allegiance is to the Kingdom of God, if something
new is contrary to Biblical principles, then we ought to
strongly reject it. Jesus
followed this principle, criticizing the Pharisees because
they transgressed the word of God for the sake of their
Should we not, as believers, also apply
this principle to how we conduct politics?
In our nation, most evangelical Christians have given
their support to the Republican Party, because of its
pro-life, pro-family platform, which they believe is more in
alignment with higher biblical principles.
This is not to say that the Democrats have not gotten
it right regarding certain things, such as the importance of
preserving our natural environment, and the need to help the
poor. But when we weigh these issues on the scales, the value
of human life, and the importance of the family as the
foundational unit of our society tips the scales in the favor
of the Republican Party for most evangelicals.
Because of this, the rest of what I am
going to write is specifically directed to believers who have
chosen to be Republicans. But if you are a pro-life Democrat,
someone who optimistically clings to the hope that the
Democratic Party can be brought back in line with Biblical
values, or a die-hard conservative Democrat like Zell Miller,
these principles will apply to you, too.
Just substitute the party names, and draw the logical
conclusions. However, if you are someone who, like Nancy
Pelosi or Barak Obama, ardently fights for anti-biblical
values, and yet conveniently claims to be a Christian, this is
not meant for you. I find your claim to be a Christian as
credible as a claim to be Santa Claus. Jesus said that we can
recognize a tree by its fruit, and I'm not about to abandon
that means of discernment. No matter what your mouth is
saying, your deeds are speaking louder. Jesus said, "If you
love me, you will obey my commands." It's as simple as that.
If you are fighting against God's commands, you don't really
Evangelicals must make it plain to all
concerned that our first allegiance is to the Kingdom of
Heaven, not to a political party. We should make it
very clear to the Republican Party leadership that if the
party ever abandons Biblical principles by embracing
homosexual marriage, abortion, pornography, extra-marital sex,
or any other form of rebellion against God and His moral
precepts, we will withdraw our substantial voting bloc, and
create or align with an alternative party. Otherwise, we will
compromise our effectiveness as "salt and light" in our
It is very important that we adopt this
attitude, because although the Republican Party has gotten
many things right, they certainly have not historically gotten
everything right. Sometimes the Democrats have rightly accused the Republicans
of mistakes, ill-conceived policies, or moral failings (and at
other times, wrongly).
Related to this, the Republican Party has
historically been a defender of free enterprise. But free
enterprise, which can be considered natural and Biblical
because it was assumed from the start in the laws given by
Moses to the nation of Israel, can easily be perverted into
personal and corporate greed if not regulated by just laws.
Moses, imbued with wisdom from the Spirit of God, foresaw this
danger, and instituted civil laws to prevent this from
happening. Had he not done so, eventually there would have
been a few rich people ruling over a mostly impoverished
population, and virtually no middle class (as has happened in
some third world countries). Here are just a few of the laws
Moses instituted to prevent that from happening:
all property was divided up among the Israelite families. It
could not be permanently sold. Every 50 years, any property
which had been sold was supposed to revert back to the
ownership of the original families and their descendents. This
was called the Year of Jubilee.
citizens who became slaves as a result of debt could not be
kept as slaves forever. After seven years, they were to be set
free and given enough provisions by their former master for a
fresh start. (Our laws allowing bankruptcy every seven years
seem to follow this pattern of mercy).
3. Farm crops
were to be reaped or gleaned only once. What was left over, or
ripened late, was to be left for the poor to freely gather.
4. Children were
to honor their parents with support when they grew too old to
provide for themselves.
5. Workers could
not be forced to work seven days a week. They were to be given
a day of rest.
6. An Israelite
could not charge a fellow Israelite interest for a loan.
While we do not live in an agrarian
society, and these laws were intended for the nation of
Israel, this does not mean that we Gentiles cannot follow them
in spirit. There are principles of mercy and compassion that
we can identify in all of these laws. We ought to follow those
principles, and encourage our government to follow them as
well. Whenever our political party of choice leans toward
support of corporate and personal greed, or does not consider
the poor, in violation of these and other biblical principles,
we as Christians must call it to account.
I believe that it was wrong, for instance,
and a violation of the Geneva convention, to throw prisoners,
no matter how morally repugnant they might have been, or how
much a threat to our nation they might have been, into Gitmo
with no hope of trial. The right to a fair trial is a basic
human right found in the Bible. But how many Christians who
aligned themselves with the Republican Party protested this
violation of a God-given right (and violation of the Geneva
Convention, a treaty our nation agreed to abide by)?
When violations of moral law such as this
occur, we ought not to cover for the Republican Party and its
leaders, and pretend that what they have done is not so bad.
We might be tempted to do this, because we fear that
if we don't, we will give the opposing party an upper hand.
The result, however, is that in the long run it does
just the opposite. If
we do not hold the leaders of our party accountable, they will
continue in their practices, loose credibility to the public
at large, and in the next election the nation will suffer for
it (as I believe happened in the last Presidential
Likewise, we should not oppose everything
the Democratic Party wants to do just because it is, by
nature, "the enemy" of the Republican Party in our two-party
system. It makes us look ridiculous and childish if we oppose
something good merely because it has been proposed by a
we must ask, "Is this in accord with Biblical principles?" If
it is, we ought to support it.
Lastly, we must hold not only our chosen political party, but
our nation to account. If a law, declared war or executive
policy selfishly serves our nation, but violates a biblical
principle or is unjust, we are duty-bound to oppose it.
We must warn all nations, rulers and kings
that they ought to submit to the laws of the Kingdom of
Heaven. Justice, righteousness, mercy, love, respect for the
value of human life, and compassion for the poor ought to be
the hallmarks of any government. Nations that abandon these
principles, as history demonstrates, will eventually
fall under the judgment of God. As a new t-shirt I want to buy
proclaims, "There is a higher Court than the Supreme Court."
When each of us stands before that Court,
the only Court capable of judging our thoughts,
motives and actions without error, every true Christian will
find mercy for our sins, as we have extended mercy to
others, for Jesus will be our advocate, or "defense
attorney" at that court. He will argue that He took the
punishment for our sins upon Himself on the cross. But what
will determine the rewards, if any, that we will receive? They
will be determined by the extent to which we demonstrated our
allegiance to God and His Kingdom through our actions.
Not the extent to which we were devoted to a political party,
nation, charismatic leader, government, or even some church
The question is, as our society is growing
more and more out of step with God and descends into moral
lawlessness, will we be bold enough to pass the many tests of
our true allegiance that we will encounter? Jesus said that
because "iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow
"Lord," we therefore pray, "You said that
the night is coming, when no man can work. Is the sunset now
beginning, or is the light merely being obscured by the
clouds? In either case, give us boldness to work all the
harder while we can. If the night is about to fall, we plead
with You, please keep the flame of our love burning even in
the midst of the cold and darkness. May those who are cold and
shivering find warmth in the glow of it. May our true
allegiance ever be with You, and may we be found faithful to
You, even if it means persecution, imprisonment, or death."
Rusty Entrekin is a
theology graduate of Louisiana College. He and his wife
Julie have seven children, with four still at home, and
four grandchildren. Currently, he resides in Kennesaw, GA.
He writes apologetic and theological articles to help
people come to know Christ and grow closer to the Lord. If
this article has blessed you, and you would like to free
him up to write more, you may make a donation below.
Rusty previously decided
not to apply for 501c3 ministry status, so that he can
write about political matters without worrying about
government interference. Because of this, your gifts will
not be tax deductible. However, you will receive a far
greater reward for your donation: treasure in