“Throughout the history of the Christian church, Christianity has always stood over against all forms of statism. Statism is the natural and ultimate enemy to Christianity because it involves a usurpation of the reign of God.” -R.C. Sproul
During the Covid lockdown in 2020, my husband and I began watching old episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone’. It seemed appropriate. The irony of some of them connected to our current events struck me. One in particular titled ‘The Eye of the Beholder’ is interesting. But the one that left us astonished is called ‘The Obsolete Man’. The main character in the story, Mr. Wordsworth, is a librarian and also a Christian. Books are no longer allowed by The State so his profession is “obsolete”. The fact that he is a Christian is also a crime, since Bibles are illegal to have and all truth is an enemy to The State. I was flabbergasted by some of the dialogue used because it unapologetically connects Christianity and God to truth which must be erased with an edict. The State has said there is no God, therefore all must conform to this idea. Favorably arguing there is a God and that He is Truth (like Mr. Wordsworth does) is not something you will likely see in mainstream entertainment today.
Sadly, we are seeing a tyrannical form of government at our doorstep, in similar fashion to the t.v. episode I just mentioned. If a citizen does not agree with the narrative of Critical Race Theory, Covid19, or comply with a vaccine mandate then you are in fact, obsolete. Or to use today’s term, “cancelled”. I don’t think we have to worry about being liquidated any time soon like in ‘The Obsolete Man’, but we may lose our livelihood because of a different belief system than The Government. This is happening now to a lot of responsible, thoughtful citizens who have weighed their decision to not get vaccinated. Lives are being ruined over matters of conscience. Isn’t it ironic that just last year at the beginning of this virus, the world told us who was “essential” in the workplace? Now some of those same people who have convictions over whether or not the vaccine is helpful to them are seen as expendable, promptly fired.
The late R.C. Sproul had thoughts on government that steps outside it’s God given jurisdiction. He wrote an article back in 2008 on Statism, when another reality (like the government) becomes supreme, replacing the authority of God. It’s a helpful article as Christians hopefully think through what our response should be in these times. I don’t believe all will come to the same conclusion either, which is not necessarily sinful as long as we each understand the responsibility we have as pilgrims on Earth. Those convictions will vary, but I don’t think it is helpful to separate us into camps, unwilling to speak about or help a brother or sister in Christ who feels equally as strong in their convictions. We divide ourselves even further into groups of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Sproul gave wisdom concerning the relationship between the Church and government. It is worth regarding.
Christians who defy a government not operating within their lane and consequently, causing some to sin because of personal convictions are not wrong to push back. A helpful example would be to consider the authority given to a husband over his wife. If the husband decides to abuse his God given responsibility and cause his wife to somehow sin, then she must submit to the Lord instead, not her husband. Likewise, when a tyrannical government oversteps its jurisdiction to dictate what a citizen injects into their bodies, you and I have a right to call out abuse of power. Not only is it a sin for us to operate against personal conscience, but the government is sinning against the people they were meant to serve and help. If a Christian is fully convinced in his or her mind that taking a Covid vaccine cannot be done in faith then it should be honored, not questioned or condemned (Romans 14:23). Christians take submission seriously, which is why when a power like the government does not submit to its own rules of authority, then Christians may act (with a clear conscience) in civil disobedience. Owen Strachan has a much more helpful and thorough podcast episode related to this subject called ‘Biblical Truth for Bad Times: Seven Realities of Christian Citizenship in a Fallen World’.
If you are interested in watching ‘The Obsolete Man’, you can find the whole episode here. If you don’t have a lot of time, I would encourage you to watch until minute 7:07. I appreciate how on occasion the entertainment world can provide insight to a deeper truth. The dramatic, outrageous and sometimes sarcastic, can have a useful function in making a point that serves the audience.
Grace upon grace,