Peaceful Resistance Is Fruitful

There are many Americans today wondering, “How can we stop the endless state and federal intrusions into our lives?” There has been at least one event in the media recently that I believe proves very instructive for us liberty-minded folks as we seek an answer to this important question. The short answer is, “Peaceful resistance and/or Non-compliance. But before we delve into a modern American example of peaceful resistance and non-compliance, I think there are some important historical examples for us to consider first.

 

Jesus Christ

Jesus was instructed by the state to not heal on the Sabbath day. Yet, what did He do?

Mark 3:1-6 ESV

[1] Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. [2] And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. [3] And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” [4] And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. [5] And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. [6] The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Jesus peacefully and morally resisted the legitimate authorities because their legal requirements were immoral. Men are only required to honor the legal claims of the State so far as the claim is moral. When the State exceeds the bounds of the Law of God (or natural law), it possesses only brute force, but no moral obligation exists for the citizen.

 

The Apostles

After Jesus’ resurrection the Apostles are instructed to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) They almost immediately began to do as He commanded. After healing a lame beggar in Acts 3, and delivering a Gospel sermon to the crowd that gathered because of the miracle, Peter and John were imprisoned for a day, and then called in to give an account of their actions by the very state that participated in Jesus’ crucifixion. After being forbidden to preach Jesus as Savior by their legitimate rulers, they responded, “whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you (the State) rather than God (and His Law), you must judge. (Acts 4:19) The obvious answer is that we are to obey God rather than men when we are either, commanded by the State to do something immoral, or forbidden by the State from doing something moral.

 

The Early Church

The first eight persecutions of the church by the Roman State occurred for various reasons. Some persecutions happened because of weather phenomenon or battle losses that the Romans blamed on Christians because they wouldn’t sacrifice to their gods. One persecution happened because the head of the Roman State, Nero, blamed the burning of a large portion of Rome on the Christian people. He set the blaze course. One persecution came upon the Christian people because of their reluctance to utter a simple phrase, “Caesar is Lord”. They believed that to call Caesar Lord would be cosmic treason against Jesus Christ, and so they refused. Because of that refusal they were fed to lions, publicly executed, and in some cases their children were executed before their eyes in order to try and get them to obey the State and participate in Roman idolatry. Many a godly saint’s last vision on the earth was the eradication of his earthly seed at the hands of the State. It was this courage of conviction, this commitment to peaceful resistance, that many point to as the down-fall of one of the mightiest, if not the mightiest empire to every rule on the earth. In fact a phrase was developed out of this period that many still know today, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” It was the blood of non-complying martyrs that not only caused the ranks of the church to swell, it caused support for the State to diminish. In the end Christianity destroyed Rome, not with violence, but with peace resistance.

 

Other More Modern Examples

Who could forget Ben Kingsly’s masterful portrayal of Mahatma Ghandi. If you know nothing of Ghandi, then know this, he brought the British Empire to it’s knees and practically ended colonialism in India. How did he do this? The answer is, peaceful resistance and non-compliance. What about Martin Luther King? How did King lead the Civil Rights Movement? What was his tactic for ending segregation and racism in the South? It wasn’t through the force of law (as our Public Schools teach us through the Civil Rights Act). No, it was through peaceful resistance and non-compliance. Television screens were filled with young, well dressed African Americans being beaten, and water hosed, while offering no violence in return. They repaid “no one evil for evil” (Romans 12:17). What about the Vietnam war? How was it finally brought to an end? Peaceful resistance and protest, combined with media outlets showing young American men being brought home in flag draped coffins for reasons no one could comprehend, but those in the halls of State. Peaceful protest, non-compliance, iphones, and youtube accounts should be the preferred tools of Christians, indeed all Americans, to push back the tide of federal and state intrusion into the lives, and homes of ordinary law abiding citizens. Which brings us to the recent story I alluded to in the beginning of this article.

 

Recent Peaceful Resistance

The story comes to us out of Connecticut (Blue State Resistance), where thousands of law-abiding gun owners have refused to register either their weapons, or their magazines, that exceed what the State has recently made illegal. Only about 15% of gun owners there have complied, making 85% of the lawful gun owners in Connecticut felons. Indeed this is one of the largest peaceful resistance and non-compliance cases we have seen in the U.S. in many years.

 

The Evangelical Libertarian hopes that this is indeed the wave of the future. I hope that Christians as a whole, will wake up from the slumber we have lazed under for far too long, as the liberties secured by our forefathers, through an unwanted and costly war with England, are being taken away by a new group, claiming Divine Right, and absolute obedience to them. I am speaking of both Republicans and Democrats here. While our ruling masters in Washington spend like drunken sailors, fettering our children, and grand children with massive debt, and regulations, they are also printing money and manipulating interests rates that destroy, and de-incentivize savings as well. If peaceful resistance, and non-compliance do not begin to mount now, not only will our nation be economically destroyed by a feckless, uncaring, distant ruling class, but it will become more likely that Americans will die in the future resisting power with violence. Which is unnecessary since, “We the people” have “the right…peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (1st Amendment) And if those grievances are not properly addressed, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it (the government), and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)

 

So arm yourselves with the truth, and a camera, and begin to peacefully resist, or non-comply with immoral power whenever you get the chance. May the Lord richly bless you all in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

The Evangelical Libertarian

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