Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What to Render Unto Caesar

 

Too many Christians are secularists when it comes to government authority. This is likely to be a hotly debated assertion recently brought to the fore in the David French vs. Sohrab Ahmari debate. And now even the Catholic bishops of Washington state are submitting the lives and souls of the faithful in their care to the governor by awaiting his determination as to when and how to once again offer public Masses and the holy sacraments, rather than exercising the freedom President Trump has reasserted by stating religious services are essential during this crisis. Clearly, this is not what Jesus meant when he said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s…”

So, what should we Christians be submitting to government authority? Paul Krause at CRISIS Magazine says, not much. Throughout salvation history, peoples, and nations have gotten into trouble whenever they’ve chosen secular authority over God. This is powerfully foretold in 1 Samuel 8:10-18, when the Hebrews are clamoring for a king:

10 Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king.

11 He told them: “The governance of the king who will rule you will be as follows: He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot.

12 He will appoint from among them his commanders of thousands and of hundreds. He will make them do his plowing and harvesting and produce his weapons of war and chariotry.

13 He will use your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.

14 He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his servants.

15 He will tithe your crops and grape harvests to give to his officials and his servants.

16 He will take your male and female slaves, as well as your best oxen and donkeys, and use them to do his work.

17 He will also tithe your flocks. As for you, you will become his slaves.

18 On that day you will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you on that day.”

Sounds a bit like the administrative state, doesn’t it?

Krause cites Old Testament example after example of the Hebrew’s failures to submit entirely to God and, instead, “render unto Caesar.” He writes,

God repeatedly warns the Israelites not to become like the other nations, and yet that is what they do. And when the Israelites elect their king in place of God, God tells the prophet Nathan that “they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” This is the ultimate want of the secularists, to strip down God and utterly reject Him and replace Him with their own conception of the divine on earth. Secularists seek a return to Sodom or Egypt, and they have the audacity—with all the credibility of their doctorates and well-praised books—to claim that the return to slavery is entailed by Scripture itself. — Was Jesus a Secularist?

Jesus never says what to render, the implication being everything should be rendered unto God, the source of all Goodness. The state only has legitimacy when it, too, submits to God’s authority. 

#ReopenOurChurches

And to the bishops: #FeedMySheep

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  1. Kevin Schulte Member

    I look at it this way WC. 

    There are two kingdoms ,

    Mans kingdom : Government ( render unto) . Also our own kingdom, whatever that is to you .

    Gods Kingdom : Laid out in scripture , simplest form , 10 commandments, the church , our and others souls. 

    Gods Kingdom is to take preeminence in a believers life. Mans kingdom reigns until it crosses into Gods Kingdom . When it is clear Mans kingdom gets punted. 

    The grey areas are difficult. Israel was a theocracy (when it was) and it was cut and dried. We live in a Republic that less and less respects faith and is growing hostile to Christianity. Where the church is silent or in error , this is where we are to work out our salvation. Philippians 2: 12-14

    Sometimes we will stand alone.

     

    • #1
    • May 29, 2020, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    I look at it this way WC.

    There are two kingdoms ,

    Mans kingdom : Government ( render unto) . Also our own kingdom, whatever that is to you .

    Gods Kingdom : Laid out in scripture , simplest form , 10 commandments, the church , our and others souls.

    Gods Kingdom is to take preeminence in a believers life. Mans kingdom reigns until it crosses into Gods Kingdom . When it is clear Mans kingdom gets punted.

    The grey areas are difficult. Israel was a theocracy (when it was) and it was cut and dried. We live in a Republic that less and less respects faith and is growing hostile to Christianity. Where the church is silent or in error , this is where we are to work out our salvation. Philippians 2: 12-14

    Sometimes we will stand alone.

     

    I think we’re probably in agreement, Kevin. It is simply out of bounds for secular authority to tell us when, and how, and even if we may worship God in a communal setting. It’s above the governor’s pay grade, by a long, long shot. Too many Christians are willing to submit, including the Catholic bishops of Washington.

    • #2
    • May 29, 2020, at 10:24 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Fr. Josiah Trenham, who is in California (which is of course among the most extremist of states), explores this issue in a video he put out last week. His thoughts can be basically summed up as saying that Christians are obligated to follow authority except where it either demands behaviors that are sinful, or prohibits behaviors that God has commanded. His remarks are directly specifically at California.

    However, Metropolitan Joseph, the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church for all of North America, has said repeatedly throughout the COVID crisis to remember that our behaviors as Christians in this crisis must always be grounded in our love for our fellow man – if, therefore, returning too quickly and in too-high numbers to church spreads illness to our fellow parishioners, then we would not be showing them love. This is also a fundamentally short-term crisis so far, and nothing like the mass closures of churches like under the Communists or various Muslim pogroms, so Met. Joseph is urging caution and care.

    It’s a fine line to try to tread.

    Thankfully here in Ohio we have not had quite the same level of idiocy and egotistical malfeasance on display in other states, so the church closures have been, by and large, voluntary, and staying within guidelines that have affected all gatherings, religious or otherwise. They’ve not been entirely closed, just really really limited.

     

    • #3
    • May 29, 2020, at 11:46 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Too many times, some people say “Render unto Caesar” means to submit to government authority and don’t challenge it. I don’t think that at all.

    I believe it is meant to remind us there is Man’s realm, and God’s realm. We render unto God those things we should. We deal with Man’s world as best we can, changing it when it takes us too far from, or tries to prevent us from, worshiping God . . .

    • #4
    • May 29, 2020, at 1:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Fr. Josiah Trenham, who is in California (which is of course among the most extremist of states), explores this issue in a video he put out last week. His thoughts can be basically summed up as saying that Christians are obligated to follow authority except where it either demands behaviors that are sinful, or prohibits behaviors that God has commanded. His remarks are directly specifically at California.

    However, Metropolitan Joseph, the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church for all of North America, has said repeatedly throughout the COVID crisis to remember that our behaviors as Christians in this crisis must always be grounded in our love for our fellow man –SNIP

    It might be equally Christian of Metropolitan Joseph to remember that a full one half of all COVID deaths in Washington state came about due to elderly individuals being in nursing homes.

    Twenty percent of all deaths inside NY state came about due to individuals being in nursing homes.

    Across the USA as a whole, 30% of all COVID fatalities were again, due to individuals being in a nursing home. This week, so many headlines are screaming about 100,000 Americans who have died of COVID. We were told it would be 2 million, yet it is true that 100,000 people is a lot of people.

    In Japan, a nation with around 126 million people, a mere 850 people died from COVID. What is the real difference in the two nations and their health care approaches? Remember my nursing home numbers from my first statements? Could it be in Japan, people have reverence for their elderly? And that the reverence they hold extends to mandating higher standards of care for their elderly in nursing homes?

    Again, 30% of US fatalities were in our nursing homes. Here in the USA, the nursing homes are little better than warehouses for the human beings incarcerated within them. Only difference is that an actual warehouse would not charge a family or MediCare Insurers $ 5k a month.

    Our nursing homes have a deplorable staff to “inmate” ratio. One nursing assistant is given 15 to 18 patients look after. Remember – this means feeding the patients, offering water, brushing teeth/dentures, combing their hair, helping with meds, changing linens, escorting them to the bathroom or changing adult diapers. The Japanese society would not tolerate this ridiculously evil situation.

    We have a situation where in lib states, white people and AA residents are expected to make do with foreigners who don’t speak English. After all, administrators do not want to appear to be anti-Diversity. In Japanese institutions, even those in this country, only Japanese fluent individuals need apply for jobs with elderly. As it is considered racist to deprive elderly Japanese of helpers who do not speak their language. Doctors visit their patients in Japan, even when in nursing homes. Here that practice would be sneered at by Admins of both hospitals and nursing homes.

    Which nation is Christian, if I may?

    • #5
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:00 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Manny Member

    Western Chauvinist: This is likely to be a hotly debated assertion recently brought to the fore in the David French vs. Sohrab Ahmari debate.

    I’m with you WC, but perhaps I missed it. Which French/Ahmari debate? I saw the one over the drag queens reading to children. Was there another?

    • #6
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Manny Member

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    Again, 30% of US fatalities were in our nursing homes. Here in the USA, the nursing homes are little better than warehouses for the human beings incarcerated within them. Only difference is that an actual warehouse would not charge a family or MediCare Insurers $ 5k a month.

    I think reform of our Nursing home system is definitely in order. My mother is almost 87 years old and I had thought about her going into one eventually. She absolutely says no, and now after this I agree. I rather she die at home than under the care they provide.

    • #7
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Too many times, some people say “Render unto Caesar” means to submit to government authority and don’t challenge it. I don’t think that at all.

    I believe it is meant to remind us there is Man’s realm, and God’s realm. We render unto God those things we should. We deal with Man’s world as best we can, changing it when it takes us too far from, or tries to prevent us from, worshiping God . . .

    Krause says it’s more than that, though, based upon how God spoke to the issue in the Old Testament. Jesus is speaking a witticism which foils the trap his interrogators set for him regarding the payment of taxes. And he in no way contradicts the earlier message that all authority rests with God — even that part exercised by the state. If the state isn’t adhering to God’s will, it delegitimizes itself. 

    The bishops of Washington have chosen, rather than to lovingly and cautiously serve their people using their own (Spirit-inspired?) prudential judgement, to wait upon the secular authority to tell them if, when, and how the Catholics of Washington may worship. Some might even suggest they’ve made the choice in contradistinction to what President Trump ordered (open the churches as essential services) for political reasons (the first link in my post).

    • #8
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: This is likely to be a hotly debated assertion recently brought to the fore in the David French vs. Sohrab Ahmari debate.

    I’m with you WC, but perhaps I missed it. Which French/Ahmari debate? I saw the one over the drag queens reading to children. Was there another?

    No, it’s the same. French is inclined to the (secular) libertarian approach to government authority where Ahmari argues the only legitimate government authority is that which comports with our Judeo-Christian understanding of who God is — the Ultimate Authority. I’m totally using my own understanding of their positions to describe this and am not intending to speak for either of them.

    Would God want drag queens reading to children in public libraries? I don’t think so. The state would have legitimate authority to stop it, in my opinion. 

    On the other hand, the state has no authority to restrict if, when, and how churches conduct the practice of their respective faiths, and the bishops are wrong to look to the state to direct them. That’s my argument. 

    • #9
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    Again, 30% of US fatalities were in our nursing homes. Here in the USA, the nursing homes are little better than warehouses for the human beings incarcerated within them. Only difference is that an actual warehouse would not charge a family or MediCare Insurers $ 5k a month.

    I think reform of our Nursing home system is definitely in order. My mother is almost 87 years old and I had thought about her going into one eventually. She absolutely says no, and now after this I agree. I rather she die at home than under the care they provide.

    It’s terribly sad. The things we saw when we’d visit Ray and Linda in the Medicare facility in town. . . Terribly sad. So glad Linda is at home with her daughter now.

    • #10
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:27 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Manny Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    Again, 30% of US fatalities were in our nursing homes. Here in the USA, the nursing homes are little better than warehouses for the human beings incarcerated within them. Only difference is that an actual warehouse would not charge a family or MediCare Insurers $ 5k a month.

    I think reform of our Nursing home system is definitely in order. My mother is almost 87 years old and I had thought about her going into one eventually. She absolutely says no, and now after this I agree. I rather she die at home than under the care they provide.

    It’s terribly sad. The things we saw when we’d visit Ray and Linda in the Medicare facility in town. . . Terribly sad. So glad Linda is at home with her daughter now.

    My father spent the last year of his life (2006) in a nursing home. He had to be put on a ventilator (don’t ever smoke) and a nursing home was the only option. It was incredibly under staffed. My experience too – it wasn’t pretty.

    • #11
    • May 29, 2020, at 2:45 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Jeff Petraska Member
    Jeff Petraska Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Interesting post. I have a family member who, although a conservative Christian (or perhaps because), declared that he felt compelled not to protest our state governor, the notorious Gretchen Whitmer, because the Romans 13: 1-7 tells us to obey the leaders that God has placed to rule over us. He didn’t object to others doing it; he just made it clear that he wanted no part of it.

    • #12
    • May 29, 2020, at 5:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jeff Petraska (View Comment):

    Interesting post. I have a family member who, although a conservative Christian (or perhaps because), declared that he felt compelled not to protest our state governor, the notorious Gretchen Whitmer, because the Romans 13: 1-7 tells us to obey the leaders that God has placed to rule over us. He didn’t object to others doing it; he just made it clear that he wanted no part of it.

    This is a democratic republic. We are the leaders. This doesn’t mean he’s wrong. He’s just not earning any brownie points by not going.

    • #13
    • May 29, 2020, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jeff Petraska (View Comment):

    Interesting post. I have a family member who, although a conservative Christian (or perhaps because), declared that he felt compelled not to protest our state governor, the notorious Gretchen Whitmer, because the Romans 13: 1-7 tells us to obey the leaders that God has placed to rule over us. He didn’t object to others doing it; he just made it clear that he wanted no part of it.

    At some point the argument breaks down though, doesn’t it? What if your leaders insist that you worship idols? Or, in more contemporary instances, your leaders outlaw your church (many communist countries)? God gave us the faculty to reason and I think He wants us to use it when our leaders are so very wide of the mark.

     

    • #14
    • May 29, 2020, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Ray Kujawa Coolidge

    This is from the governor’s office:

    Inslee announces religious and faith-based services guidance

    Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for restarting religious and faith-based services for Phases 1 and 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.

    Beginning today, religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. In Phase 2, they can host up to 25% of their capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, as well as conduct in-home services of five people.

    “As I have said before, this crisis may affect our ability to physically connect but it should not affect our power to strengthen our emotional connections,” Inslee said during a press conference Wednesday. “I have been heartened to see the ways religious groups found to not only continue to connect, but to give back and to support their communities in this time of suffering and uncertainty.”

    The religious services covered include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings and funerals.

    The guidance is available ( ).

    I am unable to open any of the links in the email. I am subscribed to the governor’ office updates. Our county, Snohomish county, is lumped with King county and the other counties for later opening. We are only to Phase 1.

    A church or synagogue building exists to enable worshippers to commune protected from the elements. Roofs and walls generally help protect from the rain. This outdoor thing doesn’t work in the weather. Sound systems are devised for indoors. This is getting beyond ridiculous.

    I interpret that our governor is not heeding the instructions of our president to open the churches. We have plenty of people who understand how in the context of their own religious community how to manage risks. We are being treated like children.

    • #15
    • May 29, 2020, at 9:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ray Kujawa (View Comment):

    This is from the governor’s office:

    Inslee announces religious and faith-based services guidance

    Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for restarting religious and faith-based services for Phases 1 and 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.

    Beginning today, religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. In Phase 2, they can host up to 25% of their capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, as well as conduct in-home services of five people.

    “As I have said before, this crisis may affect our ability to physically connect but it should not affect our power to strengthen our emotional connections,” Inslee said during a press conference Wednesday. “I have been heartened to see the ways religious groups found to not only continue to connect, but to give back and to support their communities in this time of suffering and uncertainty.”

    The religious services covered include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings and funerals.

    The guidance is available ( ).

    I am unable to open any of the links in the email. I am subscribed to the governor’ office updates. Our county, Snohomish county, is lumped with King county and the other counties for later opening. We are only to Phase 1.

    A church or synagogue building exists to enable worshippers to commune protected from the elements. Roofs and walls generally help protect from the rain. This outdoor thing doesn’t work in the weather. Sound systems are devised for indoors. This is getting beyond ridiculous.

    I interpret that our governor is not heeding the instructions of our president to open the churches. We have plenty of people who understand how in the context of their own religious community how to manage risks. We are being treated like children.

    What ought to happen is Inslee and all the other power-mad governors self-quarantine and don’t come out until someone tells them they can.

    • #16
    • May 29, 2020, at 9:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Ralphie Member

    We know it isn’t important to most politicians. It is usually when they need the optics of going to church, adding in carrying their Bible that they like church. Or quoting a passage to make a political point, as Obama was want to do. I agree that render unto Ceasar is not blanket immunity from our own free will. Sorry, God, but Governor Whitmer knows better about when, where and how to gather, like putting those with a new virus in a gathering of the elderly and frail in nursing homes.

    Dietrich Bonehoffer did not submit, and it cost him his temporal life.

    ““The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil.”
    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison — 1967; 1997)

     

    • #17
    • May 30, 2020, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • 3 likes