“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
“If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:17-18).
From beginning to end the Bible warns against making up our own version of God’s word. Don’t add; don’t take away; read it and believe it. Since God’s word is the revelation of Himself, making up our own version of the Bible is the same as making up our own versions of God.
One could argue that world history is an account of mankind’s rebellion to this principle and God’s punishment of that effort. Culture after culture arose only to be destroyed as the pride of each led it into disastrous and ultimately destructive policies. Culture, after all, is simply a reflection of the underlying religion that its people have in common. Why wouldn’t God punish false religions?
Today, there’s no more obvious idolatry than the faith exhibited in political government to save us. Could the economically suicidal covid lockdowns have occurred without a massive majority of the world believing in the pronouncements of government officials in white coats?
Even the polarization of the U.S. into the camps of MAGA and anti-MAGA shows that Americans are obsessed with salvation by politics. “Trump will save us!” “No, Bernie is right!” The powers behind both sides have to be absolutely delighted with this obsession. After all, the ruling uni-party of Demopublicans & Republicrats can do whatever they want behind the scenes when the “people” are focused on the kabuki theater of January 6th hearings and the almost intelligible utterances of our drooler-in-chief. Does anyone even notice that the billions spent on “Ukraine” actually end up in the coffers of the military-industrial deep state actors that run the government?
Most importantly, they’re delighted because the middle has been eliminated and the extremes are at each other’s throats. Conservative now equals MAGA. Liberal now equals communist. And politics and political parties are still the primary concern of the country.
The Bible is pretty clear that there’s only one Savior – Jesus Christ – and that reliance on any other god is leaning on a weak reed. Trump is a weak reed. Any politician is a weak reed that we dare not turn to.
It’s certainly fair to note that current political regimes are destroying the fabric of society. Because of that, it’s been tempting to have confidence in the political opponents of the vandals in power, the most prominent of which is Donald Trump. But the adoring crowds at Trump rallies barely, if ever, question themselves about their allegiance. Would these crowds turn out for Jesus? Where’s the discernment?
Another thing to note is that the destruction of society is actually the destruction of the Christian roots of our culture. Things like the rule of Law, the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage and family, a common language where words mean the same thing to all people, the safeguarding of children, and common civility are all Christian virtues and are all under attack. Decent people instinctively understand this and are horrified by the attack and its on-going consequences.
Christians unambiguously understand the purpose (antipathy toward Christ) and react against it. But to whom do we turn? Are we blending our desire for a return to Christian roots with a desire to return to Donald Trump? There is a horrifying meme floating around on the internet that says something like, “God doesn’t choose perfect men, He chooses men perfect for the job” which is superimposed on a picture of Donald Trump. The message is clear – God has sent us Trump. Yikes! (A clearer message may be that God has sent us Biden, but that’s a different editorial.) Trump may or may not be encouraging this Christian connection – if he is, then he is a false teacher. If not, then is he being exploited for political purposes?
False gods and false teachers are a fact of history. The lies started in the Garden of Eden (“Did God really say…?”) and continue to the present. Among the most seductive of false teaching today is the so-called prosperity gospel or name-it-and-claim-it ministries. These teachers are warned against in the Bible many times. 2 Peter 2:3 describes them, “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words….” Given their greed, they have seen the MAGA phenomenon and latched onto it. After all, where there’s a crowd, there’s money.
Both sides of today’s political spectrum have promised comfort and ease for several generations. The new apostles of health and wealth promise the same thing in the name of God. What’s worrisome is that they seem to be fueling a tight association of their “church” to a political party. Christ’s true Church has enough problems without adding this one. We’ve been silent too long about the Lordship of Christ which has created the ignorance allowing all the nonsense, political and religious, we see around us.
I opened with the idea that the canon of Scripture is closed. God has spoken and now we’re supposed to work it out. The health and wealth prophets are “daring, self-willed [and] do not tremble when they blaspheme….” (2 Peter 2:10). They are adding to God’s word and bring the way of truth into disrepute. There’s a lot more profit than prophet about it. Do political conservatives really want to be associated with it?
The canon of Scripture, when faithfully expounded, will bring about the societal change that decent people want. That’s God’s promise. Christ isn’t called the Prince of Peace for nothing. False teaching and political idolatry will both be judged – also God’s promise. The true Church needs to regain her footing and lead. It will not be easy to wrest the attention of people from the allure of politics and other false promises, but we’d better get busy with it.
Doing so requires knowing this:
- Politics cannot save us; it’s politics that got us here.
- “Republican” does not equal “Christian.”
- Test the spirits of those who call themselves Christian; you will know them by their fruits.
- Christ, not man, is King.
John Bingaman serves as an elder at Independence Reformed Bible Church (www.irbc.church) in Lancaster County. He also serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society. John lives with his wife, Beth, their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren near Reading, PA.