Divided Loyalties, Misplaced Hopes

“Put Not Your Trust in Princes”

“By their fruits, ye shall know them,” our Lord once warned.  Too often, however, when it comes to the promise of power or the allure of success, Christians are easily swayed to align themselves with those who cry, “Lord, Lord,” yet are, in Jesus’ words, the “workers of iniquity.”  “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”  Maybe, some might answer, if the briar bush uses such words as “pro-life,” “compassionate,” and “God bless”—he must be one of us.  No, answers Jesus, “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,” and, no matter how many shibboleths are dropped, no matter how many platforms are affirmed, no matter how many endorsements from “our side” are proffered, we must witness the fruit.

Protestants have always affirmed that God places the sword in the hands of the king, who “beareth it not in vain,” and, thus, we are bound to obey our leaders, to pray for them, and to render them service as unto God.  The mistake comes, however, when we transform this obedience into blind loyalty to a regime or a party, resting our hopes for moral or spiritual renewal on men rather than on Christ and His Church.

The early English Reformers made this mistake, placing their trust in a man who, time and again, deceived them into thinking that he was on their side. ...

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