Spiritual alarm bells are not always heard by the masses. In the turning of a cultural tide, the glaring clang of alarm will be heard by those whose ears are tuned to the sound of freedom. If culture-wide deafness goes on for too long, a nation can miss a God-given opportunity to turn its developing history away from a negative outcome.
Most of us want to be hopeful people, but there is a problem in our understanding of hope. The majority of our definitions of hope were developed in times of stability, not jeopardy. This kind of hope is not a challenged hope and, thus, remains an untested and unproven hope.
I remember when Jan and I lived in Berlin, Germany. I can recall the times I would ride my bicycle by the childhood home of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who saw what was taking place in his homeland and would later feel called to confront the emerging influence of Hitler and the Nazi Party. His opposition to Hitler eventually caused him to be hung on the gallows within the walls of the concentration camp of Flossenbürgon on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before the U.S. military arrived to liberate the camp. Bonhoeffer was hung for sounding an alarm while the sheep-like obedience of the German people, and sadly many in the clergy, walked in lockstep to the unrighteous mandates of the government.
An alarm is currently sounding in the streets of our nation. If we cannot hear that sound, we may have succumbed to the very thing Bonhoeffer felt called to challenge. Going along with every government mandate is not wisdom; it is a weak and unbiblical submission of our will to servitude.
At this point in the conversation, someone will always point to Romans 13 and say we must submit to the governing authority. While that is true most of the time, it is not true all the time, especially when the destiny of a nation is being derailed. A simple rereading of the biblical text can be a needed refresher where we see the earliest disciples saying to those in positions of power, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29).
The courageous response of Peter and the apostles when they were told to remain silent is what we need in this hour of our national history – obedience to God, not to the dictates of a religious organization or the mandates of a government who might be abusing its authority. That kind of raw and courageous obedience can get your credibility hung on the gallows of public opinion, or worse.