Devotional Thought for Today – 10/17/2020

I lay down this maxime of Divinity; Tyranny being a work of Satan, is not from God, because sin either habitul or actual, is not from God; the power that is, must be from God; the Magistrate as Magistrate, is good, in nature of office, and the intrinsically end of his office, Rom. 13:4. for he is the Minister of God for thy good; and therefore a power ethical, politic, or moral, to oppress, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power, and is no more from God, but from sinful nature, and the old serpent, then a license to sinne. Samuel Rutherford, Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince (1644), emphases added. Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince is available on the Puritan Hard Drive.

Governments have long oppressed religious freedoms.  The USA was supposed to be a safe haven for all religions (with the caveat that they did not break the laws of the land, human sacrifice and the like) but many have been oppressed.  So how can a “Christian” support the government? 

Jesus had an answer: 

Does not Christ confirm the lawful authority of the beast of Rome when He says, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22:21)? 

Answer: This question was proposed by the enemies of Christ (the Pharisees and the Herodians) in order to “entangle him” (Mt. 22:15). If Christ were to answer, “Render the tribute to Caesar”, the Pharisees (who strongly opposed Roman complicity) would have slandered Christ as a Roman sympathizer. However, if Christ were to answer, “Render not the tribute to Caesar”, the Herodians (who strongly supported Roman alliances) would have slandered him as being an avowed enemy to Caesar. But the Lord Jesus “perceived their wickedness” and essentially gave them a non-answer to their question. Since it was not an honest question, Christ did not play into their trap by answering their question. In fact, “they could not take hold of his words before the people” (Lk. 20:26). Even they could not clearly understand what He had said about the issue of paying tribute to Caesar. Thus, if the enemies of Christ couldn’t pin Him to an answer one way or the other (though they would have loved to), neither can any one living today conclude whether Christ condemned paying tribute to Caesar or commended it from His answer. Such evasion to entrapment was used by Christ on other occasions as well (cf. Mk. 11:27-33; Jn. 8:1-11). Even if Christ did endorse the paying of tribute to Caesar, that is not an oath of allegiance paid to Caesar, nor a declaration concerning the lawfulness of Caesar’s authority. For tribute exacted by an unlawful government is simply extortion required by a thief who threatens to take all your property if you don’t pay him part of your property. Furthermore, even foreigners and aliens pay taxes to nations in which they work without declaring any allegiance to the civil government of that nation. Thus, the payment of taxes is not an oath of allegiance.

– Greg Price, Biblical Civil Government Versus the Beast and the Basis for Christian Resistance (emphases added).


 Jesus makes it clear that our duty is to God, but we also have a responsibility to the government God has appointed over us. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. Romans 13:1

I encourage you to read our Sunday’s Sermon Series – Civil Government by using the search box. 


Other Resources:

The things that are God’s

What did Jesus mean when He said, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”?

Today in Church History

Baptist Union in Russia

Image result for Georgi Vins
Georgi Vins

“Baptists are particularly dangerous,” noted a Russian newspaper in 1972. “Every Russian Baptist tries to win adherents to his faith.” Indeed there was some truth to this, for Johann Gerhardt Oncken, one of the first German Baptists, taught that “every Baptist is a missionary” and it was through the testimony of German artisans sent by Oncken to Russia that the Baptist faith took hold in that nation. However, the real growth of Baptists in Russia came after World War I. Russian prisoners were taught by German missionaries and returned home to convert others. By 1950 there were an estimated 2,000,000 Russian Baptists. The largest proportion were in the Ukraine. The communists forced all evangelicals into a single union, the AUCECB.

Nikita Krushchev launched a major crackdown, accompanied by heavy propaganda, against all churches, especially the Baptists. This lasted from 1959-1964. The Communists urged that baptism be discouraged, that young people no longer be taught religion, and that ministers no longer try to win new converts but merely maintain the congregations they already had. When Metropolitan Nikolai of the Orthodox Church died, the leadership of the Evangelical-Baptist union began to give ground to the government. Nikolai had strengthened them by resisting Soviet demands; his death looked like murder.

Many Baptists were unwilling to capitulate. The held to their convictions that faith cannot be compromised and the gospel must be preached to others. In 1961 Baptists leaders formed a committee which challenged the union leadership. They called for sanctification of the church and urged local churches to discipline leaders who cooperated with the state. These Reform Baptists were largely descendants of the original Oncken Baptists. Their brave leader, A. F. Prokofiev, soon found himself in prison with 100 other evangelical leaders. Georgi Vins, who had worked beside him, stepped into the breach. A number of women formed a Council of Prisoner’s Relatives to make the world aware of the plight of their godly men.

On this date, September 18, 1965, the Baptists broke from their forced union with other evangelicals, forming their own organization, the CCECB–the Council of Churches of Evangelical Believers, Baptists. Georgi Vins was secretary.

Vins had no illusions about what it would cost him to take this stand. His father had been imprisoned and beaten before him. Vins was forced underground in 1970. Captured in 1974, he faced the same treatment as his father. Eventually a letter campaign won his release to the United States.

By their tough stand, Baptists forced concessions from the Soviet government. Much of the Krushchev legislation was rescinded. Restrictions were lifted from the AUCECB but left on the CCECB as the government tried to force the Baptist churches back into the all-faiths union.

Note after the collapse of the Soviet Union the peoples of Russia experience a period of unprecedented religious freedom. That freedom was short lived however as in the past 5 years stricter laws and crackdowns have become common place.  Please pray for the saints in Russia. – Mike