Christians and civics…it’s always been a tough balancing act, all through the history of the church. We belong to an invisible kingdom, and swear loyalty to an invisible King…yet we acknowledge the rulers of the world we live in, obeying and respecting them. Often times, these two kingdoms collide and we are required to make choices…do I obey one over another? Only as it touches eternal things. When it comes to money or rights or freedom…the attitude of the early church as well as the NT is one of peaceful submission. But when it touches eternal issues of fidelity to God, or morality…no choice can be made except to follow God.
It’s interesting that this tension traces all the way back to the beginning.
While other people use whatever loophole they can find, we Christians have been taught by Christ to pay all the taxes you determined we owe; both routine taxes and any special toll you deem appropriate. We believe this because once someone asked Jesus if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, and He answered, “Whose image has been stamped on the coins we use to pay taxes?”
They answered, “Caesar’s image.” So He said to them, “Then this money belongs to Caesar, let him have it back. You bear God’s image, so see to it you give to God what belongs to Him.”
That’s why we strive to worship God alone with our lives, but we’re happy to give you back your money, whatever you say you want. We acknowledge that you are the kings and rulers of this Empire, and we pray for you, that you will rule us with wisdom and judge our case fairly. I realize that our prayers for you and our pleading with you still may not persuade you to judge our case on the facts. That won’t altar our course or change our confessions. We believe that you too will owe something to God one day; you too will be called to give account, and your decision here will determine your fate in that day. Forever-fire awaits those who reject God’s grace. You’ve been granted power over men on this earth, and God will require an account of how you used that power. As He said, “Those who had a lot given to them in this life will have a lot to answer for in the end.”
Chapter XVIII.-Evidence of Immortality and the Resurrection.
Everyone dies. Even kings die the way everyone else does. All through history, kings live and then die naturally (unless they are brought an untimely death by immoral men who grasp for power). Either way, everyone dies. Then what? We have five senses while we live, and how we use those senses, whether ruled by them or submitting them to God, determine our state after this life is through. Don’t be quick to roll your eyes or shrug your shoulders at the thought of what comes after this life. You must admit that deep down you believe there is something more, beyond.
Listen to the necromancers, the magicians, the fortune tellers who forecast through unborn children, the psychics, mediums, spiritualists, warlocks, druids and all of those who are trained and attuned to spiritual matters. All of them with one voice attest to some kind of existence after this life. There is the evidence that some are seized and controlled by some other force; some say spirits of the dead, some say demons, but all consider them controlled by something. There are the reports of an afterlife from those you call oracles; Amphilochus, Dodana, Pytho, and many others. There are the opinions of an afterlife that come from famous authors such as Empedocles, Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates. There’s the tale of Ulysses and the Pit of Homer; there are actually so many stories that contain affirmations of the afterlife that we can’t list them all here.
You grant so many leniencies to all these various perspectives on spirituality and life after death; this same leniency is all we ask for since we are far more passionate about our conviction concerning God and judgment than any of those listed. Because we believe God is so big, it’s not impossible for us to think that after we die He could raise us from the dead, even though we are long buried and forgotten.