My title could also be: “What Happens When a People Forget Their History.”
In Ancient Rome, shortly after the Flavian Emperors began their dynasty (circa A.D. 80), the Roman government began to come down very hard on other peoples. Whereas the Empire had once been quite tolerant of the nations they’d conquered, they now felt it necessary to “unite” their dwindling imperial influence by striking their iron fist down on dissenters. Such were the Christians of the Empire.
The Empire didn’t seem to ask much of the Christians– Christians had to place just a simple pinch of incense into the town square censer, and say aloud that “Caesar is Lord” (i.e., “Caesar is the supreme ruler of my reality”). But the Christians wouldn’t, not even to save their lives. Doing so would not only be a reproach against their individual consciences, but would be a reproach against the truth and those publicly witnessing the profession. The Roman authorities viewed this dissent as a threat to their empirical unity and sought to squelch this “contagion of superstition.” (Ironically, it was the Empire’s extreme moral decay and lust for luxury that was bringing down their world, not Christianity).
And Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather then men.The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. …Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” First letter of Peter 1:13-17
And He [Jesus] said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21
“…what is to be done when the state does that which violates its legitimate function? The early Christians died because they would not obey the state in a civil matter. People ofetn say to us that the early church did not show any civil disobedience. They do not know church history. Why were the Christians in the Roman Empire thrown to the lions? From the Christian’s viewpoint it was for a religious reason. But from the viewpoint of the Roman State they were in civil disobedience, they were civil rebels. The Roman State did not care what anybody believed religiously; you could believe anything, or you could be an atheist. But you had to worship Caesar as a sign of your loyalty to the state. The Christians said they would not worship Caesar, anybody, or anything. Thus to the Roman Empire they were rebels, and it was civil disobedience. That is why they were thrown to the lions.” Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto
Secular humanists and atheists don’t seem to understand the deep-seated convictions of Christians. They don’t seem to realize that Christians are convinced that there is more to life than matter and energy; there is such a thing as universal law, as truth, and as God. Some folks would just as lie and pinch the incense and get a pat on the back than seek out and stand up for truth. “Dying for a principle?! How silly!” they say. Yet Humanists can’t prove a blasted thing; but they call Christians silly!
The United States of America is a free nation because men stood on the principle that God created men free. Just because all men were not free did not negate that reality: God made men free. And these men were willing to die for that principle. They didn’t fight the War for Independence to avoid taxes. They fought it because they were FREE MEN, defending their freedom from tyranny. How those men are regaled in textbooks, but tsk tsk those silly Christians! They should have pinched the incense and preserved their miserable little lives, right?
I think we’ve been asleep for a long, long time– in this country but also in many (formerly) free countries of the West. What will become of us? All Caesar is asking for is a little pinch and a little recognition. Come on– bow down– no one’s looking. And it won’t make any difference if you fudge a little, will it? After all, the TV show is on and the “intelligent” agnostics are watching! What will we do?
Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us and not we ourselves.” Psalm 100:3