9/24/13. Taking Back City Hall: Christians Urged to Speak Up at City Council Meetings on ‘Duty to Obey God’. Heather Clark, Christiannews.net
“A Christian political columnist and TV/radio commentator has launched a national effort to ‘to make public officials aware of the fact that their first duty is to obey God and to administer His word.’
John Lofton works with the Institute on the Constitution, based in Pasadena, Maryland, and recently unveiled the “God and Government Project” out of his desire to make a difference in a nation that is uneducated in the Biblical origins of law and government.
“The God and Government Project is about being a witness,” he told Christian News Network. “Government is from God, and [the concept] is to tell our leaders, therefore, what is required of them as holders of government offices. And what is required of them is that they obey God–that they apply the law of God.”
Lofton is currently recruiting participants for the project, who will simply attend their city council or county commission meetings and read a prepared two-minute statement that advises the council of their duty before God.
“The original, true American view of civil government is the view that is expressed in the Bible, the book of Romans, chapter 13, which tells us that all legitimate authority is from God. And the powers that be, such as this council, are ordained by God,” one of the statements reads in part. “In fact, this passage of Scripture says that each one of you council members is a ‘minister’ of God–the word ‘minister’ is actually used in the text. Thus, your job is ministerial, to administer, to apply, God’s law.”
“Most of these governing bodies at the county or local level have a two-minute period at the beginning before the general or official meeting, where you can say most anything,” he explained. “What I urge [participants] is, ‘You’re there to witness.’”
Lofton recently took a group of students from the Institute on the Constitution to their local county council meetings to read these statements themselves during the public comment period.
“We had a twelve-week course on God and government. Six of it was in a lecture hall at our office, and for the other six, we took the students to the county council [meetings],” he explained. “At each meeting, three of our students one right after the other read two-minute statements. And at the next council meeting, three more read two-minute statements.”
Lofton said that although the majority of council members were professing to be followers of Christ according to their bios, none displayed any emotion to the comments.
“We couldn’t detect a whole lot of reaction other than they were just not pleased with it,” he said. “And most of the people on that council claim to be Christians; they go to some kind of church on the weekend.”
A Nation That Has Forgotten God
However, Lofton also noted that he finds that most government leaders profess to be Christians, yet have no clue as to their purpose in office, or are unaware that God expects anything of them at all.
“One of the most frustrating things is that the overwhelming majority of people who hold elected office in this country, at all levels of government–state, local, national–claim to be some kind of Christian,” he noted. “They’re in a building for at least an hour on Sunday all across this country and they know nothing about what their job is.”
“Over the years, I’ve interviewed scores of candidates and incumbents, and I have a few basic questions for office-holders and office-seekers, and that is, ‘What is the purpose of government and what is the origin of law?” Lofton explained. “The typical response I’ve received over the years is, ‘Well, it’s to serve the people.’ So, right away, I say the answer is off to a flying stop. It is not to serve the people. It is to first serve God. Godly government is good government.”
However, the former magazine editor also remarked that not only are politicians oblivious to their duties before God, but the majority of church-goers and pastors reject Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. He said that many often disagree that God has anything to do with politics.
“There’s only one alternative, and that is Godless government,” he asserted. “Christ says it a couple of different ways in Scripture, ‘You’re either for me or against me. There is no third way.’”
Lofton reflected back to when John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, was questioned by California Senator Diane Feinstein during his 2005 confirmation process about his beliefs regarding the separation of church and state.
“[M]y faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role in judging,” Roberts announced. “When it comes to judging, I look to the law books and always have. I don’t look to the Bible or any other religious source.”
Lofton said that the he thought Roberts’ reply was extremely disconcerting.
“God’s word is the ultimate law book,” he exclaimed. “What do you mean you look at law books and not the Bible?”
However, Lofton advised that he was not only grieved by Roberts’ response, but also by the lack of outrage from Christians.
“It caused no stir at all,” he lamented. “In modern-day America, one could get up there [for questioning]–not merely a Supreme Court justice, but the chief justice–and very unceremoniously take God’s word and throw it in the trash after spitting on it, and there wasn’t a ripple.”
Lofton also recounted a conversation he had earlier this year with Democratic candidate Karen Young, who is running for mayor of Frederick, Maryland.
“When I asked her about God and government, she got very angry. She wanted me to turn off the tape recorder and wondered why I was asking. She was running for the mayor of Frederick; what does God have to do with that?” he recalled her asking. “And she said this, ‘I will tell you that I have canvassed the city about five times in the last couple of years and nobody has asked me that question, and I have knocked on thousands of doors.’”
Lofton said that while Young’s response did not surprise him, it grieved him that no one cared about God–not even one person.
“To think that in the United States of America, you could knock on thousands of doors answered by thousands of people–the overwhelming majority of whom in tracking with national demographic polls had to be calling themselves Christians going to a building once a week for an hour–that not one person in their own way could raise ‘the God question’ is like an epitaph for this country,” he said. “That is sad.”
Lofton said that the situation shows how our nation has forgotten God, and pointed to Psalm 9:17, which states, “The wicked shall be turned into Hell and all the nations that forget God.”
He noted that many Christians are obtaining their philosophies from the world instead of the Bible–contending that God and government don’t mix, and voting for unGodly candidates with the excuse that they must vote for “the lesser of two evils.”
“Where do these ideas come from?” Lofton asked. “Well, we know where they don’t come from. … Sometimes I ask, ‘Where’s that in the Bible?’ and they look at me like, ‘What?’”
“There’s a Scripture that says that one of the things we’re to be about as Christians is to bring into captivity every thought to [the obedience] of Christ,” he continued. “If you do not read the Bible over and over; if you do not marinate yourself in the word of God, your mind will prowl all over the place, and you will be vociferously advocating thoughts and ideas that when I ask you, ‘Where’d you get that?’ you won’t know.”
‘God Calls Nobody to Do Nothing’
But Lofton said that for those Christians who are willing to take a stand for God’s law and educate their leaders on their duties as “ministers of God for good,” their efforts will be blessed by the Lord–even if they don’t see it in the physical realm.
“One guy who claimed to be a Christian told me, ‘It would be a waste of time,’” he recounted. “Well, Scripture says that God’s word never returns to him void. When you stand up before a governing body and you read your statement–which in some cases we literally quote Scripture–it’s never without effect.”
“I told this man, ‘O ye of little faith,’” Lofton stated. “Maybe it has an effect; maybe it has no effect that you can see with your eyes, but that’s not your purpose. Our purpose as Christians is to plant and to water, [but] it’s not to force some kind of increase. That’s God’s job.”
He advised that Christians must not be moved by the acceptance or rejection of the hearers, for the prophets of God were regularly rejected throughout Scripture.
“Maybe all five or ten councilmen will fall on the floor and start praising Jesus, … or maybe they’ll just sit there like totem poles–which is what my city council did–bored to tears and simply enduring my statement,” Lofton noted. “But so what? Jeremiah, more than 50 years probably, he had no converts. Talk about no church growth. How about that?”
Lofton, the co-host of the The American View radio broadcast, where he regularly speaks on the subject, asserted that there is only one thing that is a waste of time for Christians: to do nothing.
“God calls nobody to do nothing,” he said. “There’s no such command in Scripture.”
“You cannot simultaneously gripe about the bad things that are going on, and then when you have an opportunity to witness [do nothing],” Lofton exhorted. “Will you tell elected officials what God requires of them? Maybe part of the reason they’re Biblically illiterate on this topic is because you stayed home.”
To learn more, and to contact John Lofton, please visit The God and Government Project on Facebook.