Posted on September 7th, 2015
No one can serve two masters, for either they will hate the one and love the other, or they will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
By now, you have surely heard of the Kim Davis case. Kim is a county clerk who asserts that she is following God by not granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Christians have differing opinions on the rightness of these marriage certificates, but they are frankly irrelevant: if a Christian is convicted that they cannot faithfully perform a job, then they should quit that job. If quitting that job puts them (& their family) in financial hardship, then it is the church’s job to surround them with support.
Within the Anabaptist tradition, Christians historically avoided working for the State. There were various reasons for this, including:
- refusing work that is based on coercion & violence
- refusing to take oaths
- refusing to wield power over others
(For more historical information, see the Schleitheim Confession.)
This stance has become less frequently embodied over the years, with many Anabaptists taking a more Quaker-like view (where peacemaking is mostly-focused on reducing killing and increasing harmony in interpersonal relationships, with less attention given to problems of outsourced violence and systems premised on threatened violence).
Yet, I bring up the example for two reasons. First, there is a church history of helping community members in need who are suffering for their beliefs. Second, because I believe that the aforementioned historical Anabaptist tradition is faithful. Christians are not meant to live by the sword and be shaped in the image of Caesar, but rather to strive to live by the cross and be shaped in the image of Christ.
Yet, this is not an individual problem. The degree to which a Christian is not willing to sacrifice for their convictions is also the degree of indictment of their church community. Lord have mercy.