When Christians Replace the First Commandment with an Eleventh Commandment

May 23, 2024 by David Fowler

When Christians Replace the First Commandment with an Eleventh Commandment
I’ve learned that idolatry is a subtle thing. I was once a political idolator. The idolatry was presented in the form of an Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak evil against a fellow Republican.”  Sometimes Republicans do evil that needs to be spoken to by Christians who put first the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And when Christian organizations elevate the Republican Party over Christ, that is an evil about which I cannot be silent.
That happened this week when I saw that a national Christian organization was hosting a “Road to the Majority” event, meaning a Republican majority. It grieved me for the sake of Christ. (My reaction would be the same if a Democrat majority were the object of a Christian organization’s event.)
I’ll get straight to the point: To think that any kind of “victory” in any Christian sense of the word comes by and through the election of a Republican majority is a repudiation of both the person and the work of the Christ of Christianity.
And, please, don’t tell me that this organization does not anticipate or hope for some kind of victory from a Christian perspective if Republicans are in the majority. Organizations don’t do things for no reason related to the nature and purpose of the organization.
I suspect the idea is that a Republican majority will help set America on a Christian or more Christian course. Maybe it’s something less bold. Perhaps it is simply wanting America to proceed on a more ethical course.
But anything and any ethic apart from Christ is not Christian. And a Christless anything always leads to death if Scripture is to be believed.
The Triune God is never to be confused with the Republican Party, not even in Tennessee.
I will concede that the Triune God is free to use whomever He wishes to bring about the reconciliation of Heaven and Earth (Ephesians 1:10) after both angels and mankind rebelled against Him, but to put hope in any political party apart from Christ’s person and work is to erect an idol and attribute to it an independent power to do something.
But it seems odd to me to put hope in a Republican Party that, at the federal level, acquiesces to a mother killing the unborn child God brought into being in her womb and, at the federal and state level, cares not a bit about the redefinition of the marital relation that God established as the predicate for civilization.
The prospect that this kind of Republican Party would usher in what God would call good and that His people would long to see seems more closely aligned with how God used Pharaoh to usher in the salvation of His captive people.
How could this be a “denial of the person and work of Christ?”
To help with this question, consider how you would answer this fundamental question about Christ presented by Scripture:
In principle, have all things, including political parties, be made subject to the incarnate, resurrected Jesus—a forever perfected human nature conjoined with the Second Person of the Triune God, who is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, Almighty, until all things are, in fact, made like a footstool to go under His feet?
I don’t expect a non-Christian to affirm that proposition. And I can appreciate that any who equate that kind of Jesus with the Republican Party would be horrified by the prospect of being put under its boot as a final authority.
But for those Christians who might hesitate to answer, “Yes,” I would commend a comparison of the wording in the question to Psalm 2:7-9, 110:1-2, 5-6; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15: 25-28; Ephesians 2:20-22; Colossians 2:15; and Hebrews 2:8-9, 10:12-13. I don’t see how those verses can be read and the answer not be “Yes.”
If, then, the content of that question describes the person and work of Christ and if our country can be set right by a Republican majority apart from Him, there is a Christological problem. Without this Christ, Christianity is just inanity (see 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”).
What is the Christological Problem?
Scripture declares that victory over the fruits of the rebellion against God being manifested in us, individually and collectively, is only in the person and through the regenerating work of Christ.
If conquering the fruits of this rebellion can be done apart from the person and work of Christ, then His incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and subsequent pouring out of the Holy Spirit beyond the bounds of ethnic Israel were, in principle and in fact, unnecessary.
This is a form of the ancient heresy of Pelagianism, i.e., Adam’s sin did not, at least in principle, render us incapable of being Holy without the person and work of Christ. Pelagians would think all we need is help from the Republican Party to get us there. 
In sum, if Christians are to be hated, I would rather it be for who we declare Jesus to be, for aligning our lives to the righteousness He reveals, embodies, and imparts by the Spirit, and seeing what He does by that means than for aligning Christ with today’s Republican (or Democrat) Party.
I may vote for a Republican, but only because it is like marrying the least mean and ugly of the options available to me. I’m not sailing on a Republican ship of state but on an ark that the greatest floods in history could not sink (1 Peter 3:20-22).
In time, I fully expect God to judge the Republican Party and its leadership and all those who put a Christ-denying confidence in them for their insubordination to Christ (same goes for the Democrat Party, its leadership, and its worshippers).
The only saving intervention will come through their repentance. Otherwise, their judgment will be just another part of the process, still unfolding, of God subduing all those who are the “enemies” of Christ.
I’m praying for true repentance respecting the person and work of Christ to sweep through churches and our nation. May it come quickly.
Philippians 3:17-18
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. (emphasis supplied)

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