Here’s my answer: yes and no!


When I heard that an American had won a gold in Korea, I was happy. Elated? No. I’d probably be as glad if some underdog from Zimbabwe had won. Healthy patriotism, not overdrawn, probably helps us fulfill Paul’s admonition to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions” (I Timothy 2:2), a duty incumbent upon Christian citizens of a nation. So we pray for our leaders whether they are to our liking or not, just as Paul did.

It’s normal to appreciate the culture of one’s country. Culture is an expression of a nation’s art forms, like dance or music. National boundaries are God-given (Acts 17:26), and we will see the best of culture in the new earth (Revelation 22:24-26). Just as it is natural to appreciate one’s family of origin more than the neighbor’s, it is also understandable to meet someone from the States in Uzbekistan and feel a connection. We are brothers in a national sense. We don’t stop and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” together, but we are fellow Americans, and it feels good. We have some things in common. We express our patriotism by pledging allegiance to our nation or voting for the candidates of our choice without letting it tamper with our highest allegiance.


Patriotism to the extreme morphs into nationalism, the demonic side of love for country. Think Nazi. Ultimately, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). We bow the knee only to the King! Jesus gave no time to the zealots and their desire to throw off the Romans, though He did bring one on as a disciple. Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36). So in that absolute sense, Christians are a-political. Our highest loyalty is to the King over all kings and the Lord over all lords. If government tries to interfere with our submission to the King, “we must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).

However, that can be taken to an extreme. I know some Christians who are hiding out in the hills of Kentucky (literally), who do not pay taxes because they consider it idolatry. Wrong. Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). And Paul said to pay “taxes to whom taxes are owed…honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7). That honor, surprisingly, even included a pagan emperor (I Peter 2:17). So we do the dance between turning patriotism into an idol or turning other-worldliness into gross disobedience.

Healthy patriotism and love one one’s country is downplayed by globalization, an international outlook, political and economic. God answered the first attempt of total globalization, the tower of Babel, by dispersing “them from there over the face of the earth” (Genesis 11:8). National identity is God’s idea, and it is likely to have an expression in eternity.


HE IS APPOINTING GOOD JUDGES, those with pro-life and pro-family values. He brought Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court, a great move for the future of America.

HE IS MAKING GREAT DECISIONS REGARDING TAXES. I have long regarded some forms of taxation, like the income tax, as unjust. Hey, he agrees. He is making progress on changing inequitable tax laws.

HE IS PROUD OF AMERICA. President Obama seemed more interested in globalism than Americanism. He did not encourage patriotism, nor did he go out of way to encourage the military. President Trump supports our troops and says so publicly.  He wants to take better care of our veterans. He speaks with optimism about America. Obama was cautious to the point of being critical. He would sometimes side with those who were ripping into America rather than supporting it. President Trump is not afraid to be patriotic, and that strikes a positive chord with people who love our land and pray for our leaders. Did I like His SOTU speech? Very much. I was proud of him for being himself, for being bold, tender, patriotic, and God-honoring.

HE IS BOLD, a positive quality. Sometimes “bold” turns into “brash,” as it can for President Trump, and then it is not a strength. He knew he would not be popular in the United Nations when he chose to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, supporting it as the capital of Israel. He did what was right, not what was popular. I affirm that courage. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had promised before their election to transfer the embassy but chose not to when in office.

HE IS A BUSINESSMAN. Abraham Lincoln said that we needed more non-professionals in government. Trump has made some great moves to clean up the bureaucracy. Do we need it? Ask a doctor how much time is spent filling out papers. Or a school teacher. Liberal politicians want more government control, and it has been squeezing the life out of America. They did it in California and ruined the state. Trump is attempting to deregulate the system. Good for him. The economy is booming. He is helping to set businesses free from government restrictions.

HE BELIEVES IN PRAYER. Members of Donald Trump’s cabinet are gathering weekly for Bible study and prayer. He sometimes closes messages by referring to God. Good for him and Malania.

Am I proud of everything he does? No, but I am far more proud of what he is doing than what the predecessor was doing or what Hillary Clinton would have been doing. I wish he was better at bringing the two sides together. He often polarizes rather than uniting. He is not an Abraham Lincoln, who knew how to wisely use those who disagreed with him. He is not a Ronald Reagan, who as a conservative won the respect from many liberals in Congress. I hope he can grow as a unifying statesman. He has some excellent people around him, like Vice President Pence. Partially because of his past and also because he is sometimes a loose cannon, he probably won’t become an icon, but I say, “So far, so good!”


So, we are told to pray for and submit to our government. That helps it do what it is called to do, keep the peace and punish offenders, so Christians can do what they are called to do–represent the invisible God on earth. And what if government does not do its job?

Government is ordained by God to be a terror to bad conduct. When it is slack in its execution of lawbreakers, lawlessness increases. “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). When protesters are not punished for damaging people and property, other protesters get courageous and do their violent thing. Before too long you have anarchy, literally no government, mob rule. Think Venezuela! Very sad!

Where was the government earlier this month when violent protesters were not apprehended? Call in the national guard. Do not let people break the law without paying. Otherwise, they will break the law in other ways and other places. “If you do wrong, be afraid, for he [government] does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4).

Good government enables us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life” (I Timothy 2:2). Bad government invites crime. If people can do wrong without fear, wrong just got popular. I watched riots in LA streets on TV as a young person. People were breaking windows and running off with stereos and televisions. Where were the marines or the army? When breaking the law becomes entertainment, the government is not doing its job.

Nazi Germany killed the innocent and protected the guilty. Dietrich Bonhoeffer attempted an overthrow of the government. Was he right? Absolutely. Lutherans and Catholics were keeping their mouths shut. By their silence they supported an illegitimate government. They should have risen up, spoken up, and formed an anti-government coalition. Thank God for those who defied the government and provided asylum for Jews, doing what the government was assigned to do but violated, like Corrie ten boom and her Dutch family who provided a hiding place. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that coaches can’t pray or make religious gestures on the field after a game. They went too far. Coaches across the nation should defy the law and exercise their constitutional freedom–to keep our freedoms.

The North Korean government supports one person–the insane president. He has an illegitimate autocracy, “the rule of one.”   When government either does wrong according to the law of God or protects those who do wrong, it must be resisted. At that point “we must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).  The three men who chose not to bow down to the image of the king said, “Be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:18). Pretty bold. God stood behind their disobedience. The king reversed his decision and gave the un-torched men a promotion.       

Daniel interpreted the vision of the oriental despot, then boldly urged the king: “Break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed” (Daniel 4:27). Not your normal communication to a dictator. He gave an even stronger word to Balshazzar, reading the script on the wall and telling him that days are numbered and his kingdom was about ended (Daniel 5). We thank God for stable government in America and pray it stays this way.


“Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). God deserves our absolute obedience–now and forever. But we have a double loyalty according to Jesus. We “render to Caesar [government] the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). Jesus legitimized the authority of government.

Nations are part of the plan of God for people to live together peacefully. Boundaries have been established by God (Acts 17:26). He loves national identities. The new earth will feature cultural diversity in all its radiance (Revelation 21:24).

Globalism is not in the plan of God, but it seemed to me to be in the plan of the former president. It is the plan of Satan. (So is hyper-nationalism. Think Nazi). Globalism will reach fruition under the antichrist, and by God’s allowance he will succeed–for three and a half years. The King will destroy his plans by His return to earth.

Paul addressed the Christian’s relationship to government in two letters. He wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Timothy 2:1-3). As people who carry two passports, we show our allegiance to our earthly state first of all through prayer.  Before Paul instructed Timothy on matters of worship, leadership, eldership, widows, and finances, he exhorted him concerning the priority of prayer for government leaders. Must be important. God help us.

We pray for civil leaders so the gospel can go forth unhindered. Paul saw a great advantage with peace–free movement in the Roman Empire. He used his citizenship when he needed protection from religious leaders (Acts 22:28).

In Paul’s longest doctrinal letter, he again addressed the issue of the state. His opening line: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1). How do we function as citizens? By submitting, a word Paul used often when talking about relationships–elders to congregation, husband to wife, parents to children, employer to employee. God exercises His authority in the earth through human authority, and that includes government. Paul saw himself in a place of submission to the government that was serving the purpose of God. Protesters don’t get it.

To be subject includes paying “taxes to whom taxes are due…honor to whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7). Is honor due to anyone who happens to be leading? No. The government of North Korea is not a servant of God. The pagan government of Rome was.

God is concerned for the proper ordering of society, not just the church. The function of the government and the church are radically different. The government is commissioned by God to provide safety for its citizens. They bear the sword and execute God’s wrath on wrongdoers (Romans 13:4). Don’t expect the government to support the church, but neither should they attack the church. They should do what they are called to do (keep the peace and punish the rowdies) so that the church can do what it is called to do. Let’s pray for good government!