On Wednesday Joseph Biden was sworn in as your next President, ‘Merica. And the first reply I heard to that was, “Not my president.” Can, should, need a Christian say that? Not every Christian would say that. But for those who feel this inauguration was illegitimate, ignoble, and – since we’re alliterating – illicit and invalid, what should we say?
Well, since we’re all good ‘Mericans here, let’s start with a baseball analogy. The first thing you have to learn, when you’re playing the outfield, is to take your first step backward, when the ball is hit at you. If you don’t, you will inevitably misjudge the ball’s trajectory, and it will go over your head. Then the other team will score. And you will be embarrassed.
In the same way, when complex political situations are hit at us, situations that our country has not had to face in generations (ever?), we have to learn to take our first step back, into God’s Word, for perspective, and for wisdom. Our first problem is not that the ball was hit to us – that’s part of the game. Our first problem is that we need to learn the footwork necessary to catch it.
So then, stepping back into Scripture, we see some fascinating details. In the Old Testament, one could argue that the very existence of the northern kingdom, after Solomon’s death, was illegitimate. And yet Scripture treats it as a nation (“Israel”). And just to complicate things, let’s remember Solomon’s path to the royal line was not exactly “legitimate” itself. It’s complicated.
Or take how the Bible refers to Caiaphas, the high priest who illegally executed Jesus. He held his post illegitimately: sometime between the Old Testament and the New, the “high priest” position became a political appointment, instead of following the line from Aaron. You can read about those appointments here. It’s yucky. And yet the Bible refers to Caiaphas, without qualification, as the “High Priest”. 1
When it comes to political positions in the Bible, possession seems to be 9/10th’s of the law. So even when it’s by hook AND by crook, the Bible would say Joe Biden is “president”. He occupies that office.
Which, sometimes, turns out well. The Old Testament records legitimate kings screwing things up, and bastard-kings of coups doing right by the people. And the opposite, of course: it also records legitimate kings doing well (looking at you, Josiah), and bastard-kings of coups mucking things up, well, royally.
You Tell that Non Compos Mentis Fox . . .
But that’s not the end of the story. While Scripture refers to Herod – another illegitimate leader – as the Tetrarch and master of Israel, we also hear John the Baptist publicly calling him out for his evil, scumbag move of taking his brother’s wife – among other evil moves (Luke 3:18-20). And when Jesus hears that Herod wants to kill him, Jesus calls him “that fox”, and basically tells him, “You want me? Just try to come and get me before it’s God’s time. Just try it” (Luke 13:31-35). We hear Peter and Paul both telling us to submit to governing authorities, legitimate or not, and yet throughout the book of Acts, neither completely submits to their evil edicts. Scripture ends with both as wanted men, their faces on the wall of the post offices in Jerusalem and Rome.
The Bible doesn’t get too hung up on how people get into power. It’s not that it’s not important. It’s just not as important as what a man or woman (looking at you, Athaliah) does in that position, whether it be good or evil:
It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
for the throne is established by righteousness. Proverbs 16:12 2
Some of us must relearn how to see the world this way. We’re not to get lost in patriotic fervor for rhetoric, but neither are we to disparage and bitterly oppose, just because of rhetoric. What matters most is whether a leader acts according to righteousness, as defined by the Bible. And sometimes we are surprised by who does which: Solomon humbly prayed for wisdom, and ended his days oppressing his people with heavy burdens. In the end it’s not the clothes that make the man, but what he3 does in those clothes that matters.
The same principle applies to culture, which is upstream from politics. We are ruled by the mob. In our system, if enough regular folk decide that we should euthanize all Down’s Syndrome people over the age of 65, because their care is so costly, the Supreme’s will find it somewhere in the Constitution. Their light will lead us, into the deepest evil.
No Way Jose
Where does the buck stop? With ordinary Christians, in their homes, and their schools, gathered in their churches. When our country is faced with insane, capricious evil, evil that’s enshrined in our laws, or that emanates like dark matter from the Oval Office, well, now we’ve got something to disown. You may be my President, but dear Mr. Fox, that’s not my law. No way, Jose.
Leave alone the fact that your new President has already acted to fund and expand the blood-sacrifice industry of killing babies internationally, to feed the voracious gods of personal choice.4 Leave that aside, if you can, and take instead his other Day One Executive Order that requires federally-funded schools to allow “transgender” boys to compete in girls’ sports. The logic is similar to that of abortion: I am god; I define who and what I am; and I alone decide what I do with my body; and the rest of all y’all have to go along with it. And just as with abortion, it will ironically be women who pay a heavy price. Those girls lucky enough to escape the womb will be faced with a confused, predatory sexual culture, and when they try to escape it through sports, a boy with lipstick will be waiting for them at the starting line. Girls, and boys, are so disposable under the churning machine of the woke gospel.
It’s been said that church and politics should remain separate. But that’s impossible when kings and presidents tinker with and destroy the image of God on their first day in office. Because President Biden just ran headlong into another reality: Christ is risen from the dead. He is King. There is no square inch of God’s green earth over which Jesus does not say “mine”. And unlike the emperors-with-no-clothes of our age, He does not require boys and girls to become disposable in order to advance His agenda. Instead he made himself disposable, dying on a cross, for boys and girls, and for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
19 . . . will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope. Matt. 12:19-21
Because we live under this King, we can say, “Sure, Joe Biden is my president” – and yet resolve to never agree with or cooperate with evil. For we serve and are provided for by a King who brooks no rivals, and yet who breaks no bruised reeds. Those whose light smolders in this suffocating age will find in him oxygen for their souls. And those who hope in his name will never need to identify as a different gender to get a victory. For He brings real justice to victory for us, for girls and boys alike.
C’Mon Man! Kiss the Son!
So then, Mr. Biden, you are our President. And regardless of how you got to the Resolute Desk, you now have the chance to be established – if you rule in righteousness, defined by God and His Word. But your only hope for that righteousness is in this risen King. Bow your knee to him. Give Him glory. For outside of him, there is only chaos and darkness, no matter what else you do. And as much as you foment this chaos and darkness, remember that it eats its own. We are all disposable before it.
And yet the chaos itself is disposable. By Jesus the King’s resurrection power, all the boys and girls who walk in Him will grow up strong and wise, courageous and useful. This King carries them in his train, and in him they are able to rebuild the ruins left by all who seek to de-God God and, in the process, tear down civilization. He will rule, and only in his kingdom is justice pure and our hope sure.
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:10
- I adapted this line of thinking from Doug Wilson’s article, here: https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/illegitimate-times.html
- Or she? The Bee says six weeks: https://babylonbee.com/news/biden-sees-shadow-predicting-six-weeks-of-being-president
- I’ve heard it said that abortions go down under Democrat administrations, and up under Republican ones. This is not true. The U.S. rate of abortion dropped the last four years – for various reasons, and most were probably not Trump’s doing. Yet Mr. Biden’s action on his first day in office will surely increase the number over the next four years, around the world.