OK, that’s a big claim. So let me limit it a bit. “The most disobeyed commandment in the church in the last four months.”
Now, let’s see, what happened four months ago?
Oh, yes, President Obama won re-election.
But what’s that got to do with any commandment?
Well, try the fifth for size.
Honor my father and mother? Obama’s not my Dad.
No, but the fifth commandment covers all inferior-superior relationships, including that of citizen-President. As the Westminster Larger Catechism puts it:
By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth (A. 124).
Answer 125 goes on to explain that superiors like Presidents are called father and mother to make us more willing and cheerful in performing our duties to them, as if they were our parents!
worse, better, worse, whatever. Answer 127 tells us what honor we owe to the President:
- All due reverence in heart, word, and behavior
- Prayer and thanksgiving for them
- Imitation of their virtues and graces
- Willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels
- Due submission to their corrections
- Fidelity to, defense and maintenance of their persons and authority
- Bearing with their infirmities
- Covering them in love
Many Christians have shattered this commandment in a thousand pieces over the last four months, perhaps even over the last four years.
Sure, we must defend the sanctity of life and of marriage, but we must not do so at the expense of the fifth commandment. Since when do we get to pick and choose which commandments are most important and which are irrelevant?
Serious moral errors in some areas of government policy and practice are no excuse for failing to obey this commandment in all other areas.
Thankfully and mercifully, God offers forgiveness for this sin too – if we repent of it and believe in Jesus.
I’m guessing this will be the most unshared, unliked, and un-tweeted post I’ve ever written. But I’ll probably make up for that tomorrow when we’ll look at exceptions to the fifth commandment – what we should do when the Government tries to be God.
Update: Here’s a link to When Government tries to be God.