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23 March 2022

Light on a Hill

Political leaders invoke “god” to validate their power over others, and they employ the most popular religions when doing so. Just as politicians pay lip service to “Judeo-Christian values,” so Caesar appealed to traditional Roman morality and deities for divine approval of his regime.

Too often, patriotism and religious faith become intertwined and even synonymous, and any lack of nationalistic fervor is equivalent to religious heresy.

And so today, many church leaders participate in this idolatrous religion, especially when partisan feelings run high. The inevitable result is the identification of God, Jesus, and Christianity with the nation-state, culture, and ideology.


And to maintain this fiction, presidents, kings, members of parliament and dictators claim their country is the “shining light set on a hill” that illuminates the rest of the world and shows humanity a higher way.

Well, politicians are not the most moral bunch, so one can almost appreciate their self-serving efforts to hijack Christianity in the pursuit of power and popularity. But it is an entirely different matter when “Christian” leaders join this blasphemous chorus line, proclaiming their nation the “light of the world” and the representative of God’s kingdom.

The heart of the issue is not whether any country, culture, or government is good, bad, or indifferent, or whether God champions democracy, autocracy, or socialism over other forms of government.

Rather, such statements contradict the claims of Jesus who declared that he is “the light of the world,” the only true representative of the God of the Bible. And on the lips of supposed men of God, attributing that role to anyone or anything other than the Nazarene constitutes blasphemy and idolatry.

His light which, theoretically, is reflected in his church is the true light that beckons men to be reconciled with God. Jesus of Nazareth gave his life for the entire world, not for just one nation, ethnic group, culture, or political system. The Bible labels him the “light of the world,” not western civilization, democracy, Karl Marx, or free-market capitalism.

That some church leaders and organizations embrace ideas about a nation or political system being the light demonstrates how far from the biblical ideal they have strayed in the pursuit of political influence.


There is no true light, liberty, peace, or life apart from Jesus. Scripture declares that his church transcends all national, cultural, and ethnic boundaries. It is the priestly kingdom commissioned by him to mediate his light in a very dark world. Super patriotism and other forms of state idolatry adopted by Christians will only hinder if not derail this mission.

Jesus did not establish his church to propagate any of the political ideologies of this age, but instead, to proclaim the good news of his kingdom throughout the earth.

Biblically speaking, his disciples are pilgrims in this world, and their true citizenship is in God’s kingdom. To be a loyal citizen of His realm means giving TOTAL ALLEGIANCE to its sovereign and Lord, and that leaves no room for dual citizenship or split loyalties. And according to the scriptures, sooner or later all the existing regimes of this age will cease to exist.

None of the present governments of the world has ever officially acknowledged, let alone submitted to the absolute lordship of Jesus. Therefore, whatever else they are, they are other than Christian.

Moreover, all existing nations and ideologies are part of the existing world order that has been judged already on Calvary. The forms and institutions of this age are, even now, in the process of “passing away.” Pastors and preachers who champion political causes and parties are “working for perishing meat.”

The immersion of many churches and Christians into partisan politics has diverted them from their paramount task - the proclamation of the gospel to all nations. And in doing so, their “lamp” fades as they cease reflecting the light of Christ and instead declare Caesar “lord” rather than Jesus.

This is not a call to passivity or disengagement from the world, but an exhortation for the church to reengage humanity with biblical means; namely, to become shining witnesses of Jesus of Nazareth.

His kingdom cannot be advanced by the ballot box, military might, or through economic and political power. Only men and women living cruciform lives submitted to the lordship of Jesus can and will reflect his bright light in this very dark world.