Friday, September 8, 2006

No surprise that Christians put God before country, Mohler tells TIME

By Jeff Robinson

Many Evangelicals believe their primary allegiance is to the Kingdom of God and not the kingdom of man because it is the teaching of the New Testament, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in an article posted this week on, the website of TIME magazine.

The article, "God or Country?" analyzes the results of a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center which reveals that 42 percent of American Christians view their allegiance to God as taking precedence over their commitment to their country.

While the article's author David Van Biema expresses surprise that some evangelicals would choose "God first," Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, pointed out that when believers express their allegiance to God, they are simply following the teaching of Scripture.

"Our primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ," Mohler said, "…for our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God rather than any earthly polity, and that is a clear and unambiguous teaching in the New Testament."

While the Christian's first priority is God, American believers are simultaneously citizens who are committed to abiding by the laws of the land, Mohler said, pointing out that Evangelicals diverge from those laws when they contradict biblical teachings on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Mohler, whom Van Biema called "one of Evangelicalism's most influential theologians," said he can envision a time when Christians might be forced "to constitute an adversary culture" in America and that there might come a time when Christians in the United States so oppose the unbiblical policies of their government that it leads to the persecution of believers, Mohler said.

"Christians have to think carefully and clearly as to how to be faithful," Mohler said. "It could lead to civil disobedience. It could lead to the acceptance of the [civil] penalty. In the history of Christianity it has led to martyrdom."

However, American Christians are not yet in a situation in which they must "debate the legitimacy" of their government, Mohler said.

The article points out that another Pew Research poll also shows roughly the same data regarding Muslims in France: many of them view religion as taking priority over their French citizenship. Christians, of all people, should not be surprised at this finding, Mohler said.

"This is anecdotal," Mohler said, "but in recent weeks there have been a number of stories in the British press about British Muslims and youth being more committed to Islam than to Britain. And I looked at all that outrage and thought, 'what in the world does it say about Christians in Great Britain that they appear so perplexed by this? You would certainly have to hope that Christians in Britain would understand that they, too would have a higher allegiance than to Crown and kingdom."

The entire article may be viewed at:,8599,1516191-1,00.html

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