WE sincerely desire to help the Christian Citizen and all those who with it are becoming the Christian citizenship movement that is represented in the Christian Citizen.
We have no desire for controversy; and what we write on this subject is not written in the spirit of controversy. We simply desire, if possible, to fix the attention of these people upon certain Christian principles to which, from their attitude, it seems certain that they have not given due weight.
This is not a question of policy, but solely of principle. It is not a question of what men may think; but of what Jesus Christ says. It is not a question of what a professed Christianity may consider proper; but what does the Christianity of Jesus Christ teach and require.
It is altogether a question of Christianity. These people attach to their enterprise the term “Christian.” In the bame of Christianity they urge their movement. It is therefore not simply proper but essential that this thing which is urged upon the people as Christian, shall be brought to the test of the Christianity of Jesus Christ.
The principles of the Christianity of the Lord Jesus are given to the world in his Word. If this professed Christian citizenship movement will bear the test of the words of the Lord Jesus, all honor to it; but if it fails to bear this test, it is not Christianity and is not to be trusted at all. We have seen already that, in one instance at least, the Christian Citizen is obliged to set aside the words of Christ to save itself from destructive conclusions. This is not a promising prospect of bearing, throughout, the test of the Christianity of the word of Christ; yet it is only fair to examine the question further and as broadly as possible.
With this object and in this spirit solely, we ask the candid consideration of the Christian Citizen and its people to certain scriptures which from time to time we shall examine in the SENTINEL.
Here is one for this time: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.”
His kingdom is not of this world. Then can any man belong to this world, and to Christ’s kingdom at the same time?—Christ himself has answered this question. He said to his disciples of all time, “Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” “I have chosen you out of the world.” Again, “If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.” If his kingdom were of this world, then for what kind of a kingdom would his servants fight?—For a kingdom of this world. Then, what kind of kingdom is it for which men do fight, and for which alone they can fight?—For kingdoms of this world. But his kingdom is not of this world; therefore, in the sense in which Jesus here used the word “fight,” no man can ever fight for the kingdom of Christ. And any kingdom for which any man can fight, in the sense in which Jesus here used the word, is not, and cannot be, a kingdom of Christ or of God.
Again, “If my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight.” This word testifies positively that the only possible consideration upon which the servants of Christ could fight, is that his kingdom were of this world. But it is positively stated by him, that his kingdom is not of this world. Therefore it is certain that the positive teaching of Jesus Christ is that when any who profess to be his servants do fight, they fight only for a kingdom of this world, whatever their pretensions may be. Any who fight for a kingdom that is of this world, who contend for place or power in any kingdom that is of this world, by that very thing plainly show that they are not of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. And any who profess to be of Christ’s kingdom who will fight for any kingdom, even His own, testify by that that they are not of his kingdom; for his kingdom is “not of this world,” and only upon the consideration that his kingdom were of this world, could his servants fight at all.
Yet all this is precisely what those who are leading in this Christian citizenship movement propose to do. They do seek to get possession of the kingdoms of this world as such. They do aspire and work to put themselves into positions of power to rule the United States and the other governments of this world: and to fight, actually to fight, for governments of this world. And by all of this, they proclaim with the loudest possible voice that they are altogether of this world, and not of the kingdom of Christ at all; for he has proclaimed forever, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
The kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of this world will not mix. The subjects of Christ’s kingdom will never be mercenaries to fight for a kingdom to which they do not belong; and they cannot fight for the one to which they do belong.
A. T. J.