Monday, December 3, 2012

Dual Citizenship? A Critical Look at a Christian's Citizenship and Loyalty on Earth.

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Philippians 3:20)

Now, I am quite certain many of you are thinking, "Really, another political post?! Come on, he's even using Philippians 3:20 again?!" Well, if that is what you are thinking, yes this is and yes I am. Sorry, every now and then I may sound like a broken record, but I feel the need to write more upon this issue. Remember that I told you all that I would write whatever I felt like writing, so you can't say I didn't warn you!

This post will be about a very, very common belief in Christian circles, known as Dual Citizenship. At its core, this theological idea claims that Christians are citizens of two (or more) nations: these being Heaven and the human nation wherein they reside. There is much evidence for this notion (so they argue), but their defense (as far as I myself have found, and I have but little experience in this issue) comes from human experience and human logic instead of concrete Biblical evidence.

First of all, if dual citizenship is correct, you are both an American Citizen (or Russian/German/British, etc.) and a Heavenly citizen. Thus, your loyalties lie to both "God and Country", and both of them can declare themselves as your sovereigns. Thus, as a Christian in America (for example), you must say both, "I pledge allegiance to the... United States of America, and to the Republic...", as well as, "I pledge allegiance to the Lord of lords, the God of the Universe." To the dual citizen, these pledges do not contradict each other, but rather complement one another. However, let us check the Bible.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:24)

Since I refuse to take this verse out of context, I will let you know that our Lord is speaking very clearly about something: you cannot serve two masters. He used this as a lesson especially about the love of money. However, His teaching goes much further than just money, for He graciously told us, again, that "no one can serve two masters". Although He further expounded on this fact, He still gave it specifically as a fact that is not necessarily dependent upon a man's relationship with money. So, let us examine this further.

The Greek for "masters" is κυρίοις, which means, "master, lord, the Lord" (Strong's Concordance). Simply put, this word refers to, basically, a slave-owner, as in someone who owns you. The Greek for "serve" is δουλεύειν, which means, "to be a slave, to serve" (Strong's Concordance).  Thus, the Lord is telling us that no man can be a slave, or we could also say a subject, of two different lords. He is either the slave of one or the other, but not both. 

However, since citizenship, at its foundations, requires that you pledge your allegiance to a certain person or nation, and allegiance means, "Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause.... The obligations of a vassal to a lord" (in other words, you make yourself the virtual slave, to one extent or another, of the nation or leaders), you must either be the citizen of Heaven or of the Kingdoms of Satan (for the kingdoms of men are in the Dominion of Satan: see Matthew 4:8-9 and especially Luke 4:5-6).

"Really" you say, "You have but taken one verse out of context in order to 'prove' your point, and now you are saying that your point is Biblical?!" If this is what you are thinking (or are currently screaming into the computer screen) I understand your frustrations, for the people are many that take the Bible out of context in order to prove their false beliefs. However, I pray that you believe me when I tell you that this is not what I am doing nor is it my intent to do so. Therefore, in order to calm your fears, I must turn to another teaching of our Lord.

"When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, 'Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?' He said, 'Yes.' And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, 'What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?' When Peter said, 'From strangers,' Jesus said to him, 'Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.'"(Matthew 17:24-27)

Christ's teaching here is very self-explanatory. The governments of Earth tax the citizens of their lands. Especially in old kingdoms, the governors/kings were exempt from paying taxes. It was the same with their children and members of their family. God is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Therefore, He is exempt from all the taxes of the Earth's government. This exemption extends to His sons and daughters as well. Since we are the "children of God", His own sons and daughters, we are completely exempt from the taxes of the Earthly governments. 

This flies in the face of dual citizenship. If we were actually citizens of America, we would owe our taxes to them. However, we are not citizens of America, we are children of the King. As such, we are superior to all the governments of the Earth, and we owe no one but our Lord our allegiance and obedience. We do not obey the laws of the land because it is something we must do as citizens of an earthly nation. Rather, we obey the laws (and pay taxes) for two main reasons:  they are ministers of God to do good for you (Romans 13:4,6), and in order to not offend them unnecessarily (Matthew 17:27). 

With these teachings, and many others, in mind, we must come to the conclusion that we are not truly citizens of any earthly nation. Rather, we are citizens of Heaven (Phillipians 3:20). The lords of this Earth are God's ministers to do good to you and since you are a child of the king (who is their master), they are also your ministers. This does not mean that you can refuse to obey them or order them around, but rather they are like police officers, in the service of your Father, who are there to protect you. Whether you like it or not, you are called by your Father to obey them. However, they are not your lords. The nation in which you reside (and even its government) is not your sovereign. You do not owe it your allegiance.

So, I must ask, are you proud to be an American, or grateful to be both a citizen of God's Kingdom and His beloved child?