Elite Evangelicals hate America. Many took China’s side in last summer’s trade dispute between the Chinese Communist Party and the United States. Now, as Democratic governors and mayors attack religious liberties Costi Hinn joins the chorus of effete Evangelicals unwilling to stand for liberty.

In a video posted to Facebook, Hinn, a critic of the Prosperity Gospel and writer for the progressive Religion News Service, quoted Scriptures and taught Christians should be submissive to government. He taught Christians should eschew revolt against tyranny unless it directly conflicted with what the Bible teaches about the church.

This is dangerous. It is in no way a correct understanding of Scripture. But, first his comments.

Hinn quoted 1 Peter 2:7 “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

“Where in a Christian’s repertoire is a recipe for revolt in a dishonorable way? It is not there,” Hinn said. “Honor the king. Peter writes to a bunch of people who are dealing an emperor who is vile and repulsive.”

Hinn also quoted 1 Peter 2:18 “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.”

“Even unreasonable leaders, unreasonable bosses are to be shown respect and reverence,” Hinn said. “So, shouting fake news and throwing conspiracy theories everywhere and saying this is just a bunch of fear mongering is not really helpful even if some of it were right.”

Attention Costi Hinn & Evangelical Elites: America Doesn’t Have a King

The first problem for Hinn’s view of this type of submission is the question: To whom must Christians submit? America doesn’t have a king or emperor.

Do we submit to an official? Perhaps. But what gives an official like a mayor, governor or President his powers?

It is not the divine right of kings.

Rather, it is the Constitution.

Specifically, the Constitution of 1789 and the American Rule of Law.

So, Americans owe their submission not to offices but to the law.

If a magistrate violates the Constitution of the United States (or of their respective state), the American citizen owes allegiance (and thereby submission) to the Law and not the man.

As Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers, “No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”

Thus, the citizen not only could assert individual rights as an American, but has a moral obligation to do so in obedience to the higher law.

Remember, the Apostle Paul was more than willing to appeal bad actions of local magistrates on Roman legal grounds.

And as Americans, we have more individual power. Sovereignty in the United States flows from the people and not a Roman emperor.

The South Dakota state motto is instructive for America: Under God, the People Rule.

The question for Hinn and other Evangelical Elites is simple: If not America and its rule of law, then what system would be better?

What’s So Bad About the American Flag?

Costi Hinn engaged in a common rhetorical move among Evangelical Elites—attacking Christian patriotism. Hinn mocked the view of Christians holding the Bible in one hand and the American flag in the other hand.

Then, Hinn warned against reading the Bible through the lens of being an American.  

“Careful that you don’t take the American flag and wrap it around your Bible and start reading God’s Word through the lens of red, white and blue,” Hinn said.

Ok. There might be someone doing that, but far better to warn about reading the Bible through the lens of any type of Identity Politics. There is no room for any individual reading of Scripture that places identity over the intent of the author.

That means Hinn’s advice is decent—as far as it goes.

However, it belies a deeper flaw among Evangelical Elites—a dislike for America. There is a trend in Evangelical Political Theology that ignores the importance of place. That pits the temporal world against the unrealized eschatological world to come.

But this cheapens God’s design. He ordained government. The Apostles declared it something for our good. God even marks out the times and extent of nations, states and empires. Perhaps, there is more to this than serving as a placeholder until the Parousia.

And, if the nation-state is part of God’s design, then perhaps it has a greater claim on us than many evangelical elites would like to think.

Dr. Wayne Grudem points out the Christian can be a patriot.

“A Christian view of government encourages and supports genuine patriotism within a nation,” Grudem said.[1]

And again, “But is patriotism a virtue at all? My conclusion is that the Bible gives support to a genuine kind of patriotism in which citizens love, support, and defend their own country.”[2]

If we must defend our country, then our Christian duty is to defend the Constitution—from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

Domestic enemies include tyrants eroding our cherished and inalienable liberties given to us by God. Thus, the obedient Christian will stand for liberty.

He might even hold the Bible in one hand and the American flag in another.

[1] Grudem, Politics According to the Bible, pp. 112-113.

[2] Ibid, p. 109.