Are Many American Christians Handicapped by Statism?

christianity, statism, statist, christian flag, federal flagThe Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.'” – Isaiah 29:13

As the Christian Church in America (and throughout the West) struggles to boldly stand for the wisdom of God’s law and the transforming power of Christ to change lives, the picture above seeks to illustrate what might be one of the primary problems with Christianity in America today. We honor our Lord with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. And our worship is only made up of rules taught by men.

Because in case you didn’t notice in the picture above, the flag representing the Kingdom of God is actually placed in a place of submission to a flag representing a human kingdom…almost as if to suggest that the kingdom of man is given greater honor over the Kingdom of God. While we’re sure this was merely an effort to comply with flag codes on the part of church leadership, the significance of displaying a flag representing God’s Kingdom in this way, and the message it inadvertently sends, must have been missed by the people who raised it. But the proper respect and honor for our Lord in our lives is something we can’t afford to overlook. We’re all guilty of it. Whether it be an obvious outward sign, or a more hidden inner rejection of the Lord that only we know about – standing for the Lord’s Truth (the Kingdom of God) isn’t always easy, or convenient in the kingdoms of man.

It’s ironic that while many human kingdoms are working to remove God from just about everything, many Christians seem to be inviting more and more of man’s systems into their own lives. Instead of standing as beacons of truth and living with a consistent Biblical worldview, they’re participating in all manner of state-run programs while angrily defending the “right” to send their children to be educated in government schools. All while our churches are too busy worrying about losing their tax exempt status to inform us how the Bible should be applied to all areas of our lives. This results in ineffective Christians that are conformed to the culture instead of working to reform the culture.

Christian, cartoon, Romans 13, Ephesians 6, full armor of God, illustration, God and Government, Politics, Religious Right, Christian Reconstructionism, Theonomy, DominionismWhat is important to recognize is that rights and law aren’t simply pulled out of thin air. They are rooted in the existence of a Supreme Law-Giver, as Sir William Blackstone noted (read more from this Axiom resource on William Blackstone). And in keeping with Blackstone’s teachings about law, many early American leaders knew it was foolish to suggest that a government could properly govern without being informed by Christianity. This of course isn’t advocating a Church State, but merely an acknowledgement that no human system will survive very long without a moral, self-governing people. This need for moral people in our communities is why early American leaders emphasized the importance of the Christian Church as an institution in society – one that should not be handicapped by the State.

Larry Beane in On Flags in the Sanctuary writes that, “In a sense, the church is like a ship or an embassy that flies under its own flag. Churches, though located in the U.S. or Canada or Russia or Ethiopia – are actually missions or consulates or embassies of heaven. The sovereign of the Church is not the king or the queen or the president – but the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, He who said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ He who rebuffed Satan’s temptations to give Him all of the kingdoms of the world.”

And in Should Churches Display the American Flag?, Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho states, “The New Testament is all about this principle. Where customs interfere with transnational fellowship, those customs must give way (Acts 15:29). Placing a flag in a sanctuary has many possible implications. It could convey the idea that we claim some sort of ‘favored nation’ status. It could imply we believe that the claims of Caesar extend into every space, including sacred spaces. It could imply that our version of Christianity is similar to some kind of syncretistic ‘God and country’ religion, where patriotism and religion are one and the same.”

Thoughts on american christians and statism, flag displays in the church, or how Christians might better serve the Lord and their communities? Let us know by leaving us a comment!

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Are Christians Being Used by Political Establishment?

martin luther, cartoon, illustration, progressive christianity, reformation, christian, christianity, Hebrews 4:12Government can sometimes be a tough subject in Christian circles. So much so it seems as if sometimes Christians are more prone to completely withdraw from the subject all together, rather than commit to whatever effort might be required in understanding history, God’s Law, and what the Bible has to say on government.

However, as a Christian who is interested in a variety of subjects (including art, government, culture and entertainment), I’m naturally always interested in hearing what others might have to say about Christians involved in these various areas of life. For example, in Episode 574 of the Tom Woods Show, host Tom Woods had a pretty interesting discussion with Paul Gottfried on Neo-Conservatives in the Republican Party. During the course of this fascinating interview, the subject of Christianity and Christian involvement in the Republican Party also came up. Following is a brief excerpt of what they had to say… (Note: For those who may not be familiar, Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute and host of the Tom Woods Show. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and his master’s, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Woods has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, C-SPAN, and Bloomberg Television, among other outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio programs. Paul Gottfried, his guest for this particular episode, is a professor emeritus of humanities at Elizabethtown College and a Guggenheim recipient.)

Christian, cartoon, Romans 13, Ephesians 6, full armor of God, illustration, God and Government, Politics, Religious RightPaul Gottfried: I think a lot of it is simply the provincialism of the Neo-Cons. They despise the religious right, although they’re good on Israel or something like that. And they do provide the foot soldiers for the Republican Party. But I think they would be very happy if they could pull in Black and Hispanic votes, because that way they might be less dependent on these people in flyover country. I think they have utter contempt for the religious right. And the religious right have allowed themselves to be used so often, that I don’t blame the Neo-Cons at this point.

Tom Woods: They always huff and puff, and they threaten they’re going to walk out – it never ever happens. That’s one thing you can give credit to, is that the hard Left is not just satisfied with somebody giving a pretty speech and everybody in the audience knows the guy doesn’t believe it. They’ll sit in, they will disrupt things until they get what they want. Whereas you get out your copy of the Bible, and that satisfies these people. It’s almost like they deserve it. I mean, these are people who teach the total depravity of man, and they’re satisfied by a pretty speech. What is the problem here? It’s cognitive dissonance.

Paul Gottfried: There’s a total disconnect between their theology and their politics. Their politics assumes human perfectibility, that America is exceptional, that America is sinless and good and that we’re all living in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet you’re right. Their religious view is based on total human depravity. I think they’re irreconcilable positions, but they’re probably not aware of the irreconcilability.

To listen to the entire podcast, check out: Episode 574 of the Tom Woods Show: Neocon says Word Neoconservative is Outdated Now. Also, be sure to check out our awesome Christian cartoons, artist interviews, and PDF resources on Christian Reconstruction, outreach and the communicating of truth! Just look through our tabs at the top of the page. Also check out Who Would Jesus Vote For? Have any other thoughts regarding western christianity or american christians? Let us know! Have fun!

Prominent Christian Publisher Offers Controversial Cat Meme Bible Study

cat, meme, bible study, christianity, humor, funnyIn a move that set the Christian community ablaze with excitement, a prominent Christian Publisher issued a press release last Tuesday about a bold new Cat Meme Bible Study they will be offering this October. The study, which promises to not only focus on how to use cat memes to deepen individual faith, also plans to show how the utilization of this popular internet phenomenon can entice friends and neighbors into attending church.

“Cat memes cannot be underestimated in their value to our society as a whole,” said Dr. Frank, lead writer of the Cat Meme Bible Study. “From the Keyboard Cat, to Grumpy Cat and Nyan Cat, cat memes have delighted hearts around the world. Through our Bible Study, we hope to take it one step further, and introduce Christians into how cat memes can explore the important topics of our day.”

However, not everyone shared in Dr. Frank’s excitement towards the prospect of cats or cat memes being used to discuss Christianity.

Pastor Carmen of the First Church of Tower Valley says that cats have no place in Biblical discussion. “With their overt laziness and self-centered attitudes, there’s a reason cats are not mentioned in the Bible! I see no reason at all why we should be praising internet sensations like Grumpy Cat, who teaches children that negativity and a bad attitude are somehow funny.”

Still, Dr. Frank believes that although some may find the subject matter of this Bible Study to be in question, he hopes people will come at it with an open mind. “Countless hours have been poured into researching cat memes, and their impact on Christianity. In the same way that WWJD bracelets and fish symbols on the back of cars have shaped how Christians in the West have communicated their faith to the world, I think our Cat Meme Bible Study is poised to do the same!”

Note: The above article was a submission to the Babylon Bee a while ago. I thought I’d share it here. It’s intended to be for laughs only, and not to be taken too seriously. Hope you enjoy – as always, let me know what you think!

A Beacon of Light?

Christian, cartoon, illustration, evil in the world, church, hope, truth, seeking answers, why do bad things happen?

Is your church a beacon of light to the the community when bad things happen? Or when evil strikes and people ask the question of “why”, are we as Christians ready to give an answer that shares the hope and love of Christ to those who are suffering?

Thoughts? Please leave a comment! And don’t forget to follow this blog or share with a friend! Also be sure to check out my Artwork tab (where a lot of awesome christian cartoons, illustrations and resources are available), as well as the Artist Page (where you can find interviews with great Christian artists)! Until next time, have a great day!

Artist Interview: Taylor Overbey

taylor overbey, interview, artist, christian, christianity, GLADAxiom Illustration recently had the privilege of speaking with Taylor Overbey (TO), a veteran illustrator and writer with an extensive array of impressive work! From fine art to children’s books, how-to books, cartoons (including the GLAD Christian Humor magazine) and more, Overbey is a fascinating individual who works at finding creative ways to share a unique message with our world! In the interview below, he shares many of his fascinating experiences as an artist, author and much more. Enjoy!

Axiom: Thanks for talking with us! First off, what could you tell our audience about your work? TO: I work in a variety of mediums and styles. This is probably due to the fact that I love so many different ways of making art, and also how unique of a message can be communicated in each of these methods.

For instance, there is a difference between oil painting and comic books. I love both. However, oil painting is considered to be more of a “serious art” and comics are considered more of a form of entertainment. So my message in an oil painting might convey some deeper, more thought-provoking subject, or it might be something simply beautiful, or even what a particular viewer may consider confrontational. A comic story, or a children’s book can usually be read and enjoyed purely for the entertainment value, but still may have a certain message that comes through. Being a Christian I believe that my faith somehow bubbles to the surface in all of my work.

Axiom: How did you get started in this area? TO: When I was in 3rd grade my teacher had the class write stories based on one of several photographs she would hang on the wall. She always loved my stories, and would have me read them aloud to the class. But she didn’t want me to show them to my parents because she was afraid they would take me to a psychiatrist! I don’t recall the stories being weird at all, just very imaginative, and I certainly loved the reaction I got from the class. That was probably how I developed a love of making up stories.

OverbeySNITMy first big break came when I was about 26. My father helped me start a comic publication called, GLAD-The Christian Humor Magazine. It was styled off of MAD, which, at the time was one of my favorite things to read. Every other month we had 32 pages to fill up with stories and art, so I had to come up with 6 to 15 pages every issue. We had a good run. GLAD went for about 3 years, 17 issues in all. I did make up a color version that is on IndyPlanet.com.

I just had my first children’s book published. It’s called, “The I-Wants and the Gimmies,” and it is released by Crimson Dragon Publishing in Aurora, CO. I have another children’s book I am working on for them called, “The SNIT and George Franklin Whit.” I really enjoy writing and drawing the children’s stories because they are playful and fun, but I still endeavor to sneak in a positive message. For instance, “The I-Wants and the Gimmies” is about sharing, and “The SNIT” is about our being in control of our anger.

If I had to choose favorite thing to do it would be hard to decide, I just love making art. But I do think that GLAD would come pretty close to the top. I like telling people about Jesus Christ in a way that isn’t heavy handed or preachy. Humor and the Bible is a challenge to combine, because on the one hand I don’t want to be too frivolous with the subjects, but I also don’t want to be heavy handed. I think that in general I came pretty close. Not perfect, but close.

2familiesAxiom: Do you have any favorite books, movies, artwork, games, etc that you find inspiring? TO: I do read a lot. I still need mentors, but there aren’t a whole lot of them where I live, so I read books. I just finished Frank Capra’s autobiography called, “The Name Above the Title.” For your readers who don’t know Capra he was the director of the Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stuart and Donna Read. I consider Capra a mentor because I find his message something that I can relate to, and it is missing from today’s movies. His message was, the little guy triumphs over the odds in spite of the evil people and obstacles he faces, but he was able to communicate that without outrageous sex scenes and gore. And now Mr. Capra is no longer living. So I can watch his films and read his books to learn from him. I’ve done much the same with Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney.

The first thing I do read in the morning is either the Bible or an inspirational book written by a Christian minister or writer. I’ve read a number of books by John Eldredge and now I’m reading a book by Joseph Prince. When I fill my mind with these uplifting ideas in the morning I find here it keeps me going all day long.

OverbeybreadcircusesAxiom: Do you have any interesting stories regarding the work you’ve already done in this area? TO: One thing that happened was after I finished writing and some of the art work for “The I-Wants and the Gimmies” I sent out query letters to about 50 publishers. I never heard back from any of them. Not one! Then one day while I was teaching an art class in Grand Rapids I asked my assistant if I could show her some children’s book illustrations I was working on. She said, “Sure.” Well, she looked at them and said, “You should send these to my mom. She has a publishing company and she’s looking for children’s book authors. She’ll get back to you in 3 days.”

I had a very hard time believing any of what she said. My experience with publishers was that if you didn’t have an agent you couldn’t get in the door. And if you weren’t published you couldn’t get an agent, so, it was next to impossible to break into that business. But I decided to take her up on it and I sent the story and some drawings to her mom. Well, sure enough, within 3 days she got back to me and wanted to send me a contract. Then last week I got a box full of the books sent to my doorstep. Crimson Dragon is a small and new publisher, but I look at them like David and the Giant.

So, if you are doing something you love, like writing, painting, drawing, or whatever–I believe that the right doors will open for you if you don’t give up. You’ve got to keep working at your craft, of course, to continually get better at it. But like Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never, give up!”

symptomsAxiom: What’s some of your goals for the future while working in this area? TO: My goal is to have 100 children’s books published in my lifetime and have the messages in my stories influence the culture for generations to come. I’d also like to publish GLAD again, I’m just not sure there is a market for it.

Axiom: Do you have any recommendations or thoughts on how Christian creatives can get involved in their community? TO: I would suggest joining Christian art groups on Facebook. I started a group called, “The Christian Art Society,” but there are many others. If you belong to a church there may be other creative people who want to meet and support each other, or, if there are not enough interested people in your church maybe you could find interested people in the community in which you live.

We also need to be able to show our work. Perhaps you could host a Christian art show at your church or at a restaurant or coffee house. Many times Christians don’t want to go to art museums because they are sick and tired of looking at “art” that is nothing but a big put down of everything they hold dear. The unbelieving liberals who own galleries and direct museums believe their vision of what art is is the only right way. Christians need to make art work that represents their values, morals, and beliefs, and show it, and invite the community to come and see.

Most of all we all need mentors. That is someone who is doing what you want to do that you can learn from. If there is no one near you then start by reading books written by or about people whose work you admire. But here’s a word of warning: Don’t look for perfection! There was only one perfect man, and he was raised from the dead and is now seated at God’s right hand. Everyone else will disappoint you if you expect them to align perfectly with what you personally believe, or behave exactly as you would have them do. Just learn from them: what did they do to get where they are? What motivates them? What books do they read? And so forth.

cover3Axiom: Where can readers find out more about your work? TO: GLAD, the Christian Humor Magazine is available as a free digital download or can be ordered as a hard copy at Indy Planet. “The I-Wants and the Gimmies” is available from Amazon.com or Crimson Dragon Publishing. One of my biggest goals is to start an art school for conservative Christians. I can hear some people groaning out there because they think that conservative Christians are boring, unenlightened, critical, etc., etc. etc. OK, so this art school would not be for you. But if you believe that the Bible is God’s Word and you want to learn how to make art that will turn our country and world around, please write me at: taylor (at) wordcentered (dot) com!

Who would Jesus vote for?

voteOne of the things I always find slightly funny, and a little disconcerting, is the way some Christians behave when it comes to elections, political parties and even nationalism itself. This seems especially true during that not-so-wonderful time of life when election season rolls around, and people who used to be your friends start giving you dark stares for not supporting their favorite presidential candidate…or worse, questioning their favorite political party. It reminds me a little of those dark days of the time referred to as the “Civil War” when everyone was forced to choose a side, and anyone who tried to remain neutral was often mistreated, persecuted and considered a traitor. Amazingly, that bloody conflict (in which an estimated 1 million men, women and children were killed) involved many professing Christians on both sides. Imagine how the Gospel could have advanced throughout the country had this conflict been avoided. Blessed are the peacemakers?

Or, maybe let’s put it this way. Could you imagine if Jesus and His twelve disciples went around admonishing people to lend political support to a Jewish or Roman leader of the day? There were plenty of politicians, Christian, cartoon, Romans 13, Ephesians 6, full armor of God, illustrationpolitical scheming and upsetting issues regarding the government happening in the time of Christ, and Jesus never shied away from telling the truth about them. He spoke out against King Herod, calling him a fox (Luke 13:32), had plenty to say about the hypocrisy of the teachers of the law and Pharisees (Matthew 23) and spoke about giving to God what is His, and giving only to Caesar what belongs to him – which may not be much of anything good (Matthew 22:20-22). But, we never read of Him talking about XYZ politician and saying things like, “Well, I may not agree with this guy on everything – but he’s certainly talking like he’s going to fix taxes and eliminate governmental corruption, so maybe we’d do well to give him our support.” Instead, what He DID do was call everyone, politicians included, to repentance and obedience to God and His law.

flagStill, I suppose some of this “Statist” attitude on behalf of many American Christians could stem from the fact that nationalism is unwittingly promoted in a lot of churches, with flag displays prominently situated at the front of the sanctuary, and at the entrance to the church (with the Christian flag ironically in a position of submission to the government flag). I’ve even seen some churches with patriotic and military displays elsewhere in the building, which again may inadvertently place an overt emphasis on the temporary kingdoms of man. So instead of participating in nationalistic fervor and allowing ourselves to be used by politicians and political parties – what about focusing on Christ, the only source of hope and peace in this broken world, and working to build His Kingdom, the only Kingdom that will last for all eternity?

In the end, I think it’s a problem when Christians get more excited about the election than they do over missions, church planting, or making disciples within their community. Because after all, we are citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God first and foremost! Imagine what it could look like if we lived like it?

As a Christian blog site that specializes in artwork, artist interviews, fun articles, Christian Reconstructionism and well designed resources to help communicate Truth in our world, we sincerely hope you’re able to find something here to enjoy. Be sure to check out our artwork tab for more of our artwork, our artist page tab for artists interviews, and our books and resources tab for free ebooks, pdf resources and outreach materials! Feel free to share with a friend, and we hope to see you again soon!