Lessons from Holy Week and January 6

Lessons from Holy Week and January 6

There are many similarities between the events of January 6 in Washington D.C. and the biblical account of what happened to Jesus Christ. We can learn some lessons from Holy Week and January 6, 2021.

People of both political parties came to Washington D.C. on that Wednesday morning with a feeling of optimism and renewal. As Zechariah 9:9 had prophesied, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, an animal of peace, not a horse which was an animal of war. The people’s response was to spread palm branches, a symbol of triumph and victory, in front of Him.

Jesus began his tenure in Jerusalem by throwing the religious crooks out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13). He initiated good things by healing the blind and lame (verses 14-15). Some good leaders came to Washington D.C. on January 6 to allegedly do some good things.

The people’s actions in Jerusalem brought jealousy to the establishment, who thought they were losing control. They challenged Jesus’ authority and tried to put him at odds with the Roman courts (Matthew 21:23-27). When that failed, they secured an extremist’s support to advance their cause (Matthew 26:14-16). 

On January 6, extremists were motivated to attack the authorities in power resulting in violence. Not only was there damage to the physical structures of Washington, but several people died. The people of Jerusalem were motivated to accept and even promote the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the politicians washed their hands and turned their backs on the violence that was being carried out.

There are many lessons from Holy Week and January 6 in Washington that are hard to miss. No matter what your political beliefs or religious convictions, or lack of them, the comparisons are strong.

  1. People are crazy. Humans can be led, and their price is cheap. Judas sold out Christ for what in our money would be about $120.
  2. Whether they are secular or religious, most politicians will stop at nothing to advance their own standing. Breaking religious law (read Leviticus and Deuteronomy) or violating the U.S. Constitution is easy when it involves greed, jealousy, and power struggles.
  3. Journalists are biased and interpret the news rather than reporting it. As you read Matthew 26:59-60, you find two false witnesses saying that Jesus said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God.” That was a half-truth. The witnesses and the religious leaders interpreted that to mean the Temple made of stone when Jesus had made it clear it was His body. The news media on all sides of the January 6 event interpreted the news.

The similarities between Holy Week and January 6 end with the resurrection of Christ. Even today, many people deny the evidence and maintain their conviction that Jesus was a fraud. Some people will not change their political agenda no matter what the evidence. Indeed, the importance of “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21) cannot be over-emphasized.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

The Questionnaire Game

The Questionnaire Game

The questionnaire game is the latest fundraising technique. Organizations mail questionnaires on subjects that arouse strong feelings, and they word the questions to make people react emotionally. Some of these questionnaires may be sincere and address a real issue. Many of them are scams and quick and easy ways to get money. This has been true of political and religious issues.

As two examples that came in today’s mail, let me point out how this works. The first questionnaire is from “The Freedom Center” and is called “Islam in Our Schools.” The questionnaire begins by making several statements that are both impossible to check out and are very unlikely. For example: “In a Florida school, students had to design and create Muslim prayer rugs.” The unanswered question is, what school and what class? Was it a private school or a public school? Was it an art class or a social studies class? Another statement on the same questionnaire: “While in Texas a seventh-grade assignment taught kids that God was a myth and not a fact.” Again, what school, what subject, and what is meant by “myth.” This statement is followed by: “Countless schools around the country force children to learn and recite the five pillars of Islam.” Countless could be almost any number.

After making these undocumented claims, it plays the questionnaire game with inflammatory questions: “Should schools teach only Pro-Islamic lessons yes or no. Should our schools teach anti-Christian messages to children? Yes or no.” This is just a small sampling of the questions. The questions are followed by asking the person who filled out the questionnaire to include a minimum of $23.00 and return it to the Freedom Center.

Also in the mail was a different questionnaire called “The Faith Survey Michigan Edition.” This questionnaire begins with six personal questions and then asks six rather general opinions such as: “Do you think personal, daily Bible study is an effective way to grow as a Christian? Yes or No.” This one ends with: “Are you willing to help missionaries grow and sustain fruitful discipleship ministries here in America and around the globe?” There is only one choice on this one, and that is, “Yes, I’ve enclosed today’s gift of (check one) $15.00, $25.00, $35.00, and other.” There is no indication of what religious organization you are sending the money to or what they intend to do with the money. You are giving personal information to them – credit card information or check information.

We must beware of the questionnaire game. These questionnaires are a great tool for scammers, and they are likely to be vehicles that are only designed to get money. These are examples in the area of religion, but it is true of political questionnaires as well. Religion and politics have been areas of abuse and exploitation from the beginning of recorded time. Real Christianity is, “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).”

— John N. Clayton © 2020

How Christians Should Deal with Politics

How Christians Should Deal with Politics

I have seen many national elections, and I have seen some loud arguments among people who share the same religious or skeptical views. Many years ago, two of my atheist friends got into a fight over a political issue that put both of them in the emergency room. I have also seen religious people want to disfellowship someone for supporting a presidential candidate who favored abortion. Certainly, the current election has polarized our culture more than any other in recent years. With increasing frequency, my mailbox has received inquiries about, “How should a Christian vote?” The broader issue is how Christians should deal with politics.

Let me first of lay down some facts historically and biblically:

*Jesus and the scriptures give us no command to get involved in politics, and no condemnation if we do so.
*There is a need for political authority. See Judges 17:6 for the alternative.
*The scriptures tell us to obey political authority. Romans 13:1-7 and Titus 3:1 make that clear, even though the government of that time was corrupt, immoral, and violent, Christians used political authority for their well being. See Acts 23:23-35.
*Political leaders aren’t always evil or corrupt. See Luke 7:3-10. 23:50-53. John 3:1-10 and 19:39 and Acts 10:1 for examples.


We can see the answer to how Christians should deal with politics in Matthew 22:15-21, where Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to the Roman government. The question was a trap. If He said “no,” He could be put in prison for defying Caesar. If He said “yes,” He would violate Jewish tradition and law. Jesus answered by giving us in a single sentence how Christians should deal with politics: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

Like people today, the people who asked the question did not understand what Christianity is about. Later in the same chapter, they ask a question about who a man would be married to in heaven when he had more than one wife on Earth. Jesus responded by saying, “You don’t know the scriptures”!

The point of Christ’s teaching is that God is concerned with the spiritual, and politics is concerned with the physical. Ephesian 6:12 tells us that our struggle is not flesh and blood. Christians must be good citizens by obeying the law and honoring our leaders. We are not to bring politics into the Church, nor is the Church to engage in political work. If you want to be involved in politics, do so. Don’t demand the Church to endorse you or to constrain its members to vote for you. Church funds should not be used for political purposes. Read Matthew 25:31-46 to see what the Lord’s money should be used for.

I am an American, a veteran, and a believer in democracy. Those are physical things I support. More importantly, I am a Christian and am in a war with Satan and evil. Ephesians 6:12-18 defines my spiritual emphasis, and Ephesians 3:9-11 reminds me that this battle has been going on since before creation. I will vote and express myself in physical matters for America. However, I will spend most of my energy and time on the more important work of spreading the gospel and doing the work of Jesus Christ.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Christians and Politics

Christians and Politics

We live in a difficult time for the United States. Not only is the country divided, but the political leaders on all sides embrace moral decisions that fly in the face of how Christ taught us to live. We are concerned about issues regarding Christians and politics.

It is not a new thing for political leaders to clash with good morals. In Luke 3:18-20, we read that Herod the tetrarch imprisoned John the Baptist when he spoke out about Herod’s evil actions with his brother’s wife. (See Luke 3:18-20.) The enemies of Christ tried to get him in trouble by saying the He was opposed to Caesar and the Roman authorities. Today it is likely that someone speaking against the immoral practices of politicians may suffer consequences. Our courts now endorse immoral practices.

In spite of John’s imprisonment and execution by a Roman leader, Jesus told his followers to pay taxes. He said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Today, some religious leaders have gotten involved in politics to the extent of telling their followers how to vote. What is the proper relationship between Christians and politics?

Paul addresses that question in Romans 13. In verses 1 and 2 he tells us that God has instituted governing authorities and that Christians should be subject to them. In verses 3-5, he wrote that rulers are servants of God. The next two verses tell Christians to pay taxes and give respect and give honor to authorities. Paul wrote this to people living in a pagan, violent, immoral political system. Starting with verse 8, Paul talks about what Christians should be doing that was in contrast to the political system of his day.

God instituted civil law to provide order in the human community. Even the most corrupt politician does not want the culture he rules to be dominated by murder, violence, and anarchy. The Ten Commandments provide the structure we need for order in society. As humans have strayed from God, they still need order and structure. Even when the agents of this order and structure are corrupt, they still provide a framework in which people can live. As far as Christians and politics, we are not called to make a political agenda our number-one priority. Romans 13 ends with Paul saying, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Whatever you do politically, let your Christian values guide it. The wall of separation we need to be concerned about is the wall between walking in the light and walking in darkness. (See 1 John 1.)

— John N. Clayton © 2019

Political Issues as a Barrier

Political Issues
We get a lot of mail related to things that we express in our posts. In recent months some have wanted to know why we haven’t had any articles about the Supreme Court, the political parties, Donald Trump or about the political issues of our day.

Recently our good friend and brother in Christ David Thurman, had a beautifully crafted article in his periodical Gospel Minutes in which he said what we believe is true about how we should handle the political issues of our day. Here is his statement:

“When it comes to morality, God is our only authority. So whatever the Supreme court says about marriage is not relevant to our teaching and practice on the subject. We will still teach that marriage is between a man and a woman. Whatever our society says about sexuality, we will still contend that sex belongs in a monogamous, married relationship between a man and a woman. Whatever our society says about violence in the streets and black lives and police officers being targeted, we are going to contend that all violence is evil and has no place in our society.

“However, much of politics is not morality based. It is merely opinion. I have good friends who grew up in one political mind-set. They are polar opposites to my upbringing and current political views. Yet, we are brothers in Christ and love each other. I am not going to let his/her political view alter my more important relationship in Christ.

Paul puts it this way in Romans 14, ‘One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God, and he who eats not, for the Lord does not eat, and gives thanks to God’ (Romans 14:5-6). Substitute ‘political viewpoint’ for ‘day’ in these verses, and we get the point. One man’s opinion is between him and God. My opinion may differ, but that is between me and God. Each should be convinced before God that what he/she thinks is the right thing for us. That is, God should be involved in our political viewpoint. But, if another man reaches a different conclusion, that is between him and the Lord, not between him and me. Just as the ‘day’ should not be a barrier to fellowship, so politics should not be either.

So, include God in all aspects of your life, including your political thinking. But if another believer reaches a different political position based on his or her understanding of the Lord’s values, then let him or her have that conviction, and do not let politics become a barrier to unity and fellowship.”

Reference: David Thurman in Gospel Minutes February 24, 2017, page 4.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

Deception in Politics, Religion, and Anglerfish

Deception in Politics, Religion, and Anglerfish
Lying seems to be a heavily used skill in today’s political climate. The fact that there is so much deception in politics is interesting to me because as an atheist I viewed deception as a survival skill. When I was a child, my mother took me to narrated movie shows on nature. These were 16 mm movies filmed by photographers usually associated with The Audubon Society or The National Geographic Society. The person who did the filming usually was the narrator, and that added color and personality to what we saw on the screen.

My mother usually had an object lesson for me at the end of those films and deception was a major theme. My favorite film was an underwater movie about reef fish. The scene I liked most involved an ugly fish known as the anglerfish. This fish would lie on the bottom and dangle a piece of flesh that was worm-shaped in front of its mouth on a rod attached to its head. The fish would wiggle the lure to attract reef fish. When a fish came close to investigate, the anglerfish would suddenly lurch forward and swallow the fish whole.

My mother seized on the moment to tell me that I needed to learn a lesson about life from the anglerfish. That lesson in her atheist perspective was that life is hard and to survive we must to learn to deceive and not be deceived. Later in my efforts as an atheist, I would maintain that deception is simply survival of the fittest. The fit survive by deceiving and exploiting the unfit.

I always had good results using this to support my atheist arguments. When I tried to justify stealing money from my mother, it was less effective. I protested by referring the anglerfish, but she screamed at me, “You’re not a fish!!”

Now looking back at that from a Christian apologetic position I have to say “Bingo!!” But from her atheistic evolutionary perspective, I AM no more than a fish. When we have so much deception in politics, that is an indication of the perspective of our elected officials.
–John N. Clayton © 2017