The Theology Of Protests – With Jim Garlow: What are the stages people have walked through during this pandemic? Illogical, inconsistent iron-hand rule has triggered valid protests around the country. Do you know the theology of appropriate civil disobedience? Tune in to hear Jim Garlow shed light on these timely topics!
Air Date: 04/29/2020
Guest: Jim Garlow
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live and we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture. Of course, we always look at these things from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We’re having that conversation with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders; with Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach.
We appreciate you joining us today and look forward to having this conversation with you. We also want to encourage you to visit our websites we got two of them to send you to. Wallbuilderslive.com is our radio site, that’s where you can get archives of the program over the last few months. Catch up on some Good News Fridays or Foundations of Freedom Thursdays or many of those interviews that are so good and insightful. You could check that out at wallbuilderslive.com, it’s also the place you can make a contribution which we strongly encourage you to do, it’s makes it possible for us to share this truth with so many people and that’s all at wallbuilderslive.com.
Then you can go to wallbuilders.com, so there’s a difference. Wallbuilderslive.com is the radio site and wallbuilders.com. Now, that’s our main site with a wealth of resources. So, there is so much there for you. If you’re schooling from home right now for the first time and you’re looking for material, there’s so many things at wallbuilders.com that you’ll be able to enjoy with your family. Check it out there now and you will find some great resources.
Alright, guys, a little later in the program. Jim Garlow will be with us. David, you and Dr. Garlow did a book together last year, I guess, it was last year, this precarious moment?
Yeah, we did. And let me set up Jim for a minute, because Jim is an amazing, he was pastor in San Diego for a long time before that, a pastor in Texas and he’s been one of the most well-spoken voices on all sorts of issues in the culture. Unlike a lot of pastors, he is that kind of pastor who has been bold and stepping up. He is the guy who really took over and led the entire State of California in their marriage initiative back before the Supreme Court struck that down, where California voted marriage between man and woman, he took a beating for doing that, but he stepped up in the public policy area.
An Influential Man
Since he retired from his church, has gone out to DC and started a ministry on Capitol Hill for Congressman. He has gone to the United Nation, started a ministry there for ambassadors from all over the world. It’s just amazing. He’s always been engaged on the cutting edge of taking God’s Word into all sorts of areas. And so, as such, he has really been a great observer of what’s going on in the culture and how people respond to it. He’s been unabashed in addressing that.
So, he had the book well verse before the last presidential election that came out and said, hey, these are the issues that pastors need to be talking about and he gave 30 or 40 different issues. And here’s verses that deal with immigration, here’s verses to deal with just everything you can think of. Is a really great book.
And then he and I did the book, ‘This Precarious Moment’ after the election to say, now that we’re here, here’s six crucial issues in the culture that we have to deal with as Christians. So, he’s always been on that front edge of helping people apply the Bible to shape the culture. And you’ve been looking over his website and the articles he’s been doing recently, even on COVID-19 and here you’ve got a pastor who is right on top of what’s happening with science and culture and the response through the nation, other things to COVID-19. So, he’s right on top of really addressing what’s in the news.
Well, you know, we say we look at every issue from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And sometimes people may think, well, that doesn’t apply to a protest or to, you know, petitioning the government for redress of grievances, but it does actually. There’s a lot about this particular situation that we find ourselves in that we need to look at what’s a good theology on this, what’s it what’s a good biblical perspective on this, as well as, of course, constitutional, historical. But let’s look at that theology of protest as everybody is getting a little bit restless right now. Dr. Jim Garlow with us when we return on WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Thrilled to have our good friend, Jim Garlow back with us. Well Versed is the book and frankly, the website, wellversedworld.org. Dr. Garlow, good to have you, brother. Thanks for the time.
Thank you. Good to be back with you. Rick.
Welcome Jim Garlow
Hey, you had a fantastic article just came out, you say, ‘The Natives are Restless: A Theology of Protest’. It’s actually part of a series you’ve been writing on the coronavirus and kind of how our response to that can be biblically and those articles all available at that website. But this one particularly just struck me today. I think you’re you nailed it, you nailed it. I mean, people are getting restless. They’re at the point where they’re going, okay, we’re frustrated. In fact, if you wouldn’t mind, just kind of walk through how you describe the stages that everybody is kind of gone through.
Well, the first stage was kind of shock and disbelief, bewilderment, but that was through, say mid-February up until… I can tell the weekend that change, March 13th, 14th, 15th, by then people went Whoa! And so, we moved from stage one of kind of shock and surprise into stage two. Stage two started roughly March 15th and it really was compliance. It was amazing how tens of millions, several hundreds of millions, people just immediately sheltered-in-place, a phrase most of us never heard before. But then about the 13th and 14th of April… Yes. All of a sudden, it started shifting and the restlessness was pronounced. There was several things that drove it.
One was the number of estimated deaths had been foundly overstated and that word was beginning to get out. And in a second, like of course, the awareness, it’s been talked about a lot in national media and beyond and that is, you know, the old story of the disease didn’t kill the patient, but the treatment did. And that awareness that this price we’re paying in terms of a risk reward, this no longer worth it, completely destroy economic foundation, plus although the middle emotional, physical health complications because of the sheltered-in-place, what does that mean to our country? And so, you can tell an entire shift took place at that point, one week ago and people said enough of this, we’re coming out of our house, our homes.
It’s almost like everybody, you know, instinctively, you know, was beginning to say, okay, this cost-benefit analysis is way off, not only are we doing something we’ve never done in history, but we apparently did it based on bad data. But then all of a sudden, you started getting report after report, data after data, study after study that was showing, you know, man, you already got a ton of people that have this that it didn’t even affect them at all. And so, the more that science came in and like you said, the numbers turned out to be not nearly as bad as what was expected.
It sort of confirmed in everybody’s guts, okay, wait a minute, it seems like we’ve gone too far here and the cost-benefit analysis is not making any sense. And now our leaders aren’t responding to that. They’re not pivoting and that’s where I think the frustration is coming in. Everybody, I think, would have been happy to say, okay, look, we forgive you, you know, we were all scared. Everybody kind of overreacted. But the fact that there’s just digging in and doubling down when the science is saying something different is causing some restlessness, rightfully so.
As an example, that there were churches that were targeted unfairly around the country and that brought out the awareness of some despotic tyrannical people, that Governor of Michigan, the Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, the Board of Supervisors in Mendocino County and California, there was all kinds of spotty law enforcement and decisions being made that were like fiat, like we had kings instead of a constitutional republic. And so that highly agitated Americans who are tuned for their constitutional rights, that’s a clear factor.
Then the irrationality, I’ll give one example. But the beaches of San Diego where I live, miles of beaches, wide beaches, completely empty, I saw for myself last Saturday, I wouldn’t have believed it. Illegal to go on the boardwalk, please tape, kept you off the boardwalk and all the sand with officers riding All-Terrain vehicles up and down the sand that empty beaches where there’s not one single person and not one person on the boardwalk and lifeguards making the announcement stay off this beach. There wasn’t anybody on the beach and cops riding up and down.
They were doing that because the county officer we got and a mayor says no, you can’t be on the beach, whereas they could have been 5, 10, 15, 20, 100 feet apart and I’ve enjoyed walking on that beach to keep good exercise in a much more positive mental attitude. And yet it was all ruled illegal or the mother in Meridian, Idaho, arrested in front of two children for going into a park and so stories like that all over America. That’s what has triggered people.
I hadn’t heard the one you mentioned in your article in Mendocino about a pastor, not even being able to livestream when it’s just him and the sound guy and the camera guy.
That is exactly right. It was sound, man, got the camera person and here it was, they were 60 feet apart and the Board of Supervisors shut him down. Because as you know, lawsuits are resulting and rightfully so, they brought lawsuits on them. And that’s happened in awful lot of places. And that kind of rule, iron-hand rule, illogical, inconsistent rule, that is, to me a major factor that triggered the protests across the country.
Well, and that’s one of the things, you know, we really wanted to ask you about, is what is the theology of protest, right? Are we violating Romans 13, any time, we question government or stand against, you know, whoever the government is at that time?
Well, Romans 13 is, it does speak because obeying the government. At the same time, you’ve got the context of Acts chapter 5, which sets up the dichotomy of obeying God as opposed to obeying man. We know of all the examples from the midwives in Exodus to Rehab in Exodus, Saul and Jonathan in First Samuel, in the book of Daniel is the classic example, the Book of Esther is an example. Obadiah in First Kings and even Jesus, so overturning the money changers tables, Matthew 21. All these are examples, Scriptural examples of going against existing law. There’s a whole theology of appropriate civil disobedience or protest that can be extracted from the Scriptures in these situations.
And that was a big debate in the founding era and there seem to be two different kind of philosophies of that back then. Those who thought, you know, definitely when they overrode God’s law and they violate that, we have a right to respond and also when they violate the agreement we have with them, then we have a right to respond and you mentioned in the article, is kind of written into our DNA or as you say it into our fabric of the nation, the Boston Tea Party, civil disobedience of MLK.
And you know, even today, these protests, we obviously say right up front, peaceful. I mean, that’s what made MLK so powerful and so effective, was the contrast between him and Malcolm X was that MLK was all about peace. You had to sign and say, you’re going to love like Christ, speak like Christ. I mean, all that. So, we want to start with that. Right? That this is not a time to go, you know, storm the gates, this is a time to peacefully let your voice be heard.
That’s exactly right and even goes further than that, includes that for sure. But if I can take to almost more foundational things. When we as followers of Jesus find ourselves in an environment where we need to protest or stand against civil authority, we need to make sure we’ve examined our hearts carefully, we’re not doing it out of some preference, but we try to do it with tempered by the Holy Spirit in a way that will honor God.
And I learned this for my good friends, our brothers and sisters who protested at the ‘abortuaries’ the killing centers, back during Operation Rescue. One of them taught me a powerful lesson. When he was in dialogue with a police officer and a police officer said, we know how to deal with you, because we deal with protesters all the time. And he gave examples of the various protesting groups.
And my friend who was a part of Operation Rescue, defending babies in the womb at the ‘abortuaries’ clinics, trying to shut down the ‘abortuaries’. He says, you understand, we’re not an act of protest here. We’re doing an act of repentance. We’re not blaming the Judges or the legislators or the abortionist or the women getting the abortion or the man paying for it or… We’re not blaming them. We’re taking it upon ourselves responsibility as the church that we allow this situation to develop because of our silence of the church. We’re here is an act of repentance. Now, that really taught me a lot.
We’re going to practice in a protest, the theology of protest, we go in with the attitude, the recognition, that oftentimes the situation that’s deteriorate or develop got that way, in part because of the silence and quietness and inactivity of the church itself. So, we go in with a spirit of repentance, not a hostile, angry spirit. Otherwise, we bring up on our spirits, the spirit of the world and we end up acting like them, those who would act in inappropriate ways. And that’s a trap that Satan sets for everyone when they get into a mode of protest. So, we go into it with a particular spiritual attitude of humility, with a hunger for holiness and built on the premise that truth is being violated.
Set Your Heart Right
That is so good, Jim. Man, that is so good. That sets your heart right as you step into that arena. And some might be listening and going, yeah, but I see how that applies to abortion, but how does that apply here? But it does, because the church has been too silent on the issue of government and the proper role of government and all of those things for so long. And you and Barton speak to that in Well Versed and so many other arenas. So, do you think, you know, that should be part of our attitude as we go into this say, you know what, I need to have a better idea of what biblical citizenship looks like and I haven’t spoken up on that or studied that or done that well and so now’s an opportunity for us to do exactly that?
Absolutely. And we do so not out of a spirit of carnality of shaking our fists, they can’t do this to me. We go in with the humility before the Lord and say, God, according to Romans 13, the government is to be a minister of you, diakonos… Greek word there, is supposed to be the Minister of God and in the constitutional republic that vote democratically, we the people are the ones that determine how our government functions. So, we’re responsible if the government fails to be the Minister of God. And that’s why we go in the spirit of humility.
Now, I’d add one more thing to that. Those who feel led to a protest and those who feel led not to, I would appeal that they should not be critical of each other. Obey what God’s called you to do, but do not allow that to become a division point. Oh, you didn’t protest with me or you shouldn’t have protested. So, there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to get verse-seriously critical against those who are actually participating in protests. But don’t fall in that trap, I’m encouraging people not to do that.
That’s a really great point and you even pointed out there’s another one that ties to that. If you’re going to participate, do everything you can to follow the law at that time. And even when it comes to the social distancing and the mass, which I think is over the top in some of these areas, especially when you’re just going for a walk with you and your dog and nobody else.
But what you said in the article really made me think about almost like that verse of not, you know, eating meat with someone else that thinks it’s wrong or you know, you can apply that to a lot of different things in life. And I felt like that’s what you were saying here, was have respect for those others and you’ll have more rapport and you’ll do better with your protest, even if you’re not, you know, thinking that you have to do that particular thing, but participating in that mass so that social distancing will really help.
Protestors Follow Protocol
Yeah. So, it’s part of what Paul says, I become all things to all people. There’s a real sense in which the protesters, I’m going to use kind of tough language here, they can demonstrate their maturity and their capacity to go back into the workplace and function with normality if they’ll at least go along with social distancing as much as they possibly can and wear the mask, follow the guidelines. So, when protesters gather and they violate all of the above, all that does is say to the governmental leaders, yeah, that’s exactly what we thought you do. You’re violating everything we’re going to tell you and the results is this, this, virus is going to spread.
If the protesters could follow a protocol that the people that are appealing to have asked for, there would be a stronger chance of getting government leaders to open things back up faster, so we get our store, our restaurants and everything going again, because we’re going to demonstrate, we’re going to follow the new protocol for… it won’t go forever. It won’t always be this way. Some people say, it’s always, we’ll never have handshakes again. I don’t buy that first second. But at least for this season, let’s cooperate with this. That demonstrates that to the leadership that, yes, we can function with this new normality at this time.
But we’re definitely at that point where, you know, so many of us said in the beginning, hey, you know, let’s give the experts a chance, this will give them an edge here, let them have their, this is their moment and they definitely took a mile and went too far. And so, finding those places to draw a line in the sand is going to be very important. Jim, would you finish out with, your number 11 on values, I thought, was fantastic and I don’t want to just read it. If you could share it, I think it’s such a good message to help us find peace in this as well.
Take Care of Yourself
Well, I encourage people not to listen, I’m a news junkie. But I realized early on in this process, well, I could listen to too much of this per day. How many hours a day do you have to watch the night numbers up in the upper right-hand corner of the screen indicate how many people are sick and how many people are dying? After a while, you either get almost immune to that fact or it simply wears you down. And I realized even though I love news, I love 24 hour news stations, the fact is, it wasn’t healthy, mentally healthy for me to be listening more than like two hours a day. So, I sort of put that as a general rule on myself.
And even on there’s a lot of internet videos that are floating around. Some of them are excellent. I think some of them are being accused of being conspiracy theories, I don’t think they necessarily are and some probably are. But I’m saying don’t overdose on those as well, you can get too much of those after a while. Try to calm your heart. Try to phone a friend. Hold your family members close. Take walks. Take naps. Watch movies that are fun, light and uplifting movies. Breathe deeply. Love your neighbor. Love God. Observe nature of the flowers, the mountain.
I’ve gotten so much more. I’m not a flower guy, not a paying kitchen. Well, I suddenly notice have flowers, like crazy and mountains and streams and aspects of nature. Let God really atone to your heart during that. And that then to pray and meditate and ponder and talk with… This is a quiet time. I know God didn’t bring coronavirus, the enemy brings all sickness, disease, heartache, pain, suffering, death, tears. But in the midst of this, God has put us on a global part. He’s allowed this to happen for us to quiet down and listen to him. His mouth is not broken, our ears are not broken. He still speaks, we can still listen to him and we can still talk with him. That could bring great comfort upon the traumatized citizenry.
Such a good word. Such a good word, Jim Garlow, the website is wellversedworld.org. We’ll have a link to this specific article today. Dr. Garlow, appreciate you, brother. Thanks for your time today.
Thank you, Rick. Joy, being on with you, my brother.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
This Precarious Moment
Hi, this is David Barton. I want to let you know about a brand new book we have out called, ‘This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps that Will Save You, Your Family, and Our Country’. Jim, Garlow and I have co-authored this book. And we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now, issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration and race relations and our relationship with Israel and the rising generation millennials and the absence of the church and the culture wars and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So, you can grab the book, ‘This Precarious Moment’ and find out what you can do to make a difference. ‘This Precarious Moment’ is available at wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. And special thanks to Pastor Jim Garlow for joining us today as well. We’ll have links to that article that we were talking about. David, Tim, what do you think? I mean, in some ways, I’m sure our founders discussed this, right? What’s the proper way in their case to actually fight a war, but even just a question your government and petition for a redress of grievance?
The Founders’ View
Well, looking at the founding fathers, certainly they address this issue. And sometimes we lose the context and therefore lose perspective on the founding fathers. Should we think about the American Revolution as their response to the tyranny and oppression from Great Britain? But that wasn’t their initial response. We’ve talked about on the program before for how many years and even decades, they were petitioning. They were trying to communicate, trying to address these issues in a non-violent manner is, as you mentioned, the interview with the kind of Martin Luther King Jr. approach as opposed to the Malcolm X approach, where we want to do this in a biblical manner.
We know that even as was highlighted in the interview, there’s a lot of biblical heroes, heroes of the faith that we look to that defied government leaders and government orders of time. And so, to blindly submit to unbiblical orders is not always the biblical thing to do. If someone is asking you to be ungodly, sometimes the most godly thing you can do is not submit. Well, this was all part of the conversation the founding fathers had and looking at what we were going to do with Great Britain, what we’re going to do with the king and his appointed governors and the leaders and the different officials they were dealing with?
And so, they were trying to peaceably resolve this for a long time. And it was only after they had been fired upon and arguably on more than one occasion that they finally said, okay, let’s get together, if they’re going to fire on us, right, we’re ready to stand.
And Rick, I think it’s in your “Chasing American Legends”, you guys actually do a little bit on Jonas Clark and talks, about kind of, that story where the God of his church is explaining, look, we’re not looking for War. But if they want a war, let it begin here. And this is something that certainly as we’re looking at the response, people are getting restless. But the correct response is always going to be the biblical idea of remaining godly and taking every piece of all manner possible.
A Biblical Response
And if it comes a time, God forbid, you know, God forbid we ever have to go through a revolution here in America again, but if the time comes, certainly, that’s another conversation we can have at this point, the biblical response, certainly, as I think you and Jim talked about very well outlining some of these thoughts is to see, we need to submit everywhere we can as much as possible. And then if there are areas that are not biblical or unreasonable, well, at that point, we can have a different conversation. But certainly, the idea of opposing a government that is being ungodly, something the founding fathers dealt with and something we’re now having to deal with a little bit today.
And I love the whole part about, you know, just making sure your heart is right. Right? Before you step out there and step forward and say I’m going to protest this thing, really doing that kind of heart check and just making sure that you’ve got the right spirit about the whole thing.
Yeah, I thought that was one of the most important points is not that you can’t protest, but you protest wrong if you go on at the wrong heart attitude, tried to be belligerent, trying to be combative and go on with humility and repentance and it’s a spirit of entreaty and that makes a big difference.
It does. You know, listen guys, it’s hard. I mean, we’re what, day 43 now of the COVID crackdowns and people are, as Jim said in his article and in the interview, they’re restless and they’re frustrated and rightfully so. But having the right attitude and checking our spirit a little bit and just making sure we have the right attitude is just going to make us so much more effective at influencing those public leaders and our friends and family and colleagues and neighbors and, and others as well. So really, really good advice today from Pastor Jim Garlow. We’ll have a link to the article to make it easy for you to learn more. It’s going to be at our website, wallbuilderslive.com today.
The Theology Of Protests – With Jim Garlow
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