As Christians, we believe and confess that Jesus Christ reigns supreme at the right hand of God the Father. Being persuaded that He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:15), we have a blessed perspective of the world around us. All that happens in this world, whether good or evil, noteworthy or unnoticeable, is under the sovereign control of the King of kings. Some recent events relating to earthly powers provide an opportunity for us to reflect on the kingdom of God and our comfort and calling as citizens of His kingdom.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II
On September 8, 2022 the world was informed of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She died at the age of 96, bringing to an end her reign of 70 years (1952-2022).
I could attempt to add to the flood of reflections on her life and reign, but I would certainly expose my stereotypical American ignorance of the British monarchy. Others are well-suited for this task. Carl Trueman—a Presbyterian, a professor, and significantly, a native Englishman— is one of these. Trueman writes:
The death of Queen Elizabeth II marks a watershed for Britain and for those of us who have never known any other head of our state—as is true for any lifelong British citizen under the age of seventy. Remarkably, she began her reign while Winston Churchill was prime minister and then lived to see a further fourteen individuals hold that high office. Without question she saw more change in British society than any of her predecessors, and throughout it all she remained a calm and steadfast figurehead for the nation.1
Trueman notes that the Queen carried herself with a rare dignity, which is to be appreciated in our present age.
Unlike most heads of state today, she was a person to whom one could point and say to one’s children and grandchildren, “When you grow up, you want to be like her.” Her reign was marked with a deep sense of the dignity of her office. She never used profane language. She never sneered at critics. A generation raised on reality TV, life-as-performance, confected Twitter outrage, and “living loud” would do well to reflect upon that. To how many other executives of the past decades can one point as a good example to follow? Maybe that is why monarchy might not be such a bad thing after all. Democraticallyelected leaders often achieve their positions thanks to ruthless ambition, dirty tricks, and an overwhelming sense of their own vital importance. The queen was never burdened with such temptations, and it showed.”2
It is also reported that the Queen was a devout Christian. The British monarch held official religious duties in the Church of England and honored the Presbyterian government of the Church of Scotland, but her faith was also personal, and reportedly carried her through difficult times in public and private.3
In lieu of analyzing of Elizabeth’s life, critically examining her faith, or debating her legacy, I submit one undeniable reality that is worth considering: the Queen is dead. Despite the symbols of sovereignty, the displays of royal majesty, her laudable dignity, and impressive longevity, Elizabeth came to the same bitter end as the mightiest of monarchs and the lowliest of her subjects.
In the Queen’s house of mourning, we are reminded that there is only one King who lives eternally and reigns sovereignly, even over death itself. There is only one King who is exalted over all kings and nations, and even over death itself. Thus, Christians alone have the unique privilege of boasting in the eternal glory and perfect sovereignty of their King: “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Ps. 145:13).
Singapore and the LGBT movement
A recent report in Christianity Today reveals some interesting developments in Singapore.4 The occasion for the report is the decision to repeal a law (Section 377A) that criminalized gay sex, and allowed a punishment for the crime of up to two years in prison. Although Singapore has a reputation for its stringent enforcement of law and its readiness to administer punishment, this law was the exception as it was rarely enforced. Now, Section 377A is off the books.
Alongside repealing 377A, the government revealed a proposed amendment to protect the government’s right to define marriage. The proposed amendment was announced strategically to put to rest fears of greater liberalization in the realm of marriage and sexuality, since the amendment would permit Parliament to define and defend marriage as a union between one man and one woman. However, the language of the proposed amendment leaves open the possibility that Parliament could define marriage differently in the future—with a simple majority vote.
The short-term effect of repealing 377A and adopting the proposed amendment will likely be minimal, but in light of the rapid liberalization of the world at large, it is difficult to imagine that Singapore does not fall in line and completely adopt the LGBT movement as its own. If this is the next step, those in Singapore who maintain the biblical truths of marriage and human sexuality will be met with even greater opposition.
The LGBT movement around the world has tremendous momentum, so much that it seems unstoppable, and that is why these relatively small steps of a very conservative Singaporean government give reason for concern. But, the hearts of our rulers are in the hands of God, and the King on the throne of heaven not only reigns eternally but righteously. “He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment…. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth” (Ps. 72:2,7). May God grant His grace to our brothers and sisters in Singapore to remain steadfast in faith and continue in godliness, and may our Lord Jesus Christ come quickly!
The danger of Christian nationalism
Within a democratic system of government, there are opportunities for Christians to strive for change, and ways for Christians to stand fast against the liberal agenda. It is legitimate for a Christian to take up a place in government, and to do so with Christian values and motivations. It is even a desirable thing that Christians might have representatives and leaders who conduct themselves according to God’s Word, both in office and in their campaigns for office. In the case of U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (Colorado), however, the use of Christian rhetoric reveals a misplaced and dangerous hope.
An article in The Denver Post cites examples of Boebert’s rhetoric to show the danger of Christian Nationalism to America as a democracy, and pleads with Republicans and Christians to denounce Boebert’s views and efforts.5 Here are some examples of Boebert’s rhetoric:
It’s time for us to position ourselves to rise up and take our place in Christ and influence this nation as we are called to do…. We know that we are in the last days. This is a time to know that you were called to be part of these last days. You get to have a role in ushering in the second coming of Jesus.
I believe that there have been two nations that have been created to glorify God. Israel, whom we bless, and the United States of America, and this nation will glorify God.
The Post also reports:
In the same address Boebert said she was “tired of this separation of church and state junk” and claimed that God “anointed” Donald Trump to the presidency.6
The usual leanings of the mainstream media require that we take the author’s argument with a grain of salt. I do not know Boebert or her platform well enough to analyze how her religious views affect her official work as a congresswoman, nor do I make any judgments on the legitimacy of the alleged threat to democracy.
For myself, as a pastor and herald of Christ the King, the greater concern and the greater danger is that this kind of rhetoric may lead Christians in America to place their hope in politicians and political change, or in the earthly nation, America, that is only our temporary home.
Our hope and our comfort are not tied to our earthly citizenship. The kingdom of God is not the United States of America. The kingdom of God is not even of this world. The answer to liberal policies or restrictions on religious freedom is not that Christians must seek and strive for the Christianization of America. In fact, the attempt to Christianize America may very well be a dangerous departure from, if not a rejection of, the biblical truth of God’s kingdom.
Instead, the Christian’s hope and comfort are bound up with Christ who sits at God’s right hand. Let us be sober and watch unto prayer. May our prayers for the kingdom’s coming have their focus on the rule of Christ by His Word and Spirit (not the rule of a political party), the preservation and increase of His church (not an earthly nation), and the spiritual (not political) defeat of those who oppose God and His Word. For those of us who are Christians in America, let us witness to the rule of Christ by remaining steadfast in our one true hope and fervent in our prayers, “till the full perfection of Thy kingdom shall take place, wherein Thou shalt be all in all” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48).
1 Carl Trueman, “The Quiet Faith of Queen Elizabeth II,” First Things, September 8, 2022 (https://www.firstthings.com/ web-exclusives/2022/09/the-quiet-faith-of-queen-elizabeth-ii).
2 Truman, “Quiet Faith.”
3 Dudley Delffs, “Died: Queen Elizabeth II, British Monarch Who Put Her Trust in God,” Christianity Today, September 8, 2022 (https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/september/obitqueen- elizabeth-ii-personal-faith-christian-bible.html).
4 Isabel Ong, “In Singapore, LGBT Perspectives Are Liberalizing. Can the Church Hold Together?” Christianity Today, September 8, 2022 (https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/september/ singapore-evangelicals-377a-repeal-marriage.html).
5 Conrad Swanson, “Lauren Boebert is part of a dangerous religious movement that threatens democracy, experts say,” The Denver Post, September 14, 2022 (https://www.denverpost. com/2022/09/14/lauren-boebert-christian-nationalist-republican- colorado).
6 All quotations are from Swanson’s article.