In a fallen world power corrupts, and corrupt leadership needs to be challenged. We will always need brave prophetic voices to challenge leaders who are spurning God and his moral laws. Thankfully even the worst periods of human history have seen powerful prophetic voices arise to challenge evil and stand for what is right.
One thinks of Daniel and his friends challenging the Babylonian leadership. Jesus spoke truth before Pilate. Paul fearlessly proclaimed the gospel before Roman rulers. More recently, Wilberforce challenged the English Parliament about the evils of slavery.
Bonhoeffer challenged Hitler and the Nazis, and had to pay the ultimate price for it. Today we still have a few brave souls who will stand up to the great leaders of the world and courageously proclaim truth. These prophetic voices fear no one, and will take truth to the greatest leaders of the day.
One certainly thinks of Mother Teresa back in 1994 speaking at the US National Prayer Breakfast. She boldly challenged the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation on the sin of abortion.
She said in part: “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.
“By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today – abortion which brings people to such blindness….
“I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption – by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: ‘Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.’ So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: ‘Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.’ And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child – but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said, ‘Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.’ By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.
“Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children’s home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy….
“If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak – the unborn child – must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!”
When she concluded her speech the audience gave her a standing ovation – well most of it that is: Bill and Hillary Clinton just sat there, refusing to join in.
We had a similar situation taking place just a few days ago at the most recent US prayer breakfast. Christian author Eric Metaxas, who has written biographies on Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce, also spoke about the sin of abortion, this time before President Obama.
He said, “This is a Bonhoeffer moment.” He appealed to those who will stand up and speak truth, just as Wilberforce did on slavery and Bonhoeffer did on Nazism. “We are capable of the same horrible things,” he said, referring to the Holocaust.
“Apart from God we cannot see that they are persons as well. So those of us who know the unborn to be human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see that. We need to know that apart from God we would be on the other side of that divide, fighting for what we believe is right. We cannot demonize our enemies. Today, if you believe abortion is wrong, you must treat those on the other side with the love of Jesus.”
He also pointedly spoke to the issue of “dead religion”. While Metaxas was brave enough to raise these vital issues, the President himself used the opportunity to twist the gospel message. He sought to offer religious justification for his essentially socialist economic policies, as if Jesus was a Marxist.
While this is the stuff of another article, a quick reply from Gary DeMar is worth posting: “There is not a single word in the Bible that directs the State to confiscate money from the rich to enlarge the power and authority of civil government. Governments can’t follow the Golden Rule. Government doesn’t have any money to be gracious with. You can’t love your neighbor with someone else’s money. If I stole money from a rich person and gave it to a poor person, I would not be following the Golden Rule. President Obama wants to be benevolent with someone else’s money. In biblical terms, the State is a minister of justice not a dispenser of benevolence (Rom. 13:1–4).”
But the point here is that all leaders need to be challenged. None are above the law and none are above reproach. Interestingly, even ancient Israel, which many people think of as a theocracy, had a clear division of powers. Prophet, priest and king were all separate, and prophets often rebuked kings for example.
We desperately need more Daniels today. We need more Bonhoeffers today. We need more Mother Teresas today. We need more brave prophetic voices who will speak even before kings and princes if need be. Will we rise to the challenge?