The January 6 Capitol breach by several hundred members at the massive Trump rally was instantly labelled an “insurrection” by the Washington Post and other Leftist mainstream news outlets and even by prominent conservatives. One suspects that Leftists and Democrats would have been less scandalized had Trump not been president and had they not been able to wield this event (to which his characteristically reckless language contributed, even though he likely did not envision such tragic developments) for their partisan impeachment purposes.
Still, by any objective standard, this was an insurrection, defined as “a violent uprising against an authority or government.” As of early March, 315 people have been charged (Insider, March 9, 2021) — justifiably charged. When you illegally breach a federal government building, threaten legislators and the vice president, and set up shop as a tinpot invading force, whatever else you’re guilty of, insurrection is one of them.
The Bible on Insurrection
The Bible unreservedly condemns political insurrection. While Romans 13 is no manifesto for unconditional obedience to civil government, neither can it be erased from the Bible. Paul has been laying out proper order and submission to human authority, of which the civil magistrate (politics) is a prominent example.
Our Lord himself was obliged to combat the forces of political insurrection. A party of Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries known as Zealots were committed to the violent overthrow of the occupying Roman forces. These Jews tried to make Jesus king by force (Jn. 6:15), and he would have none of this insurrectionist impulse.
Jesus’ apostle Simon Zelotes (Mk. 3:18) was probably also originally a Zealot. Barabbas, pardoned by Pilate to make way for Jesus’ conviction and crucifixion, was almost certainly a Zealot (Jn. 18:40). The attitude of the NT is deeply anti-insurrectionist. It nowhere condones political evil or tyranny but suggests that tyranny is overcome by faith, prayer, obedience — and non-insurrectionist resistance (Ac. 4:18–20; 16:38; 1 Tim. 2:2).
I agree with John Calvin in the final chapter of his Institutes of the Christian Religion that armed resistance to political tyranny is justified only when undertaken by lower territorial magistrates (today: governors or mayors). Individuals may not take up arms against or violently oppose the state. Political tyranny must be met by lawful, ordered resistance.
But this January 7 political insurrection, despite the loss of life it unleashed, pales before another insurrection in our society: creational insurrection. This insurrection has become a mainstay of Leftism and, increasingly, even many conservatives and faux Christians. What is creational insurrection? It is bald, highhanded rebellion against God’s created order, notably against his creational norms stated in Genesis 1–2: the Creator-creature distinction, humanity created in God’s image, man and woman equally human with inherent ontological distinctions, and the cultural mandate, among others. To attempt to reverse any of these norms is creational insurrection, war against God and his created order.
The most graphic example today is the cluster of sexual assaults on creation: homosexual “marriage,” transgenderism, and radical feminism. The creational order of man and woman qua male and female designed to be only male and female and nothing different (as if there could in fact be anything different) collides with the guiding tenet of the contemporary world: radical human autonomy, summarized as: “I should be able to do anything I want and be anything I want as long as I don’t hurt anybody else.” If this means a male’s becoming a female, or a female becoming a male gorilla, or an androgynous being (sexless, or combined two sexes), nothing is permitted to stand in my way.
Not only should nothing stand in my way. The state should perceive as its chief role protecting and even financing my ability to do just that. This is an overarching tenet of Cultural Marxism: political engineering of the revolutionary erotic regime.
If today’s church wishes to bring many sinners to Jesus Christ, she must be eager first to challenge the creational insurrection that makes the reception of the gospel impossible.
When the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County decided 6–3 that prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex in the 1964 Civil Rights Act now included “sexual orientation and gender identity,” the high court enshrined creational insurrection as U. S. law. The fact that it is U. S. law doesn’t make it any less the greatest act of insurrection possible: rebellion against the God of the universe.
Political and creational insurrection are both evil, but the latter is more depraved than the former, because while political insurrection is rebellion against God’s delegated order, creational insurrection is an attempted coup of his cosmic reality. This in fact is just what creational insurrection is: war on reality.
The Failure of Creational Insurrection
This hints at why Christians need not despair over the current erotic regime and its exaltation of homosexual “marriage” and transgenderism and pervasive pornography. When you assault reality, you fight a foreordained losing battle. Reality bites back. Just as God’s cosmic physical laws (like gravity) govern our tangible realm, so his cosmic moral laws govern its ethical realm. And success in violations of the latter order is no more possible than in the former. If you leap from a 13-story building in trying to prove your autonomy, you’ll only end in proving the law of gravity. If you engage in transgenderism or legalize homosexual “marriage,” you’ll only end up destroying yourself and your culture — and proving God’s moral law.
A prime task of biblical Christians and Christian ministries today is to call the world back to reality, that is, to God’s creational order. The church is entrusted with the gospel, the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. But “the gospel makes sense only in a moral world,” and the moral world is the created world. To share the gospel to people for whom God’s world is not an unstated assumption is a fool’s errand. Nobody who believes that the world is self-generated, that there is no God, that there is no sin (except maybe sexism, racism, or homophobia), and that eternal judgment is a hell-fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist fairy tale can become a Christian. The gospel is not designed for a sort of world that man created and from which God is excluded.
Therefore, if today’s church wishes to bring many sinners to Jesus Christ, she must be eager first to challenge the creational insurrection that makes the reception of the gospel impossible.