On Our Pledge of Allegiance

by David Posey

As I write this, there has been much discussion about the Ninth District Court’s declaring the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional because it uses God’s name. We could take some space to denounce the decision and offer it up as another example of our nation’s corruption. But that is probably not a good use of the space. This court is notoriously liberal and its decisions routinely overturned by the Supreme Court, especially in high profile cases like this.

Perhaps it is more profitable to allow the decision to awaken a more personal question: to whom or what do we pledge allegiance? In reading and hearing what some of my brethren are saying, I get the impression that they have pledged allegiance to someone or something other than Christ.

For example, some seem loyal to the past and can see only evil in the present day. One’s personal history is given an almost mystical power in the man’s life. It was so much better back then, is the main story line, and unless we return to the spirit of those halcyon days, we are doomed.

There are at least two problems with this view: First, the times weren’t that good, unless you like argument, division and disunity. Yes, much of the division became necessary (1 Cor. 11:19). But I’d rather hold up Jesus’ prayer that "we all be one" in John 17 as the ideal for which we strive, rather than 1940s & 50s America. (2) Inspired scripture warns us not to talk like this! "Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this" (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

In connection with this, some have glorified certain men in a way that seems most inappropriate. For example, I don’t doubt that Foy E. Wallace, Jr. was a great speaker who could keep audiences spellbound for hours at a time. But does that make him "the prince of preachers," as one writer observed? Perhaps so, if preachers are measured only by style and speaking ability. But if measured by the things Paul seemed to believed were important – hard work, being an example, and staying true to the gospel – then no, brother Wallace, with all due respect to his abilities, is not the prince of preachers. In his later years, he forsook the truth and cast his lot with brethren who did not appreciate the authority of scripture. And, really, brethren, isn’t there only one "Prince" of preachers?

Today, some have exalted certain men or groups of men in the same way. A man once told me in a letter that evangelism consists in getting people to "line up behind you." Others have trumpeted the importance of surrounding oneself with "counselors." Yes, "in the abundance of counselors there is victory," as the proverb says (11:14). But that victory is totally dependent on whom we choose for our counselors. If we only choose counselors of a certain stripe, we make ourselves vulnerable to the error of Rehoboam, who chose the wrong counselors and split the kingdom of Israel! Jesus warned of those who choose their "counselors" for the purpose of justifying themselves before themselves (Luke 16:15), and Paul warned against the foolishness of those who measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves among themselves (II Cor. 10:12).

That’s the sectarian spirit, lock, stock and barrel.

Once we pledge our allegiance to the Lord, everything else, and everyone else falls in behind Him. Ultimately, that’s the only pledge that counts.