Light on a Hill

Contrary to the claims of politicians, and far too many church leaders, Jesus is the only light on a hill that illuminates this dark world. Political activists of all stripes invoke the name and idea of “god” to validate their power over others, and they employ the most popular religions when doing so. Just as politicians in many Western-style democracies pay lip service to “Judeo-Christian values,” so Caesar appealed to traditional Roman morality and deities for divine approval of his imperial regime.

All too often, patriotism and religious faith become intertwined and even synonymous in popular culture, and any lack of nationalistic fervor becomes the equivalent of religious heresy.

And so today, many church leaders participate in this idolatrous religion, especially when partisan feelings run high. The inevitable result is the purported alliance if not identification of God, Jesus, and Christianity with the nation-state, culture, and governmental system of the country.

Lantern - Photo by nathan kosmak on Unsplash
[Photo by nathan kosmak on Unsplash]

And to maintain this fiction, presidents, kings, members of parliament, and dictators claim their country is the “shining light set on a hill” that illuminates the rest of the world to show humanity a higher way.


But politicians are not the most morally upright or selfless human beings on the planet, so one can understand their self-serving efforts to hijack Christianity in the pursuit of power and popularity.

However, it is an entirely different matter when “Christian” and church leaders join this blasphemous chorus line, proclaiming their nation, its form of government or political ideology as the “light of the world” and the representative of God’s kingdom on the Earth.

Biblically speaking, at the heart of this controversy is not whether a country, culture, or government is good, bad, or indifferent, or whether God champions democracy, autocracy, or socialism over other forms of government.

Rather, idolatrous statements of this sort contradict the claims of the New Testament declaring that JESUS is “the light of the world” and the only true representative of the God of the Bible. And on the lips of supposed men of God, attributing that role to anyone or anything other than the Nazarene amounts to blasphemy and idolatry.

His light which, theoretically, is reflected on the Earth in his church, is the true light that beckons all men and women to be reconciled with God. Jesus gave his life for the entire world, not for just one nation, ethnic group, culture, or political system. The Bible labels him the “light of the world,” not Western civilization, democracy, Karl Marx, or free-market capitalism.

That some church leaders and organizations embrace ideas about a nation or political system being this “light” demonstrates how far from the biblical ideal they have strayed in the pursuit of political influence and power.


There is no true light, liberty, peace, or life apart from Jesus of Nazareth. Scripture declares that his church transcends all national, cultural, and ethnic boundaries. It is the priestly kingdom commissioned by him to mediate his light in a very dark world. Super patriotism and other forms of state idolatry adopted by Christians will only hinder if not derail this mission.

Jesus did not establish his church to propagate any of the political ideologies of this age, but instead, to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God “to the uttermost parts of the Earth.”

His disciples are pilgrims in this world, and their true citizenship is in God’s kingdom. To be a loyal citizen of His realm means giving TOTAL ALLEGIANCE to its Sovereign and Lord, and that leaves no room for dual citizenship or split loyalties. And according to the Scriptures, sooner or later all the existing regimes of this age will cease to exist. Effectively, they are “perishing meat.”

None of the present governments of this “evil age” has ever officially and directly acknowledged, let alone submitted to, the ABSOLUTE LORDSHIP OF JESUS. Therefore, whatever else they are, they are OTHER THAN CHRISTIAN.

Moreover, all existing nations and ideologies are part of the existing world order that has been judged on Calvary. The forms and institutions of this age are, even now, in the process of “passing away.”

The immersion of many churches and Christians into partisan politics has diverted them from their paramount task - the PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL TO ALL NATIONS. In doing so, their “lamp” fades as they cease reflecting the light of Jesus and instead demonstrate that their true lord is Caesar.

This is not a call to passivity or disengagement from the world, but an exhortation for the church to reengage with it using the means described in the apostolic tradition - prayer, self-sacrificial service for others, teaching the Word - but above all, by becoming shining witnesses of the Nazarene.

His kingdom cannot be advanced by the ballot box, military might, economic dominance, or political power. Only men and women living cruciform lives submitted to his lordship can and will reflect his bright light in this very dark world.


The Suffering Servant

The Living Word