Tea Party Speakers Address Role of the Church
The Wilson County Tea Party recently hosted Pastor Dale Walker of the Tennessee Pastors Network and Kevin Kookogey, founder of “The Advancing Church” as guest speakers at its annual dinner at the Ward Ag Center.
Chairman Menda Holmes set the tone for the evening’s theme ”Pushing Back the Darkness.” She talked about praying and fasting, supporting Christian voter registration organizations and urged the audience to read the Billy Graham Decision magazine which articulates each candidate’s position on the key issues in a non-partisan fashion.
After a moving introduction from Jeremy Hayes on how the speaker had helped him at an earlier point in his life, Pastor Dale Walker addressed the group. “Our nation is in a perilous time,” he began as he cited the millions of lives lost to abortion, the proliferation of Islamic indoctrination in our children’s textbooks and having had to lobby against transgender bathrooms.
“We fight a little, and then go back to our lives where our pleasures are more important than our duty to God,” he continued.
Citing the website www.DirtyInvesting.com he pointed out how many churches fund staff retirement and pension accounts with investments in companies that deliver anti-family and pro-porn content to the public. “These companies lobby against our Christian values, but church administrators still invest in them to get a good return,” Walker said.
He also shared his viewpoint regarding the effectiveness of pastors. “Is your pastor engaged in this cultural war or not? Is he bringing people to Christ and making others mad or is he just trying to fill the offering plate?” Pastors should be held accountable by their congregations because the members of those congregations pay the Pastor’s salary.
He closed by encouraging people to call pastors out when they yield to cultural influences that do not align with the truth in God’s word.
Kevin Kookogey served as Tennessee State Chair for Ted Cruz for President 2016, and is a past Chairman of the Williamson County (TN) Republican Party. In 2013, as President and Founder of Linchpins of Liberty, Kookogey was the first IRS target to testify before the House Ways & Means Committee concerning the Obama Administration’s unlawful obstruction and delay of tax-exempt status for his and hundreds of other conservative and liberty-minded organizations.
He has led the very public fight against Common Core in Tennessee, and has developed a reputation for leadership on issues of American sovereignty, defense, and religious liberty. As President & Founder of The Advancing Church (www.advancingchurch.com), he speaks frequently on the duty of the Church in a free and civil society.
“A common misconception lurks among modern American Christians that politics can be separated from our beliefs, and that the Church - the Body of Christ - should not be engaged in the political arena.” He began. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We must reject the notion that human existence can be divided into ”political” and “non-political” segments. What scripture has to say about people and governments stands in stark contrast with the spirit of the age.”
Citing that Christ died for a political crime, Kookogey explained that God is above government. In fact, the authority of government is derived from God. Exercising this authority exudes either true law, such as our Declaration of Independence, or illegitimate power as in a tyrannical regime. The Biblical distinction between true law and illegitimate law also served as the moral foundation for the Civil Rights movement, according to Kookogey.
To unpack his position on the duty of the Church in the political arena he spent most of his presentation asking a series of questions that had been asked of him. A brief narrative of these questions with his answers follows:
“This event is more about why Christians should be informed about politics and why politics matter, not which political side is correct. The whole point of seeking information on any subject is to draw conclusions and act upon them”, Kookogey explained. “The statement also seems to presuppose the possibility of neutrality. Yet to claim neutrality on political issues is akin to saying one has no world view – no beliefs – on political issues.”
“Is America a Christian nation? Did our Founding Fathers intend to establish a Christian nation? Christian, after all, is a personal rather than a national identifier, associated with one’s beliefs about Jesus Christ,” he clarified. “The subject hinges on understanding what our founders believed about the nature of man and the duty of government. It was the permanent problems of the human condition that led our founders to structure an enduring Constitution.”
“How can politics serve the Kingdom of God? The answer lies not so much in explaining how politics can serve the Kingdom of God as in demonstrating that political power unchecked by the Church will always devolve into tyranny,” said Kookogey. “Our duty is to preserve the Knowledge of God, a charge that necessarily puts us at odds with the world.”
“What are the potential dangers of mixing politics and Christianity? We are told that Christianity can’t be permitted to inform our political decisions because to do so means that Christians want to replace the State with the Church [theocracy]. But, we can reject theocracy without abandoning the influence of religious belief on policy, just as we can encourage the participation and influence of Christians in political affairs without advocating for the Church to replace the State, ” he explained.
“What are the dangers of separating Christianity from politics? Politics is the arena where we discuss some of the most important questions of our day. How can we be salt and light if we remove ourselves from the conversation?” Kookogey inquired. “The church is the only moral authority to make distinctions between a State acting within its proper sphere and a usurping, absolutist State.”
“Is there a danger of having our religious liberty stripped by being uninformed about politics? Religious liberty is the most important among our inalienable rights. Its enumeration in the First Amendment reinforces its preeminence as the indispensable freedom,” he continued. “Religion and morality were deemed the indispensable supports to a free and civil society. The more virtue one has the less government one needs. These convictions have served our nation well for over 200 years.”
“Should a Christian be patriotic? Does pledging allegiance to America hinder our allegiance to God? Our allegiance to temporal authorities is conditional,” Kookogey said. “It only extends for so long as that authority does not violate eternal rights. So while it is permissible and worthy to pledge our allegiance to America, we must never yield to the decrees of a temporary master, which have no moral force when they violate our natural rights or if they are imposed upon us without our consent.”
Which responsibilities of providing help for our citizens are the government’s and which belong to the Church? The duty of government in plainly described in our founding documents,” he explained. “Taken together the Declaration and Constitution affirm the lessons of history and human nature that our founders studied concerning the proper duties and limits of government, and these principles are rooted in scripture.”
“Government fails when it gets off this mission,” he continued. “The collapse of states throughout the world, in fact, can be traced to their habit of inserting themselves into affairs where they don’t belong, while retreating from their obligations.”
“What is the importance of voting and participating in politics? Voting is very important, although uninformed or ill-informed voting can do more damage than not voting at all,” Kookogey warned. “But political action is not limited to voting. Political movement occurs when citizens are willing to hazard their lives to defend eternal truths, including the understanding that Rights come from God and that governments are instituted to secure them.”
“How do we seek what is best for America as well as seeking the Kingdom of God? Individual liberty and a free and civil society are best preserved when the church faithfully carries out its obligation to check the power of the State. If the State demands loyalty for that which is God’s alone, we cannot retire from the contest. When the State demands loyalty for that which is God’s, the Church cannot hide from the conflict.”>/p>
In his closing remarks he put forth a single, rhetorical question, “Will the Church stand here idle, believing that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of the chains of slavery, or will she embrace her sacred duty?”
During the Q&A session after his talk he was asked what can be done about government overreach. Kookogey recommended civil disobedience as opposed to “Storming the Bastille.” People need to push back or the government will continue to encroach, he advised.
He also shared how financial challenges in his own life had strengthened his faith and left the audience with this C.S. Lewis quote, “Prosperity knits a man’s soul to this world.”