“Conscience is God’s officer in the human breast, and its rights are defined by his law. The right of conscience to trample on his authority is the right of a rebel, which entitles him to nothing but condign [deserved] punishment.” —John Mitchell Mason, 1800
Astonishingly, the political freedom to worship false gods is commonly defended by Christians, on the supposed basis that the LORD’s command for us to love our neighbor encompasses us also loving our neighbor’s false god. It requires us being sensitive to their conscience, a conscience it is argued, that is “sacred.”
Nothing could be farther from the Truth.
In Scripture, the LORD regularly required submission to his Law by foreigners regardless of their “god.” For example, the Sabbath command explicitly required observance from “the resident foreigner who is in your gates.” Exodus 20:10 NET. As the Reverend John Mitchell Mason explained it in his political sermon against the election of the “infidel” Thomas Jefferson:
“The civil magistrate is, by divine appointment, the guardian of the sabbath. In it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, &c. nor the stranger that is within thy gates. “Gates,” is a scriptural term for public authority; and that it is so to be understood in this commandment, is evident from its connection with “stranger.” God says that even the stranger shall not be allowed to profane his sabbath. But the stranger can be controlled only by the civil magistrate who “sitteth in the gate.” It therefore belongs to his office, to enforce, by lawful means, the sanctification of the sabbath, as the fundamental institute of religion and morals, and the social expression of homage to that God under whom he acts.”
Absolute Truth—or Reality—is the explicit claim of both Scripture and Christ. There is no alternative or equal. When it comes to God, there is no democracy or relativism—you choose your god, I’ll choose mine. Christ laid it out: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the LORD sent out his messengers to preach a definitive message to all the nations with their false gods. And so they preached: “although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31 NET. Neither Christ nor his messengers ever winked at idols or false gods. In fact, their goal was to destroy them. They never lent them an iota of credence. They personified Psalm 96: “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” Psalms 96:3-5 ESV
In God’s Scheme, conscience is never to be elevated to god status as it is in our day. Tragically, it is Christians that are leading the charge for polytheistic religious freedom, forgetting God is a jealous—fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions—God. As quoted at the start, “Conscience is God’s officer in the human breast, and its rights are defined by his law.” As such, conscience is required to be subject to God’s moral law. It follows that God expects all nations to politically recognize Christ as LORD and to confidently govern accordingly. This begs the question, given the pervasive acceptance of polytheistic religious freedom within the Church, are Christians in our day fit to govern?