Pax Romana, Pax Americana Be Damned

Christ’s coming into the world was the beginning of God’s revolution against all powers that did not bow to him but instead served demonic masters. The writing of the gospels of Jesus Christ was, therefore, a revolutionary act. While Christians today often fail to realize this, the same cannot be said of the rulers of the Jews and Romans.

To illustrate this, let us consider the Calendar Inscription of Priene, an ancient Greek city within the Roman Empire, which describes why the birthday of Augustus Caesar was to become the start date of a new calendar system:

Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit mankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, [the] birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings [εὐαγγέλιον] for the world that came by reason of him.[1]

Rome proclaimed their king as God, saying that his birth signaled the εὐαγγέλιον—the good tidings, the gospel—for the world. Augustus was the one born by divine providence, given as savior of the world, to make an end to all war and establish peace.

But the birth of Christ was God’s answer to Rome’s blasphemy. Compare Rome’s gospel proclamation with the circumstances of Christ’s birth. Although Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem because of a “decree [that] went out from Caesar Augustus,” it was the hand of Yahweh that guided Augustus, leading the holy family to the city of David, the place prophesied of in Micah 5:2: “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.” And the birth of Christ was heralded by angels proclaiming, contra Augustus,

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news [εὐαγγέλιον] of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:1, 10-11, 13).

Christians should note that the Jewish and Roman persecution of the church was due to the political implications of the gospel. The Pharisees and priests gathered, saying that Jesus must be killed because allowing him to continue would mean the loss of their power: “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48). They were willing to crucify the King of Israel and David’s Son, to whom had been promised an eternal throne, so long as they could maintain their power under the peace granted to them by Rome. Rather than acknowledge God as their only King, to whom all allegiance was owed, they bowed to the false god-king, stating, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

Likewise, among the Romans, Christians were not killed for worshipping Jesus, but for refusing to acknowledge the Roman god-king as lord. Just a pinch of incense to Caesar as a sign of obeisance was sufficient for anyone to go free—to worship Jesus in private so long as those religions convictions did not get in the way of their public allegiance to Caesar and his dominion.[2] But to claim Jesus is Lord is to say that Caesar is not. To say that Christ is Lord means that Caesar is subordinate to a higher power to which he will give an account. Political idolatry is a unique risk, for if there is no God in heaven then we can become gods ourselves. All of us suffer from this, yet the greatest and most consequential blasphemers in the Bible are always kings who, rejecting God, demand the recognition of their own authority as supreme. The entire biblical narrative displays men seeking to place themselves on the throne.

Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve was to seize the wisdom to rule as lords in disobedience to God (Gen. 3). Pharaoh subjected the Israelites to slavery and his own people to God’s judgments out of pride and an unwillingness to acknowledge that there was any greater authority than his own (Exodus). After Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, explaining that the God of heaven had granted him dominion, the king constructed a golden idol of himself, demanding worship on pain of death (Daniel 2-3). What they all failed to grasp is that flourishing in the world God created can only occur when all people live in harmony with the order and limits that God has established.

The proclamation that Jesus is Lord was intolerable for Rome, which proclaimed that true peace could only be found in allegiance to the Roman Emperor—the Pax Romana.

The proclamation that Jesus is Lord was intolerable for Rome, which proclaimed that true peace could only be found in allegiance to the Roman Emperor—the Pax Romana. It is likewise intolerable today for those who proclaim that true peace can only be found in allegiance to the secular caricature that has become American so-called “democracy”—the Pax Americana. Heidi Przybyla, reporter for Politico, recently went on MSNBC to proclaim the gospel of apostate America. She warned of the rise of Christian nationalism saying,

[T]he thing that unites them as Christian nationalists [is] that they believe that our rights as Americans and as all human beings, don’t come from any earthly authority. They don’t come from Congress, they don’t come from the Supreme Court, they come from God.[3]

Yes, and Amen. Of course, Przybyla’s perspective that these notions are radical depends upon either willful ignorance of our nation’s history and the history of political thought, or upon her commitment to subverting the foundations of American government while pretending to be its defender.

Indeed, the very notion of a representative government by the people, for the people, was itself the fruit of Christian theology. Samuel Rutherford, the Scottish Presbyterian minister, in his book Lex Rex (which means the law is king) laid out the biblical case that all rulers are subordinate to God and his law, and legitimate ruling authority is established with the consent of the governed. Rutherford died of natural causes in 1661 just before his planned execution for promoting these ideas, which challenged the notion that kings possess an absolute divine mandate to rule.

Following the likes of Rutherford, the American framers understood, as James Madison said in Federalist no. 43, “[T]he transcendent law of nature and of nature’s God… declares that the safety and happiness of society, are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.” As Thomas Jefferson, hardly the devout Christian, penned in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The very basis for declaring independence came from the conviction that all people are of “separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them.” Government exists “to secure these rights, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” and, therefore, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

What Przybyla suggests are radical and dangerous ideas, the unanimous consent of the States declared “self-evident.” With one voice, our framers understood that the only sure protection against tyrannical rulers, precisely because wicked men can do greatest damage from within the halls of power, is for ruling authority to be separated among many states and branches of government. Governance that leads to flourishing for all people depended upon political authorities understanding that they are servants, subordinate to the will of their own people and duty bound to pursue their good above all other concerns, precisely because this is the will of God. It is as the apostle says in Romans 13: “For there is no authority except from God [and rulers] are God’s servant[s] for your good. [A ruler] is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing” (13:1, 4, 6). 

Heidi Przybyla speaks not as a political commentator, but as an apostle of the demonic lie of secularism, which is nothing other than political polytheism. Rights, in her mind, comes from earthly lords, much like god-king Augustus—Congress and the Supreme Court. If this were the case, rights would be a paper construct with no basis in transcendent reality. If our rights are not grounded in an unchanging, eternal Reality, those rights are nothing more than privileges handed down by ruling elites—rights that can just as easily be taken away. As we have seen, when government abandons its task in bearing the sword against evil as God defines it, evil begins to prevail in increasing measure, with lawlessness and bloodshed becoming the norm as the innocent cry out to deaf authorities for relief.

We are told that we must secure our rights by ceding absolute authority to our rulers, the very thing the Declaration and Constitution were written to ensure could never happen.

In her mind, the Pax Americana can only be established by banishing God from our consideration, and God-given rights can only be maintained by rejecting their Giver. As we are told incessantly, we must save our “democracy” (a word never used in the Declaration or Constitution) by rejecting the very basis of our constitutional system, which established a republic of co-equal states and an intentionally limited federal government. We are told that we must secure our rights by ceding absolute authority to our rulers, the very thing the Declaration and Constitution were written to ensure could never happen.

Maintaining the current status quo, in which our rulers give no consideration to God or his moral demands, depends on Christians remaining silent and unengaged. As Hemant Mehta, known online as the YouTube commentator the “Friendly Atheist,” said, commenting on Pryzbyla’s statement, “A lot of Christians believe [that rights and morality come from God]. What Christian nationalists [want is] to codify that into law in a way that affects everybody… Regular Christians who just want to pray, go to church—they’re not the problem here and it doesn’t matter.”[4]

Like the Romans before, those who oppose the influence of Christianity in society don’t care if you worship Jesus so long as that has no impact in the world. What they fear is Christians who do not abandon their faith the moment they step outside their door. What they fear is Christians who believe that the fact God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him on a throne in the heavens should impact how we are governed. What they fear are Christians who believe that any law passed in disobedience to God is no law at all. What they fear is Christians who believe that, as the apostle said, all rulers are in fact God’s servants reigning on borrowed time, duty bound to honor the King over all kings.

What they fear is that Christians might actually do what Jesus commissioned us to do—to teach the nations to obey all he commanded (Matthew 28:20).

Let us be clear—we are in a religious war and we always have been. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). From the Garden on, this has been a war for dominion, the dominion of demons or the dominion of God and of his anointed King. The enemies of God know, and they are terrified that Christians will realize.

But the Lord enthroned in the heavens laughs at these fools who say there is no God. For although “the nations rage” and the “kings of the earth” seek to establish themselves “against the LORD and against his anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2), God puts forth his Son as Lord, while he mocks the world’s impotence in stopping him:

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD holds them in derision. [He] will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion… You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron” (Psalm 2:4-9).

Against every lord and pretender god-king, God says, “O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:10-12).

Sic semper tyrannis.

[1] Craig A Evans, “Mark’s Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel,” Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 1:67–81, accessed online,

[2] See Pliny’s letter to Emperor Trajan, accessed online,

[3] Tim Haines, “Heidi Przybyla: Extremist Conservative Christian Nationalists Believe Your Rights Come From God, Not Government,” Real Clear Politics, accessed online,

[4] Friendly Atheist, “Christian Nationalists are mad at reporter Heidi Przybyla for accurately covering them (Livestream),” March 2, 2024,


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