The Call Uganda: Can a nation be changed in a day?

In December, 2009 I did a series of posts on the relationship between supporters of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality bill and the teaching that Christians should control governments by reclaiming the “seven mountains of culture.” Examining the teachings of Extreme Prophetic (Caleb Brundidge), Uganda’s Julius Oyet, C. Peter Wagner and Johnny Enlow, I proposed that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is consistent with the seven mountains teaching as one way to take back the culture for Christ.

The first thing one reads upon opening the website for The Call Uganda is the question, “Can a nation be changed in a day?” Although I have not found where Lou Engle uses the phrase “seven mountains of culture,” the objective of Christian nation-building seems to be high on his list of priorities. The “About Us” page promises, “prayer, fasting and repentence changes nations.” On the “Solemn Assembly” page, various Old Testament scriptures directed to Israel are offered as evidence that any nation can claim covenant with God and gain favor via national change.

There was always a promise of great blessing if the nation returned to the Lord with wholehearted devotion and the renewal of their covenant vows of love to the Lord. [Leviticus 23:36, Numbers 29:35, Deuteronomy 16:8, 2 Chronicles 7:9, 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, Joel 1:14, 2:15]

I personally believe this is a misguided teaching which seems to assume that covenants with God can be made by Christians in a nation declaring it so. As I understand it, the covenant God made with Israel was at His initiative and with His participation. My view is that God has not made such covenants with nations in the modern era and in fact seeks a relationship with individuals. Although I see nothing inherently wrong with people corporately asking for repentence in the Church, I do not see that the promises in Chronicles can be claimed in this manner.

Lou Engle has expressed that the rule and reign of Jesus is for the present day. This has given rise to the criticism that the The Call teaches a theology that seeks for Christians to rule in government via Christian principles. The criticism apparently led to a disclaimer on The Call’s website which reads:

Dominion Theology

WE AFFIRM that God’s purpose is for Jesus to come back to fully establish His kingdom rule over all the earth. After the second coming, the saints will rule the earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ when He sets up His government on earth in the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 5:10; 20:3–6). We believe that believers in this age are called to serve Jesus in politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation. We do not have the assurance that all laws and governments will be changed until after the second coming of Jesus to establish His millennial kingdom.

WE REFUTE that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ.

Explanation: Some believe and teach that all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus.

All this statement says is that there is no assurance that “all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus” but does not rule out the possibility. The teaching is that all governments may not be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Christ, but the implication seems clear that some will be.

Is Uganda such a government?

As an evangelical, I am sympathetic to Engles’ calls for righteousness and the protection of unborn life.  And I do believe that laws should protect such life. My votes will go to people who pledge to protect life. And I think young people should care more about issues other than the material. For the Church, however, I believe my faith teaches a different role than direct efforts at statecraft. I believe the Church has a message of individual redemption that is life-giving. Sadly, in my view, the Church here is having a hard time getting that message out.

I feel sure we are not called to bring in Mosaic law as a way to prevent God’s judgment on a nation. The Call’s regular appeal to Old Testament references and promises to Israel raises real concerns about any government that takes those calls seriously. The results will surely be dramatic limitations of individual freedom, as fallible humans put their interpretations of righteousness in place. As the New Testament books of Colossians and Galatians, in particular, stress, the Mosaic law was a means to make us aware of our natures and need for redemption. As history teaches, implementing it by fiat in a culture is no guarantee of righteousness, and most likely a path to self-righteousness.