This is a post that has long been on my mind and is finally making it to words. The question is what role should a Christian play in politics especially in the toxic culture we live in today. I know I have some readers that are not in the states; I appreciate you and you are welcome to read and interact with this post but know my primary audience is Christians in the USA.
First and foremost we must observe one thing: Civil Government was set up by God. In Romans 13:1-7 one can read
Let everyone submit to the governing authorities since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. 2 So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. 4 For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. 5 Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath but also because of your conscience. 6 And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s servants, continually attending to these tasks.7 Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.
Whether we like who is in power or not is beside the point. He or she was placed there by God and we have the responsibility to obey said leader unless we are told to do something that is in direct violation to the Word of God.
What about Voting
Voting privileges did not exist in Bible times in regards to the government; the Roman empire was in charge and that was that. Ironically many thought that the Jewish Messiah would overthrow Rome but clearly, that is not what Christ did. This being said, how should a Christion vote?
A believer ought to vote for the candidate that most closely aligns with Biblical values. Don’t misunderstand me, this does not mean we should vote for the candidate that claims to be a “Christian”, but one who most aligns with Christian principals. Also, it is unlikely that any candidate will ever be one which we agree with completely. That will not happen until the millennial kingdom.
Some have argued that Christians should stay completely out of politics which includes voting. However, God has given us the great privilege to live in this great country where we have an ability to vote for those we would like to represent us. We understand that God sovereignly places people into government. But similarly to the fact that God uses us to in his salvation program, he uses us in order to place those into the government that he wishes. Edmund Burke once said “all that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing” and Psalm 34:14 says “Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.” Therefore, a Christian must vote.
One thing that bothers me greatly is many Christians equate being Republican to being Christian. Christian does not equal Republican. We should desire our churches to be filled with democrats, republicans, and many other political beliefs because we are not united by our political beliefs but by the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
What about taxes
Some Christians argue that Christians should not pay taxes because tax money is used for unbiblical purposes. However, the Bible deals with this in the clearest way possible. When the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes unto Caeser in Matt 22:17-21
17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 Perceiving their malicious intent, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, hypocrites?19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them.21 “Caesar’s,” they said to him. Then he said to them, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Our Lord instructs his followers to pay taxes unto Caeser and we can be assured that taxes in the Roman empire were used for much worse things than our government in this country does. In addition, the money that he was saying was to be paid to Caeser was likely used in some way for His own crucifixion. So if Christ paid taxes to Rome then how much more should we pay taxes to our government.
What about civil disobedience
There is one and only one reason we can disobey our government and that is if we are told to do something that is in direct disobedience to the word of God. There are several illustrations of this In scripture Such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s refusal to worship the Idol in Daniel 3, Danial’s refusal to pray to the King over God in Daniel 6, and the Hebrews refusal to kill all male babies.
In summary, how should a Christian respond to the government?
- By respecting those in government whether we voted for or like them or not.
- By praying for those in government whether we voted for them or like them or not.
- By paying our taxes.
Finally, I want to make the point again that I made earlier that political views do not belong in our churches or in our pulpits. We should not be praying that certain political agendas be accomplished, but praying that the will of God be accomplished. When we pray for or push for certain political agendas we build barriers to the Gospel and that is opposite to what the church ought to be doing. We ought to be leading people to Christ and anything that is not bringing people to Christ should be disregarded.
Pastor Tim Newman•Lead Pastor
Evangel Baptist Church•Silva, MO