Christians and Government
August 3, 2012by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA
“We are not looking for power, … We are not looking for prestige. We are here because we care very, very deeply about the nation. … We love God, we love our neighbors and we act out of a love of God and love of our neighbors.” ~ Chuck Colson
Romans 13:1-7 and I Peter 2:13-19 teach that Christians are to submit to government even if that government does not rule biblically. However, if government requires us to do something directly against God’s law, we should disobey the directive and stand firmly on the Word of God in spite of persecution or suffering (Acts 5:29). This is a subtle nuance but an important distinction that must be explored because the line has been blurred between what is a direct affront against God’s law and what ungodly authority/government looks like. As a result, this blurriness has led to non-believers seeing us as fundamental, nit-pickers whose motive is to hypocritically moralize the world instead of living by and sharing the love of Christ.
Even the choices we make for those to represent us in government often contradict the basic tenets of the God of the Bible that we hold dear. Obviously, for some, there is a divide between a holistic Christianity that is lived out in all aspects of life and a compartmentalized faith that becomes significant based upon the day of the week. Furthermore, it is important to note that Christians do sin and the difference between a believer and a non-believer is Christ. The Holy Spirit lives within us to convict us of our sin which leads us to confession and repentance as we progressively become more like Christ. Therefore, a wayward Christian in authority whose lifestyle, practices, and/or policies that I may disagree with has a much better chance of re-aligning with God’s ways than a non-Christian who denies Christ or a person who acknowledges God but not His Son (I John 2:23) even if that person lives a moral lifestyle.
Our Sovereign Lord has everything under control and everything that happens is a part of His entire plan of redemption that He ordained from the beginning of time. In other words, there are no accidents. Yet, this does not excuse or relieve us of our duty to speak up and stand up consistently for the truth of God’s Word. A truth that is not subjective or open to interpretation, but there are many ways that we can diligently apply His truth in our lives by the way we represent Christ at home, at work, in the community, and in the voting booth. Furthermore, we must remember that we are not Democrats, Republicans, Constitutionalists, Libertarians or anything else. Rather we are Christians who stand on the platform of Christ. There are no perfect candidates and government is not the answer to problems that plague humanity. As members of the family of God, our faith should transcend race, culture, denomination, political party, and nationality. Christians are united through the blood of Christ who taught us how to live amid a hostile government.
To compromise the message of the Gospel by supporting/electing/endorsing men and women who reject Christ just because we are discontent or because of our political allegiances, is perhaps the greatest crime an ambassador of Christ could commit. When government does not compel us to sin, we are to “live in subjection,” “submit to every ordinance,” and “honor the king” as Paul and Peter teach in the aforementioned passages. Legislating campus wide prayer out of school does not cause one to sin or prevent individual prayer. However, forcing a doctor to administer an abortion in spite of his/her Christian values does violate God’s law and should not be negotiated regardless of the outcome. This must be so in order for us to share in the proclamation that Paul made in Ephesians 6:19-20, “To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
It is my prayer that we “declare it boldly” everywhere we go and in everything we do including when we choose those who will govern over us.
Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor