Do Christians have a moral or Biblical duty to participate in government? Is there a distinctively Christian way to engage in the political manner? Do Christians have a obligation to vote, and in that case, what standards need to tell them as they cast their ballots?
Some say that Christians ought to be wary of associating too closely with elected officials or political events as it dangers conflating the obligation of the church with that of the nation. They ask: If God is sovereign and controls the heart of the king (Proverbs 21:1), why chance compromising our Gospel witness via getting worried in something so divisive? Others keep that Christians must be heavily involved with politicians and partisan politics. They say that because politics are so critical, it’s miles really worth investing tremendous resources to educate and mobilize the congregation for political hobby.
The Gospel applies to all areas of lifestyles, and the Bible instructs us about government and political authority. Scripture advocates neither overall withdrawal from the political method nor overinvestment in it. Thus, we need a third approach, a version in which actively engaged Christians faithfully practice Biblical standards to the modern political demanding situations. But what does this model appear like? What are the standards which could assist us navigate our divisive political landscape?
WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT POLITICS?
There seems to be an assumption in some circles that politics is inherently defiled, and that political involvement is beside the point for the ones severe approximately the Gospel. This view fits into what theologian Wayne Grudem calls the “Do Evangelism, Not Politics” approach to civic engagement. Adherents of this view advise that Christians must exclusively focus on sharing the Good News and discipling others in the faith because Jesus’ very last command turned into to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20). In other phrases, due to the fact political engagement does no longer lead a person to religion in Christ, it isn’t taken into consideration a top precedence.
However, upon closer exam of Scripture, this objection fails to account for a broader angle of politics, one which includes how humans order their lives and affairs and the reality that the Christian worldview has lots to mention approximately civic obligation. Moreover, the objection does no longer don’t forget the obligation Christians have to steward the advantages and opportunities entrusted to them. Because vote casting is a matter of stewardship, Christians dwelling in a constitutional republic ought to are looking for to vote in a way that honors God and advances the properly-being of their neighbor.
In Romans 13:1-7, Paul describes the governing authorities as “ministers of God” and says they may be accountable for administering civil justice. Although God is sovereign, He chooses to apply human governments to perform His will inside the civil sphere. A Biblical foundation for government is likewise observed in Genesis nine, wherein God offers popular authorization for motion in opposition to murderers (Genesis 9:5-6). This passage implies that groups have to shape or assist governments able to administering justice.
Thus, the critical function of government is one motive why Christians have to care about the political manner. Government changed into God’s idea, and Christians ought to interact with it in a manner that is regular with its God-ordained motive.
A second purpose Christians must care about politics is that the Bible contains severa examples of God’s human beings conducting politics as part of a holistic approach to ministry that meets each spiritual and temporal needs.
In the Old Testament, for example, Joseph and Daniel served in overseas administrations and used their influence to put into effect rules that benefited society. In the case of Joseph, throughout a devastating famine (Genesis 45:nine-12), God used his function in the Egyptian authorities to protect and provide for his extended family (which would end up the state of Israel).
Queen Esther used her influence within the Persian authorities to keep the Jewish people from a state-sanctioned genocide (Esther 8). The Prophet Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon to seek the welfare of their new metropolis. He also commanded them to pray for the town, “for in its welfare you may find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). A thriving society could gain God’s humans in addition to the town’s different population.
Because authorities and its laws are an inextricable a part of our lives, there’s no way to keep away from a few level of involvement. This is proper for Christians, who, though “sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:eleven) in this international, are though residents of the “City of Man” as well as the “City of God.” Christians have to endeavor to be true citizens of each towns and leverage their affect for the development of laws, policies and practices that make contributions to the flourishing of our buddies.
HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS ENGAGE IN POLITICS?
We have to by no means equate the church’s venture with the platform of a political party. But should Christians, and specially pastors, do more than call for cordial discourse and preach on some moral troubles? What Biblical concepts should manual us when we vote?
In a republic like the United States, the locus of electricity is the citizenry; the authorities derives its authority from the people. Unlike billions of humans around the arena, Americans, via the ballotcontainer, control their political destiny. Indeed, we are stewards of it, as we are stewards of the entirety else God has given us.
For Christian residents, the consequences of America’s form of presidency are even greater large while considered along Paul’s teaching at the reason of presidency in Romans 13. According to Paul, authorities is ordained by means of God to promote proper and restrain evil. God authorizes the authorities to wield the sword for the administration of justice.
Because strength is living with the human beings in our republic, while Christians vote, they are delegating their ruling authority to others. In other phrases, with the aid of voting, Christians are entrusting their “sword-bearing” duty to officials who will govern on their behalf. Seen from this attitude, voting is a matter of stewardship; failure to vote is a failure to workout God-given authority.
Further, given the US’ far-attaining influence inside the global, how can American Christians love the people of the countries well without having a vested interest in how our government processes the issue of spiritual liberty and human rights worldwide? Will America’s ambassadors be stalwart defenders of religious freedom overseas? Christians who support missionaries should care about the country of worldwide non secular freedom, a place of advocacy wherein the U.S. exerts extensive affect. Will abortion, underneath the euphemism of “family making plans,” be funded remote places with the aid of American taxpayers, or will U.S. overseas policy value the lifestyles of the unborn? Again, American believers, through exercise their proper to vote, have a right away say in these subjects.
In light of these considerations, pastors must exhort their participants to be worried in the political manner and to vote. But balloting isn’t sufficient. Pastors have to additionally assist train and equip their participants to suppose Biblically about ethical troubles, candidates and birthday party structures.
Although neither political party flawlessly represents Christians, celebration structures permit us to make considerate judgments concerning who we will support at election time. These structures, which function proposed governing philosophies, allow Christians to see if and how the political parties prioritize troubles on which the Bible truely speaks.
Compelled by love for our pals and a desire to steward our God-given duties, we must, as Christians, interact in the political process. But we have to have interaction Biblically. This requires that we be organized to grapple with the ethical troubles of our day, the truth of our two-celebration machine, and observe our Christian convictions to their logical give up with the aid of voting for candidates and events that assist clean Biblical values. ©2020 Family Research Council
David Closson is director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council.
This article is excerpted by using permission from “Biblical Principles for Political Engagement,” part of Family Research Council’s Biblical Worldview Series of courses by David Closson. For information about the collection, visit FRC.org/worldview.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.