Dear Fellow Christians,
It is every Christian’s duty to be politically engaged and active. There are way too many Christians who are sitting on the sidelines while a cultural war in America rages. What is happening in America, and globally, is no less than a battle between Good versus Evil.
So, why should Christians worry about the government since all governments exist at the will of God and His will will be done? Socialist are trying to change our Judeo-Christian based government into a system of Socialist Fascism. That method of government is fundamentally evil. In Socialism, God is removed from His rightful place as the center of decision making and He is replaced with government and people. This is a fallen way to run a society. Since government replaces God, government expects us to be obedient to it as if it were God. We are called to be obedient to God.
Aren’t we told that is Biblically proper and our duty to submit to government since they are appointed by God? Let’s take a look at Romans 13.1 – 13.2 where Paul says, “1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Also let’s consider Daniel 20-21, Daniel says, “God is the one who raises up kings and removes them.” This is a very strong affirmation of the sovereignty of God even over pagan nations. This would seem to indicate that we should just acquiesce to the authority of any government. However, as John Stott, an English Anglican cleric and theologian states, we need to “be cautious in our interpretation of Paul’s statements. He cannot be taken to mean that all the Caligulas, Herods, Neros, and Domitians of the New Testament times or all dictators of our times were personally appointed by God, or that God is responsible for their behavior, or that their authority is in no circumstances to be resisted.” Stott goes onto to say, “Given that the authority of rulers is derived from God, what happens if they abuse it, if they reverse their God-given duty, commending those who do evil and punishing those who do good? Does the requirement to submit still stand in such a morally perverse situation? No. The principle is clear: we are to submit right up to the point where obedience to the state would entail disobedience to God; but if the state commands what God forbids or forbids what God commands, then our plain Christian duty is to resist, not to submit; to disobey the state in order to obey God.” When the government is actively promoting and perpetuating evil, Christians have a responsibility to speak out against it (Proverbs 31:8-9; Micah 6:8). This may include peaceful protest, civil disobedience, or other forms of nonviolent resistance.
Dr. R. C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier Ministries states that, “Anytime a civil government requires a Christian to do what God forbids or forbids them to do what God commands, then the person must disobey. When the government is no longer acting justly —sanctioning abortions, for example—then it is the task of the church to be the prophetic voice, to call the state to task and tell the state to repent and do what God commands it to do.” Christians should be advocates for justice and the common good (Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3). This means that if the government is perpetuating injustice then Christians should work to correct it.
There are plenty of examples in the Bible of disobedience to governments that are not acting in accordance with God’s law. In the Book of Acts 5:29, the apostles after the Day of Pentecost are preaching the gospel, they are preaching the name of Jesus. The high priest Sanhedrin came to them and said, “Stop it. Stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Don’t speak about this man anymore. Stop it.” They don’t stop. They fearlessly keep preaching. Peter responded that “We must obey God rather than man.” This is clear evidence that when a situation arises in which the authority of God and the authority of government come into clear conflict with each other that Christians have the duty to “obey God rather than men.”
In Exodus 1 Pharaoh has enacted a law, Pharaoh has said, “Kill all of the male Hebrew babies.” The midwives disobeyed and they saved these babies, Moses amongst them, and they were commended by God.
In the Book of Daniel, the king gives his edict that all are to fall down and worship this golden image that the king has set up, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to do that. They will not fall down and worship an idol, so they are cast into this furnace of fire, and God miraculously, supernaturally rescues them. Let’s remember that Daniel himself, when forbidden to pray, continues to do so. Three times a day he opens up his windows, he prays in full view of anyone, and he is willing to be thrown into a lions’ den as the price of his civil disobedience.
We also have some non-biblical examples throughout history of disobedience in the face of state imposed injustices such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer who lead the underground church resistance to Hitler. We have families like Corrie Ten Boom who hid Jews in their home during the Holocaust. We have Martin Luther King, Jr who led the civil rights movement. Do you think that God condemns their actions?
The issue with Romans is that people focus on Romans 13.1-13.2 and they get a partial interpretation. Romans 13.1-13.2 tells us how Christians should act towards a just government. Romans 13.7 tells us how we should act towards an unjust government, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Let us go back to Daniel, when Daniel says, “God is the one who raises up kings and removes them.” How does God do so? He often uses human proxies to act on his behalf such as he did with Moses.
The Bible contains numerous examples of God’s people engaging in politics. In the Old Testament, Joseph and Daniel served in foreign administrations and used their influence to implement policies that benefited society. In the case of Joseph, during a devastating famine (Genesis 45:9-12), God used Joseph’s position in the Egyptian government to protect and provide for his extended family - which would become the nation of Israel. In Esther 8, Queen Esther used her influence in the Persian government to save the Jewish people from state-sanctioned genocide.
Christians cannot stand by and allow evil to happen. As John Stuart Mill said, “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.”
God has appointed America’s current form of government - a Constitutional Republic. As a Republic, every citizen has a say in who the leaders should be and how the country is governed. God has appointed each Christian with the responsibility to govern according to His word and chose leaders who will govern well and justly. We have to be prepared to deal with the moral issues of our day, deal with a government that has been infested with people trying to topple it, and follow our Christian convictions by voting for candidates that support clear biblical values. Our responsibilities as stewards mean it is our duty to vote, to become informed and inform others, to work for the election of Godly people to office, to financially support the campaigns of Godly people, and to pray for our nation and its Christian rulers. To abdicate this God given responsibility is akin to being a modern-day Pontius Pilate.