Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Should Christians Obey the Government?

“Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”[1]

The election this year has been interesting, because of how it has affected evangelical Christianity. Different tribes in Christianity have responded to this election in different ways. I would like to take time in this article to remind believers that there are biblical principles for how we are to interact with the government. Here are some biblical principles for how to interact:

1. Be a good citizen living in subject to the governmental authority, even a pagan one (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). We must responsibly engage the political process. Do not be deceived by talk radio rhetoric, look at the issues and vote according to who will bring our Christian convictions into the public arena (Prov. 14:34).

2. Live internationally like Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Jesus on earth. Remember as a believer our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and His Kingdom.

3. Obey the state but worship only God. Thank God for all the good He does through the government, praying always for all who are in authority. (1 Tim. 2:1-5)

4. Acknowledge that governmental authority is established by and comes from God! (Mark 12:17; Rom 13:1,4,6)

5. Acknowledge that all government serves in some measure the purposes of promoting good and punishing evil (Rom. 13:3-4). Bad government is almost always better than no government.

6. Pay all taxes levied upon us by our government, recognizing its right to do so. (Mark 12:17; Rom 13:6-7)

7. Engage in “civil disobedience” only when our government prohibits me from doing what the Bible commands, or when it commands me to do what the Bible prohibits.

I know that in this election we have the freedom not to participate, and some of my mentors have made it clear they will be staying home on November 8. My hero Spurgeon has been unfairly used as a defense for staying home when he said, “Of Two Evils, Choose Neither.” We are not voting on a pastor, deacon or Sunday School teacher. We are voting on the Commander and Chief of our nation. I agree it would be ideal to have someone who could meet those qualifications, but we haven’t had that from any party in a long, long, long time.

So I cannot stay home, my conscience will not allow me to do so. I believe that I have a biblical and patriotic obligation to vote. Our freedom to participate in this process came at a high price. Both parties have placed candidates that would not be mine nor many American’s first pick, but God is in control. Believer, we must trust Him with the outcome either way.

[1] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Mk 12:17.

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