By Dallas Henry
Have you been asked the question yet? The questions are coming from members of the church I serve. “Pastor, who are you voting for?” Of course, by law, we are not permitted to endorse candidates from the pulpit, but when people ask us, we can legally share our opinions with them and why we have them.
There was a talk show that included a discussion of candidates for president and their faith. The host remarked, “What a person believes really shouldn’t matter because religion and politics don’t mix.”
That is a well known phrase. In any group of people there will be varying political opinions, but it incorrect to say that religion and politics do not mix. In fact, the Bible addresses many political issues. Government was an issue that Biblical writers frequently addressed. Scriptures talk about the role of government, how we should respond to government and, in besides, much of our laws are taken from the Bible. It is fair to say that Christians should be concerned about politics because God seems to be concerned about politics. I Peter 2:13 tells us that we are to submit to the governing authorities and I Timothy 2:1 urges us to pray for those who lead us. Saying that religion and politics do not mix is often an excuse for people who are not involved. It’s interesting that it is okay to sing patriotic hymns in church and politics and religion can mix on that realm, but they cannot mix when we talk about elections and the issues.
It is vital that Christians be involved in the process. We should be concerned about all elections. We should be concerned about who is leading us because they decide what freedoms we have and don’t have and what rights we have and don’t have. But, just how do Christians interact with government? What does the Bible say about issues that relate to this? In this critical time in the history of our country, it is important to be informed and to see what our Biblical responsibility is with government and not to simply withdraw and avoid it all. Remember government is; “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
All citizens have been given the freedom and the responsibility to vote. This freedom is our only chance to voice our opinion. We are all influenced to vote the way that we do for different reasons, but Christians, especially, must guard against the false notion that voting and religion do not mix. A Christian’s faith does come into play in the decision making while voting.
It is important to remember that God, His Word and His Son Jesus Christ are foundational parts of our government and that should never be forgotten. There’s a good reason that In God We Trust is on our currency and a good reason our Pledge of Allegiance contains the phrase “One nation Under God” and there is a good reason that The Declaration of Independence speaks of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and of certain unalienable Rights endowed on them by their Creator. We hear a lot today about the separation of Church and state, which is not in our constitution, no matter who many claim that it is.
In a few months the primaries will be over and the various candidates for each political party will have been chosen, on the national, state and local levels. The campaign ads will be over, the commercials will stop airing, for the time being, and then it’s time for Christians to do their homework.
It is important for us to take time and look into the Scriptures and see, first of all, what the Bible has to say regarding the purpose of government, secondly our responsibility as Christians, and thirdly how the church is called to Biblically interact with government.
“Let every soul be subject to the higher authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God. So that the one resisting the authority resists the ordinance of God; and the ones who resist will receive judgment to themselves. For the rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the bad. And do you desire to be not afraid of the authority? Do the good, and you shall have praise from it. For it is a servant of God to you for good. For if you practice evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword in vain; for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes. For they are God’s servants, always giving attention to this very thing. Therefore give to all their dues; to the one due tax, the tax; tribute to whom tribute is due, fear to whom fear is due, and honor to whom honor is due.”
Christians should not have an anti-government mindset because God has established governments that exist. God had a reason for appointing government. Continue reading