Christians and Government

By | November 9, 2008

I believe one of the biggest blind spots in American christian’s view on politics, is not seeing how we unbiblically tie our christian agenda onto the government. (I think once you see it, it looks almost absurd, yet few seem to see it.) That is, we say “As Christians, God’s will is that we (fill in the blank).” But then we make a big blind leap and say, “So we must get our government to (fill in the blank).” Since people think this way, it’s no wonder they get so tied up into politics! The first major problem is, if the “right” person doesn’t win, then God’s will apparently can’t move forward, as if God depended on a government—our government—in order to act in the world. A second, just as significant problem is, if the government is doing what Christians are supposed to be doing, what will people see? Will they look to the Christians as the source of these things, and so praise God? No, they will obviously look to the government as the savior and provider. This should obviously not be!

We must not look to the government to do that which the church should be doing. Our agenda, opportunity and ability to follow God’s will in the world is not dependent on any government. That’s why Jesus and the apostles speak so little about the government in that time—it just didn’t matter—it wasn’t important! The gospel and the church were moving forward in any case; these don’t need allowance nor support from any government. Whatever we may say the agenda of the church is: helping the needy, preaching the gospel, praising God, etc., these are things we should be doing, not the government.

(Note: I am not against voting in elections nor participating in political discussion. As “resident aliens” in this country, we have the opportunity to vote and influence the government. But let’s not confuse what the role of the government is with what the role of the church is. I do not mitigate the church’s role to only being about a general, positive spirituality, as some wish to do. Rather, I see the government’s role as being to provide a framework to allow for life and order, not as provider nor moral law-giver.)

For a much more in depth study of this subject, check out the Greg Boyd’s sermon series “The Cross and the Sword“.

photo credit: D.C. via photopin (license)

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