THE GOOD CHRISTIAN CITIZEN — PART 3

Moses and Aaron with the Ten Commandments (painting circa 1675 by Aron de Chavez) (Ten Commandments | Wikipedia)

Here are links to the previous posts in this series:

What is the subject of this post?

What Can Your Church Do To Promote Good Government?

We have a tendency to separate politics from religion to an absurd degree. Why do I call it absurd? Every law in some way promotes the moral beliefs of the people of that society.

Consider some examples. They come straight from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21).

  • The first of The Ten Commandments prohibit us from putting anything before God, and the second of The Ten Commandments prohibits us from idol worship. So, we don’t allow our government to establish a state religion.
  • The third of The Ten Commandments prohibits taking the name of God in vain. Therefore, we don’t allow our government to put words in our mouths. We protect freedom of speech. When we take the Lord’s name in vain, we have no one to blame except ourselves.
  • The fourth of The Ten Commandments requires us to observe the Sabbath. That is why we have a five-day work week.
  • The fifth of The Ten Commandments requires us to honor our parents and those in authority over us. This is why our laws respect parental rights and give special protection to those in authority.
  • The sixth of The Ten Commandments prohibits murder.
  • The seventh of The Ten Commandments prohibits adultery. We recognize adultery as grounds for divorce.
  • The eighth of The Ten Commandments outlaws stealing.
  • The ninth of The Ten Commandments condemns lying. We throw people in jail for perjury.
  • The tenth of The Ten Commandments says it is wrong to covet what belongs to another. While we do not directly outlaw covetousness, we allow evidence of covetousness in our courtrooms to establish the motivation in the commission of a crime.

What is the point? Jesus called upon us to be salt and light.

Matthew 5:13-16 New American Standard Bible

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

As Christians, we each have an obligation to be active participants in the governance of our society. We should work wholeheartedly to make our laws reflect Christian values as much as possible.

Does that mean we should use the government to force others to become or to behave like Christians? No! Instead, we should use the government to protect each other’s God-given rights. In particular, we should work to prevent the government from promoting any particular group’s religious beliefs.

Consider again that list above from The Ten Commandments. Do the laws I mentioned involve forcing others to accept Christian values? No. What they involve is allowing our family, friends, and neighbors to make their own choices. What they involve is the maintenance of societal order. What they involve is protecting us from each other.

Jesus calls upon each of us personally to spread His Gospel with the help of His Church. Does government have a role? Yes. In order to spread the Gospel, we must have an orderly society, but Jesus never told us to use the government to spread His Gospel.

So, what should your church do to promote good government? Our churches can help members to become informed citizens by:

  • Providing information on the various political parties. Good citizens participate in politics by joining forces with other good citizens.
  • Reminding church members to vote. That includes participating in both the nomination of candidates and in the general election.
  • Holding debate forums. Good citizen weigh all sides of the argument.
  • Inviting all the candidates to speak. Good citizens give all the candidate a respectful hearing.
  • Inviting public officials to speak on issues that concern church members. Good citizens show their respect for those in authority by listening to them.
  • Praying for our leaders and for wisdom in our choices of the people we vote for.

Should your church take sides in the electoral process and endorse candidates? Generally? No. Because we all need to understand what the Bible has to say about controversial issues, pastors do have an obligation to specifically address issues like abortion, but pastors should usually avoid telling us how to vote. Since pastors don’t have any special political insights, and politics can divide congregations, when a church takes sides, that is usually asking for more trouble than it is worth. Fortunately, if we study our Bibles and pray, we should be able to figure out who to vote for by ourselves.

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2 Responses to THE GOOD CHRISTIAN CITIZEN — PART 3

  1. boudicaus says:

    Reblogged this on boudica.us and commented:
    H/T Citizen Tom

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