Dr. Gregg Frazer, Professor of Political Studies at TMC, recently gave a chapel lecture on the Christian’s roles and responsibilities in political society. It was very balanced and helpful in my opinion, especially during a particularly intense election year, so I share it here with his permission.
(1) Political involvement is perfectly proper.
- As an occupation (Joseph, Daniel). These two godly men held some of the highest positions in their lands.
- As an opportunity (Acts 22:25; Acts 25:10-11). Paul exercised his rights as a Roman citizen.
(2) Believers should lower their expectations from government.
- Government is created by fallen men.
- Government is run by fallen, largely unredeemed men.
- There is Satanic influence in government (Daniel 10:13, 20; 1 John 5:19). The paradox is that the government is designed to restrain evil (Romans 13:3-4), but at the same time there is significant Satanic influence in government.
- Government is coercive and confiscatory by nature (1 Samuel 8:10-18).
- All groups and parties have their own agendas.
(3) Excessive concern for — or confidence in — political solutions is improper.
- We have no mandate or instruction to participate.
- Most of our resources/energy should be directed to the heavenly kingdom, not an earthly republic (Matthew 6:20-21).
- Society is immoral because men love the darkness, not because we lack a key law or a key judge or the right president (John 3:19).
- As Jesus used them, “salt and light” were not political metaphors.
What Must We Do?
Submit (Romans 13:1-2; 1 Peter 2:13; Titus 3:1). Recognize the government’s authority over you (example of Jesus in John 19:11).
Obey (Daniel 6:5; Titus 3:1). Christians should be exemplary in obedience to the government. Note that being subject and being obedient are two different things. There are no exeptions to the command to be subject; but there is one exception to the command to obey — when government goes against God’s law. Yet even when we must obey God rather than government, we must remain subject to the government.
Honor/Respect (Romans 13:7).
Pray for (1 Timothy 2:1-2). See www.presidentialprayerteam.org.
Be a prophetic witness to the truth (Matthew 10:16-20; Acts 23:11; Philippians 4:22).
Pay taxes (all of them) (Romans 13:6-7; Matthew 22:21).
Develop a biblical approach to issues.
Be discerning (both sides want to manipulate).
What May We Do?
Hold public office.
Work in a political occupation.
Vote — It’s a civic duty, but it’s not a biblical duty. If you’re informed, vote. If not, don’t. If there’s a candidate worthy of your vote, vote. If not, refrain. Become informed, study issues biblically, and vote the way you think is right.
Protest/Demonstrate. This is allowed by our government; just be careful to do it biblically.
Volunteer/Contribute for political causes (in moderation, seeking first God’s kingdom).
God is sovereign over the rise and fall of nations. Everything follows His plan and is under His control (Jer 27:5-8; Isa 14:24-27; Job 12:23). Unless you know someone stronger than God. I don’t.
Are You a Christian American or an American Christian?
In your allegiance, emotional triggers, and thought patterns?
Have your political thoughts been transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2)?
Do you approach political matters as an “alien and stranger” in this world (1 Peter 2:9-11)?
Do you approach political issues biblically and judge all political ideologies in light of Scripture, or do you approach issues ideologically and then seek biblical support through creative interpretation?
UPDATE 10/3: This lecture is available via The Master’s College podcast as an enhanced podcast with built-in slides that follow the lecture (“Life@TMC”). Visit www.masters.edu/chapel for more information on subscribing to the podcast and hearing TMC chapels (HT: Bryan Kirby in Chapel Media).