In the next 3 weeks I am going to be discussing Christianity, government, and each of the people who are running for president. This week I will look at Christianity and government. Then next week I will look at each of the Republican candidates and then finally the Democratic candidates.
Jesus tells us to “….render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s; and to God that which is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) Jesus was telling the Christians of His day to act with integrity when it comes to their earthly ruling government. In the true context of this verse, Jesus is talking about taxation and that the government has the right to tax.
In Romans 13, Paul says that we need to “…be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is not authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
But on the opposite end of the spectrum, in Acts 5, the apostles were jailed for preaching in the name of Jesus. An angel freed them and they went back out to preach again. This time they were brought before council and told not to teach in the name of Jesus but they told the council “we must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Basically, in looking at the Biblical contexts, this means we are to follow our government when it does not contradict the Word of God. When a government acts in a way that goes against the Word of God, then Christians should follow the Bible.
So what is a Christian’s primary duty to government? 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
The job of the government is to protect the unfortunate and defend the afflicted.
I am not going to use quotes from early American leaders to prove a point either way about the United States being created from a Christian standpoint or from a secular standpoint. Bottom line, the country in the 21st century is not a Christian one. For those who believe that this country was created as a Christian nation, then we would be in a post-Christian world. If you believe as I do, which is that we were never really founded on Christianity (but based on Christian principle), then we live in a position where we are finally beginning to notice what those Christians in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and other countries have been going through.
If you read Luke 3, however, John the Baptist gives Christians the ok to be in government. But those Christians must be able to exercise their faith freely. If those are taken away, the Christian must weigh the consequences of their job choice and figure out where their honor and loyalty truly lies. The flag of the country comes second to Jesus.
Going back to Romans 13 for a minute, in verses 6 and 7, Paul tells us that the rulers are servants of God. If those rulers are no longer servants of God and the contradict Scripture, then they are not to be obeyed.
This is the reason for this blog series. I am going to look at each of the upcoming presidential candidates and discuss them from the standpoint of whether they are a “servant of God.”
So prepare for some controversy. It is time to see if there is a candidate out there we Christians can support with our votes.