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Ten Reasons Why the Church Must Be Involved in Politics (8)

In this blog series, I am responding point by point to a column written by Greg Stier, the President and Founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries entitled, “Ten Reasons Why Pastors Should Focus More on the Gospel than on Politics.” Here’s Greg’s eighth point and my response.

#8. The gospel calls us to pray for politicians we disagree with, not to hate them. (I Timothy 2:1-4)

Greg is right in that Christians must never “hate” those who are in positions of delegated authority. While we may stridently disagree with their philosophy of government or specific policy positions, we must still treat our leaders with kindness, civility and respect. In fact, Jesus commands us to love even our enemies.

But Stier, once again, is guilty of emphasizing the wrong message at the wrong time. In the passage he mentions, we are instructed to pray for “kings [presidents] and all those in authority” so that we may live quiet, peaceable and godly lives. But this is not the end goal. We see the reason for the call to pray in verse four. God’s desire is that people would come to know Him as Savior and Lord. God’s end goal in praying for those in authority is that these leaders would govern in wisdom and justice. Civil leaders are “God’s ministers” for the purpose of punishing evil (Romans 13:4). When leaders are godly, they govern in such a way that an atmosphere of religious liberty is promoted and protected. This allows us to freely share the gospel with others.

It’s obvious from this commandment that government [“politics”] is important to God or else He wouldn’t be encouraging us to pray for civil authorities. Since all delegated authority comes from God, it is the duty of all leaders to recognize God’s authority and to lead in a way that is consistent with His character and commands. When the righteous lead, the nation experiences peace and prosperity and the gospel can be shared freely and openly.

While we must begin the process of cultural transformation on our knees, prayer by itself is not enough. We must pray for those in authority while we work as hard as we possibly can to make sure poor leaders are not re-elected!

My civic responsibility in a constitutional republic is to make sure our civil authorities understand the difference between “good and evil.” After all, their God-given responsibility is to promote good and punish evil. When leaders promote what God considers evil, while punishing what He calls “good” we create a climate for tyranny and injustice. We have a moral responsibility to both pray and to act before those liberties are gone.

Now is not the time to retreat to the prayer closet. It is a time for prayerful action. Pray and then become the answer to your prayers. As Christians, we must be involved in the selection of our civil leaders. After all, the freedom to preach the gospel depends on it!

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  1. Paul Rothbard
    July 3rd, 2012 at 22:03 | #1

    Can you elaborate more on promoting good and punishing evil?

    How much further should the government go in promoting and punishing than protecting natural rights, enforcing contracts, protecting private property, and punishing people that infringe on the rights of others?

    If we go beyond that, even out of good intentions, don’t we end up with expansive government failure and unintended consequences? Don’t even most people who support Obamacare or any other government program basically think they are promoting good and helping people, even if they are wrong?

  2. Ron Johnson
    July 11th, 2012 at 21:40 | #2

    Hi Paul! Great questions. Let me try to answer.

    I like your summary of the government’s role in promoting good and punishing evil. According to our Declaration, government exists to protect God-given rights. God defines and gives rights. Governments acknowledge and protect those rights. Issues such as promoting life, protecting marriage and protecting private property are biblical “no-brainers.” I think the Obamacare legislation is a perfect example of what happens when the government loses sight of its delegated role under God. We now have our government forcing us to buy healthcare, even though it will violate the consciences of many and lead to tax-supported abortion funding. This is government tyranny at its best.

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