Christians, Politics, and Democracy

Seeking to apply Scripture to politics can be confusing. In Romans 13:1-2 we read, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

Biblical passages on government reflect the political structures of the day, which were comprised predominantly of emperors and those appointed by them. The only options open to the people were obedience or disobedience and punishment. On those occasions when civil mandates contradicted spiritual principles, God’s people chose faithfulness to God over obedience to government. Otherwise, Scripture calls us to keep civil law.

Though this arrangement is still valid, democracy introduces an added dimension in which citizens comprise the ultimate governing authority. By our vote and other political activity we possess the capacity to influence government.

From both a civil and a biblical perspective, exercising this latitude is not merely a right but a responsibility. As citizens, we are responsible to engage in the political process in order to maximize the well-being of our nation. As Christians, we also have the responsibility to influence our society toward godliness. For example, we should exercise our influence as citizens to ensure that biological men are not permitted in women’s shower rooms, or as in the current case in Colorado we should aggressively work to prohibit immoral and inappropriate sex education courses from being taught in middle schools.

We see, then, that for believers in a democracy political engagement is not only an option but a responsibility. In fact, exercising political influence comprises a major aspect of biblical stewardship. I plan to expand on that concept in my next post.

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