A Volatile, But Necessary Combo: Mixing Faith and Religion
In polite and at times ‘politically correct’ conversation, two topics are usually avoided because of their potential for enflaming ‘passions’ that may add more heat rather than light. One is religion and the other is politics. In this post, I describe a few thoughts I have had about how both topics may intersect, why they should, and how we as husbands and fathers may fulfill our responsibilities in the political process without neglecting our responsibilities as the leaders God intended us to be.
First, here are a few verses that establish what I believe to be the Biblical Basis for my understanding of a Christian’s political involvement.
God cares about the nations:
- It is impossible for the nations to successfully try to overthrow God or more specifically His Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father promised God the Son that the Son would rule over the Nations. If the nations were to ever cease to exist, then the promise is void. Since It is impossible for God to break His Word, an eschatological framework that doesn’t take into consideration the perpetuity of the existence of the nations is truncated.
“Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” Psalm 2:8
Make no mistake, all of human history is pointing toward an eventual ‘showdown’ between the unredeemed forces of mankind empowered by the (at the time) demonically controlled world rulers and the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as pictured in the Psalm referenced above. God has never lost a battle. Just sayin’.
- God rules over all of the nations, including every seemingly minor event, whether it be local, national, international (or interplanetary) that occurs during the course of human history. Speaking to the world ruler between around 630-520 B.C. (2,534 years ago), God said,
“…that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.” Daniel 4:25 (emphasis mine)
Note here that God gives the kingdoms of the earth, during this short ‘hurrah’ of mankind’s ‘day in the sun’ to whomever He wishes. Ultimately, the political process is guided by God’s hand for God’s purposes in the world. Do you have an ungodly leader? There is no mistake about it, God put that person there in order to fulfill His Sovereign and predetermined plan for the nations. All of God’s plans fit and work together toward the ultimate fulfillment of all of scripture and all of prophecy.
- Jesus Christ has all authority over all of the nations as they exist, have existed and will exist. They do all of what they do only at His allowing them to do so. He is inexorably moving all things to the completion of human history and the fulfilling of each and every prophecy. Therefore, one cannot consider politics apart from the working of God and God’s establishing His kingdom.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” Daniel 2:44
The imagery of this prophecy is a rock being cut out without hands and crushing the other kingdoms. The Rock is our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Revelation 20:8 – Nations continue into the Millennial Kingdom.
- Revelation 21:24 – Nations continue into the Eternal State.
Now that we have an understanding established as to what is actually happening behind the scenes, as it were, we now look to the role that we should play in governing as United States citizens.
In the United States, the people are the government. In our national paradigm, We are the Providentially determined source from which the civil government derives its authority, as noted in the Constitution. In God’s Sovereign outworking of His plan for history, our nation exists. Additionally, since governing officials typically take an ‘oath of office’, inclusive of protecting and defending the constitution, when they do not take that part of the matter seriously, through negligence or defiance, God is going to hold them personally accountable for this breach. He
I am not here going to address the legitimacy of the Declaration of Independence. At this point, the question is moot- regardless of whether the founders were right or wrong in separating from England in consideration of Romans 13, is no longer a point that needs to be addressed. The fact is that the people of that day did indeed separate from the rule of the king, and the United States was established as it was. I am not going to speculate as to how the United States or any other nation will exist in the Eternal State, the Millennial Kingdom, or at any other time. I do believe that the United States will continue to exist, in some form, into the Eternal State. I believe that its form will in some way resemble the best of how it has existed, but in a glorified way. Obviously, sin will not be an issue as far as the outworking of the things that will need to be dealt with, so the checks and balances will not be necessary. But, just because I can’t imagine how it could exist doesn’t mean it won’t!
It is my belief that political involvement is not an option, but a necessity. In this world, and especially in the United States, each citizen should be involved in the political process to whatever degree he can do so responsibly. More on that below.
Your Relational Priorities should be the following:
A. Your relationship to God – If you aren’t walking in His ways and seeking to do His will, then you will not have success as He defines it. Read Psalm 15 to start – How are you doing with these things? John 14:6 indicates the way that you can have a relationship to God and start this whole process. I will get into that more in a different Blog posting.
1. Manage your own family well. If you aren’t doing a good job taking care of your own business, how will you be able to manage things that are not directly ‘your own’. Managing neighborhood, city, regional, state or national governmental issues is, in the final analysis, not as critical as managing your own home, as far as the blessing you will personally receive or the lack of blessing you will experience. A few things to consider:
A. Are you in debt? If so, managing your own family well means that you would get out of debt. B. Are you loving your wife? If your wife isn’t happy about any aspect of your life or that of your family, you need to attend to these matters first, regardless of anything else. Are you fulfilling the requirements of your job with a happy, joyful and cheerful attitude? If not, you need to work on things here before being politically involved.
2. Extended Family – are they in a desperate situation? Can they take care of themselves? If not, this is what you need to attend to…
3. Church – Is your church body thriving or merely existing? If your church is not growing, then it is not healthy. By the way, growing isn’t necessarily limited to the numbers of church attendees. It would also include the relative spiritual health of the congregation. Men, are you tight enough with the members of your church to serve as another ‘stop’ on you in order to prevent you from committing adultery? If not, work needs to be done here.
4. Community – Your local area including your neighborhood – If everything crashes around you, these will be the people who have the most direct impact on your life. Your Actional Priorities Should be the following:
A. Teach those within your influence – Are your wife and children on board with you? Do they know the Constitution? Do they know the reasons for your political convictions?
1. Prayer for Governmental Leaders – Are you regularly praying for their salvation and that of their family members? Are you praying for them that they would have excellent relationships with their spouses? Are you praying for them to have wisdom in their dealings with others? Are you praying for them to keep their vows to uphold the Constitution?
2. Voting – Are you seriously considering the issues and how they interact with your faith / worldview? Are you voting with your conscience based on your understanding of the political process?
3. Communicating – Are you communicating with your representative? Are you respectful? Are you telling them how you want them to vote on the various issues they have to face?
4. Donations – If the above relational priorities are not met, as well as the ‘actional’ priorities, then you have no business donating to any political work
5. Serving in Political Office – Start local. You need to lead here before you would lead in a larger capacity. Take the opportunity to get to know others. How are you alike? How are you different? Here are a few things that are notable about being a Christian in the United States:
2. Managing the representative is the responsibility of those who are represented. Sounds like children, eh? But it’s the truth. If you want to insure that your representative is doing what they were elected to do, finding out ‘after the fact’ is too late. I have done both writing emails and calling at a number of times. These actions seem to be effective. Will let you know as I learn if there are more effective ways. The whole issue seems to center around you being knowledgeable enough about what they have coming up on their plate and contacting before they vote so that they at least have you in their minds prior to the vote. Political involvement surrounds knowing what you value and communicating to the representative how what you value should impact their decisions.
3. Being submissive to the rules and regulations of the Government is subservient to the law of God. If there is a conflict between the two, God’s Word trumps the government. At times, civil disobedience may be necessary in order to fulfill the requirements that God has for you.
4. However, if one must obey God and disobey men, one must be willing to suffer the consequences of such ‘disobedience’, up to and including death, seizure of property, death of loved ones, etc.
5. The laws of the government are not always in alignment with the laws of God. Some are in direct opposition to God. God is still working through it all.
Glossary of Terms
Eschatological – Of or referring to the study of the end of times. (v.1.2 updated on 6.20.2014)