The Truth About…Politics (Part 4)

We finish this blog series on politics, or the policies and goals on government, by refocusing on the biblical view of politics.

Many Christians are confused about the Church’s role in society.  The Church’s main job is to preach Law and Gospel, so people know they have violated God’s law yet have a Redeemer in Christ.  The State is to maintain order by punishing wrong behavior and condoning right behavior.  While these roles are clear in Scripture, are there other things that Christians can do in society?

The answer is “yes.”  We can pray, participate, and serve politically.

First, prayer for any government official is clear according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2.  It says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”  Notice that prayers should be offered for all in authority so that we can live in peace.  Both individually and collectively, Christians should intercede on behalf of governing officials so that they make wise choices that benefit the public and fit God’s design.

Next, participation is another way that we can be involved politically.  Whether it is by voting, discussing topics in person or online, or simply by being good citizens and working to be positive contributors to society, Christians should help their society for the better.  That is clear according to Jeremiah 29:7.  It says, “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”  God had punished the people of Judah for violating their covenant with God by allowing them to be held as slaves for 70 years in Babylon.  While they were there, He commands then to seek the prosperity of Babylon, since they would benefit from its improvement as well.

Finally, serving politically is a way to “seek the peace and prosperity” of the city (or state or nation) in which you live.  There are outstanding examples of biblical heroes of faith who did just that.  For instance, take Joseph, Esther, and Daniel.  Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and counseled him to save food during the seven years of plenty.  This policy decision enabled Egypt, surrounding nations, and Joseph’s family to survive the seven years of famine that followed.  Esther risked her own life to intercede on behalf of her people, the Jews, who were targeted for genocide by the Persians.  Her gambit paid off with a policy that allowed the Jews to defend themselves.  Daniel served both Babylonian and Persian kings, advising and enabling policy decisions for the betterment of all who lived in those kingdoms.

So it is clear that we should seek the prosperity of our culture, since if t does well, we can also.  Here are some other things to consider as you act politically.  First, defend freedom of religion.  That is what we have.  It is not merely “freedom of worship” as some politicians say, since our religious freedom goes beyond the walls of our house of worship. We can speak in the public square and exercise our 1st Amendment rights.  Second, fight the cultural battle, since law follows culture.  As noted above, politics gives us an opportunity to encourage a community based on biblical principles that leads to human flourishing.  Third, show religion is special and serves the public good.  Whether it is by involvement in civic life, charitable giving, or simply being a good neighbor, the Church adds to societal life for the better.  Furthermore, religion is the most secure guarantee of freedom, since we have God-given rights, not privileges granted from the state by humans.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has thoughts on political involvement.  Check out this link: http://www.lcms.org/themes/april?srctid=1&erid=7657901&trid=4942bcc9-e7d5-46cf-bce7-184370946826

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March 25, 2015

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