Politics and the Church – Reversing Course…Avoiding the Shoal Waters [Part 8]

This week we will take a look at what the Bible tells us of our obligations to the government.  The Bible is our only source of course correction if we are to emerge from the shoal waters we have found ourselves in.  To have been given this great power through the vote and then not use that power…or to use it unwisely…is reminiscent of the servant described by Jesus who received a trust from his master and decided to do nothing with it [Matt 25:24-28; Luke 19:20-24]. None of the servants had asked for the stewardship they received, but the master bestowed it on them anyway and then held them directly accountable to him for what they did with the trust he gave them.

In a like manner, none of asked to be born in America…we were just very fortunate…, nor did we ask that its government be placed in our hands, but the reality is that the Master has put it in our keeping and will call us to account for our management of it. Each of us will one day individually stand alone before the great judgment seat to be held accountable for everything we did…and did not do.  And when the Almighty asks us, “And what did you do with that government I entrusted to you?  What did you do with the vote that I placed in your hands?”  What will be our reply?  Answers such as “I chose to keep myself unsoiled by the rough-and-tumble nature of politics” or “I let the professionals deal with it” will be unacceptable.

Sadly too many Christians do not think about legacy, often excusing their current inactivity by asserting that what happens in the future is not their concern…that Christ will return before they have to worry about any legacy.  Many seem determined to “live in the moment” without regard for how our current choices will influence our and other people’s future.  In taking this approach, we simply adopt the outrageous egocentricity expressed by King Hezekiah who, when he learned of the trouble, difficulty, and destruction that was coming upon the nation and his own children and grandchildren, took solace in the fact that at least it wouldn’t come upon him [2 Kings 20:16-19].

For anyone today to guide their actions and reactions solely by the imminent return of Christ is to ignore the Bible itself, for Jesus Himself pointedly told His followers, “Occupy till I come” [Like ! 19:13].  He even delivered a teaching that blasted those who so focused on the imminent return of the Master that they neglected their earthly responsibilities [Matt 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-48].  Sound Biblical eschatology will never lead to civic inaction, for that would be a direct violation of Christ’s unequivocal command to His followers to remain engaged until His return.  When the argument was raised two centuries ago that because the civil arena had no eternal consequences, then time spent in the pursuit of our civil duties was wasted time, Rev. John Witherspoon responded: “Shall we establish nothing good because we know it cannot be eternal?” {The Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon, 1802, vol. 4, pg. 350].

The fact that someday something may pass away does not release Christians from exercising their duties of stewardship over that responsibility.  It is also inescapable that every one of us will someday die, so why prolong our time here by visiting doctors, engaging in physical exercise, or being watchful of our diet?  A mature person understands present responsibility; so too with our obligation toward civil government.  A warning delivered two centuries ago by Rev. Matthias Burnet charged citizens : “Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you.” [An Election Sermon Preached at Hartford on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803, pgs. 26-27].

Potential repercussions from our actions…or lack thereo! f…are both far reaching and long-lasting.  Whenever citizens’ selfishness and complacency rules, wrong principles and policies will abound, and when it comes to sound government, the enemy is seldom “them” but instead is almost always citizen apathy.  It is time for Christians to reengage in civil stewardship from a Biblical viewpoint…a viewpoint that was long understood by previous generations and that must be re-embraced by this current one.

Next week we will take a look at helping godless leaders…clueless seamen who have gotten our ‘ship of state’ in dangerous shoal waters.

– Bob Munsey

Remember!  We lock the doors of our homes not because we hate the people on the outside, but because we love the people on the inside.

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