Church and Politics
by Steve Hale
This tract is not about: (1) being a Republican, Democrat, or Independent; (2) promoting ecclesiastical rule of government; (3) political conservativism, liberalism, or moderatism; (4) Marxism.
This tract is about the church and politics, and misunderstandings some people have about this vital subject. It is considered a taboo subject among many in churches of Christ.
We live in an era in which political activism among believers is smeared, ridiculed, and shrugged aside in condescending tones. Some among us believe Christians have no business in politics whatever. David Lipscomb did not even believe a Christian should vote!
More than ever, we need some clear thinking and common sense about this subject. We need to expect people to have respect about the great moral principles given in the Bible. We need to understand that government is responsible to God just as much as the church!
High moral character is a vital component in our leaders. These morals are drawn from the principles of the Bible. If believers and Christians do not press these morals, who will? Can we afford any more moral decay? How long will the Lord keep blessing a nation turning away from Him? Solomon said: "...righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
Sin is a reproach to America! We have more violent crime, abortion, child abuse, drug abuse, and suicide than any nation in the western world! How can we turn this around?
We must begin with leadership! Our leaders are selected through the political process, whether we like it or not! If we want to turn our country around, we must talk about the church and politics.
September 23, 1994
All Bible references are from the New King James Version.
God's Three Institutions
The Bible teaches that God has ordained three great institutions: the home, civil government, and the church. None of us have any problem saying that God should rule His church.
After all, His church is simply "the called-out ones." He is the head of the church (Colossians 1:16-18). He has all authority ( Matthew 28:18). The church must obey Him (Hebrews 5:8, 9).
None of us have any problem saying that God should rule the home (I Corinthians 11:3). We all believe that Christian homes should have the proper roles within it ( Colossians 3:18-20). We all believe that prayer, Bible study, mutual love, and participation in the church are important elements in having strong homes (Ephesians 5:22-33).
However, we have much hesitation when saying the government should respect God given principles! Yet, the Bible teaches: "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" (Romans 13:1).
Being appointed by God, the government should be respectful of God, and His authority. So long as the government does not demand that we are to violate biblical principles, we are to obey it. Paul said: "Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:2).
When we are asked to either obey the government or God, Peter said: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Indeed, every Christian should be a good citizen (I Peter 2:17). To be good citizens, Christians should want the government to rule from biblical principles.
Many have recoiled from this subject because they've been told you must have separation of church and state. Is expecting the government to respect God a violation of this principle?
Separation Of Church And State
A Christian or believer makes a stand against something he is convinced is immoral in government. Immediately, we hear the whine: "That's a violation of the separation of church and state."
To "protect us," humanistic jurists have ruled against prayer in public schools, graduations, and even baccalaureates! Prayer has been banned at football games, at meals, and in the classroom.
Bible lessons cannot be taught in some schools even as great literature. Great moral principles like those contained in the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the Beatitudes are prohibited.
The Government has gone too far. Instead giving us the freedom of religion, it is trying to give the freedom from religion. In my three trips to the former Soviet Union, educators have pleaded to hear about Christian Ethics, Christian Evidences, and Church History.
We have, in other words, greater freedom to teach God's principles in the Soviet Union than the United States! It will get worse unless we Christians start speaking-out!
Current politicians and jurists do not understand what we Christians are pressing. None of us want ecclesiastical or church rule of government. None of us want the days of the old "Holy Roman Empire." None of us want our country ruled by another Cardinal Richlieu.
What we want is respect of God and His principles by our government. Rather than having one person stop prayer through the power of a humanistic jurist, we simply want the freedom to communicate with the Lord. We are a country in need of help when we protect the burning of the flag, pornography, and the like as freedom of expression while prohibiting prayer and reading of the Scriptures.
Yes, we believe in the separation of church and state. But, we do not believe in separating the church, the home, or the government from God!
In the church, many people have different views politically. Because of regional or family tradition, a person may support one party or another no matter what that party upholds. We should look at the platforms of any political party and compare it to Christian principles.
However, we must not press personalities to the point of division. I do not believe it to be wise or expedient to endorse a candidate from the pulpit, or use the church bulletin as a personal political forum. These should be used to glorify God, and help the church in her praise to Him.
I do believe preachers and teachers should deal with God's principles, and fully expect the government to respect what God says. Issues the Bible deals with should not be dodged. Christians should be encouraged to use these principles at home, in the church, and yes, in the ballot box!
Would you want to worship at a church where the preacher did not love God, and exalt the Bible as His inspired word? Would you want to live in a home with a family that opposed the reading of the Bible and prayer?
If not, then why would you vote or support someone who was godless in principle, flawed in character, and humanistic to the core? Again, the government should respect God as much as the home or the church!
Brothers, sisters, and friends, so much is at stake. We Christians are so blessed to have the time and opportunity to turn America around. We cannot do it by being inactive, indifferent, and uninvolved.
Consider the following:
Where We've Been
George Washington -- "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
John Adams -- "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to govern any other."
James Madison -- "...before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."
Where We're Going
1962 -- Prayer is banned in the public schools.
1973 -- The Supreme Court struck down state laws restricting abortion. Since that time, 30 million children have been brutally murdered.
1987 -- Robert Bork is denied a seat on the Supreme Court primarily because he opposes abortion.
1993 -- Liberal euthanasia laws are barely defeated in Washington and California. Public prayers are prohibited at graduation ceremonies. After great tumult and debate, gays are admitted to the military on a "no ask, no tell" basis.
We need the Lord! Our leaders need the Lord and His guidance! Be involved! Be informed! We can no longer afford to be passive when it comes to the church and politics.
Order Additional Tracts From:
Mt. Juliet Church of Christ
P.O. Box #248
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Phone: (615) 758-2274
September 23, 1994
Related Articles: Print this Article
Discuss this Article Back to the Sermon Page