We hear a lot of talk in our nation today about “the separation of church and state.” Many in our society believe that religion has no place in the political arena. Even some Christians believe that because our citizenship is in heaven, we have no right or responsibility to participate in civil government. As our nation prepares for another election, every Christian should consider this question: Does God want His people involved in civil government?
A clear answer to this question can be found in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 14:18, we read of Melchizedek, who was the priest of God Most High; he was also king of Salem. In Genesis 29:41, we read of Joseph, the son of Jacob, who through the providence of God was raised to power in the kingdom of Egypt. In Exodus 1-2, we read of Moses , who through the providence of God was brought up in the palace as grandson to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Throughout the history of Israel, God sent prophets to be advisors to Israel’s kings. Samuel was advisor to King Saul; the prophets Gad and Nathan were advisors to King David; Elijah prophesied to the wicked King Ahab; Isaiah was advisor to King Hezekiah of Judah; and Jeremiah prophesied to the last four kings of Judah. God also sent prophets as counselors to other nations. Daniel served as advisor to the kings of Babylon, and Jonah was sent to preach to the city of wicked Nineveh in Assyria.
In the New Testament, we are told in Matthew 14:1-5 that John the Baptist rebuked King Herod for his immoral conduct. In Luke 21:12-13, Jesus tells his disciples that they will be brought before kings and governors as witnesses to them. In Acts 9:15, the Lord, speaking about Saul of Tarsus, says that he would carry the name of the Lord before the Gentiles and kings. Saul, later called Paul preached to the Roman governors, Felix and Festus, to King Agrippa and even to Caesar and his court in Rome. It is obvious as we look at both the old and New Testaments, God has always wanted His people to be involved in influencing civil governments.
An objective examination of our history reveals that the principles of Christianity had an overwhelming influence on our founding fathers and the forging of this great nation. These Christian principles produced a government that gave every citizen the opportunity and the responsibility to participate in the political process. Having a government that is “of the people, by the people and for the people,” there has never been a nation throughout history where Christians have had a greater opportunity to be an influence for the cause of Christ. For almost two centuries the citizens of this nation enjoyed the freedom to speak, to print and to preach what we believe, and it is the principle of Christianity that prevailed in such struggles as abolishing slavery and extending civil rights to every citizen.
Yet in the last fifty years, these freedoms have been threatened. Prayer and the Bible have been removed from our public schools. Efforts are underway and great strides have been made to remove the influence of God and Christianity from every level of government and almost every aspect of public life.
Why are these things happening in our nation? The answer is simple. While the advocates of atheism and humanism have been actively working to influence our government, Christians for the most part have been complacent and willing to sit quietly on the sidelines and let it happen. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5: 13-16 that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Much can be said about these words of Christ, but it is obvious that He wants us as Christians to affect the world around us and to permeate every aspect of society with the illuminating, liberating, life-giving influence of Christ and His Word.
As we approach the next national election, let’s take our influence for Christ outside the walls of our church buildings. Let’s speak out for Christ on the moral issues that are debated in the political arena. Let’s inform ourselves and others…about the candidates and where they stand on the moral issues, and let’s cast our vote for the candidates that hold most closely to the Christian principles upon which our nation was founded. May we let our light shine for Christ in every aspect of our society, including the political arena…and may God continue to bless America. -Wendell Ingram, in House to House /Heart to Heart publication
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”. Psalm 33:12