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Why should Christians be involved in government?

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Why should Christians be involved in government? We have been assigned a mission. God has given believers a scriptural mandate to be engaged actively on the battlefield of the public square. 

Our God-given responsibility is to steward all of creation, including the realm of government. It is God who is the ultimate Ruler, the Kings of kings, the Righteous Judge, and the true Lawgiver, and He has called us to partner with Him in a redemptive mission over all of creation. If Christians abandon government, or any part of the public square, that realm will cease to be influenced by godly men and women. Such a separation has tragic consequences for a godless society. A branch not connected to the vine, its source of life, will not produce fruit, and eventually wither and die. 

As theologian George MacDonald summarized tragic moments in human history: “All that is not God is death.”

Yet God has entrusted to His people the stewardship of all that He has created. Armed with foundational scriptural authority, the Christfollower is empowered to take action, to defend the truth, and to become a leader in the spiritual battle being waged in the public square. Government is a tool of society, and it needs to be wielded to protect our God-given rights, to provide safety, and to bring life to a society. Such is our mission.

Through scripture, we can see that before sin entered the world, God held centralized power over creation. “For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us,” Isaiah 33:22 (ESV). After the fall, and once sin entered the world, that centralized power was split into four sectors: kings (executive branch), judges (judicial branch), lawgivers (legislative branch), and religious leaders (churches). But why might God have decentralized power over the earth?

Since the fall and sin entered the world, mankind has always wanted to do things his own way: to reach God, to play God, and to be God. This desire for centralized power, globalism, and playing God still exists today, and it is imperative that we search scripture to understand the basis of this depraved response to God, and how to respond to it Biblically, in order to take back the public square.

If you are interested in exploring this topic further, this booklet on the theology of government will equip you with a Biblical defense for cultural engagement. You can find FPIW’s other educational booklets here.

 

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