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  • What Did Jesus Say About Christians and Government?

    Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus acting as an individual through private means to bring people to God, to help the poor, and to spread his message

    Given that Jesus and the early Church were minorities, they were enemies of the respective governments in every country.

    Nowadays, Christianity is the major world religion, and Christians make up the majority population in several nations.

    I've always struggled with how we, as Christians, are supposed to deal with government since Jesus and the early Church did not do things via government, but rather, via private means.
    Would Jesus be for or against universal healthcare?
    Would Jesus be for or against censorship?
    I honestly don't know

    Can anyone provide Biblical justification for the following:
    1.) Should Christians be involved in government
    2.) If Christians should be involved in government, is there Biblical support for the idea of a secular or religiously-motivated policies?
    3.) Should Christians always obey secular government? (American Revolution, Hitler's Germany, etc.)
    God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. - Psalm 46:1-3

  • #2
    Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
    I've always struggled with how we, as Christians, are supposed to deal with government since Jesus and the early Church did not do things via government, but rather, via private means.
    The early Christians walked along government-built Roman roads, and drank water from government-built Roman aqueducts. Many Christians in the first few centuries were in the Roman army.

    Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
    Would Jesus be for or against universal healthcare?
    Given what Jesus said about looking after the sick (Matthew 25 etc) Jesus would certainly want somebody looking after those people who are poor and sick. In the early centuries, the churches set up many hospitals for this reason.

    Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
    1.) Should Christians be involved in government
    Well, Joseph and Daniel are two Old Testament examples.

    Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
    2.) If Christians should be involved in government, is there Biblical support for the idea of a secular or religiously-motivated policies?
    I'm not sure what you mean here. Any Christians involved in government (and that includes voters) will need to make choices that are wise and pleasing to God. That means following one's conscience. However, it would be wrong for the government to force non-Christians to pretend to be Christian. In fact, bitter experience throughout history has indicated that it's better for governments not to get involved in religion at all.

    Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
    3.) Should Christians always obey secular government? (American Revolution, Hitler's Germany, etc.)
    Not when it involves sinning, but most of the time:

    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:1-7)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
      Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus acting as an individual through private means to bring people to God, to help the poor, and to spread his message

      Given that Jesus and the early Church were minorities, they were enemies of the respective governments in every country.

      Nowadays, Christianity is the major world religion, and Christians make up the majority population in several nations.

      I've always struggled with how we, as Christians, are supposed to deal with government since Jesus and the early Church did not do things via government, but rather, via private means.
      Would Jesus be for or against universal healthcare?
      Would Jesus be for or against censorship?
      I honestly don't know

      Can anyone provide Biblical justification for the following:
      1.) Should Christians be involved in government
      2.) If Christians should be involved in government, is there Biblical support for the idea of a secular or religiously-motivated policies?
      3.) Should Christians always obey secular government? (American Revolution, Hitler's Germany, etc.)
      The answers are simply my friend. Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this world. If you are a citizen in God's kingdom what have you to do with the kingdoms of darkness. All of the kingdoms of this world fall under the kingdom of darkness, we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness. Paul said not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, how can one serve in secular government and not be unequally yoked? Christ has given a prohibition on violence, how can we serve in a government that supports war? What about a government that allows abortion? How can we be yoked with such unbelievers. Christ has told us not to sit in judgment on another's life, how can we serve a government that does just that. Let me say I am not knocking the governments God has instituted them for that very purpose, however, it is not the Christians place.

      In regard to your last question the answer is yes, to the point that one can still obey God's laws. If it comes to the point that the government commands us to break God's commands we are not to follow.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Radagast View Post
        The early Christians walked along government-built Roman roads, and drank water from government-built Roman aqueducts. Many Christians in the first few centuries were in the Roman army.
        1.) The fact that they walked on government roads and drank government water doesn't really say anything about how they were INVOLVED in the government
        2.) I thought that the Early Christian Church was Pacifist and that Christians quit the army
        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christi...m#Early_Church

        Given what Jesus said about looking after the sick (Matthew 25 etc) Jesus would certainly want somebody looking after those people who are poor and sick. In the early centuries, the churches set up many hospitals for this reason.
        I agree with you that Jesus would want somebody to look out for the poor and sick, but hospitals are private (and can be private charity or a private business). My question was whether Christians should advocate government action in healthcare


        I'm not sure what you mean here. Any Christians involved in government (and that includes voters) will need to make choices that are wise and pleasing to God. That means following one's conscience. However, it would be wrong for the government to force non-Christians to pretend to be Christian. In fact, bitter experience throughout history has indicated that it's better for governments not to get involved in religion at all.
        I phrased the question VERY POORLY. Your answer seems to suggest that we should not legislate morality
        My question was two-fold: Can Christians engage in the worldly kingdom, and if so, should they use the government to prevent gay marriage, stop adultery, etc.
        God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. - Psalm 46:1-3

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Butch5 View Post
          The answers are simply my friend. Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this world. If you are a citizen in God's kingdom what have you to do with the kingdoms of darkness. All of the kingdoms of this world fall under the kingdom of darkness, we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness. Paul said not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, how can one serve in secular government and not be unequally yoked? Christ has given a prohibition on violence, how can we serve in a government that supports war? What about a government that allows abortion? How can we be yoked with such unbelievers. Christ has told us not to sit in judgment on another's life, how can we serve a government that does just that. Let me say I am not knocking the governments God has instituted them for that very purpose, however, it is not the Christians place.

          In regard to your last question the answer is yes, to the point that one can still obey God's laws. If it comes to the point that the government commands us to break God's commands we are not to follow.
          So you basically take the position the Society of Friends take: that we are not to engage in the politics of the world?

          So we are not supposed to vote against those who do great damage such as pro-abortion candidates or pro-war candidates?
          God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. - Psalm 46:1-3

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
            1.) The fact that they walked on government roads and drank government water doesn't really say anything about how they were INVOLVED in the government
            I guess I didn't understand your question.

            Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
            2.) I thought that the Early Christian Church was Pacifist and that Christians quit the army
            Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christi...m#Early_Church
            But see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christians_in_the_military

            Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
            I agree with you that Jesus would want somebody to look out for the poor and sick, but hospitals are private (and can be private charity or a private business). My question was whether Christians should advocate government action in healthcare
            I'm not going to touch US politics, but it's probably true that if there were more Christian charity hospitals, then there would be no push for government involvement.

            Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
            II phrased the question VERY POORLY. Your answer seems to suggest that we should not legislate morality
            The government should certainly legislate against murder and rape. It should certainly not enforce compulsory recitation of the Nicene Creed.

            Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
            My question was two-fold: Can Christians engage in the worldly kingdom.
            I'm not sure what "engage" means. Just living in a country means some engagement. Even more so in a democracy: if you vote in elections, you are engaging also. If you refuse to exercise your right to vote, you are supporting whoever gets in, which is also engagement. If you form part of a jury, you are exercising some of the functions of a judge, which is engagement again.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheAnswer99 View Post
              So you basically take the position the Society of Friends take: that we are not to engage in the politics of the world?

              So we are not supposed to vote against those who do great damage such as pro-abortion candidates or pro-war candidates?
              I used to be a big follower of politics, a hard core republican conservative. However, after studying the early church I realized they were right. If I have become a Christian, and a citizen of the kingdom of God, I have renounced my citizenship in the kingdoms of the world. James says, adulterers and adulteresses, friendship with the world is enmity with God. Paul said that the governments that be are instituted by God. If God is in control and running the show H e does not need me interfering. Christ did not give any instructions on entering politics or worldly governments or worldly affairs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Butch5 View Post
                Paul said that the governments that be are instituted by God. If God is in control and running the show H e does not need me interfering.
                But what Paul is saying is that God is running the show through systems of government established in various countries. If Christians are part of such systems of government, that's not "interfering."

                Historically there have certainly been many Christians that followed this approach of total non-involvement: they were called monks. But if you're not a monk, some degree of contact with the world is inevitable.

                John the Baptist spoke to two categories of government employees (soldiers and tax-collectors) and didn't tell either of them to quit their jobs:

                Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay." (Luke 3:12-14)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't see a problem with Christians in politics. The problem is when Christians start to legislate laws based on religion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RockSolid View Post
                    I don't see a problem with Christians in politics. The problem is when Christians start to legislate laws based on religion.
                    Are we to be citizens in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Radagast---But what Paul is saying is that God is running the show through systems of government established in various countries. If Christians are part of such systems of government, that's not "interfering."

                      But when Paul made that statement there were no Christians in government. The Ante-Nicene Christians realized that you cannot be a citizen of both kingdoms. You cannot serve two masters. Paul said not to be unequally yoked. How can one enter politics without being unequally yoked?

                      Historically there have certainly been many Christians that followed this approach of total non-involvement: they were called monks. But if you're not a monk, some degree of contact with the world is inevitable.
                      I'm not talking about non-involvement. The Ante-Nicene Christians were in the world and not of it. I am talking about partaking in the world system in way that will require a Christian to compromise Christ's commands.


                      John the Baptist spoke to two categories of government employees (soldiers and tax-collectors) and didn't tell either of them to quit their jobs:

                      Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay." (Luke 3:12-14)
                      This is an argument from silence. We don't know that John never told them to leave the military. Do you think that those 13 words are the only words he spoke to them? I think it is quite possible that John did speak more to them, what he may have said we don't know.

                      I can tell you from reading the Ante-Nicene writers that the Ante-Nicene church require some in the military to take an oath not to use the sword and if a believer joined the military they were excommunicated. The question is where did they get this teaching from? Since it was universal it seems they were just following the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Butch5 View Post
                        Are we to be citizens in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness?
                        Do you only vote for your church leaders or do you also vote for political leaders? You are voting for both kingdoms so you are part of both kingdoms. But God's laws should supercede any earthly government laws.
                        Do you pay taxes? Then you probably put more money in the "dark" kingdom than you do God's kingdom. We are citizens of both.
                        Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage to avoid a beating and spread the gospel.

                        I agree it's tough for a Christian in politics because we can't lie and we shouldn't be legislating laws based on religion.
                        Last edited by RockSolid; May 3rd 2010, 01:05 PM. Reason: clarification

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                        • #13
                          Jesus would be against universal health care as is currently in place as it violates the very law of the government which passed it. Further, Jesus was all about personal responsibility
                          Jesus would be against censorship as the truth hides from nothing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RabbiKnife View Post
                            Further, Jesus was all about personal responsibility
                            Personal responsibility for other people:

                            "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

                            "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

                            "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

                            "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
                            (Matt 25:31-46)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RockSolid View Post
                              Do you only vote for your church leaders or do you also vote for political leaders?
                              You are voting for both kingdoms so you are part of both kingdoms. But God's laws should supercede any earthly government laws.
                              No, I no longer vote in any political races.

                              Do you pay taxes? Then you probably put more money in the "dark" kingdom than you do God's kingdom. We are citizens of both.
                              I pat taxes because Christ commanded so.


                              Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage to avoid a beating and spread the gospel.
                              That is not living according to this world, and it is not partaking in government.

                              I agree it's tough for a Christian in politics because we can't lie and we shouldn't be legislating laws based on religion.
                              If you don't believe that a Christian should legislate based on religion, are you not placing secular rules and values above those of Christ?

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