For the Christian, involvement in the political realm is as mandatory as involvement in the other ordained institutions of God. If “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Proverbs 14:34), then the righteous must be involved. It is through godly influence of righteous citizens that a city prospers (Proverbs 11:11). The Creator of heaven and earth is also the Creator of social institutions, and He wants His people involved in these institutions. He wants us to bring Him honor and glory by our involvement.
A classic example of such involvement is provided by the Apostle Paul, who was not ashamed to be a Roman citizen. He did not renounce his citizenship, but used it for the glory of God:
The chief captain commanded [Paul] to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. (Acts 22:24-28)
Every Christian should cherish the opportunity, as a citizen, to participate in government. This may involve registering to vote and voting. Some Christians will be called to run for political offices, and others will be called to serve in non-elected offices. Such involvement is a more effective way than civil disobedience or protest to peacefully persuade government to be obedient to God. “As citizens of two worlds,” says Henry, “Christians are indeed obligated to participate in political affairs to the limit of their ability and competence; the price of withdrawal is to be ruled by nonbelievers and to forfeit the vocational leadership and service of believers.” If the people rejoice when the righteous rule (Proverbs 29:2), the righteous need to rule. Colson bluntly declares, “The real issue for Christians is not whether they should be involved in politics or contend for laws that affect moral behavior. The question is how.”
The answer, of course, is that Christians should become involved to the extent of their ability to serve effectively. Some Christians have been granted by God the ability to serve in the highest governmental offices and champion some of the most difficult political causes. William Wilberforce, for example, served in Parliament in England and was largely responsible for the abolition of slavery in that country. Colson writes, “Wilberforce’s dogged campaign to rid the British empire of the slave trade shows what can happen when a citizen of the Kingdom of God challenges corrupt structures within the kingdoms of man.”1
- David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: the Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), 638-640. ↩