Thursday, November 6, 2008

God's Vision for the Church in the Political Arena

This is adapted from Justin Taylor's blog.

From what I have heard people saying when I have been out and about in the community about Obama becoming President I feel this is a necessary post. I have been deeply convicted about how Christ desires for us to respond to politics and the politicians that are elected or run for office. I have felt the shortcomings in my own heart with many sentiments I have expressed about politicians this year and feel a need for revival both in my heart and in the Church in America.

No matter who you voted for--or whether you voted at all--it's important to remember that, as President, Barack Obama will have God-given authority to govern us, and that we should view him as a servant of God (Rom. 13:1, 4) to whom we should be subject (Rom. 13:1, 5; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." (Romans 13:1-7, ESV)

"Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good." (1 Peter 2:13,14; ESV)

What is interesting is that both of these sections of Scripture were written to Churches that were suffering severe persecution from their government. Their governments were severely ungodly and did things that are unimaginably horrible and despicable. The Caesar's who governed Rome believed that they were God incarnate. Two of the most popular sayings of Christianity are taken from what was said about the Caesar's.

"There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved except by the name of Caesar." (Compare with Acts 4:12)

"Caesar is LORD."

It would be unfruitful to say that God only meant for us to be obedient to our government if it fits our Christian ideals. There is a precedent of obeying God above obeying the government when there is a conflict between the two kingdoms but God still commands us to be in submission to the authorities.

Regardless of whether or not Obama is the person that you voted for, there are for things that God asks us to do on behalf of Obama.

1. We are to respect Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7).

2. We are to honor Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17).

3. We are to pray for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

4. We are to thank God for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (1 Timothy 2:1-2, ESV)

I pray that as the Church, we may learn what it means to love all men and pray for them, whether they be friends or perceived enemies. May we grow to see that we have a kingdom that is unshakable and that we have a King who will never be removed. Our King rules and reigns over the people in justice, mercy and grace in ways that no one else can. May we see our citizen as it really is, which is in heaven, and may we spurn all people to know Christ and put our trust in Him so much that they see that our hope is not in this kingdom but in Christ's. Grace and Peace.


  1. Don't apologize for your sentiments, you are human. As far as government authorities go...Hitler was a government authority and surely God did not mean for the Jewish people to submit to him and honor him. God does not want us to honor or submit to satan. Hitler was satan. I pray that Obama is the man who campaigned and not the man the republican party made him out to be...then did a 360 when Obama won. If he is truly what the reps say, they shouldn't be running away from their convictions, now is the time to press even harder. If they back down now, it sure looks like it wasn't that important to them after all. In the end none of this matters cause we gotta walk here to get to Him, then we start our real, neverending life.

  2. Totally. I don't think we are to obey people if obeying them means that we do evil. It is just that we need to thank God for the good that will come b/c of Obama. Obama is neither Jesus nor the AntiChrist but is just a person. There will be good things that he will do and things he will do that will be wrong. I just think that as Christians we are called to a higher standard than to treat politicians the way that we do.