The Christian and Government
The Christian and Government
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
1.Romans 13:1-7 tells us that the authority of all governments is from God. This section of Scripture even goes so far as to make the surprising claim (to many Christians) in verse 4 that the government is a minister of God. We should keep in mind that Paul is speaking this way, under the inspiration of God, of course, even though he lived under the oppressive and anti-Christian Roman government.
There is an important lesson here for the Church, especially in our day when certain church bodies are busy financing "liberation movements" in various places in the world. If It were actually God's will that Christians get Involved In overthrowing governments, no matter how unjust they may be, would St. Paul have claimed that all governments were ministers of God?
List some ways in which the Roman government was unjust, then re-read this section in order to better understand the context in which Paul is writing.
2.Verses 3 and 4 say that government's main role is use of the sword to keep evildoers in line. Government's main work therefore, according to Scripture, is to keep people from being overrun by people who are harmful to others. Does this agree with 1 Peter 2:13-14?
What thought does Peter add to what Paul has written?
Why, according to Peter, should we submit ourselves to government authorities?
3.What does 1 Timothy 2:1-3 encourage Christians to do? Why?
We can then conclude that the overwhelming Scriptural theme is one of cooperation with the government for the hindrance of evil and the promotion of peace and godliness.
4.Many Christian writers have pointed out that the command to "honor thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" also applies to the citizen and his relationship to the government. From this perspective we can see government as an outgrowth of the family's role in keeping general order.
This takes us back to the Garden of Eden where, even in perfection, lines of authority were established. Luther points out that Adam was the first pastor, and he and Eve were the first church.
The main doctrines at the time of perfection were fellowship with God and the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Note that even here, at the beginning, in perfection, there was an order, and there was an authority which had the purpose of curbing evil.
5.Governments keep order by law backed up with force. Only a person who has a living relationship with God, through Christ Jesus can be truly peaceable and compassionate from the heart. Note how this theme is especially clear in Titus 3:1-4.
Can we then say that the level of peace in a society can be a barometer of Christian influence in society?
What, then, does this barometer tell us when there are increases in violence, crime and lawsuits in a nation?
6.In what ways can a society become a much less pleasant place to live, especially for Christians, if the influence of Christianity fades?
Who is at fault when Christianity fades in a society?
Are Christians today known for their aggressive and sacrificial work for the Lord, or does the average Christian seem to have become comfortable in this world?
Is it possible that Christians have stressed, too much, the goal of a peaceable life, while forgetting that the purpose of such peace is for the unhindered spread of the gospel?
What is the remedy for this?
7.The western democracies are mission fields which are very much in need of the Word of God. Yet few churches realize that America or Canada, for example, are prime mission areas. The most widespread religious influence we have to address is evolution.
Most people accept some form of evolution, and even theistic evolution (adding God to evolution) offers a re-structured, re-written god who is much less personally involved with his creation than the God of the Bible.
8.Evolutionary naturalism encourages people to see God as less personally concerned with people's actions, because He is less personally involved with the creation in general. This decrease in a sense of personal responsibility for sin encourages immorality and subjectivist morality.
Christianity may abound in outward form, but the power is gone - which is why parents find it hard to convey their faith to their children. Abortion, murder, rape, theft become more common - drugs become common - and people feel more free to scoff at the Bible.
All of these should not be things we get used to, they represent a reversible trend - reversible when Christians once again get about their Father's business.
9.Creation Moments exists not only to point out this vital need, but also to equip Christians to understand the nature of this paganism and to provide them with the methods and materials they can use to bring the witness of the gospel to those who are caught in this religious paganism.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He paid the ultimate price not only for us, but also for evolutionists and all those captured by this pagan darkness.
10.While we have a separation of the authority of church and state, Christians living in a democracy have the responsibility to become involved in the activities and policy-making of the government.
Their Influence in making society a more peaceful and humane place to live, based on God's order, will also enhance the gospel mission which God has given to every Christian.
Close this Bible study with a prayerful reading of Psalm 119:9-16.
Copyright Â© 1989 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com