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Christians Cannot Sit on the Sidelines

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Christians cannot sit on the political sidelines any longer.   There is too much at stake, for ourselves and for our children.  Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten our history, a history that is rich in serving the public good. 

It is time for Christians to take the lead in the public sphere, knowing that we can put our Biblical values to good use.  We cannot rely on Big Brother government to do the heavy lifting for us.  If we place our fate in the hands of bureaucrats, we could see our way of life slowly slipping away.

2008 is destined to be a historic year.  I firmly believe that our children and grandchildren will look upon this year as a milestone moment, a turning point in the national timeline.  Whether 2008 is remembered as a year of triumph or a year of missed opportunity all depends on the behavior of Christians in the public square.

As of late, the Church has abandoned its role of helping and supporting the leaders, the poor, the sick within society and then placing the responsibility upon the government.  This is wrong.  Governments and states come and go and the Church endures.  Scripture clearly shows that the Church and its people are “to go out and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20).  Teach others to make Godly decisions in all areas of life.

Christian values are the solid foundation upon which America was founded. Charity and civic involvement stemmed from tales of the early church in Jerusalem, and how those early Christians rallied together to ensure the welfare of those less fortunate than they were. As the years have passed, other virtues have led to:

  • The founding of hospitals
  • The elevation of the status of women in society
  • Contributions to science
  • The abolition of slavery
  • The establishment of broad-based education
  • The creation of the free enterprise system.

            We are called by God to be salt and light -- to transform our surroundings in service to His kingdom. Obedience to His will requires nothing less.

Selecting the Right Leaders

            Just as the Bible lays out standards of behavior for life, it also offers qualifications for leadership in the church and in civil affairs. There are three principles that are the key to strong moral leadership:  accountability, destiny, dependency.


  • Our civil leaders are “ministers of God” (Romans 13:3-4).
  • A leader’s role is to enable government to fulfill God’s purposes.
  • Civil leaders should carry out God’s will in establishing justice and maintaining order.
  • These leaders are held personally responsible by God for their choices.


  • Governmental leaders serve at God’s pleasure.
  • God places people in leadership for His purposes, not theirs. “[God] sets up kings and deposes them…” (Daniel 2:21)


  • Leaders are called on to make tough decisions (1 Kings 3:16-27).
  • Human wisdom and courage is not enough to lead a vast number of people well. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

            It is hard to know what is right; it is even harder to do what is right. The only hope is an intimate relationship with God. If each day is lived fully dependent upon Him for wisdom, He will show what is right and give the courage to follow through.

Why Does the Bible Have So Much to Say About Government?

The answer is pretty simple:  government is ordained by God.

            Humankind was created in a state of innocence, where no government other than God’s direction was needed. Through mankind’s sinning and the breaking of that direct connection to God, the need for some kind of government arose. Thus, God chose leaders from among His people to rule according to His will and purpose.  Civil government is God’s institution, begun by His creative act. Furthermore, God is in control of government.

 "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." (Proverbs 21:1)

            God’s view of government dictates that it carries out a specified and limited role in human affairs. The church and civil government are made necessary by the same thing (sin), but do not have identical responsibilities (Matthew 22:15-21).

*  The humanist view of the role of government is to perfect mankind.

*  The Scriptural view of the role of government is to protect mankind.

            Throughout Scripture, God is clear that civil government is charged with a limited responsibility and that good leaders decide to take a Scriptural view of government’s role.  We also see in Scripture that God has a welfare plan—people are to look to the family, then the church, then the community (1 Timothy 5:3-16, Leviticus 19:9, 10, 23:22).

*  The humanistic plan is publicly funded, coercive, and creates cycles of dependency.

*  God’s plan is community-oriented, voluntary, and empowers people.

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