Christians who are inclined toward political activism should not be discouraged from that task. That would be like asking one of Christ's followers to refrain from doing the good works which God created us to do.
The case for Christian involvement in politics just got a boost. A prominent seminary professor and author encourages Christians to look to the Bible to learn how to influence government for good. Dr. Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, and author of the bestselling book "Systematic Theology," has penned another treasure. His new book, "Politics According to the Bible," looks like a textbook and it certainly will be used in the classroom. It will also be a reference book for Christians and, hopefully, for lots of pastors.
Dr. Grudem covers sixty issues that we deal with in the political arena. He's hit every hot button, from the sanctity of human life to the importance of private property, from biblical marriage to economic growth, and from freedom of speech to foreign policy. He's included biblical references and logical arguments for each issue to support the position he believes Christians should take.
Politics According to the Bible clears the air about why political involvement is not just an option for American believers -- it's a matter of stewardship. In our system, criticizing or working to defeat leaders you don't agree with is not a violation of biblical admonitions to be subject to ruling authorities. We are subject to the "governing authorities" of Romans 13:1. But those elected officials are subject to a document, the Constitution, which limits their power if citizens insist on it.
Since we live in a democracy, the average citizen has greater freedom and more power than under a monarchy or totalitarian-type government. According to Dr. Grudem: "To be able to vote is to have a share of ruling power." With power comes responsibility. That responsibility extends to casting an informed vote. Dr. Grudem declares that Christians need to know what kind of government God is seeking. The Bible speaks to that and churches should teach it.
Dr. Grudem begins the book by exposing several myths about Christianity and politics. One is: "Christians should do evangelism and not politics." People who think Christians should stay away from politics are leaving out part of the Gospel. The Gospel is God's good news about all of life. Critics of Christian involvement in politics argue that winning elections, putting godly people in office, and passing good laws will not transform a society full of corrupt people. They correctly contend that government will never save anyone. But, just as believers can and should influence government, governments can influence citizens either by enabling or authorizing wrongdoing, or by passing and enforcing laws that maintain order and advance God's common grace.
Wayne Grudem's new book is a great tool to help Christians use politics for good.
Penna Dexter is a conservative activist and frequent panelist on the "Point of View" syndicated radio program. Her weekly commentaries air on the Bott and Moody Radio Networks.
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