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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on GovernmentIf you only read one article on Christians and politics this year, read this one.

Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Leadership: What Difference Will I Make?

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

By Evan Nehring

Clearly Seeing the Two Visions of America

Across Wisconsin and across America, the debate is raging as to what sort of a nation we will be.
  • Will we be a European-style social democracy which looks first to the federal government to supply our needs and solve our problems?
  • Or will we return to being a more limited government which rules a nation strengthened by its people, its families, its churches, and its local leaders.

Social Democracy vs. Limited Government
In other words, will we be socialist or will we be free?
  • Are we prepared to trade the constitutionally limited government initiated by our Founding Fathers for a government which controls our churches, our companies and our lives?
  • This decision colors every discussion about politics in America today.
So what might be our model for civic involvement?

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

In the gospel of John, chapters 15 & 17, Jesus talks about being in the world but not of the world.
Theologian Wayne Grudem lays out a helpful model, labeled: significant Christian influence.
  • Christians should seek to influence civil government according to God's moral standards and God's purposes for government as revealed in the Bible.
  • Simultaneously insist on protecting freedom of religion for all citizens.
  • Thoughtful, loving, and persuasive manner; not judgmental, red-faced, and hate-filled
  • Always protecting the other person’s right to disagree
  • Uncompromising about the truthfulness and moral goodness of the teachings of God's word[1]

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government
We’re a federal republic (top level, red), made up of 50 republics called states (second level, yellow).
  • Within these largely sovereign states, we have (at the third level, green) counties, cities, towns, villages, churches, corporations and organizations that should comprise the economic and civic vitality of the nation.
  • And across every state and city (bottom level, blue), we have our families and individuals whose freedom, creativity and productivity has generated a land of opportunity and freedom unprecedented in human history.
We are a great and glorious nation, but we are being asked to believe that if we expand the federal government to include all manner of social programs, we are being compassionate.
Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

  • Wouldn’t it be compassionate, after all, to collect taxes from the entire nation in order to expand the safety net to include full retirement benefits, expanded medical coverage, expanded unemployment benefits, and increased product regulation?
    • But the federal government has not honored the federal arrangement of sovereignty for the states, and we have allowed Washington to usurp power from Madison, Wisconsin and from all of our state capitals.
    • And the federal government has not honored the liberty of our communities, our churches and our businesses.
  • And as these layers of constitutional structure are squashed, our individual and family liberties are also squashed.
    • We’re being asked to believe that our hope and our salvation come from the federal government, but as Washington grows, everything else shrinks.
Americans are waking up to realize that what we thought was compassion and a progressive vision for the United States, is really just old school government domination.
Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

  • Statism, socialism, communism, utopianism
  • Give it whatever name you want, we are trying what nations throughout history have tried without success.
    • We are trying to create heaven on earth.

But if we are creating heaven on earth, who will be king?

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government
  • The Republicans? The Democrats? The United Nations? The International Criminal Court?
  • Only one king is pure, holy and innocent to rule in power over the world, and Jesus is not on the ballot!
What if the Church decided more and more to say, "We will rise to serve"?
Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

  • Just like Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s court,
  • Just like Joseph in Pharaoh’s Egypt,
  • Just like Moses leading the Hebrew people out of bondage,
  • Just like Queen Esther approaching King Xerxes because she had been brought into that place for such a time as this,
  • Just like John the Baptist who confronted the King Herod and the Roman Empire,
  • Just like the Apostle Paul who engaged and challenged Felix, the Roman governor of Judea,

Our Model: Significant Christian Influence on Government

  • Just like William Wilberforce standing for God and for good against the slave trade.
  • Just like theologian pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who actively opposed Hitler and the Nazis.
  • Just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who helped end racial segregation in America.
  • Just like Reverend Billy Graham, who has served as spiritual advisor to presidents and governors for forty years.
What if the Church today would say, “We will rise up to stand for the freedom and truth that will only thrive if the government is held in check!”
  • The pillars of our nation would strengthen more quickly than you might imagine.

[1] Wayne Grudem. Politics According to the Bible. 55.


What can you do this week to rise to serve in your city? state? country?

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  1. Great article. Glad I took the time to read it. :)

  2. Thanks Ken. Grudem's model of significant Christian influence is much needed, in my view.

  3. Well said! Anything with "ism" needs much pondering.

    Pastor Gail

    1. Ah, Pastor Gail, you sound like a "ponderist". I'll have to be very careful. :-) Thanks for dropping by!