Summary: A sermon for Pulpit Freedom Sunday and encouraging Christians to vote and get involved in the political field (Material adapted from Wayne Grudem in an article entitled, "Why Christians Should Seek to Influence Government for Good")
During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa- Henry Adams
Today, many preachers across this country are being encouraged to speak out about current policy issues that the Bible talks about for Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Preachers are being told that certain issues they cannot speak about because if they do they are getting involved in politics. Cannot get involved in politics because IRS tax exemption will be taken away.
Now I am not going to endorse a political candidate or a political party. I am not going to speak about political issues where the Bible is silent. However, I have and will continue to speak about political issues where the Bible has something to say. As Christians we must proclaim the Word of God. We must stand with God and with the Bible.
What should we do about the government? Should Christians try to influence laws and politics? Across history, Christians have disagreed on all of this.
“Why Christians Should Seek to Influence Government for Good” by Wayne Grudem
Thesis: Start by discussing 5 views of Christian involvement that are unbiblical, incomplete or false. After this, talk about a more balanced and biblical idea of political involvement
5 views of Christian involvement that are unbiblical, incomplete or false
1. Government should force religion
The government forces its citizens to participate in a particular brand of religion. Until the founding of the United States this was a common view of government. Today there are very few Christians groups that hold to the idea that the government should try to force people to follow the Christian faith.
Now other religions still battle over this. For instance when ISIS or ISIL takes over an area the people have 3 options: Flee, die or convert to this particular Muslim faith and ideology. Many Christians have died because they could not flee and they refused to convert to ISIS so they were martyred. But consider that more Muslims have died because they also have refused to convert to this particular Muslim faith and ideology.
Now our country was founded upon the freedom of religion, many immigrants came here to escape religious persecution, and we still hold to this so not going to spend more time on this.
2. Government should exclude religion
In our country this is becoming increasingly popular. This is the view that we should completely exclude religion from government and politics. According to this view, religious beliefs should never be mentioned in governmental functions or on government property and should never play a role in decision-making processes in politics or government.
Many believe that it is fine whatever we say and do in the 4 walls of a religious building but we dare not bring any of that religious stuff into business, education, media, the military and especially not into the government.
Problems with this view:
It changes freedom of religion into freedom from religion. The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution says this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. What is meant here by “an establishment of religion” is a government sponsored and endorsed state church. Now this amendment did not intend to exclude all religious speech and activity from government buildings and activities, for our nation’s early leaders continued praying publicly to God at government events, even having church services in the Capitol for many years.
It wrongly restricts freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Next part of 1st Amendment that we just read: Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion or abridging the freedom of speech. This is directly opposed to the “exclude religion from government” view. This idea of excluding religion from government prohibits Christians and others from exercising their religious freedom when speaking or giving a prayer at a public event. Their free exercise of religion is taken away from them. This view also wrongly restricts individual freedom of speech. Speaking of religion in public is not forcing people to accept that viewpoint.
It removes from government God’s teaching about good and evil. The Bible says that government officials are sent “to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” 1 Peter 2:14, NIV. But if the idea of absolute moral standards that come from God is rejected, how does the government determine what is right and what is wrong? Where do we get the idea that murder is wrong, adultery is wrong, stealing is wrong, lying is wrong? If we do not believe in the Bible then in some situations those things are right. Dangerous!
3. All Government is Evil and Demonic
“And he (Satan) said to him (Jesus), “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.” Luke 4:6, NIV.