Summary: To motivate Christians to allow their faith to be their primary influence at election time.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO ABOUT THE APPROACHING ELECTION?
I heard on a talk show this week someone comment on the fact that both candidates for president have made their faith a paramount issue in their political debates. That commentator remarked, “What a person believes really shouldn’t matter because religion and politics don’t mix.”
How often we have heard that…”religion and politics don’t mix.” We have heard it so long, that many people have come to believe it without questioning it. With the presidential election so near, this week I spent a lot of time this week thinking about… praying about…and researching that idea. And you know what I discovered? First I discovered that’s not what the Bible teaches. I found that at it’s origin, religion and politics have the same source…God. Romans 13:1 says
Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. (NLT)
In other words, God is the source of political governments. And because God was the source of government, the early Christians were to treat government and its leaders with respect and obedience. 1 Peter 2:13 declares
3Submit yourselves (why?) for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
Governmental authorities were to be obeyed not because they are always right…or because it will be easier for you…but because God “appointed” them. He put them in place and gave them power. So obeying them was obeying God’s will. Titus 3:1 says,
1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,
Don’t let them forget this is what they are supposed to do…is the idea. And not only were authorities to be obeyed, they were to be prayed for. 1 Timothy 2:1 says
1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior…
If I am not mistaken, that is the only place in the entire Bible where you find the phrase, “First of all”. Paul’s point to Timothy is: Before you pray for anyone else…before you pray for anything else…first pray for those in positions of authority and leadership. And not only were Christians to pray for leaders of government, they were also to show them special honor them. 1 Peter 2:17 declares
17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
Why were they and us called to do that? Because the Bible teaches that government just doesn’t happen. God orchestrates and establishes it. So to say “religion and politics don’t mix” is to deny the divine origin of governments lies in God.
But I found something even more fascinating…that the organizers of our nation not only believed that religion had a place in politics…they put it at the very heart of the founding of our nation. Listen for a few minutes to what Patrick Henry said,
It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! In his own memoirs, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, John Jay wrote these words,
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. (John Jay, , The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. IV, p. 365.
Doesn’t sound like John Jay believed that politics and religion weren’t to mix. By the way, does anyone know who John Jay was? The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
During the War of 1812, the House and Senate passed this resolution requesting that the President James Madison recommend a day of national public humiliation (repentance) and prayer, which President Madison passed on July 9, 1812. Here is part of that proclamation
Whereas the Congress of the United States, by a joint resolution of the two Houses have signified a request, that a day may be recommended, to be observed by the people of the United States, with religious solemnity, as a day of public humiliation and prayer…
Can you imagine that? Bipartisan Congress putting aside their political differences and calling on the president to proclaim a national day of repentance and prayer? Here’s a little more of that proclamation