Do people who want laws passed that reflect their beliefs want a theocracy? Or Where does it say Christians should not be involved in politics?

There seems to be a new fad of argument being used against people who want laws that reflect their beliefs. It is to claim that people who want laws based upon their religious beliefs want a theocracy. That’s nonsense, has little or no basis in reality, and seems intended to try to denigrate and/or divide and/or ostracize people rather than being intended to try to communicate effectively.  All people want laws to reflect their beliefs, including the people who have created and signed the Manahaatan Declaration. No one has asked to institute a government by religious leaders, nor have I ever heard it being intimated this was a desire, other than by those who do not like what they ARE proposing. Laws push the morality of the people who have created said laws upon the general poplation. so whose morality do you want reflected in the laws of your country?

[Note: to be fair, apparently there is a group of people known as hard domionists who want a theocracy. I see people saying this group wants a theocracy, but have not verified it from the writings of those in the group itself. I HAVE seen is this quote: “This happens when the Kingdom rule of God is extended into the hearts of people, multiplying the number of disciples on the earth and ultimately bringing the earth under the blessing of God”.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Reconstructionism  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominionism  http://www.theocracywatch.org/  http://www.religioustolerance.org/reconstr.htm  http://www.brucegourley.com/christiannation/theocracy.htm (the latter apparently believes if you hold to a biblical worldview then you are a domnionist). My posts on the group can be found here:  Are all God’s covenants dominion covenants? Are all God’s covenants dominion covenants? Dominion Process Who has authority on earth according to dominionists and the Bible?  Purpose of Dominionism and the Church. And I do not hold to domnionist views on much of anything that I can tell – I am not postmil; I tend to find a tension between calvnism and arminianism; I do not believe we need to subdue the earth to bring Christ to return, as I think He will return when we are at our worst.]

God tells us to love Him and love others (Luke 10:26-28). If there are laws that are evil, should they not be changed to reflect the love God has for people? Should they not be changed to reflect the love we are to show to others? 

We are told to show love in practical ways. Luke 10:25-37 shows us what Christ thought was being loving. James 2:14-26 tells us to have a faith that is active, not dead. Words are not enough, we must live lives which actively reflect the love we have for God and others (Matthew 25:31-46). One way to do this is to feed the hungry. Another way is to give clothes to those who have none. Another way is to visit the sick or the enprisoned. Another is to stop someone from murdering someone else. Another is to create organizations which help do these things, such as hospitals, homeless missions, etc. Another is to work to pass laws/regulations which help people do these things.

I’ve read of many people claiming that we are not to be involved in the affairs of the world. One place I can see where this has been said in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (NASB).

32But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;  33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

In context this was written to those who are questioning whether to marry or not. It was about whether someone can be devoted to God’s interests wholy, or not. Married people are concerned with the affairs of the world as well as those of God. This does not mean to ignore what is going on in the world. It means to be devoted to God.

The other place I can see this has been said is where Jesus said in John 17:6-19 (NIV)

 6I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

It seems to me that this passage is speaking of being dedicated to God. This is saying they have new life and belong to the kingdom of heaven. This is not saying to not be involved in the matters of the world, but to be focused on God. This does not mean we are to have nothing to the daily affairs of living, but we are to be focused on God and love God and love others.

We are to not be friends of the world (James 4:1-5). This does not mean to not be involved in the world, but to not covet and be focused on our own pleasures. We are to escape the corruption of the world (2 Peter 2:20). This means we are to be pure in our hearts, holy, not that we are to avoid the world. We are not to love the world or anything in it (1 John 2:15), but this does not mean we are to not stop injustice or not help people in need. We are to be aliens and strangers in the world and abstain from evil desires (1 Peter 2:10-12), as if we are strangers to the world and dont know about them to be enticed. This does not mean to ignore injustice or hurting people. We are to not be conformed to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). This does not mean we are to ignore injustice and not work to stop institutionalized injustice; it means we are to become more Christ-like in our inner selves and this should be reflected in our outter selves.

The fact that people use what God has said as motivation to make/change laws does not mean they want a theocracy. It simply means they are motivated by what God has said. The fact that people use what God has said as a model for how our society should reflect the love of God for people does not mean they want a theocracy, merely that they think that what God has said that an individual should do or not do is a good model to follow en masse.

It does not mean that they think doing these things will get them or others into heaven.  And neither does it does mean they want a theocracy either. And try as I might, I can’t find where the Bible teaches to not be involved in politics.

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5 Responses

  1. WB,
    Again, nice balance. The scriptures that were used to set Christians outside of the political, are simply used without proper exegesis. Always the bane of the Church and Christianity. And the whole “domination” theology (so-called), is in the same category. I don’t think there would have been a USA and your Constitution without Christians squarely involved in the political process.
    Fr. R.

  2. Fr. R.,

    I just posted a more complete article on Politics and the Christian, built upon what is contained in this post.

    I find it interesting that Satan has convinced people he does not exist; and those whom he can’t convince, he has convinced to not be involved in an area where God needs good soldiers.

    Just as our society has falsely split the physical and spiritual, it has split the political and the non-political. In reality, there are no such separations. Each area affects the other. We are to be involved in God’s work, where ever it may take us.

  3. Oh amen W, your have made some very good assessments here. Really brilliance on theology and insight! If we had more Christian teachers like you, we would be in a better place. Thanks WB!

    • Thank you, Fr. R. I only wish others could see the truth of the gospel needs to be taken to everyone everywhere – regardless of their vocation or avocation.

  4. Amen to that! The Church collective is the visible “house of God”…”the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Tim.3:15)

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