Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Church and the State: Who Should Do What?

On Sunday, I did something I thought I'd never do. I talked about politics from the pulpit. I did it because the Scriptures actually have a lot to say about our current political situation. Regardless of how we voted, the Scriptures make it clear that God is the One who has placed Barack Obama in the position of president-elect. Romans 13:1 says, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. I was sure that the discussion in the Engage Class would be lively, but the direction it took was not what I expected.

I thought my words about Barack Obama would incite a very lively (and maybe even controversial) discussion, but a set of questions were asked about what the role of the church should be and what the role of the government should be. Are we expecting the government to do too much? Are we expecting them to do things that the church should actually be doing? And with those questions, we were off. We spent the rest of our time talking about this.

The consensus was that the church - in fact - should be doing more, and we seemed to all agree that we should not expect so much from the government, but we really didn't come up with any specific answers. Just a lot of brainstorming and thinking out loud. On Monday, I came across the blog of a friend of mine who is serving as a pastor in Indiana. He has been exploring these same questions with his congregation as well. Here's what one of his bloggers had to say, and I hope that his words can get the conversation going on this blog as well.

You mentioned that we should be voting for the candidate that will most likely bring “up there down here”. I keep mulling that over in my head, and I guess (and maybe it’s semantics), but I guess I just don’t think that that’s the job of government—bringing “up there down here”--and I think that if that’s what we’re counting on we’re going to be sorely disappointed. Instead, I think we should vote for the candidate who will most likely keep order (punish evil-doers), and preserve our basic freedoms (things like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), so that we, as the church, will have the ability to keep working on bringing “up there down here”.

What do you think? Who should do what? Are we expecting too much of the government, and do those expectations lead us to view the results of elections with undue jubilation and/or sore disappointment? Is the church doing all that God has called it to do, or is it content to allow the government to handle things?

Let's talk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading these last 2 blogs has caused me to feel a whole lot better about the election and what's to come in the near future. Thanks. I'll be back. Julie