Morality, The Government and Christians
Moral statements and positions will, necessarily, impact political issues. This is not because morality is inherently political, but because government has the task of recognizing the difference between good and evil, so moral issues will have to be dealt with (Romans 13:3-4). This means that, contrary to what is so often stated and argued, morality will be legislated by government, and it will be legislated from a worldview that either recognizes the significance of God or not. To say that God needs to be kept out of politics, then, is to default to the secularized view of morality; and secularized morality will then be legislated. Why is it that people default to keeping God out of it instead of keeping the secularized views of reality out of it? And why do some Christians seem to be buying into all of this?
We need to see what has happened here. Many have bought into the notions that
- God and religion must be kept out of politics, and
- morality is not something that can be legislated.
In fact, both are false. God is never out of politics, and we are fooling ourselves if we think so, given that God rules in the kingdoms of men. Every worldview says something about God. If a worldview says there is no God, then a notion of God is still a part of the position, and actions will be taken that demonstrate that disbelief. Further, every law is a legislation of morality in one form or another; there is no way around it. The question is, will the legislation come from those whose worldview respects God as the foundation or not?
I don’t say all of this in order to argue that Christians need to get more political. I’m arguing that Christians need to say more about God and morality in every area of life. We don’t check our God at the door when we enter a political arena, and we don’t set aside godly morals when we engage the culture. We don’t take a moral view of something based on politics, but surely our political views ought to be based on godly morality. The point then is not that we need more political activists. The point is that we need to be more engaged in the moral discussions of our culture and take a stand for what is right, regardless of political fallout. In other words, it’s not about being political; it’s about standing for what’s right in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation.
Even more, we need to hold up the gospel itself to the world. The answer to our problems is not to vote in or out this or that politician. No government in history has been a bastion of godliness, and I don’t expect that to change. The answer is always where it has been: in Christ. The problems of this world won’t be fixed by human government, but by the gospel. “The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one, but the kingdom of heaven remains.”
So Christians should be concerned with
- holding out the gospel to a lost world, and
- standing up for Christ and His morality.
It’s not politics. It’s just what’s right.