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When it comes to Christians getting involved in making an impact on the culture, many wonder: "Why bother?" That is a valid question based on some assumptions they may have. Check out the Q & A below. Who knows, you just might help change some minds.
Q - Shouldn't Christians isolate themselves from the culture, since so much of it is opposed to godly principles?
A - No. If Christians retreat from engaging the culture, then we have allowed Satan to prevail in a place where Christ commanded us to make an impact as the salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16). We need to shape the culture, influence the culture, and transform the culture with the biblical truths and values.
"The same Jesus who multiplied the young lad's loaves and fishes will be faithful to multiply the efforts of those of us who honor His name in the political arena." - James Dobson, Psychologist and Author
Q - Do Christians have a responsibility to participate in government?
A - Yes. God established three institutions: the family, the church, and the civil government. Paul states in Romans 13:1 that "the (governmental) authorities that exist have been established by God." Therefore we are responsible to the divine institution of government. Christians should always submit to the governing authorities, unless the government forbids what God requires (Dan. 6; Matthew 22:5 22; Romans 13; Acts 4:18 31; 5:17 29; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
The principle of submission to governing authorities includes not only obeying the laws of the land, but it also includes participating in government at all levels possible. Think about it. Since God established government, would He then tell His people to stay out of it? No. God expects us to get involved. Jesus put it this way: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" (Matt. 22:21).
"When the government condones what God condemns, we must obey God rather that men." - Adrian Rogers, Pastor and Author
Q - How can I get involved and make an impact?
A - There are many ways we can participate in government, such as commenting on proposed legislation, volunteering for the election commission, conducting voter registration, campaigning for a godly candidate, running for office, etc. Obviously the most basic form of participation is voting.
America's Founding Fathers viewed voting as a great privilege and responsibility. So should we. Why not register to vote, encourage your friends to do the same, and then vote your values? Remember, how you vote today impacts tomorrow! Visit www.iVoteValues.org for more info.
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote...that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. - Samuel Adams, Founding Father
What about "Separation of Church and State?"
The notion of a wall of separation between church and state as established by modern courts is based on a misreading of a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to a group of Baptists written in 1801 to assure them that there was a "wall of separation" protecting their religious liberty from government interference1. It may come as a surprise, but the phrase "separation of church and state" is found nowhere in our U.S. Constitution and specifically in the First Amendment, which state concerning religion: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
In fact, the vast majority of America's Founding Fathers were professing Christians and would never have agreed with how our modern courts have re-interpreted the First Amendment-which was originally intended to guarantee, not take away, our freedom of religious expression. The Speaker of the House for the First Federal Congress, Frederick Muhlenberg, also a Lutheran pastor, signed the very Bill of Rights that includes that First Amendment protecting those freedoms. Christians have been involved in government from the founding of our nation and God expects no less of us today.
Remember, we have a representative form of government. Ours is a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."2 Therefore, if you and I do not actively participate, then we are not fulfilling the totality of Jesus' command to render to Caesar (Matt. 22:21).
"It is unconscionable that so many Christians today have concluded that it is somehow immoral to "get political." I don't believe the Founding Fathers intended to exclude people of faith from the process. There is not a scrap of evidence to indicate such." - James Dobson, Psychologist and Author
1Letter from Thomas Jefferson, to the Danbury (CT) Baptist Association found in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert E. Bergh, ed. (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1904), 14:281-282.
2Abraham Lincoln, "Address at Gettysburg," delivered on November 19, 1863 as found in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler (Rutgers University Press, 1953), 7:22.
What is Legal?
That is a good question. There are legal limits to what you may do, but your hands are not completely tied. In fact, you may be surprised at how much influence you can have.
From the IRS: