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Christian Politics and Obedience

QUESTION: Christian Politics – A Question of Obedience


The Christian view of politics accounts for God’s sovereignty and our dependence on Him. We understand that God instituted government to promote His justice. We also understand our God-given obligation to respect, obey, and participate in governments that serve His will (Romans 13:1–2). Our obedience minimizes the need for increased governmental authority. Our duty to promote justice and preserve order, however, does not require that we blindly follow leaders who stray from their responsibility to God. Rather, we must hold them accountable by our participation in government—voting, petitioning if necessary, running for political office, or serving in non-elected positions where we may be able to influence those in power (Proverbs 29:2).

Christian Politics – Ultimate Duty to God
However, the Bible clearly instructs us to obey God even when His commands conflict with the state. For example, when Peter and John were commanded by the Sanhedrin to stop teaching about Jesus, they replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey man rather than God” (Acts 4:19). We are required to obey God even when our reform efforts through political channels fail. If the system of government remains unjust, we may be required to engage in civil disobedience in order to remain obedient to God. Francis Schaeffer says, “The bottom line is that at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty, to disobey the State.”1 Our disobedience to the state may even result in death, but in such instances it is better to die than to live. Daniel understood this truth and chose death over worshiping a king (Daniel 6:1–10). God honors such commitment.


Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews(Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, 93. An example of the proper time for disobedience recently arose when the American government (through its public health services) advised churches to amend their attitude toward homosexuality. The Bible clearly dictates the proper Christian response to homosexuality (see Romans 1 and Jude 1), and the church must stand firm in her commitment to obey God’s commands even when they conflict with the State’s. Later the U. S. Supreme Court placed its stamp of approval on sodomy in the Lawrence and Garner v. Texas decision (Case no. 02–0102), overturning an earlier Court decision in Bowers v. Hardwick.

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