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A Letter Relative to Christians in Politics by A. G. C.
Congratulations! Not to the writer of the letter, but to the brother to whom the letter was addressed.
He should be commended for his courage, for it does take courage to enter politics as a Christian. Does not the letter-writer himself refer us to 2 Peter 2:8, undoubtedly with the intention of drawing our minds toward a picture of unclean politics? However, even the two following verses remind us that the Lord is able to deliver the godly out of temptations and to punish the unjust, those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government.
The Christian seeking public office does indeed have courage. For he, being a Christian, will be unable to reconcile with his conscience any act that might be expected of him by a more or less corrupt body of government. It is impossible for him to serve two masters, God and Mammon. He is obliged to serve God. He cannot, as others may be tempted to do, depart from the laws of God. He will stand firm and do what is right.
The road he chooses, then, is not an easy road. Neither would it sparkle with praises of man. But a Christian does not crave praises of man; he has the desire to serve, and he takes upon himself the hardship of service. He serves his God by serving his fellowmen — Not, as non-Christians might, his own vanity; for whatever he will do for one of the least of God’s creation, he has done for God. Could he serve in any better way than by improving the government to God-ward?
We are told to obey those who have the rule over us. This, then, could be all-inclusive. Supposing we had an atheistic government, we would be expected to follow God-less ways. On the other hand, what opportunity of glorifying God does a community, or a country, have whose government is Christian or, at least, has one or several Christian members? Imagine the difference there would be between the two in law, administration, counselling. If all Christians would refrain from seeking office, or even voting (and how could That be reconciled with the command to obey our rulers?), it can be anybody’s guess what kind of government there would be, to whom Christians also are subject.
When all is said and done, lastly, everything will be for the glory of God. Progress makes giant strides; let us remember that it is God who gives man the ability to grow, God who has made man able to explore his surrounding wonders scientifically, which, by their magnitude, cannot at all flatter his conceit, but rather must teach him more of his own insignificance and hence make him more humble in his acknowledgement of God’s love.
Progress will not be denied, and instead of condemning it as works of the devil, as some Christians now and then have expressed their opinion of progress, we should welcome it as a further means of spreading the Gospel. “Go ye into all the world,” the Lord said, and that is what we are doing. The Gospel is being spread through the mails, through radio and television, all made possible through progress, and no doubt there will be other, even more effective, means in the future.
The Gospel is being spread and people all over the world are coming to Christ. From all walks of life, they are coming. Poor and rich, they are coming. Oh yes, it is harder for the rich; He told us it would be so, but they can come too. Kings and rulers can come. Yes, everyone. Oh, everyone!
What, then, about the Christian government official? Could he not have a wonderful opportunity to spread the Gospel among fellow-members, by word and deed? To be sure, he could. And he would even have more far-reaching influence.
Of course, not everyone should go out and seek government office, not by any means. The Lord gave all certain talents of different kinds. The one with the talent for leadership should be a leader. And then the Lord will say to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” and He will give him authority over many cities (Luke 19:17).
There could have been no possible reason for our Lord to seek public office; that would have been an absurdity, for He is King of all. Yet He certainly recognized the need for government among men, and He exhorts us again and again to obey our rulers, as in our work (1 Pet. 2:18); in the home (Eph. 5:22 and 6:1-2); in our government (1 Pet. 2:13-14); in the church (1 Pet. 5:5); and, certainly, the voice of God (Jer. 7:23).
There have always been rulers, good and bad. Since in a democracy we have the privilege of choosing our own rulers, should we be deprived of Christian candidates? Non-Christians may be “good and faithful servants,” but only the Christian politician will obey God rather than men when pressure is put on him, and thus he will be the best equipped to serve the people and God.
God bless the one who has the courage to stand against any possible uncleanness that will assail him both in and under the government, but who knows he can do all things through Christ who is his strength!