Friday, February 29, 2008

Guest Post: Politics and Theology

As everyone well knows by this time, politics are in full swing. There have been uncountable debates this year, and there will be more to come. Each politician puts forward their best foot, while some stumble along the way. In the midst of all this, it’s easy to become anxious about where our country may be headed and how it may affect your life.

I am sure some are looking for guidance concerning for whom to vote. The purpose of this article is not to give that advice. Instead, I want to remind us that God is sovereign over all things, including elections.

We read in Romans 13:1 “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.” This is a staggering statement. This verse means that no one ever wins an election without the divine permission of God. Of course, that does not mean that God approves of every position that an individual has or that they are “God’s candidate.” In fact they may be completely opposed to the idea of God altogether. Nevertheless, God remains sovereign and is working for His good purposes, regardless of the politician.

In fact, Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” We see this played out consistently throughout the Old Testament. God has ultimate determining control over the direction of kingdoms and nations.

For these reasons, even in an election year, Jesus’ command in Matthew 6 not to worry or be anxious still rings true. God is sovereign over the political process. Its outcome will not surprise God or take him off guard. It will not be contrary to his ultimate determinative plan. He does not rest from working all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). “All things” includes elections.

Of course, this does not excuse us from exercising our democratic responsibility of voting. God is a God of means. He will hold us responsible for decisions we make, including for whom we vote. He knows our hearts and the motivations with which we approach the polling booth. When we pull the curtain behind us God is standing with us.

So, we have the grand mystery of Scripture played out before us. God is sovereign and we are responsible. Romans 13:1 and Proverbs 21:1 are absolutely true. God will place whom he wills in power, and he will use them for his own good purposes. And, at the same time, we are responsible in a democratic society for our part in the outcome.

But, regardless of that outcome, let your heart be at peace. God is in control. His purposes will be accomplished. So, honor God by being at peace with the outcome of the political process. It will show the watching world that you trust in our sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent King of the universe.

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One...The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them” (Ps. 2:1-4).

Thankful for Christ,
Jonathan Brooks
Christ Baptist Church, Associate Pastor

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