Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doing Good in Politics




I came across this excerpt while reading Wayne Grudem's Politics According to the Bible (page 48):

"Clearly, if we are here on earth to glorify God, we will glorify him (in part at least) by obeying the command, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Matt. 22:39). But that means that I should seek the good of my neighbors in all parts of society. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' means that I should seek good laws that will protect preborn children. It means that I should seek good laws that protect marriages and families. It means I should seek good laws that protect children from the corrupting moral influences that want to use the classroom to teach that all kinds of sexual experimentation outside of marriage are just fine and that there is nothing wrong with pornography.

"One reason why Jesus left us here on earth is that we should glorify him by doing good to other people in all areas of life. 'So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith' (Gal. 6:10). Certainly that means that we should do good to others, as we have the opportunity, by being a good influence on laws and government and by having a good influence on the political process. Paul says this about Christians:

"'For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them' (Eph. 2:10).

"Jesus left us here on earth in part because he wants to allow our lives to give glory to him in the midst of a fallen and sinful world: 'Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven' (Matt. 5:16).

"So, should churches teach their people how to do 'good works' in hospitals and in schools, and in businesses and in neighborhoods, but not in government? Why should that area of life be excluded from the influence of the 'good works' of believers that will 'give glory to your Father who is in heaven'?

"I conclude that Jesus' command that 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself' means that I should seek the good of my neighbors in every aspect of society, including seeking to bring about good government and good laws."

I share Professor Grudem's perspective. Here is a link to a post that complements his views on this matter:

A Disciple's Thoughts: Political Decisions:

4 comments:

Warren Baldwin said...

Very good. I like this statement:

"One reason why Jesus left us here on earth is that we should glorify him by doing good to other people in all areas of life."

I think this is largely what JEsus had in mind in Matt. 6:10 - Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Tom Grey said...

Politics is non-peaceful -- it is based on force.

Justice on earth requires some force, against the injustice committed first.

Force, not war, is the opposite of peace.

Where religion SHOULD be, but isn't, is in leading, and creating, peaceful, wealth creating organizations. Orgs that can hire poor people, paying them money, helping them earn their own self-respect. Such organizations already exist, based on peaceful contracts.
Companies.

It is in companies and corporations that Churches should focus more of their energy towards peaceful changes in the world.
Not politics, forcing one group or another to do or not do, to pay, while others benefit.

Terry said...

Thanks, Warren. I agree. That's my goal, too.

Terry said...

Tom,
I not sure how to respond to your ideas. I agree with the apostle Paul when he wrote, "The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong...Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do" (Romans 13:4,6, NLT). He also wrote, "Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity" (1 Timothy 2:2, NLT). The government and its use of force are not necessarily evil. When used properly, the power of the government protects the peace of communities and promotes justice by using its power against injustice. Areas of the world without government (where anarchy reigns) are not peaceful societies in which people and businesses flourish. One can do the will of God, serve the community, and bring glory to God in government service.