Overall the Bible has little to say regarding politics per se but an enormous amount to say about doing what is right, speaking what is right, and taking positive action to bring about right and expose evil.
While the Bible does admonish us to submit to governing authority (Romans 13:1, 3-4, 6; 1 Peter 2:13-14) and when the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus and cast Him in an anarchist light (Luke 20:20-25) by asking if people should pay taxes to Caesar He astutely addressed that by saying, “Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” In (John 18:36) He addressed His overriding message and thought by telling those listening that His kingdom was not of this world, if it had been his servants would have taken up arms and fought.
Yet, the Bible is equally clear that there are times when one MUST disobey this world’s authority or government and not only take action, but speak out in protest:
(Acts 4:19) – Peter addressed his oppressors and accusers by saying, “You yourselves judge which is right in God’s sight, to obey you or obey God.” He confirmed that in (Acts 5:28) saying: “We must obey God rather than men!”
(James 4:17) – instructs that “the one that knows to do right and does not do it, to him it is sin.” I would contend that when we see governmental action, policies, principles, and ideologies that are anti-Christian, anti-moral, and embrace things that God calls abominable and we fail to speak out we are committing sin by “omission” if not “commission.”
(Acts 20:28-31) – – Ministers have a God-given charge to give oversight and protection for their flocks. If they see the wolf coming to ravage the flock they must do whatever is in their power to defend that flock. That speaks to every level of life, spiritual, physical, moral, and does not omit the political. It is my strong conviction that we must speak out against things that go against the basic foundational principles of the Bible regardless if those are in the political, secular, or religious arenas. It is at that time the Ministers and Churches MUST SPEAK OUT.
(Matthew 10:28-29) – – Brings the issue to the forefront our attitudes regarding standing for right and truth always. Jesus said: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
In the Old Testament we find numerous examples of men of God speaking out against and even to civil authority in opposition and using their influence to direct the people:
1. Moses challenged Pharaoh over the enslavement of Israel and his misguided politics.
2. Elijah challenged Ahab the King and even called him the “troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18:17). He preached against Jezebel and her false prophets. He preached against the practices of Ahab.
3. (Judges 7:20) – Gideon took action against the authority of his day that was leading away from the principles of God and from here we get the phrase: “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon” as a rallying cry.
There are many others.
In Colonial America there were ministers who publicly preached and acted to inform and influence people in the “rebellion” against the Crown of England and encourage the American Revolution:
Although the American Revolution was not fought over religious matters per se (except for the principle of insuring religious freedom), religion played a major role in the process.
When understood in its own times, the American Revolution was first and foremost a religious event. This is especially true in New England, where the first blood was shed.
By 1775 the ranks of Harvard and Yale-educated clergymen swelled to over 600 ministers, distributed throughout every town and village in New England. Clergymen surveyed the events swirling around them; by 1775 liberals and evangelicals, Congregationalists and Presbyterians, men and women—all saw in British actions grounds for armed resistance. In fact, not only was it right for colonists to resist British “tyranny,” it would actually be sinful not to pick up guns. How did they come to this conclusion?
They fastened on two arguments.
First, they focused on Parliament’s 1766 Declaratory Act, which stated that Parliament had sovereignty over the colonies “in all cases whatsoever.” For clergymen this phrase took on the air of blasphemy. These were fighting words not only because they violated principles of representative government but even more because they violated the logic of sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) and God’s exclusive claim to sovereignty “in all cases whatsoever.”
From the first colonial settlements, Americans—especially New England Americans—were accustomed to constraining all power and granting absolute authority to no mere human being.
For Reformed colonists, these ideas were interwoven into their historic, covenant theology. At stake was preservation of their identity as a covenant people. Not only did Parliament’s claims represent tyranny, they also represented idolatry. For colonists to honor those claims would be tantamount to forsaking God and abdicating their national covenant pledge to “have no other gods” before them.
In a classic sermon on the subject of resistance entitled A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission, Boston’s Jonathan Mayhew, a liberal (he favored Unitarianism), took as his text Romans 13:1-6, in which Paul enjoins Christians “be subject unto the higher powers.” The day he picked for this sermon was portentous—it came on the anniversary of Charles I’s execution, when Anglican ministers routinely abhorred the Puritan revolution, and Puritans routinely kept silent. Mayhew would not keep silent. For centuries, rulers had used this text to discourage resistance and riot. But circumstances had changed, and in the chilling climate of impending Anglo-American conflict, Mayhew asked if there were any limits to this law? He concluded that the law is binding only insofar as government honors its “moral and religious” obligations. When government fails to honor that obligation, or contract, then the duty of submission is likewise nullified. Submission, in other words, is not unlimited. Rulers, he said, “have no authority from God to do mischief. … It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors God’s ministers.” Far from being sinful, resistance to corrupt ministers and tyrannical rulers is a divine imperative. The greater sin lies in passively sacrificing the covenant for tyranny, that is, in failing to resist.
Second – Who determines whether government is “moral and religious”? In the Revolutionary era, the answer was simple: the individual. There were no established institutions that would support violent revolution. Ultimate justification resided in the will of a people acting self-consciously as united individuals joined in a common cause. Where a government was found deficient in moral and spiritual terms, the individual conscience was free to resist. http://www.christianitytoday.com/holidays/fourthofjuly/features/50h010.html
1. Clergy in the Revolutionary period reminded the parishioners people were not only fighting against, tyranny which they saw as involving idolatry, but they were also fighting for freedom to worship as the dictates of their hearts declared and for the moral rights of individual people.
2. Freedom & Liberty – – were both political and religious terms and the clergy of that era believed that to lose those politically was also to lose them spiritually and something they had a moral obligation to speak against in obedience to the principles of the Bible to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33)
3. Ministers like George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Cotton Mather, Samuel Sherwood and scores of others preached and wrote politically as well as spiritually in their desire to see “Freedom & Liberty” preserved and gained. Sherwood’s sermon in 1776 – “The Church’s Flight Into The Wilderness” concluded that American Christians were the “church in the wilderness” and had to stand against oppression of all godliness, principles that were morally wrong and challenged “Freedom & Liberty” and declared that the Monarchy of England was not only an oppressor and it was the church and believer’s right and responsibility to stand in open opposition.
4. Thomas Paine wrote almost sermonic pamphlets decrying the King of England and stated that the British government as “a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.”
5. William Emerson (grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson) a 32-year-old minister declared the American struggle as the greatest event in modern history and preached a sermon based on (2 Chronicles 13:12) urging people to prepare to resist using the words of this passage, “And behold, God Himself is with us as our captain…. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper.” He told his congregation that they would be called on for “real service” and encouraged them to not only prepare but be involved in the resistance to the civil authority of the British Crown.
In our more modern times men such as Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly used the pulpit to speak out politically for “civil rights”. It is amazing how many times a church or minister who holds a left-wing view is able with impunity to speak out politically and nothing be said or done by the government but if someone on the right speaks out, their status is in danger of legal opposition.. In fact this current President’s pastor of more than 20 years spoke politically for years, as has Lewis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and many others. Pat Robertson and men on the right are summarily vilified for speaking out but those on the left have been able to do so with no threat and at times the blessing of the government.
The question becomes: Are we to stand for what is right, moral, ethical, biblical, and godly no matter what it costs us or are we to bury our heads in the sand and adopt the stance that “whatever will be will be” and absolve ourselves from the moral responsibility to “stand for God” and “right”. I not only believe that history concludes that we must STAND but so does the Word of God. There will come a time, in our lifetime, when we must choose to STAND FOR RIGHT or become subservient to the tyranny of the Left-wing radical, progressive, socialist, Marxist dictatorial government that being forced upon us. We stand at a cross-roads both “spiritually” and “politically” and we must PRAY as never before, COMMIT as never before, LABOR as never before, and determine the level of sacrifice we will make for “Freedom & Liberty”. The decision is yours and yours alone. I cannot make it for you, but I have made it for myself. May God bless you and may God bless America!