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Evangelicals & Government

Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Ronald Regan

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I am from the government, and I’m here to help. Ronald Regan

No government should be without critics. If its intentions are good, then it has nothing to fear from criticism. Thomas Jefferson

What should be the orthodox Evangelical worldview concerning Government?

(1) Must the Evangelical adopt a “pro” or “con” worldview concerning Government?”

While the relatively easy answer is clearly “pro,” there remain additional questions:

(2) Must Evangelicals view Human Government as God’s abiding source for human flourishing even after the Fall or the seductive source of the Adversary’s lair?

(3) Must Evangelical always support the Government and never log a complaint or public dissent?

(4) Must the Evangelical just pray and grin & bear it until the next election if they happen to live in a democratic country, grin & bear it indeterminably if they do not?

(5) Must the Evangelical support policies that encourage self-enterprise, self-reliance, and self-determination, or should the Government be understood as the principal agent to advance human flourishing?

(6) Must the Evangelical vote in a manner consistent with the ethos and pathos of the Holy Scriptures?

According to my Evangelical worldview of Government, my answers are as follows:

(1) God ordains Government, yet after the Fall, the introduction of sin has tainted all of creation. Thankfully because of Common Grace, no human enterprise is as evil as it could be. Thus, the proper Evangelical worldview is unapologetically Pro-Government, but with necessary caveats and qualifications (hopefully, the subsequent answers will address some of those caveats and qualifications).

(2) Even granting the consequence of the Fall and all of its implications, Evangelicals are nonetheless to posit still that God decrees that human government is still the best means for human flourishing in civic affairs. Thus, no orthodox Evangelical can or would never espouse revolution as a legitimate option. Reform? Emphatically Yes! Revolution? Absolutely Not! If my worldview is correct, then acts like the American, French and Russian Revolutions were gross, heinous sinful acts that participants will be held accountable for their duplicity by Almighty God. I have come to understand the Civil Rights Movement did not reach this threshold. In the main, the Civil Rights Movement participants disobeyed in a fashion consistent with the Biblical ethos found in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. The passage reads as follows:

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. [18] Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. [19] For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. [20] Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. [21] Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it.(But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) [22] For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is bondservant of Christ. [23] You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. [Emphasis mine]

(3) My simple answer is “depends” and in what context and disposition. The Biblical answer will be radically different for the believer in American than it would be in, say, North Korea. We enjoy many liberties our Brothers and Sisters do not currently enjoy in North Korea. Is that fair? Absolutely not, but we do not live in a fantasy world; we live in time and space ravaged by a plethora of disparities, many beyond our control.

Also, although we enjoy various liberties as American citizens, there is still a certain etiquette we must display. I like the wisdom of Dr. John MacArthur at this juncture. His Pastoral knowledge shines through so brilliantly at this juncture. He recounts the permissibility of the Bible permitting women to ask questions when the occasion of questioning is permitted and desired of the leadership of the Church. Of course, there would be expected to be a clear sign of respect for the authority you come to expect in any formal setting.

Conversely, in America, every citizen has ample opportunity to “question” their elected officials. Many elected officials hold “town hall” meetings while in office. These opportunities provide the governed the ability to question or even register this dissatisfaction about their elected officials’ various topics. During many political campaigns, there are again various townhalls where the populace can interact with the candidates. Bottom-line, in democracies, there are legitimate avenues available to the citizens therein. Yet, we again offer the caveat these liberties are not always available to all people in all places. Editor’s note: another reason Americans should be soooooooo grateful we enjoy the liberties God grants to us.

(4) Pretty much addressed in point #3. So in recap, a firm no for people who live in Democratic nations and tragically a regrettable no for people who live in totalitarian states. There are, of course, limitations to this cherished freedom as Evangelicals. This is why Evangelicals are not free to join organizations that clamor for revolution. This is my prime reason for refusing to embrace organizations like BLM and, if I was alive during the time, radical groups like The Black Panthers of the late 60s and early 70s.

(5) This is where I defer to the wisdom of past President Ronald Regan. Now, I grant the quote may not have originated from the mind of President Regan, but history will forever associate him with the sentiment expressed in his classic quote, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. The Bible is explicit when it reveals that every person rises or falls based on his agency. I will only give an accounting for my role in my marriage. I will never be able to defend any of my actions, good or bad, based on my spouse, Monique’s actions. I and I alone am accountable for my lot in life. That is why the belief that government will come to save anyone is utter foolishness. I love when Dr. Glenn Loury emphatically employs that expression with passion and vigor. The Government is not coming to save us! is a frequent rant of Dr. Loury when he pontificates about the common ideology of many of the leading voices in the African American communities.

I believe that is one of the underlying reasons many African Americans vote for Democratic candidates. The Republican Party champions small government and less external intervention while the Democrats favor big government and more external input. It was the erudition of one Dr. Albert Mohler that introduced me to the Doctrine of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity believes that any enterprise is most effective when managed at the lowest level possible. That is why Evangelicals properly understand the most effective level is at the parental level. Hence, a proper worldview would favor as small of our governmental footprint as practical. For example, parents should be the ultimate determiner for their children’s educational pursuits concerning education. Concerning governmental input, the local school board, not bureaucrats in Washington, should be the agency that speaks into educational policies that govern the applicable community.

(6) One would hope the answer to #6 would be easy enough, but experience and history reveal that not to be the case. Again, the question before us: Must the Evangelical vote in a manner consistent with the ethos and pathos of the Holy Scriptures?

How else do we explain over 85% of African Americans Evangelicals voting for Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, and Joseph Biden? Each more liberal and more progressive than the previous one. Each has advanced the abortion position of its predecessor. Joe Biden, after more than thirty years of adamantly defending the Hyde Amendment, jettisoned his position when it becomes necessary to gain the Democratic nomination. We can only do so by calling a spade a spade. The Democratic Party’s National Platform is sinful and grossly sinful. Sinful to its very core and moving in directions that are more and more crassly sinful. Yet, many professing Evangelicals contnue to align themselves politically with the Party of Death & Destruction. One of my closest friends who professes Jesus Christ boldly stated the following haunting words to me one day, “I am a staunch Democrat.” This is one of those declarations you are likely to never forget, if ever. How can one claim fidelity with Jesus Christ and staunchly vote for the legality of Abortion, Same-Sex Marraige and radical embrace of the rejection of the Gender Binary ordained by our Creators. Sorry, I could live to the age of 150 and obtain several more doctorate degrees and never come to understand this rank heresy.

So, while it is no secret, the positions of the Democratic Party are openly and explicitly in direct opposition to God’s revealed Will in the social areas of life, marriage, and gender African American Evangelicals after African American Evangelicals cast ballots for men and women who spit in God’s face. These politicians proudly take positions that will continue to place this nation on a collision case with God Almighty. If there ever was a certain recipe for disaster, I could not think of anything more certain to end horribly.

So, you might ask what the purpose of this exercise is. My purpose is only this. As bad as the Government has been, is now, can be, and will always be, I will forever be a firm supporter of Human Government. It will forever be flawed, but all human enterprises have been flawed since Adam failed and failed miserably in the Garden.

So, even with the problematic incidents we will continue to experience, like Duante Wright’s death, I will NEVER advocate for the degrading of the Police in any shape, form, or fashion. Police are part of the Government. Government derives its authority from God. The Police will always be a failed institution. We can properly call for better training and stricter scrutiny. Still, we never come to view the Police as the problem, no more than I will ever view fathers as the problem. However, absentee fathers, especially in the African American community, are a significant source of pathology in inner-city neighborhoods. Yet, I will champion fathers’ virtue and necessity as a sine qua non for human flourishing.

As always, let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.

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