By Jeff Ziegler
Published January 1, 2001
Should the Christian patriot be involved in political activity? Is there a legitimate issue in the separation of church and state that would inhibit such endeavors? And shouldn’t Christians, as some would assert, simply take care of their own lives and leave everyone else alone?
Indefatigably, Christians are called to be dynamically active, not only politically, but in all spheres of life. Christians are not to live a life of self-centered introspection, but of service. Such service would include involvement in the various strata of civil government. Christianity does not depend on political means for the success of its mission, yet involvement in civil government is meaningful, for it is one of the divinely chartered institutions of social order. The other governing institutions are signified by self-government, the family, and the church.
The operative word here is Christianity, which is a far larger nomenclature than any one church structure or denomination. In other words, the Christian patriot is to act in spreading the good news of Christ’s Gospel along with the moral instruction of God’s Word into the political realm. This in no way suggests an organizational takeover of the state by the church, nor that the church neglect her ecclesiastical duties. Simply put, Christians are to be salt and light in the arena of politics, as in any other realm. The visible, institutional church is to function in her Levitical and Prophetic role, instructing the civil magistrate as to the duties and requirements of God’s law, and when needs must, rebuking the same, when God’s law is impugned or ignored.
The goal of Christian activity in the political sphere is not a dictatorial theocracy, but the support of a decentralized republic that acknowledges Christ as Lord. A true Christian patriot will not place significance on political coercion for the state is not God, nor should it be viewed as the great moral engine to mold human ethical behavior. The proper stimulus for involvement in the civil realm is to render politics much weaker, for the state has taken on a monolithic, messianic character that has suppressed ecclesiastical, familial, and self-government. Practically, this translates into aspiration and work for smaller civil government, less taxation, and more individual freedom. The Scriptures do not favor an ecclesiastical elite, or a specific church body, ruling over the populace, nor are Christians to have hope in political salvation. In fact, our Puritan and Pilgrim forefathers arrived on these shores fleeing such religious tyranny.
The Christian patriot should abhor the idea of the state imposition of religious polity and doctrine, in other words, the state controlling the church. A smaller civil government would be less tempted to violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Presently, our Federal government, through the auspices of the IRS, has established what it considers a “legitimate church” through the creation of the 501c3 tax-exempt status. This is a clear attempt to establish a state religion and control the church. Accordingly, such regulation is blatantly unconstitutional. Christian patriots must resist all efforts to undermine or eviscerate a biblical understanding of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The ACLU has not, does not, and must not be allowed to define the purpose and scope of this amendment.
Hence, the Christian patriot must see that both the church and the state are established by God as separate institutions, that are not to undermine, nor interfere with each other’s respective duties. To the church is given the “power of the keys” to bind into fellowship and instruct its members, and, when necessary, sanction and excommunicate the unrepentant. The state is given the “power of the sword” to promote and reward righteousness, and to punish and restrain wickedness. Accordingly, the church and the state in juxtaposition, are to be viewed as augmentations one to the other, in the honoring of Christ and His Crown.
Therefore, Christians are not prohibited from involvement in the civic sphere, nor is the church to be silent in her moral directives to the state. The state must uphold the law of God, thus promoting maximum liberty and justice for all. The state is to protect the church, so that she is free to perform her divine charter. The church must educate the state regarding its understanding of God’s law and how it is to be applied.
Finally, it is imperative that the Christian patriot realize that all of life (including politics) is religious. It is never a question of religion or no religion, only a question of whose religion. Thus, one must acknowledge the impossibility of divorcing religion from the civil sphere. Civil government will reflect the notions and ideas of the dominant religion of that day. For example, the religion of Secular Humanism supports the “freedom” to practice pornography, abortion, and euthanasia. Economically, Humanism supports forced socialistic wealth redistribution and the welfare state. Its idea of law punishes the victims of crime and seeks to excuse lawless behavior. Some see this as the ultimate in political freedom, yet, the religion of secularism, in application, abuses women, robs the unborn and the elderly of life and liberty, restricts or confiscates private property, and creates conditions wherein lawless behavior threatens moral anarchy and social collapse. In contrast to secularism, Christianity displays the kindness, benevolence, liberty, law and justice that established and prospered America for over 200 years.
Consequently, the Christian patriot, while supporting the separation of church and state, must understand that neither institution is separate from God. Finally, only a Christian ethic, undergirded by an explicit confession of Christ’s lordship in our founding documents is able to support a truly decentralized constitutional republic. Only in this context, can notions of life, liberty under God, and the blessings of prosperity be fully realized. A goal that every true patriot must be willing to pledge their lives, riches, and sacred honor to promote and defend.
Rev. Jeffrey A. Ziegler, the president of the National Reform Association, is also founder and president of Christian Endeavors and Reformation Bible Institute, co-founder and moderator of The Association of Free Reformed Churches and The Ohio Reconstructionist Society, editor of the Revival Flame newsletter, and an ordained minister. He has lectured in over 600 churches and ministerial conferences in North America, Great Britain, and Germany. Jeff is also president of The Continental Group, a think tank for political activism. His articles have appeared in the Chalcedon Report, and The Christian Statesman. He can be reached at 35155 Beachpark Drive, Eastlake, Ohio 44095. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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