Moral Failures and Political Leadership – Christians and Voting 103 – An Interlude

Our dear brother Tim Archer shared some thoughts along this line as well –

Let us not forget that “be good citizens” is NOT in the Bible. I’ve heard that phrase mentioned many times over the years in reference to what the Bible teaches, yet the only reference to our citizenship is our allegiance to another kingdom. The Philippians were proud of their Roman citizenship, which they had by birth, so Paul wrote to them: “But our citizenship is in heaven…”

(Philippians 3:20) Note the contrast. Some have their minds set on earthly things, Paul says, but our citizenship is in heaven.

There is no call to participate in society as it is. I daresay Paul would shudder at such a statement. What we seek from secular government is to be left alone, to be able to lead quiet lives and preach the gospel. (1 Timothy 2:1-4) Can you imagine early Christians participating in Roman politics, joining the Roman army, swearing loyalty to the Roman empire? Why should our lives be so different from theirs if we seek to restore what they once were?

A man may choose to participate in American politics, but it is not because of any biblical obligation.

Georgia –

Other than a good citizen orย  a bad citizen, what other options are there?

I think we should strive to do the best we can in everything that we do. We provide a good example to others and being quality individuals draws people to us. Then, we can lead them to God. It can be said, then, that when we bring glory to God by being quality people.

I understand what you are saying, Tim. But, I can’t see how being anything else but a good citizen benefits the cause of Christ.

In our society a good citizen is one who pays their taxes, doesn’t commit crimes, helps others and participates in voting and doing what they can to benefit society and influence others to be their best.

Why would we not want to do that?

Now, you can define what you mean by “good citizen.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Tim –

Aliens. Exiles. Pilgrims. We are called to be good aliens, strangers in a strange land.

I lived 15 years as an alien in Argentina. I was respectful of the laws of that country, helpful to those around me, a model “citizen” if you will. Yet that was not my country.

“For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:14-16)

Does our speech show people that we don’t consider this country to be our homeland? Do they see us as aliens? Have we made it clear that we desire a better country, a heavenly one?

My citizenship is in heaven. I will live as an alien in the U.S. as I lived as an alien in Argentina. I will respect the leaders, pray for them, obey the laws. I will pay taxes and give honor to whom honor is due. But this world is NOT my home.

If it’s not your country, you don’t participate in its politics. You can’t drive down to Mexico and vote for president. Aliens can be “good neighbors,” but there are limits to their identification and participation with their host country.

Nick – Lately, I’ve been trying to view my relationship to the political powers around me from a “Foreign Diplomat” perspective. What do you think?

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About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 16 September, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Interesting concept.

    But we don’t get diplomatic immunity. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Seriously, though, I’d like to explore the implications of that concept.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  2. BTW, what I forgot to include in that post that you quoted was this simple fact: aliens don’t vote.

  3. It may well construct too deep of a divide between myself and the community. That’s what I’m trying to work out, based on 2 Cor (obviously).

  4. And our alien status should inform our view of others who are aliens in another land.

  5. Really? You mean they don’t have to move back to their homeland (but only if they’re Mexicans) and get in contact with a church of Christ THERE in order to be baptized, because otherwise they won’t have repented of breaking American immigration laws?

    How DOES that work, anyway? They aren’t breaking the laws of their own country, and their own government ENCOURAGES them to come here, so aren’t they OBEYING Romans 13 by being here?

    I know, I know. It’s all screwed up. I feel dirty even dipping into this kind of thinking. But if their government wants them to come here, shouldn’t they obey their government rather than ours?

  6. Tim and Nick,
    This is excellent! I think sometimes when I disagree with you, that we are quite different in our perspectives, and then again I read material like this and realize that in many other ways we are quite close and struggling with the same things. Nick, thanks for putting it in here.

    One little side note that you’ve started up Nick is the whole thing of how to help undocumented workers. I have to grapple with it continually. I imagine that Tim has to do the same since he speaks Spanish as well.

    I’m just back from a week in Midland, Texas. They told me it was a couple of hours from Abilene, but I didn’t have time to get over there and check out the library.

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