This response focuses on four key questions that need to be considered about politics and government in a Christian worldview.
- What is God’s purpose for government, and why did it become necessary? “Human government was instituted by God to protect man’s unalienable rights from mankind’s sinful tendencies.” And it became necessary “because of the fall”. Since every person is inherently sinful, our evil inclinations must be kept in check by laws and by a government capable of enforcing such laws.” For this reason, the Bible advocates limited power in government. To disperse power, our republic has divided federal government into three branches–legislative, executive, and judicial–with a system of what are called checks and balances. Power is further dispersed below the federal level into local, county, and state governments. In summary, the state is a God-ordained institution with God-ordained limitations.
- From where do our rights come? This is brilliantly answered in our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence (1776): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This testifies to the Founders belief that our rights come from God, not from government, a sentiment later echoed by President John F. Kennedy: “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” From the book, Thinking Like a Christian, we are reminded of two assumptions of the founders that are the basis for our Christian worldview: “First, man was created by a supernatural Being; second, this Being is the foundation for all human rights.” Our rights are further defined in the first ten amendments to the Constitution (1789), known as the Bill of Rights.
- What is justice, and why is it crucial to our politics to promote it? Another key function of government—besides protecting man’s God-given rights—is to administer justice, i.e. “the practice of truth in human relationships….and rendering to each his due according to a right standard.” Thus, “promoting justice becomes more important than any other aspect of government.” When government oversteps its bounds—specifically when it tries to usurp God’s sovereignty—utopianism (socialism) and totalitarianism are the result. “Abandoning God and placing trust in an individual or in the state will always result in a power-mad and abusive state.” As William Penn said, “If we are not governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants.” One need only think of the atrocities of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin or Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler to see the result of a misplaced “hope that the state will someday create the perfect environment and perfect human beings.”
- If government exists to protect man’s unalienable rights and promote justice, what is the Christian’s responsibility to a just government? “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities,” we read in Romans 13:1, “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” “Thus,” again from Thinking Like a Christian, “the Christian is called to obey the government, to honor justice, and to preserve order.” This may include voting, running for office, serving in non-elected offices, and, if politics goes awry, attempting to “correct the deviance, so that he or she will not be forced to disobey the state.” Still, when God’s commands conflict with those of the state, the Christian has the right—even the duty—“to engage in acts of civil disobedience in order to remain obedient to God.” Think of Daniel opting for death in the lions’ den rather than worshiping the king, (Daniel 6) or the apostles continuing to preach Jesus even in the face of persecution and death. (Acts 7, 12, 21 et al)
What is important is that the Christian remain faithful to God and his truth in all circumstances including politics just like Daniel and the apostles. (Source for quotes, Thinking Like a Christian: Understanding and Living a Biblical Worldview by David Noebel and Chuck Edwards. Answer provided by Allen E. Hye, PhD)
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God created man and woman as rational beings with a mind capable of logical reasoning and capable of discovering truth in all the elements of life and in the culture in which one lives. A Christian, at the moment of belief in Jesus as Savior, receives the marvelous and supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. That gift enables a Christian to discern truth from lies by comparing competing ideas and philosophies against the word of God, the Bible
This capability enlightens the Christian to develop viewpoints on subjects ranging from philosophy and biology to politics, law, economics and every subject in between. When a person knows God and his word and has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ he or she can begin the journey to, “think like a Christian”.
The Christian thinker searches for evidence to;
- Distinguish opinions from reality
- Understand human nature both its potential and limitations
- Learn the lessons of history and the reasons for the rise and fall of civilizations, i.e. cause and effect
- Understand the laws of nature and discern the discoveries in science and creation
The Christian thinker reads, examines, studies and discusses the truths of the Bible to learn God’s laws and principles for living a meaningful and purposeful and peaceful life; a life that honors God and serves and loves his neighbor as himself. Studying the Bible provides wisdom and discernment and understanding of life’s issues. (Proverbs 1:1-7)
Over time, a Christian develops a Biblical worldview through which he or she can evaluate and respond to all the subjects within the human experience. This is what it means to, “think like a Christian”. In other words, it means to see the world as Christ sees it and respond accordingly.
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Most people wrongly assume that science supports evolution as the explanation for the origin of man and that the Bible ‘s description is without any scientific support.
Consider that the theory of evolution born out of the writings of Charles Darwin in the 19th century in now undergoing a considerable re-think based on 20th and 21st century science. Through science we now know that our universe had a beginning before which there was nothing, that the universe and earth are governed by life sustaining natural law constants of such precision that they could not have come about by chance and that numerous biological processes appear to operate on incorporated information.
That the universe had a beginning points to a beginner. The precision of life sustaining natural law constants rule out chance and point to intentionality. The information incorporated into physical and biological processes points to intelligent design. Collectively, a beginner, intentionality and intelligent design point to one conclusion. That God is the giver and sustainer of life.
Evolution as popularly taught is in trouble because of the absence of transitional species required to prove evolution, the periodic explosions of life forms without those expected transitional species, and the extreme statistical improbability that chance could be a factor in numerous complex biological processes.
In weighing the evidence, the scales seem to have tipped in favor of a beginner and intelligent designer that intentionally made the world and man to occupy it.
It was all done with a purpose.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will… Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV)
This challenge for all Christians comes directly from the great Commandment recorded in Luke 10:27. It is a confirmation Jesus made about the importance of using intellect and reason to become a mature follower and disciple. So, how does a Christian do it; i.e. “Love God with all your mind”?
Jesus provided the way to love God with your mind by giving each new believer the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead them to life transforming truths found throughout the Bible. What is required on the believer’s part is to be diligent in using all their God-given faculties to gain relevant knowledge and understanding by reading, studying, examining and discussing Biblical truths.
This pursuit of truth will also lead to grasping the meaning of apologetics, i.e. what Christians believe and why they believe it.
This intellectual undertaking, guided by the Holy Spirit, will result in Christians being able to discern truth from cultural lies and will help them justify their beliefs about all things important. Those faculties we are given to use include our senses (including common sense and sense of curiosity), memory, logical reasoning abilities and our moral conscience.
It is a scientific fact that reason and logical thinking differentiate man from all other creatures. These capabilities also confirm that mankind was created in the image of God. These unique qualities imply the importance of using our mind and intellect to enter into an intimate and personal relationship with God and with Jesus Christ. Eventually the believer will be capable of thinking like a Christian on all elements or disciplines encountered in life and in the culture. He or she will have developed a Biblical worldview.
For a more in-depth study of this topic, we recommend books, Love Your God with All Your Mind by J. P. Moreland, and Your Mind Matters by John Stott. An important follow-up question which will be answered in the future is, Where is your Mind and why is that Important? You might be surprised at the answer.
Images by holdentrils and RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay
No, the God of Islam is not the same as the God of Christianity and the Bible. In Christianity God is explained as being of three natures. That concept is known as the Trinity. Simply, it is God the father who created us, Jesus, his son, who lived among us, and the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Islam rejects the idea that God is three in one. It is not possible for God to be a Trinity and not Trinity at the same time.
Islam denies the Trinity and teaches that God has no Son. In the Quran, the holy book of Islam, in Surah 5:73 (Yusuf Ali), it is written, “They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah.” The Quran clearly denies one of the essential Christian doctrines about God’s nature. The God of Islam and the God of Christianity are not the same. The God of Islam is characterized by submission whereas the God of Christianity is characterized by love.
This is most clearly explained in the central tenet of Christianity, Jesus died for our sins and rose again, creating a path for us to enjoy eternal life in his presence. Christians are assured of this through grace–what Jesus did for us, not because of anything we have done for him.
In Islam, Jesus is not God in the flesh (Surah 4:172; 5:73: 9:30), whereas in Christianity he is (John 1:1,14). In Christianity Jesus was crucified, but in Islam he was not (Surah 4:158). This is another irreconcilable difference between Islam and Christianity regarding God and who Jesus is. In addition, Islam says that the Helper is Muhammed, where the Bible says that the Helper is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). So, the God of Islam and the God of Christianity and the Bible are not the same. Muslims and Christians therefore do not worship the same God.
Sadly, Muslims do not live with assurance that they will spend eternity with God. They hope that they can do enough good to earn them salvation, but only Christianity offers assurance that all the work necessary has already been done by Jesus on the cross.
Artwork by Brian Regrut