“Politics and religion don’t mix,” is one of the popular catch-phrases of our day. Many evangelicals have even shown disgust and have thrown up their hands in frustration at the idea of intertwining the two anymore and some go so far as to say the 1st century church and the apostles did not concern themselves with politics at all. However, a close look at the whole Bible and especially the New Testament reveals that saints often made statements that affected the political arena. Our Lord & Savior commanded us in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Last I checked, “all the world” and “every creature” includes politicians and those involved in government.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we must admit every person in government does what they do based on some worldview that is influenced by some religion, whether it’s atheism, agnosticism, astrology, Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Gnosticism, or some other -ism. Thomas Jefferson knew this and he shuddered to think what would happen if any influence besides the God of the Bible would lay hold on this nation when he stated, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.” [Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.]
Looking through my archives, I found a list of statements or actions by New Testament saints that had political implications in their day and showed they were concerned about what governments and political leaders did since what those politicians did could affect the church in some way. Here’s the list reblogged:
1. John the Baptist told Herod it was unlawful for Herod to have married his brother’s wife (i.e. he accused Herod of adultery) and reproved king Herod for other evils he had committed (Matthew 14:3-4; Luke 3:18-20).
2. John the Baptist told the tax collectors they should not charge the citizens more than what the government had appointed them to collect (Luke 3:12-13).
3. John the Baptist ordered repentant soldiers (the police force) not to be violent, not to arrest people on trumped up charges, and to be content with their pay (Luke 3:14).
4. Jesus said “beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matthew 10:17-20)
5. Jesus commended Zaccheus the tax collector for showing that he was sorry for his sins by restoring his ill-gotten gains to the people (Luke 19:8-10).
6. Jesus told the Jews to pay their taxes to the Roman government (Luke 20:21-25).
7. Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders for misinterpreting the Sabbath laws (Luke 6:1-10).
8. When Jesus was told that king Herod wanted to kill him, Jesus called Herod a fox and told him that he would be busy doing his ministry until his appointed time to die which had nothing to do with Herod’s plans (Luke 13:31-33). In other words, Jesus was on God’s timetable, not Herod’s.
9. Jesus wept over Jerusalem and prophesied to the Jews that the Roman government would one day order the destruction of the city because they did not recognize that their Messiah had come (Luke 19:41-44).
10. Jesus acknowledged that the Galileans who were put to death by Pilate got their just deserts, but that they were not worse sinners than any other human and those who did not repent would perish like they did (Luke 13:1-3).
11. When Pilate boasted about his power to crucify or release Jesus, Jesus told him he would not be in power if God had not allowed him to have it (John 19:10-11).
12. When the disciples were ordered by the Jewish council not to preach in the name of Jesus, they told them it was their obligation to God to talk about what they had witnessed (Acts 4:18-21).
13. Upon being re-arrested for disobeying the Jewish council’s order not to preach in Jesus’ name, the apostles said “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:28-29).
14. After Peter was wrongly imprisoned by king Herod, saints prayed for his release and God sent an angel to free him from prison (Acts 12:5-11).
15. Paul rebuked Elymas the sorcerer, who was a counsellor to the deputy Sergius Paulus, for trying to keep the deputy from accepting the gospel (Acts 13:6-11).
16. Paul, after having his rights as a Roman citizen violated, demanded the Philippian officials escort him publicly out of prison to acknowledge their wrongful imprisonment of Paul and his companions (Acts 16:35-40).
17. When the chief captain of the Romans ordered a centurion to whip Paul, Paul questioned his sentence as a Roman citizen who had not received a fair trial (Acts 22:24-29).
18. Paul deliberately caused dissension among the rulers on the Jewish council when he said he was a Pharisee who was being put on trial for believing in resurrection (Acts 23:6-10).
19. Paul preached to Felix, the governor of Caesarea, about righteousness, temperance (self-control), and God’s coming judgment (Acts 24:24-25).
20. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2 that the Antichrist cannot rise to his full power to rule the world until the Holy Spirit’s restraining power is taken out of the way. This means believers who preach and live the gospel, including their teaching about resisting antichristian influences, will be raptured.
–Harry A. Gaylord–