I am leading our Adult Bible Fellowship group through a study titled “Always Ready to Give an Answer: Addressing Contemporary Cultural and Theological Issues.” Recently we studied Biblical principles regarding how a Christian should relate to his or her government. Here are the principles we examined:
- Every person is to “be subject” to every governing authority (Rom. 13:1–5; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).
- Submission to governing authorities includes the responsibility to pay taxes (Matt. 22:15–22; Rom. 13:6, 7).
- The only exception to our responsibility to submit to governing authorities is when it would be a sin to do so (Acts 4:18–20; 5:27–32; cf. Exod. 1:15–22; Dan. 3; 6), such as when government forbids something God commands, or commands something God forbids.
- Christians have the right to use the established political and/or judicial process to their favor when necessary or desired (Acts 22:22–29; 25:1–12; cf. Esther and Nehemiah) for the sake of the gospel.
- We should pray for governing authorities (Matt. 6:9, 10; 1 Tim. 2:1–4), that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven and that our government would allow us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
- It is appropriate at times to speak out about the immoral conduct and laws of the government and governing authorities (Matt. 14:1–4).
- We should remember that ultimately God sovereignly controls every government and every governing authority (Prov. 21:1; cf. Ps. 2:1–12; Dan. 4:25, 32; Acts 4:27, 28).
- We must not forget that the primary mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, not change government or bring about moral reforms (Matt. 28:19, 20).