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How do we relate as believers to the government and authority?
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 20:27

The New Testament gives us some broad principles on how we are supposed to deal with the government. For example, Romans 13 elaborates on the origin and institution of government as something God ordains.

The great theologian Augustine said that government is a necessary evil, that it is necessary because of evil. And most theologians in the history of the church have said that human evil is the reason even corrupt government is better than no government at all. The function of government is to restrain evil and to maintain, uphold, and protect the sanctity of life and of property. Given this function, the Christian understands that government is a part of the structure that God has allowed and put in place.

We are called to be model citizens. We are told to be honor kings and be obedient to civil magistrates. If what the government tells the Christian to do something that goes against what God has commanded, then that is the moment when the Christian must stand for their convictions. But our basic posture toward government according to the New Testament is to be obedient and outstanding citizens of the state. We are also given the responsibility to pray for earthly governments and leaders so that they may fulfill their tasks.

Not to go into a lengthy explanation here, and I could, trust me. We also have an issue of separation between church and state. As it was designed, the state does not rule the church and the church does not rule the state. Yet in the original design each had a job to make the nation better. Although they are separate it is wise for leaders of all groups to remember that both do indeed fall under the authority of God.

In today's culture of the separation of church and state it has been interpreted to mean a separation of state and God, as if the state and the government were answerable to no one but themselves-as if governments should not be concerned with the things of God. History reveals that God does indeed monitor governments, God raises them up and God brings them down. Every human government is accountable to God and is accountable to maintain its affairs with justice and righteousness.

The church should always take seriously its responsibility and use its voice to be a prophetic voice in the affairs of the culture and of government. But I should also add that the church needs to be wise and make sure the things that it says fall in line with what the Bible says to be true.

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