Vol. 11 No. 9 September 2009
A Christian President?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Question: Would it be impossible for the Christian to properly balance the 2 kingdoms and their interests in something like being President of the U.S.A. and still be pleasing to God?
Civil government (no particular form of government, though) is ordained or approved of God to exist, and civil government serves a function that God has determined is necessary for management of human affairs (Romans 13:1-7). Subsequently, everyone amenable to that government, including Christians, must obey that government in order to be pleasing to God (1 Peter 2:13-17); the only exceptions to Christians obeying government would be those possible instances in which the government required anything contrary to the Word of God (Acts 5:28-29).
Most Christians (though, historically, not all, e.g., David Lipscomb) grant that Christians may and even ought to participate in the governmental process by voting in elections and referendums through which they hope to exert a positive, Christian influence to bring about a more godly government. We note, for instance, that Christians must not only refrain from biblical error, but they must discourage biblical error and promote conformity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:11). Therefore, it would seem reasonable that Christians could participate in other aspects of government, provided they could do so without compromising their Christian faith or without compromising their conscience. However, that is the question before us. (The conscience of one person may vary somewhat from another person, though of course, the Christian faith or Gospel is invariable.)
The Bible commends honest labor (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12). If a Christian can be an honest, God-fearing politician on any level, the Bible does not appear to prohibit such. However, if a Christian cannot be an honest, God-fearing politician on any level, the Bible implicitly condemns such. Remember, that God appointed kings in the past, some of whom the Bible characterizes as good and some of whom the Bible characterizes as evil. Theoretically, a president of a nation and a king of a nation differ little with respect to God’s view of national leaders; the different reaction of God pertains to whether the individual leading a nation is righteous or unrighteous.
Yet, on a personal level, seeking the presidency (or even lower levels of government) is not something that I would choose for myself, and neither is it something that I would especially recommend for fellow Christians, given the immense challenge, not only respecting the presidency, but respecting the challenges to the faithful practice of one’s Christianity. That, though, is merely my opinion (advice).
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Question: May I ask what you view as a woman becoming president?
My view is just that, my view, and not necessarily binding on anyone else. However, there are two fields over which God has regulated the role of women: the home (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-2) and the church (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12). Business and politics (e.g., Deborah in Judges 4:4) are not specifically regulated respecting female participation except that God-given female responsibilities in the home (Proverbs 31:10-30) and the church must not be minimized, and they must not be sacrificed.