Hi , it's great to hear from you!
Things are going well for me; thanks! I try to update my photoblog
every now and again; http://blog.seanho.com./
Your question is a very good one, and the topic of Christianity in
politics is a large and complex one that does not have many easy
answers. I think you'll find that many Christians have differing
The root word from which our word "politics" comes is mentioned several
times in the New Testament; it is variously translated as "actions",
"deeds", or "life". It simply means the way we live our lives and make
decisions, generally in a community. Some Christians say that all
politics are bad, that one cannot be involved in politics without being
influenced by and condoning all the lying and backstabbing and
selfishness that comes to mind when we think about politics. But we are
already involved in politics of one form or another, on large or small
scale, simply in the decisions we make every day.
Being involved in politics, though, does not equate with allying
ourselves with a particular political ideology (e.g. democracy,
socialism, monarchy, etc), or with a particular political party (e.g.
Republicans, Democrats), or with a particular person (e.g. Bush, Hillary
Clinton, etc). So we have to be careful not to say things like, "The
Bible tells us we should be democratic", or "The Bible tells us we
should be Republican", or "G.W. Bush is God".
We can look at the
examples and principles in the Bible and compare them with various
political models, parties, or people, and try to take the good parts
that agree with the Bible, and reject the bad parts.
Does the Bible support democracy? Democracy is essentially a majority
rule; put everything to a vote. (The details of the voting systems may
differ.) It relies upon the "common sense", that the ordinary, median
person would do "the right thing". We don't actually see this model
very much in the Bible; in fact the prediction of the Bible is that as
time goes on democracy becomes worse and worse of a model, as our sinful
nature corrupts God's original very good design for us. Everyone has a
conscience, and God grants wisdom, but the Bible says that in the end
times, "because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will
grow cold". That implies that decisions made by majority vote according
to the democratic process will become more and more wicked as our
society falls further and further from God.
In my view, we don't really have a human political model that fully
matches how the Bible asks us to live, because what is needed is a
change of heart in every individual in society. Theocracy is "God rule"
-- monarchy, but our King is Christ himself. Historically, however,
human attempts to institute this end up in human monarchy, where a human
(pope, or Caesar, or whoever) inserts himself as God's sole
representative to the people. This fails terribly because the person is
Should we challenge our leaders? The U.S. system of three branches of
federal government (executive, judicial, legistlative) was designed for
checks and balances, because our president is but a man and subject to
mistakes. Our freedom of speech is treasured for the same reason, to
prevent a tyrranical government which silences its citizens.
We go 'round in circles with our endless and unresolvable debates in
politics because no one recognizes absolute truth, only "my opinion" vs.
"your opinion". Rather, we should be using our freedom of speech to all
strive together towards the Truth for how to live our lives -- and this
is our Creator's Truth. An analogy is children and parents: if both
children and parents uphold the same standard for their lives (no double
standard), then the home environment should not be "us" vs. "them", but
everyone working together towards the same goal.
Should we vote or should we be apathetic because it's in God's hands? I
think we have a responsibility to change the things we can change, where
we have influence, in order to bring glory to God and spread the Good
News of His redeeming love. Sometimes it may not seem like we have a
lot of power, but where we can, we ought to act according to God's law
and by His wisdom. Vote for the best candidate, but keep praying for
whoever wins. "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs
it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." (Pr21:1) No one is
perfect, and the reality is that every candidate will always have some
policies that are good and some that are bad. But we should never give
up praying for our leaders. Our country is ultimately not in Bush's
hands, but in Jesus' hands.
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and
thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in
authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness
and holiness." (1Tim2:1-2)
It's a good question, and I'm just scratching the surface here. I hope
it gives you something to chew on!
Sean Ho, Ph.D. == Assistant Professor == Computing Science / Math
(604) 513-2121 x3209 == seanho at seanho.com == http://seanho.com
Trinity Western University == 7600 Glover Rd == Langley BC V2Y 1Y1