Role of the Christian in Government
In our Sunday School class, we've been discussing the role of the Christian and government. Based on Wayne Grudem's perspective in Politics According to the Bible, we've concluded that Christians should work to have substantial influence on government. It is good and right for the church universal to be involved in reforming and redeeming government, as that works to the benefit of all. We glorify God when we engage biblically with our government.
Voting is, of course, our first engagement tool. It is a "no-brainer," as every Christian of voting age should vote according to biblical values - every time. Education is a second step towards deeper governmental influence. As Christians, we should seek to understand how local, state, and federal government works, what issues are most pressing to address, and how we might show the love and truth of Christ inside government.
The means of becoming educated about government are practically endless in our oversaturated media environment. However, below is a simple list to get started as God might call us.
- Attend city council meetings. One of the best ways to understand how local government impacts our community (and its impact cannot be understated) is to simply show up to meetings on a consistent basis. Not only will you quickly learn how local government works, you will also quickly learn what decisions are being made that impact us right here at home.
- Ask a city council person to lunch. Many city councils fly under the radar because the community just doesn't know they exist or understand what they do. Most council people will be thrilled to be asked to lunch to explain how it all works. Plus, you just might make a new friend. Despite what we see on TV, many people who serve in government have a very, very deep heart and passion for people. They care about their communities and about various needs. They want to listen and learn, and they very much want others involved.
- Regularly review the local government's websites and emails for information. Get on their email lists. Read and ask questions.
- Run for school board or council. This is not for everyone, but it is for some people. Again, despite what we see on TV, many vital decisions about our cities, our schools, our churches, and our quality of life are decided at the school board or council level, not the federal level. Local officials are typically not full-time commitments but are extremely important.
- Get to know your state senators and representatives. If you don't know who they are, type in your address here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx. Each official most likely has a district office somewhere near you. Stop in and say "hi." Pick up their written literature. Check out their websites. Ask them what their key priorities are. Members sometimes have public roundtables where they solicit feedback from the public on pertinent issues. Ask about those and how you may be come involved.
- There are any number of organizations who regularly report on Austin politics and state legislative matters. A few minutes of internet research may produce a few that interest you. Sign up for their email newsletters and away you go.
- Take a trip to Austin during the next legislative session. If you've never been to our state capital, it is worth the trip.
- If you don't know who your senators and representatives are, you can find those here: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/
- I do highly recommend Wayne Grudem's book for insight on how church and state should interact at the federal level.
- David Barton and his Wallbuilder's organization does an enormous amount of work researching American's Christian heritage and how it relates to modern politics. Though you and I may not agree with everything on their site (https://wallbuilders.com/), it is a great place to get started.
- Hillsdale College also does some great work on the basics of federal government and its relevancy today. You can sign up for their free newsletter here: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/
- There are literally thousands of groups that do work in and around Washington related to government education. Again, I advocate for signing up for your elected officials' newsletters, follow them on Twitter, and do what you can to get relevant information from their offices. Your best source of education is the people you elected. They are highly incentivized to engage with you and earn your vote. Use that to your advantage.
- Obviously any great primer books on how the federal government works are excellent ways to get started. Understanding the three branches of government, how they interact with each other, and how our representative government functions are essentials to charting a path to deeper engagement.
Thanks for coming to class and hope this helps!