Borrowing Brains: God, Christians, and Government

My latest attempt to borrow brains was so successful that I’m going to try again. I’m studying for two messages on government: (1) God and Government and (2) The Christian and Government. The first will focus on God’s ordaining of government, raising up and controlling of governors, the purposes for which He does so, etc. The second will focus on how Christians should relate to government, including how we should think and live in light of our dual citizenship, our responsibilities to pray for and submit to government, the legitimate use of our rights as citizens, etc. Both will be topical messages, systematizing the many passages which address the issue (Gen 9:6; Prov 21:1; Dan 2, 4 & 7; Ps 2; Rev 11:15 et al for the first message, Matt 22:21; Acts 25:11, 28:19; Acts 5:29; Rom 13:1-6; 1 Tim 2:1-4; 1 Pet 2:13-17 et al for the second).

Here comes the “borrowing brains” part: what resources have you found to be particularly helpful with this subject, whether books, articles (esp. online), sermons, etc.?

Please chime in. You’ll be helping me and helping others, and you’ll probably get some help in return.

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6 Responses

  1. DP has (via email) suggested the following links:

    Probe.org’s Government and Public Policy page

    Wallbuilders.com’s Library page

    I’m not familiar with either. Thanks for the link!

    I’m especially looking for theological and biblical resources. If I address voting at all, it will be with a focus on “this is how Christians should think about voting and decide how to vote” rather than “this is how you should vote.”

  2. I got another recommendation of wallbuilders.org from my friend, Todd.

    I’ve owned Irwin Lutzer’s book Why the Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t for several years, but I’m just reading it now. It’s very helpful. I recommend it highly. I’ll probably post on it when I’ve finished it.

  3. Here’s one of the best little articles on the history of the government that I have ever come across.

    http://radioliberty.com/nljuly06.html

  4. Chris, you might benefit from Blinded by Might. I read it in college, and it was revolutionary for me. (That isn’t to say that it left me with no questions.) It would be particularly helpful for your second message, on the Christian’s relation to government. I think it would also support the tone of your last post about abortion.

    Another good read is MacArthur’s The Deadly Dangers of Moralism. MacArthur addresses how much time is wasted in moralizing our culture without bringing people to faith. MacArthur compares efforts at superficial morality to “physical discipline that is only of little profit” while “godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds the promise of the life…to come” (I Tim 4:8).

    Of course there is always lots to read at Monergism:
    http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Government–Politics/

    Since it has come up, I would caution you about using resources from David Barton and Wallbuilders. I’m sure they have some good information, but I know that plenty of their material about American history is inaccurate. As a pastor I would certainly be wary of using Barton as a source, lest you later be called upon to support his assertions.

    Unfortunately evangelical historians have been slow in responding to Barton’s errors, so most of his criticism has come from people who also reject Christianity. Thankfully some evangelical critiques are beginning to emerge. In the meantime a lot of well-meaning Christians have consumed and distributed Barton’s questionable histories.

  5. I’ve never heard of David Barton and therefore have no clue where he’s coming from. But, if you want to go to the law library, or if you have electronic access to Westlaw or some legal software, I think you’ll pretty easily find the case that was referenced. This opinion, written by Justice David Brewer, is famous for its comments in support of religion. 143 U.S. 457 (1892)

    It’s called an opinion because that’s what judges do: they give their opinion on something. Again, I have no idea where Barton is coming from or even who he is. In your opinion (previous poster), do you think Barton is a bit too gung ho about religion and thinking that America is a Christian nation? Do you think Justice Brewer was far right-wing religious zealot in that he apparently held the Christian beliefs in such high regard? I’m not implying anything about either you, Barton or Brewer. I’d just like a “second opinion,” so to speak, other than the Supreme Court opinion.

  6. Michael,

    Thanks for the tip. I have Blinded by Might and will plan to read it this week. If you enjoyed it, you’d probably benefit from Lutzer’s Why the Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t as well. Comparing the two, I’d say Lutzer’s is more intentionally biblical vs. the “insiders'” account that Dobson and Thomas give of the Moral Majority. At any rate, Lutzer’s book is excellent. I hope to post on it soon.

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