A Biblical Perspective on Civic Engagement
A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON CIVIL ENGAGEMENT
Civic Engagement is when an individual or group works to identify and address issues of public concern. Civic engagement can take many forms: individual voluntarism, organizational involvement, and yes, even electoral participation.
Christian engagement as salt and light involves relationships with people affiliated with the local schools boards, city council, the mayor, and other government agencies in one's community and state. These representatives and agencies are vehicles through which God's kingdom presence can be expanded as we are a witness for Him while influencing people for righteousness.
Voting is also a way to engage in our society. When we prioritize the Word of God and maintain a biblical worldview in the voting booth, our vote reflects our Christian faith and honors God.
What does the Bible say about civic engagement?
There are many examples of civic engagement - where men were willing to speak boldly to their governing leaders - in scripture. Moses stood strong in the face of Pharaoh (Exodus 5:1-3). Nehemiah made the case to the government to bring the rule and reign of God to the people of God (Nehemiah 2:6-7). The three Hebrew children stood in the face of Nebuchadnezzar and said, “We bow our knee to Jesus not to the king” (Daniel 3:13-18). Daniel opposed overreaching government edicts by boldly and publicly displaying his faith in God (Daniel 6). John the Baptist called out the wickedness of the king (Mark 6:14-29). Paul declared that Jesus is Lord, not Caesar (Philippians 2:10-11).
When the church is silent and apathetic towards the issues of our culture, wickedness prevails. We have been called to point to Jesus, speak the Truth of the Word of God, and shine our light in all aspects of life, including work, school, family, and politics.
Our call to politics.
Politics is the science concerned with guiding or influencing government policy. It gives answers to the best way to organize and sustain community in a way that promotes human flourishing. If we follow God in all we do, then who we are outside the church should be indistinguishable from who we are inside the church, including in the realm of politics. If Christians are not engaged in the political realm, decisions will be made by people who think God and His truths are irrelevant.
It is true that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), but it is also true that we are to be good stewards of our time on earth. As the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13–14), the flourishing of our world is, in part, our responsibility. If I have the only light in a dark room, its darkness is my fault. Caring for our culture and engaging in its political processes is part of good citizenship for God’s people.
Consider these practical ways that you can make an impact:
Voting is an essential responsibility of all Americans and of all Christians. When we prioritize the Word of God and maintain a biblical worldview in the voting booth, our vote reflects our Christian faith and honors God.
Check your voter registration with The Voter Assistant at MyFaithVotes.org.
MEET WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS
One of the values of a constitutional republic is the degree to which our leaders are responsible to those who elect them. When we share our views on pending legislation, it can make an enormous difference. You never know what sort of relationship may come from a grace-filled, meaningful conversation.
God calls men and women into political service and uses their work for His glory and our good.
We are to pray for our leaders whether we agree with them or not; in fact, the less we agree, the more we should pray. Pray not just for the president and national leaders but for state and local leaders as well.