Considering Government: An Overview

As you may have gathered if you’ve been reading Josh’s blog, our little family is thinking a lot about how Christians should consider government. It could be because we’re both political science majors (that is to say, Josh and I are; Hannah’s major is as yet undeclared), but this is something that is weighing on our hearts as election cycles are gearing up again.

I mentioned in a previous post that Christians ought to be careful to be viewing our culture and our world through a biblical lense, rather than taking the popular view held by most of our society. In considering how we should interact with our rights and responsibilities as citizens, I would submit that we ought also to carefully consider how incorrect and even heretical theology can impact our worldview.

It has been my observation, admittedly limited to polls, articles, and conversations, that most American Christians approach voting one of two attitudes. Either they take a “vote for the lesser of the two evils” approach, or they forego voting altogether because “the system is so messed up anyway so I won’t make a difference.”

Is there any alternative? If we can’t have utopia, must we throw up our hands and resign ourselves to a bad situation getting worse? What does the Bible have to say about good government, and does that have any impact on my individual voting patterns? How responsible am I really for the choices my elected representatives make?

In the next series of posts, I’d like to consider these questions, and perhaps others as they come up. I would welcome any comments or suggestions readers have, because I’m honestly trying to grapple with these issues, not make theological pronouncements. I have found that some of the resources on these topics are a little over my head, and I want to explore some concrete applications of the sometimes obtuse Christian political theory out there. I am not an expert in reformed theology, and my knowledge of political theory is limited primarily to secular perspectives on political philosophies, although I have read the usual original sources from Plato to Rawls and etc. I like theory. Theory is friendly. But it’s sometimes hard for me to discern a biblical answer to the question of what button to push (if any) in the polling booth, and that’s what I’m working out.

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