Mid-Week Musings from Lead Pastor Todd Malone
God is Sovereign, Even in Politics
It’s noon on November 5, and we still don’t know who won the election – at least not officially. I want to write this before I know because I need to preach to myself. I need to articulate my convictions and live them, regardless of the results.
Let me start by grieving. Actually, it’s probably more venting. The build-up to the election deeply saddened me. I felt the need to disengage more than I wanted. Many people in politics and in the media behaved horribly. I don’t know anyone who was perfectly comfortable with their party or news source of choice. For the record, I think grief and anger are appropriate responses to displays of character that grieve and anger God.
Romans 13 reminds us that God is sovereign, even in politics. Verse 1 clearly states that all authorities exist because of God, and we are required to submit to them. That should be our default going into the next presidential term. However, Romans 13 does not mean that authorities are perfect or above correction, accountability, and replacement. The Bible provides plenty of examples of people who disobeyed government authorities. The challenge is to know when and how to submit and when and how to disobey. We need wisdom to know when a line has been crossed that merits disobedience. I know the line is not my preferences or what makes me comfortable. I know the line is not temporary policies or actions designed to protect those the government is required to protect. But long-term policies or practices that are designed to shut down the gospel will require disobedience.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 is just as clear as Romans 13 on our response to government. Paul writes:
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Paul calls us to pray for the government. Specifically, he calls us to pray that leaders govern in a way that allows Christians to live peaceful, quiet, godly, and dignified lives. Apparently, Paul does not expect government to give us a pass for contentious, loud, ungodly, and obnoxious lives. Sometimes Christians are contentious, loud, ungodly, and obnoxious and then claim persecution when authorities push back. But such behavior aside, we should pray that the government rules in a way that allows us to live as we should as believers. When they don’t – see Romans 13:1.
The great news about being a follower of Jesus is that our assignment does not change with election results. As followers of Jesus, we are to follow His example in relating to authorities. We are to have His values and priorities. We are to think like He thinks and behave like He behaves. That assignment will look different under a repressive regime than from under a supportive government, but not completely different. We might be called to sacrifice comfort and suffer. We might be called to stand against political opinion. We might be called to join a tidal wave of revival. No matter what happens, ask yourself this question every day: What do I do to follow Jesus and glorify God? No matter who is in office, God will honor our desire to live out the answer.
We continue to struggle to fit everyone into the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings as we try to maintain the recommended social distancing. We have come up with a new plan. We will have an E-Service in The Loft. That means the entire service will be broadcast live into The Loft where there will be seating for 50 or more. This will allow FBCers to gather (at a distance) and enjoy the service together. The service will be hosted by a staff member. If you are an FBC regular, it will help others find room in the sanctuary if you could join the E-Service in the Loft on Sunday.
FBC’s Online Book Club will start a new book on Monday, November 9 at 7:00pm. The book is called Are Women Human? by Dorothy Sayers. Yes, that is a crazy title, but don’t be put off by it. Dorothy Sayers lived at the same time as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien – they were all friends. In fact, she was an important influence on them. Sayers is most famous for her mystery novels and plays, but she was also a highly respected theologian. This very short book will tackle issues that are relevant today, but from the perspective of a Christian writing 80 years ago.