TEACHING: Belize awaits the church’s response to its new pro-LGBT gender policy. The US Supreme Court decisions on same sex marriage in the DOMA and Proposition 8 cases will have global effects to reckon with. But what is the church’s role in politics? And specifically, how should the church in Belize respond? Here are some options:
1. Escalate campaigns for prayer, awareness, action, and legal support for these issues.
2. Add the promotion of political candidates who are committed to Christian and biblical stance on political issues.
3. Add the promotion of an entire third party (since the opposition PUP has not disputed the new gender policy) with a Christian and biblical stance on political issues.
Let’s first look at the last two options for the church’s role in politics. After all, number 2 could lead to number 3. If the church promotes political candidates, the opponents of those candidates would see the church as an enemy. They would put up a greater resistance to the church’s appeals to be saved and discipled and equipped for an overcoming life. And the church would have to take public blame whenever a candidate failed to live up to his Christian convictions. These problems would be multiplied if the church were to develop a third party. Consistently throughout history, when the church’s role in politics is one of political authority, the church becomes compromised and loses spiritual authority. People either join or leave the church for political and not spiritual reasons. (See below video for more)
And with political authority the church tends to use force rather than persuasion. For government operates by force. But the church operates by faith. The two are distinct spheres of vital human activity. Government lives by the sword, to punish evildoers (Rom. 13:4). The church lives by the Word, to show mercy to sinners and overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21). When the church takes the sword, it tends to infringe on religious freedoms that allowed it to take power in the first place.
Does that mean that the church should never enter the political sphere? No, the church role in politics is to take a biblical stand on political issues, as it is doing so well in the sodomy case. But the church should not take a stand on political candidates and parties. People, candidates and parties change. But the truth remains the same. And the church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). The only person we put our trust in is the Truth, Jesus Christ—the coming King. The church’s role in politics is to take our stand on His Word. And we will have much more influence if we do not trade our spiritual authority for political authority. We do not want to gain the whole world and lose our soul.
THE CHRISTIAN’S ROLE IN POLITICS. But while the church’s role in politics stops where political candidates are concerned, the Christian’s role is different. The church is not political, but people are. Church and state are separate spheres—with some overlap—but Christians live in both spheres. Without Christian votes, anti-Christian policies will prevail. Without Christian candidates, ungodly governments will rule. But the Christian must understand that he supports candidates while operating in the political sphere, and not in the church sphere. And while the Christian political candidate does represent the church and Christ as an example, his job is to represent all the people. He must not show favoritism to Christians or churches or give them an unfair advantage.
And he must base his positions on reason more than on faith. He can reason from the Scriptures, especially if his nation acknowledges Scripture in its foundation or laws or constitution. Belize for one is “founded on principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God”—the opening statement of its constitution. But a Christian politician would lose the confidence of his people if he made decisions by faith more than by reason. Privately he may be led on an issue by a prophetic word or by supernatural faith. But publicly he must convince his people by reason. For faith is reasonable. In any of the seven main spheres in which we move—not only in church and government but also in family, education, business, arts and media—we must be reasonable as well as faith-full. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).
DISCIPLING THE NATION IN ALL SEVEN SPHERES. The greatest hope for a nation is a praying, vocal and active church with members who disciple that nation in all seven spheres. (See 7 Mountain Prayer Campaigns.) We need to know the boundaries of those spheres as well as the overlaps. One sphere can influence another by persuasion or example, but not by force. The government is the one sphere which is required to use force. But its force is only meant to protect one person or group from harming other persons or groups. Each sphere has its own authority structure. The government is not to interfere with the authority structure of another sphere unless it is illegally abusive.
The authority structure of the family is biblically and historically husband over wife
, and parents over children. The government must not interfere with that unless there is physical abuse. The authority structure of education is teachers over children. The government must not interfere with that to teach children contrary to what schools and parents have legally stood for. And the Peace Corps HFLE manual that briefly appeared in Belize schools teaches children to be critical of the sexual mores that schools and parents have generally taught. The government must not force churches and businesses to hire open homosexuals. Such people are openly defying the law. The more they do so, the more they will also openly infiltrate the arts and media. And through arts and media they will teach children to defy parents and teachers and the government and its laws.
True government is government by laws. And the governing authorities must abide by those laws. When they don’t, when they secretly make policies which violate their own laws—as Belize’s new gender policy does—they lose their legitimacy. The church must call the government back to its lawful duty to the public to discuss proposed policies in public. To enforce the law, not break it. To let every challenge to the law take its full course through the courts. And to avoid foreign and financial pressures that corrupt the due process of the law.
The best option for the church’s role in politics concerning Belize’s gender policy is this threefold one: to escalate our public awareness campaign to show how the gay agenda would do harm in all seven spheres. To keep pursuing this case in the court of law as well as in the court of public opinion—and hold government officials accountable to both. To keep offering to homosexuals the new life in Christ that sets them free from unwanted bondages. And to keep escalating our prayer campaign until final victory is won. The spiritual authority we have in this nation is not gained from men but from God.
More BPN articles on the church’s role in politics:
Related book on the church role in politics:
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To stand on God’s Word is the church’s role in politics