By Timothy Johnson
June 7, 2014
Talking with friends about the Snowden interview, I discovered something interesting. People with similar backgrounds, worldviews and military experience were on different sides of the fence about this fellow; some said, “Patriot!” others said, “Traitor!” The discussion soon left Mr. Snowden and went deeper, the question arose, “What is the role of government in our lives?” This column today will attempt to answer that question from the Bible.
Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Tea, everyone in office is there because God has ordained them to be there, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). From President Obama down to every small town mayor every public servant is in office because God wants them there. Another note here, “there is no power” includes all authority. A kindergarten teacher has authority over her students, a boss has authority over his employees, a meter maid has authority over everyone with a parked car on the street, a parent has authority over a child, nearly everyone has authority over someone else in some capacity. God, has ordained everyone, in one way or another, to a specific task, a specific purpose.
God has given government two specific purposes. Throughout the Old Testament, we see kings (the government) raise armies for the defense of the people. As neighboring nation’s anger or greed rose to the boiling point and Israel had to defend herself, the king was responsible to put the army in the field to fend off the advancing hoards.
Another purpose for the government was the punishment of evildoers, “Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him (God) for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (1 Peter 2:14 see also Romans 13:3-4).
Therefore, God’s purpose for the government can be boiled down to the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice. In summary, an army, a police force and a judicial system; that is it.
It is usually at this point someone will yell, “What about roads, bridges, infrastructure?” Remember, we are talking about what the Bible says government role is; nowhere in the Bible does God tell the king to build roads. I am not saying it is a sin for the government to build a road or a bridge, I am only saying the Bible says nothing about it.
The next thing people will bring up is all the charity our government is involved in; food stamps, welfare, HUD, free cell phones and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.
Christ tells the church to feed the poor, widows and handicapped (Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22; Luke 19:8; Romans 15:26; Galatians 2:10; James 1:27; 1 Timothy 5:3-16).
“Education, the government needs to put tons of money into education.” Some will say. Well, God tells us that the education of children is not the responsibility of the community but of the parents (Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:7; Proverbs 22:6). That does not mean that the actual class time cannot be handed over to a trained teacher but the responsibility still rests on the parents. Therefore, the parents need to be active in a child’s learning, know what books they are reading and what is going on in the classroom. The teacher, school and even the school board in answerable to the parents because the parents are responsible and answerable to God.
What has happened over the years that the role of government has grown and the role of the individual and the church has shrunk. This has caused people to believe the government is the one that provides and has reduced God from being a person, one who loves the individual cares for his soul and provides for his needs, to someone who is not even on many people’s radar in our society.
History has proven, the larger the government, the smaller God is in the eyes of the people.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. He and his wife, Julie, have four grown children and 11 grandchildren. All scripture references are from the KJV. Blog: www.preacherjohnson.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.