Friday, March 30, 2007


There was a Polish movement recently to proclaim Jesus Christ the King of Poland.

Jesus Christ is already the King of Poland, whether or not they acknowledge Him as such. He is also the King of Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Japan, the United States of America, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, North and South Korea, Pakistan and, especially, He is the King of Israel. He is the King of all nations. He is the King of Kings. But in what sense and to what degree ought states to submit to His Kingship? Is Christian statecraft Christian?

When a Christian thinks or acts – whether religiously, socially, politically, or howsoever – he is beholden to imitate Christ Jesus. As regards politics then, a Christian must examine Christ's political proclamations and actions. There are few. Jesus Christ, though He is most certainly Man, is not a "political animal." Most of His few actions that can be interpreted politically are better interpreted spiritually. "Render unto Caesar," in its context, sounds more like indifference to worldly cares than good citizenship (Matt 22: 21). Many Christian politicos like to quote Jesus' point about Caesar without quoting its counterpoint: "Render unto God the things that are God's," which is the real meaning of the passage. The things of Caesar are inconsequential beside the things of God. "My kingdom is not of this world," He also says (Jn 18: 36).

Clearly, Jesus would passively pay taxes, even to a corrupt state, even without representation1. If you take a Christian's coat, he's obliged to let you have it – just like that – not only his coat, but his shirt as well – because he isn't to have attachments to the things of this world, neither to his coat nor to his taxed income (cf. Lk 6:29). He's not supposed to care. Indifference and dispassion are to characterize a Christian's economic behavior. The Lord will provide as He does for the lilies of the field and the fowls of the air (cf. Matt 6:26-30). Do they own the rain and the sun? Is private property Christian?

In Christ's political indifferentism, there is an argument for anarchy and in His Kingship there is a better argument for monarchy. I am not convinced there is a Christian argument for democracy: Pagan in its origin, relativist in its outcome. Nonetheless, what are Christians, who find themselves in a republic where voting is popularly called a duty, to do? Vote? Vote for what?

Jesus said to Pilate, "You would have no power over Me, unless it had been given you from above" (Jn 19: 10-11). All power, even the power to kill or spare the Son of God, comes from God. Whatever powers we have been given we must use to serve and glorify God. Sin is abuse of power. The power to vote or not vote comes from God. Whether or not I vote, the officials who rise to power do so by God's consent.

Whether they are evil or less evil makes no difference – they have God's judgment to face for their crimes, not mine. I don't vote for them, I pray for them. The day that a candidate represents Christ, I'll vote. I have yet to hear of such a one as this.
1 If the American Revolution indeed hinged on objection to "taxation without representation," as I have been taught, it was neither a Christian revolt nor a just war. Probably it hinged on more than this. Rule by consent of the governed? Democracy? These are not Christian concepts. America is not a Christian nation. What interest ought Christians to have in America?

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