Reformed Reflections

The Political Realm (1993-94)

Political Decisions: On What Basis?

Lesslie Newbigin observed, "In a pluralistic society such as ours, any confident statement of ultimate belief; any claim to announce the truth about God and his purpose for the world, is liable to be dismissed as ignorant, arrogant, dogmatic." The Christian faith is on the defensive. The current secular outlook perceives of existence as temporal, changing, without moral absolutes. Political views based upon the sovereignty of God, the Kingship of Jesus Christ and Scriptural principles are viewed with suspicion. With moral chaos and economic uncertainty threatening on every hand, Christians have an obligation to articulate their views.

How do we make our personal and political decisions in the light of the fact that God is sovereign, Christ is King and the Bible His Word? The Bible does not give us detailed, straightforward, answers. It is not a political science text. Yet the Bible does help us to make sense of today's complexities and conflicts and does guide us in our moral questions. When it comes to drafting political views, not human opinions and human theories must decide. We do not base our political philosophies on the latest opinion polls or on a secular vision of the future. We go back to God and His Word. God is sovereign everywhere, His inerrant Word is law for all of life and for all citizens.

All social and economics Institutions are subject to God's Word. No government has the right to enact legislation which contradicts it. The Bible contains basic principles which, are relevant also to politics. A politician studies political science, history; what others have thought about law and the state. Since the Bible is God's rule for our faith and conduct we consult it for guidance as we develop political programs. Our authority for the affairs of State is not an appeal to the masses, or to the individuals' sense of right and wrong. We go back to God's revealed will. Does this mean that we expect the Bible to provide a detailed political platform? Not at all. The Bible does not even outline a system of government. Does this mean that our political and social views must be based on isolated Bible texts? No. The Bible provides eternal principles, which should control each individual and all political systems. The Bible helps us to think God's thoughts after Him. As we study Scripture we find principles relevant to politics. These principles deal with the nature of man justice, the limits of the state, rights and responsibilities of individuals, the value of human life, use of property: the well being of the people, education of youth, and relationship between church and state, war and peace.

Johan D. Tangelder