Reformed Reflections

The Political Realm (1993-94)

Political Implications of Christ's Lordship

One of the church's beloved hymns is Edward Perronet's "All hail the power of Jesus's name! Let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all." The hymn calls upon us to "hail"- that is to honour and exalt the power of His name. The power belongs to Him by virtue of His resurrection victory and heavenly enthronement. To Him, the ascended and reigning Christ, all authority has been given in both heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-22). He Is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16).

The Kingship of Christ calls for a radical commitment. Even our minds must be made obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5). Contemporary Christians find this most difficult. The secular world has a powerful, influence upon their thought life. John Stott comments, "The truth is that we rather like to think our own thoughts and ventilate our own opinions, and if they conflict with the teachings of Christ, so much the worse for him!" But if Christ Is Lord we must think His thoughts after Him. We must acknowledge Him, therefore, as Lord of our private life as well as Lord of our nation, even if our nation doesn't explicitly recognize Him. While Caesar ruled the Roman empire, Christians were still to acknowledge Christ as Lord. This led to continual conflict. The emperors demanded divine homage from their subjects. Christians recognized the emperor as their earthly ruler, but Christ alone could be worshiped as "the ruler of the kings of the earth." Their opposition to emperor worship led to persecution and martyrdom.

The Lordship of Christ has political implications. We can not keep silent in any situation which, denies His rightful claims. When secular values clash with the values of Christ, we must speak out. When the Biblical concept of the family is undermined, when racial and economic injustice prevail, when the environment is exploited for the sake of consumerism, Christians should show that they care. They care because Christ cares about His world.

In his inaugural address at the opening of the Free University of Amsterdam In 1880, Abraham Kuyper said, "There is not one inch in the entire area of human life about which Christ, who is sovereign of all, does not cry 'Mine'!" Also in our political life we submit to our Lord's authority. We still have the freedom to articulate our convictions. How much longer our civil liberties will last without their Christian foundation, no one can prophesy. While Christians have the freedom, they can't waste precious time. Their witness to Christ, their Saviour and King, is needed if our democracy Is to be preserved.

Johan D. Tangelder