Study 11: Life in Christ
Introduction | Holiness | The Use of Force | Politics | Worldly Pleasures | Bible Study | Prayer | Preaching | Ecclesial Life | The Breaking of Bread | Marriage | Fellowship | Questions
A clear understanding of, and firm faith in, the coming of God's Kingdom means that we will recognize that human Government is unable to bring about perfection. Any involvement in human politics is therefore incompatible with the hope of the Kingdom. Jesus prophesied that things would degenerate from bad to worse in "the last days" just prior to his coming (Luke 21:9-11, 25-27). It is not possible to believe his words and at the same time try to improve the world's position through human politics or aid agencies. The parable of the good Samaritan indicates how the Christian should assist the surrounding world - doing good to all men as opportunity may allow (Gal. 6:10).
The record of the early believers shows them to have been committed to living a spiritual life in anticipation of Christ's return, chiefly manifesting their concern for the surrounding world through preaching to them. There is no record of their addressing the social, economic and political problems of the world around them.
"It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23); appreciating the fundamental evil and error of human nature means that we will recognize that human leadership is unsuitable for God's people. Voting is therefore inconsistent with a true understanding of this. "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Dan 4:32). Human rulers are thus ultimately given their power by God (Rom. 13:1); to vote in a democratic system may therefore involve voting against one whom God has chosen to be in power. Thus it is recorded that God gave certain nations into the control of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Jer. 27:5,6).
The involvement of so-called Christian organizations in forms of political protest and tax boycotts is therefore an indication of their studied disregard of these basic Biblical principles. However, Peter's example of continuing to preach Christ when forbidden by the Government to do so, is an indication of how we can only obey human commands when they do not conflict with the law of Christ: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye" (Acts 4:17-20; 5:28,29).
The Christadelphian attitude to compulsory military service in recent years is another example of this.