What Do We Say About Elections and Politicians and How They Do Not Bring Out the Best in People?

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.1 Timothy 2:1-2 MSG

Pastor Ron Pennekamp was recently interviewed by the Lakeland Ledger for an article on church leaders getting involved in politics. He expressed the Lutheran theological concept of the Two Kingdoms.

Here is my best one paragraph take on this. God rules the world. He does so through secular government (left-hand kingdom) by means of law (where people obey through threat of force or punishment). He also rules the heavenly (or right-hand) kingdom, where Christians, because they are a new creation, voluntarily obey, not out of fear or threat but as an act of love.

While the teaching is much more complicated than this, it does lead our denomination to be wary of the church getting involved in the business of government. That does not mean Christians should step aside or not express views, but that the church should be very careful to not get tangled up in that first kingdom.

We believe God gives us our leaders and does so with His purposes in mind. We also believe that we are called to respect and give thanks for those in leadership because of their office even if their views or actions are ones we vehemently disagree with.

So, when we discuss things at school we are going to try to avoid implications that God is on the side of one political group or individual. And we are going to teach students to respect all people serving and to be kind to those with whom they disagree.

What about all the nastiness? Well, what better evidence do we need for the fact that human beings, are created in God’s image but damaged by sin and are weak and fallen? We unfortunately see the worst in folks during these times and while it is disheartening, we are reminded to NEVER put our full trust in our fellow humans for they will all be found wanting. And we are reminded that we all need God’s grace.

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

Back to top