Answers to Objections

The following Answers to Common Objections are reprinted from the book: The Christian Civil Ruler’s Handbook and are published on Explicitly Christian Politics with the permission of the author, Buddy Hanson. Buddy has written a number of books on applying God’s Word to culture, civil-government and politics and we are grateful for the answers he gives to common objections we hear all the time. Check out his website here or here.

Religion and Politics

Objection #1: “I don’t want to have anything to do with politics or with reforming culture because it is corrupted by sin.”

This is a very curious objection. First, people say “Christians should have nothing to do with Politics.” Then they say, “It is corrupt and is inhabited by untrustworthy people.” The question that begs to be asked of such people is “What kind of behavior do you expect when the public square is left to non-Christians?” Since it is impossible to separate one’s religion (ethics) from one’s day–to–day decisions, shouldn’t our concern be about “corrupting culture with righteousness,” rather than letting non-Christians “corrupt culture by their unrighteousness and sinful ethics?” Yes, politics is dirty, but so is business, law, education and every other activity. It’s part of the human condition known as sin.

Objection #2: “Religion and politics don’t mix.”

The decisions politicians make have a major impact on how we live. After all, it is they who set the standards on what is a crime, how much we are taxed, etc., and to allow them to determine which actions are acceptable behavior without referring to God’s inerrant Word is to invite subjective (and ever-changing) laws as well as subjective and unpredictable verdicts. Only God’s Word provides a fixed, never-changing, and predictable ethical standard by which we can confidently strive to live.

The person making this objection should be asked to reconcile these eight Scriptural facts:

    1. Civil government was begun by God when He gave Noah authority to execute murderers (Genesis 9:6-7).

    2. Joseph was made ruler in Egypt (Genesis 41:38-49).

    3. Moses was the civil ruler in Israel (and because of Jethro’s counsel, appointed lesser magistrates) (Exodus 18:13-27).

    4. “Case laws” are provided for the government of family, church and state (Exodus 21-23).

    5. God instructs both priests and kings to follow His law (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

    6. The book of Judges is filled with examples of civil rulers delivering Israel from political oppression: Othniel, 3:9; Ehud, 3:15; Shamgar, 3:31; Deborah/Barak, 4:4,6; Gideon, 6:11; Jephthah, 11:1; and Samson, 14.1.

    7. The book of Hebrews commends these civil rulers with these words: “And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets who by faith conquered kingdoms, [and] performed acts of righteousness…” (Hebrews 13:32-33).

    8. The books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles tell of the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms, with individual kings singled out for their obedience to God’s law.

The person who refuses to consider what God’s Word has to say about politics is failing to take advantage of the whole counsel of God.

Objection #3: “You can’t use biblical reasons for public policies without turning off the electorate..”

To agree with this objection is to admit that God’s Word is not truth, for why else would we want to rely upon our words and ideas instead of His?

(a) In addition, if God’s Word were not true, it would not be able to accomplish its purpose, and we would be left on our own to make life’s decisions.

(b) This objection implies that creatures, not the Creator, are in control of His creation.

(c) Such a gloomy portrait of God makes Him look small and ineffectual. On the positive side, I suppose those who believe this are obligated to pat God on the back for creating such intelligent creatures that they can bail Him out by properly operating His creation! Such an attitude is nonsense, of course.

Let’s see what Scripture has to say about each of these points:

(a)1. God’s Word is truth.

For the word of the Lord is right… (Psalm 33:4).

Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path(Psalm 119:104-105).

(a)2. God’s Word accomplishes its purpose.

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).

(b) Non-Christians suppress truth in unrighteousness.

I have written for him the great things of My law; but they were considered a strange thing (Hosea 8:12).

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things (Romans 1:18-23). (Compare 1 Corinthians 1:18.)

(c) God is in sovereign control of His creation.

Oh, let the peoples be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth (Psalm 67:4). (Compare John 19:11.)

For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us (Isaiah 33:22). (Compare Isaiah 40:22-23.)

Therefore we don’t need to be ashamed of our faith. We don’t need to disguise our Christianity with euphemisms.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). (Compare Romans 15:4.)

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Corinthians 10:11).

We are to live by God’s Word, making our decisions conform to its principles.

Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). (Compare 1 Timothy 6:3-5.)

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8). (Compare James 1:22-25.)

Objection #4: “Haven’t there been times when a country was living pretty much under biblical principles and the State (or King) took complete control of the Church?

All sorts of things have happened throughout history, but this is not the way the Church and State are commended by God to act. Both have clearly-defined spheres of self-government, and both must confess, “The Lord is our Lawgiver!”

Each of God’s four self-governing spheres has its own primary areas of responsibility:

THE INDIVIDUAL: Vocation, economics, culture (in which the individual is to be “salt” and “light”)

THE CHURCH: Preaching and teaching, baptism, communion, worship, education, developing civil rulers, accountability, discipline, excommunication

THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT: Protecting from invasion, promoting goodness, enforcing God’s law and establishing peaceful order (by means which include restitution and execution)

THE FAMILY: Education; the welfare of widows, orphans, and others

Objection #5: “I’m a Christian, but I’m not attempting to force my beliefs on others like those Christians on the radical right.

Often you will hear people say, ”I have nothing against Christians or anyone else getting involved in politics; after all, I’m a Christian.” They suppose that such a statement adds credibility to their indictment of Christians in public office, but what it really does is demonstrate their misunderstanding of Scripture. Their god is little more than some undefined dispenser of salvation for the hereafter. The more undefined their god and the less time they spend thinking about their god the better, because then they can imagine that they aren’t accountable to act in any specific way toward him (or her, or it). This type of thinking, however, is completely unbiblical. The Creator God has revealed His inerrant Word and preserved it throughout the ages so that everyone can understand the proper way to live and interact with others.

A common reaction is, “You can’t have certain people as spokesmen for God.” Since humanists don’t believe in the one and only true God of Scripture they see all “gods” as equally irrelevant. To their way of thinking, to seek any god’s counsel is to seek every god’s counsel—which would result in chaos and confusion. Such thinking not only exhibits an ignorance of Christianity, but an ignorance of America’s beginnings, which did not grow out of religious plurality, but out of the worship of the one true God of Scripture. When someone says, “You can’t have certain people as spokesmen for God,” the Christian response should be, “Why not? Any Christian, aided by the Holy Spirit, has the ability to discern God’s will from Scripture. Besides that, we have been commanded to be ‘salt and light,’ and there is no way to obey that command without pointing out God’s laws.”

Objection #6: “Christians won’t be able to ‘restrain’ their religious views if they get elected to office.

Non-Christians have used this tactic very effectively to keep Christians out of the arena where social policy is affected. It’s what I call “the myth of neutrality.” Christians are told, “You can be involved in social issues, but you cannot bring in your religious convictions. You must be neutral.” The assumption is that those who are formulating public policy issues are also being neutral. But they aren’t. The truth is that any worldview, whether Christian or non-Christian, reflects a person’s religion.

The issue, then, is not whether a person will restrain his or her religious views, because no one will. Rather, the question is, “Upon what standard is a particular religion based?” In other words, what authority backs up a person’s beliefs and gives them credibility? Statist socialism is all about power and influence. For the political party, it is about getting in office and staying in office. For the citizen, it’s about losing personal liberty with each succeeding government program.

Objection #7: “It’s not fair for non-Christian nations to be held accountable to God’s Laws because they don’t know what His Laws are!

Moses teaches, “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as for the native, for I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 24:22, Exodus 12:49). God’s perfect laws provide the best standard for anyone to live by, whether he be a Christian or a non-Christian (or in the original context, Jew or alien). It should be remembered that John the Baptist didn’t hesitate to apply God’s law to the non-Jewish King Herod (an Idumean) concerning his adulterous affair with his brother’s wife (Mark 6:18). In addition, this objection is dated because now the Bible has been translated into practically every known language. Secondly, since God’s Law has been written on mankind’s hearts (Romans 2:12-16) there is no excuse for anyone to claim, “I didn’t know about God’s Law!”

Objection #8: “We will not have this King to rule over us!

If we are not walking worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, if we are not living holy and obedient lives, we are unequivocally saying with our actions, what we should perhaps shudder to pronounce with our lips.

“It is—alas!—too common for men to show a willingness to be interested in Christ as a Priest, while they obstinately refuse to submit to Him as King. They would gladly be saved from a coming wrath, but they are utterly indisposed to obey. Let them know that these things are inseparable; that the one cannot be had without the other; and that such as will not accept Christ in all His character, shall never obtain an interest in Him in any. If we are not the subjects, we are the enemies of this King.” (William Symington, “Heart Loyalty,” in Credenda/Agenda Vol. 6 No. 1)

With Symington’s stirring words ringing in our ears, it should be agreed that the serious problems facing our country are not caused so much by those outside the Christian camp as by those within. We know God’s will, they do not; and we have an insight into God’s wisdom via the Holy Spirit, they do not. As Jesus, Himself, teaches, “the servant who knew His will and did not act according to it, shall receive many lashes” (Luke 12:47-48). For our country’s sake, for our community’s sake, for our children’s sake, for our sake, indeed for the Lord’s sake, let us do what we can, where we are, with what resources the Lord provides, to trust God’s promises enough to live according to His eternal truths.