Our Responsibility for the Biden Administration

 

                At noon Eastern time on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will take the oath of office as the 46th President of the United States. While many will welcome the change, many others are experiencing sadness, loss, and fear. However, regardless of politics, we as disciples of Christ in the United States have a few obligations to which we must adhere. These are not up for discussion; they are commanded by Scripture. I invite you to commit with me to the following:

SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES (Rom. 13:1)

                We recognize that there is no authority which has not been given by God. Therefore, we will continue to be obedient to our elected leaders. We will continue paying our taxes, as Jesus commanded. We will continue to respect the office of President of the United States as well as its holder. The same goes for the Vice President, governors, mayors, and local officials as well. As Paul writes, “Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7, NRSV).

The only pass we are given to disobey authorities is when they command us to do something contrary to God’s command. Peter and John handled this situation in Acts 4 when they were commanded to not preach the name of Jesus. Their response, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20, NRSV). Even in this, Peter and John were still respectful of authorities; they just chose obedience to God over obedience to men.

PRAY FOR THOSE IN HIGH POSITION (1 Tim. 2:1-7)

                While Paul’s letters to Timothy were in regard to his pastoral ministry, Timothy doubtless would have seen this as a command to lead the church in this direction. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim 2:1-2). If we truly believe that prayer changes things, then we must use the tool that God has given us.  Pray for health, wisdom, and strength for the President. Commit with me to pray for President Biden in the same way that you prayed for President Trump, President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, and so on. Not only is it a command from scripture; if prayer is as effective as we claim, it is the most practical thing that we can do for our nation.

SPEAK TRUTHFULLY ABOUT POLICIES, GOOD AND BAD

                The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects our right to criticize our leadership. I would argue that we exercise this right most effectively when we criticize policies, not people. People are made in God’s image. Policies are flawed people’s way of trying to bring order to the chaos around them. When (note I don’t say “if”) President Biden supports a policy that either we disagree with or is blatantly unbiblical, it is perfectly acceptable for disciples of Christ to speak out about it. I recommend that we temper our language and tone, keeping in mind that policymakers are flawed human beings just as we are.  

                In our criticism of policies, we do not have permission to say, post, or share things that are untrue. Not only does this violate the Eighth Commandment, but it destroys our testimony. This grieves the Holy Spirit. “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15, NRSV).

SPEAK TRUTHFULLY ABOUT CHARACTER AND BEHAVIOR

                In years past, Christian ministers would have led the way in saying that “character counts”.  We seemed thoroughly convinced of it at least as recently as Clinton’s presidency. Suddenly, in 2016, our camp became the ones noted for saying, “I voted for a president not a pastor.” Did God’s holy standard change after 1998?  Absolutely not! What was shameful before the Lord then is shameful before the Lord now.  Was it appropriate to point out President Trump’s behavior did not match his supposed confession of Christ?  Absolutely. Do I know pastors who took abuse over speaking this truth? Yes, I do.

Is it appropriate to note that Biden’s support of abortion is against his Catholic faith? I think it is. Speaking to the character of a leader is Biblical. A reading of Matthew 14:1-12 shows that criticizing the sins of the king (taking his brother’s wife) was what led to John the Baptist’s beheading. Pointing out the character of the Pharisees didn’t earn Jesus any points with them either. Whatever our affiliation, speaking the truth about character is essential.

KEEP OUR FIRST ALLEGIANCE TO CHRIST

                I ask you, dear disciples, to join me in the commitment to keep Jesus in the preeminent place in our minds and hearts. Our lives of disciplined obedience to His commands offer a lot more benefit to the lost and dying in the world than our political posturing. I have said it before: America is temporary. Every earthly empire has fallen. We would do well to remember that we serve the King of kings and Lord of lords and act like it. Our testimony depends on it.  



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