The recent election of President-elect Donald Trump has caused a whirlwind of controversy leading up to, and still after the election. Specifically within the Church controversy abounded among Church leaders over whether a Christian could or should support Trump or Clinton.
The election is over, Trump wins. Is it the end? What does the Church do in response to Trump winning? In short, nothing different than what we should have been doing already.
The business of the Church should not be disrupted or fundamentally changed after a transfer of governmental power.
The reaction of Christians should not lead to a disruption in their devotion to service of the Lord. Some Church leaders would give us doomsday or complicated solutions as to where we go from here, but in reality there should be no true response of change from the Church. The Church should go on unaffected in her devotion to Christ.
In part one of this post I examined one verse of Scripture, Matthew 16:18, where Jesus gave us two clear promises that we should hold onto to guard our minds concerning the election results. See part one of this answer here. Those two promises from Matthew 16:18 should help us with our mental response to the election.
In this part two we are going to look at if there is anything the Church should ‘do,’ what is it? Part one was how do we ‘mentally’ respond, and this post is how do we respond with actions.
In the days of the New Testament being written, the Christians lived under the Roman Empire. This was not a democracy by any stretch that we are accustomed to in the West. The Emperor ruled, think the Emperor from Star Wars type ruled. If the Emperor was neutral towards Christians then Christians could go their way in peace. If the Emperor was positive towards Christians, then there were times in Church history Christians were boosted by the government. However, if the Emperor was negative towards Christians, then the Church would come under extreme persecution (Emperor Nero days). I share this to say that when we look at the passages that talk about submitting to governmental institutions, remember these Christians experienced periods of the worst times of government hostility against the Church. So we in the West currently should have no excuses to obey God’s Word concerning government.
1 Peter 2:12-15
Peter writing to a persecuted Christian Church that had been scattered across lands due to the persecution, says in verse twelve that Christians are to keep their behavior excellent among the Gentiles (non-Christians). Why? So that the non-Christian world we live in will have no excuse to blame Christians for wrong doing and therefore blaspheme against God even more. Christians should live in such a way before the lost that our actions will glorify God, and hopefully cause them to turn to God.
This is the context leading up to verses thirteen through fifteen. Peter then gives us a case in which we can show excellent behavior in a lost world. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution [governments],…” (1 Peter 2:13a NASB).
Peter says a way the Church should respond to situations in the world, is by submission. Not protesting for violent change, but submission. He goes on to say whether it’s to a king or the king’s governors. It is God’s will that we do right by obeying the authorities in government over us and be model citizens (vs.15).
Does this mean Christians agree with everything their government does? Of course not. Does it also mean that if the government tries to force Christians to do things that are fully against God’s commands that we still obey government? Absolutely not (see Acts 5:27-29). What it means is that so far as the government is not forcing us to blaspheme God, then we obey the commands of the government. This is an act of obedience to God.
The Church Responds to the Election by Submission to Governmental Authorities
Whether you supported President-Elect Trump or not, the duty of a Christian is to show actions of submission by obedience to the government God has given over us.
There really is no complicated answer to the question of how does the Church respond to the election. The answer is simple. We Christians who make up the body of Christ should continue in faithfulness and obedience to the Lord. It matters not what government we are under, the principles from God’s Word are the same. We remember the promises from Jesus in Matthew 16:18 that no government can truly eradicate the Church, the Church will always exist because Jesus said so. We also remember that we are called to live as model citizens of the government God has set over us. This brings glory to God and is a tool for evangelizing the lost to faith in Jesus Christ.
So do not get distracted and too caught up in the political tides changing, keep the focus on doing what is right by seek the salvation of the lost and the glory of God in this country by being a model citizen and ambassador for Christ. Remember, we are technically foreigners in this world regardless of where you hold your country citizenship. In God’s eyes, our citizenship is in Heaven. We are humble ambassadors in this world until He calls us home.