Table of Duties: Government and Vocation
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”Romans 13:1-4
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The 2016 presidential election proved to be quite a challenge for many voters, especially Christian voters. In discussions with co-workers and church friends, no one seemed particularly excited about the presidential candidate choices. It left me wondering why any Christian would even want to participate in the election, let alone serve as an elected official.
Thankfully, there are Christians who choose to be part of our governmental process. In fact, former Lutheran high school teacher John Shimkus serves as the United States congressman for Illinois’s fifteenth congressional district. He’s not alone either. Plenty of Christians from a wide variety of denominations serve at all levels of government.
Luther opposed the notion that Christians should not be involved in the civil realm. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession says, “Very many good people working in the state and in business have declared that they have been greatly benefited by it. . . . The doctrine we follow does not wreck the authority of magistrates and the dignity of all public ordinances. Rather, they are strengthened even more” (Article XVI, paragraph 65).
Instead of marveling at the fact that Christians want to be involved in government, we can thank God for their involvement. Through their service, we have a strong government that allows us the freedom to worship God.
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