Charles Colson, God & Government: An Insider’s View on the Boundaries Between Faith & Politics, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 314-316, 331. This book was formerly titled Kingdoms in Conflict: An insider’s challenging view of politics, power, and the pulpit and published in 1987.
Colson’s words, from the chapter titled “Christians in Politics,” are fitting for us to remember, especially during this presidential election season.
There are at least three compelling reasons Christians must be involved in politics and government. First, as citizens of the nation-state, Christians have the same civic duties all citizens have: to serve on juries, to pay taxes, to vote, to support candidates they think are best qualified. They are commanded to pray for and respect governing authorities.
Second, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, Christians are to bring God’s standards of righteousness and justice to bear on the kingdoms of this world.
Third, Christians have an obligation to bring transcendent moral values into the public debate. All law implicitly involves morality; the popular idea that ‘you can’t legislate morality’ is a myth. Morality is legislated every day from the vantage point of one value system or another. The question is not whether we will legislate morality, but whose morality will we legislate.
The real issue for Christians is not whether they should be involved in politics or contend for laws that affect moral behavior. The question is how.
We can conclude that Christians, both individually and institutionally, have a duty, for the good of society as a whole, to bring the values of the Kingdom of God to bear within the kingdoms of man.