Quotes from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture

Wayne A. Grudem ·  624 pages

Rating: (331 votes)


“But won’t political involvement distract us from the main task of preaching the Gospel? At this point someone may object that while political involvement may have some benefits and may do some good, it can so easily distract us, turn unbelievers away from the church, and cause us to neglect the main task of pointing people toward personal trust in Christ. John MacArthur writes, “When the church takes a stance that emphasizes political activism and social moralizing, it always diverts energy and resources away from evangelization.”83 Yet the proper question is not, “Does political influence take resources away from evangelism?” but, “Is political influence something God has called us to do?” If God has called some of us to some political influence, then those resources would not be blessed if we diverted them to evangelism—or to the choir, or to teaching Sunday School to children, or to any other use. In this matter, as in everything else the church does, it would be healthy for Christians to realize that God may call individual Christians to different emphases in their lives. This is because God has placed in the church “varieties of gifts” (1 Cor. 12:4) and the church is an entity that has “many members” but is still “one body” (v. 12). Therefore God might call someone to devote almost all of his or her time to the choir, someone else to youth work, someone else to evangelism, someone else to preparing refreshments to welcome visitors, and someone else to work with lighting and sound systems. “But if Jim places all his attention on the sound system, won’t that distract the church from the main task of preaching the Gospel?” No, not at all. That is not what God has called Jim to emphasize (though he will certainly share the Gospel with others as he has opportunity). Jim’s exclusive focus on the church’s sound system means he is just being a faithful steward in the responsibility God has given him. In the same way, I think it is entirely possible that God called Billy Graham to emphasize evangelism and say nothing about politics and also called James Dobson to emphasize a radio ministry to families and to influencing the political world for good. Aren’t there enough Christians in the world for us to focus on more than one task? And does God not call us to thousands of different emphases, all in obedience to him? But the whole ministry of the church will include both emphases. And the teaching ministry from the pulpit should do nothing less than proclaim “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). It should teach, over the course of time, on all areas of life and all areas of Bible knowledge. That certainly must include, to some extent, what the Bible says about the purposes of civil government and how that teaching should apply to our situations today. This means that in a healthy church we will find that some people emphasize influencing the government and politics, others emphasize influencing the business world, others emphasize influencing the educational system, others entertainment and the media, others marriage and the family, and so forth. When that happens, it seems to me that we should encourage, not discourage, one another. We should adopt the attitude toward each other that Paul encouraged in the church at Rome: Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Rom. 14:10–13). For several different reasons, then, I think the view that says the church should just “do evangelism, not politics” is incorrect.”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


“We spread the Gospel by the proclamation of the Word of God (see Rom. 10:17). But God has told us that we should restrain evil by the power of the sword and by the power of civil government (as in the teaching of Romans 13:1–6, quoted above, p. 37). If the power of government (such as a policeman) is not present in an emergency, when great harm is being done to another person, then my love for the victim should lead me to use physical force to prevent any further harm from occurring. If I found a criminal attacking my wife or children, I would use all my physical strength and all the physical force at my disposal against him, not to persuade him to trust in Christ as his Savior, but to immediately stop him from harming my wife and children! I would follow the command of Nehemiah, who told the men of Israel, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (Neh. 4:14; see also Genesis 14:14–16, where Abraham rescued his kinsman Lot who had been taken captive by a raiding army). Boyd has wrongly taken one of the ways that God restrains evil in this world (changing hearts through the Gospel of Christ) and decided that it is the only way that God restrains evil (thus neglecting the valuable role of civil government). Both means are from God, both are good, and both should be used by Christians.”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


“We spread the Gospel by the proclamation of the Word of God (see Rom. 10:17). But God has told us that we should restrain evil by the power of the sword and by the power of civil government (as in the teaching of Romans 13:1–6, quoted above, p. 37). If the power of government (such as a policeman) is not present in an emergency, when great harm is being done to another person, then my love for the victim should lead me to use physical force to prevent any further harm from occurring. If I found a criminal attacking my wife or children, I would use all my physical strength and all the physical force at my disposal against him, not to persuade him to trust in Christ as his Savior, but to immediately stop him from harming my wife and children! I would follow the command of Nehemiah, who told the men of Israel, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (Neh. 4:14; see also Genesis 14:14–16, where Abraham rescued his kinsman Lot who had been taken captive by a raiding army). Boyd has wrongly taken one of the ways that God restrains evil in this world (changing hearts through the Gospel of Christ) and decided that it is the only way that God restrains evil (thus neglecting the valuable role of civil government). Both means are from God, both are good, and both should be used by Christians. This is why Boyd misunderstands Jesus’ statement, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. 5:39). When this verse is rightly understood (see below, p. 82), we see that Jesus is telling individuals not to take revenge for a personal insult or a humiliating slap on the cheek.51 But this command for individual kindness is not the same as the instructions that the Bible gives to governments, who are to “bear the sword” and be a “terror” to bad conduct and are to carry out “God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom. 13:3–4). The verses must be understood rightly in their own contexts. One is talking about individual conduct and personal revenge. The other is talking about the responsibilities of government. We should not confuse the two passages.”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


“For the question of abortion, perhaps the most significant passage of all is found in the specific laws God gave Moses for the people of Israel during the time of the Mosaic covenant. One particular law spoke of the penalties to be imposed in case the life or health of a pregnant woman or her preborn child was endangered or harmed: When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exod. 21:22–25).1 This law concerns a situation when men are fighting and one of them accidentally hits a pregnant woman. Neither one of them intended to do this, but as they fought they were not careful enough to avoid hitting her. If that happens, there are two possibilities: 1. If this causes a premature birth but there is no harm to the pregnant woman or her preborn child, there is still a penalty: “The one who hit her shall surely be fined” (v. 22). The penalty was for carelessly endangering the life or health of the pregnant woman and her child. We have similar laws in modern society, such as when a person is fined for drunken driving, even though he has hit no one with his car. He recklessly endangered human life and health, and he deserved a fine or other penalty. 2. But “if there is harm” to either the pregnant woman or her child, then the penalties are quite severe: “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth …” (vv. 23–24). This means that both the mother and the preborn child are given equal legal protection. The penalty for harming the preborn child is just as great as for harming the mother. Both are treated as persons, and both deserve the full protection of the law.2”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


“This law is even more significant when we put it in the context of other laws in the Mosaic covenant. In other cases in the Mosaic law where someone accidentally caused the death of another person, there was no requirement to give “life for life,” no capital punishment. Rather, the person who accidentally caused someone else’s death was required to flee to one of the “cities of refuge” until the death of the high priest (see Num. 35:9–15, 22–29). This was a kind of “house arrest,” although the person had to stay within a city rather than within a house for a limited period of time. It was a far lesser punishment than “life for life.” This means that God established for Israel a law code that placed a higher value on protecting the life of a pregnant woman and her preborn child than the life of anyone else in Israelite society. Far from treating the death of a preborn child as less significant than the death of others in society, this law treats the death of a preborn child or its mother as more significant and worthy of more severe punishment. And the law does not place any restriction on the number of months the woman was pregnant. Presumably it would apply from a very early stage in pregnancy, whenever it could be known that a miscarriage had occurred and her child or children had died as a result. Moreover, this law applies to a case of accidental killing of a preborn child. But if accidental killing of a preborn child is so serious in God’s eyes, then surely intentional killing of a preborn child must be an even worse crime. The conclusion from all of these verses is that the Bible teaches that we should think of the preborn child as a person from the moment of conception, and we should give to the preborn child legal protection at least equal to that of others in the society. Additional note: It is likely that many people reading this evidence from the Bible, perhaps for the first time, will already have had an abortion. Others reading this will have encouraged someone else to have an abortion. I cannot minimize or deny the moral wrong involved in this action, but I can point to the repeated offer of the Bible that God will give forgiveness of sins to those who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Although such sin, like all other sin, deserves God’s wrath, Jesus Christ took that wrath on himself as a substitute for all who would believe in him: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). b. Scientific”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture



“Should churches exert any influence in politics? Should pastors preach about political questions? Is there only one “Christian” position on political issues? Does the Bible teach anything about how people should vote? I think there are some clear answers to these questions, but we have to recognize at the outset that dozens of other books and articles have already given their own answers to such questions. These books range from saying that the Bible gives outright support for many liberal Democratic positions to saying that the Bible supports conservative Republican positions.1 Some books argue that Christians have simply become far too entangled in political activities, while another important book argues that Christians have a biblical mandate to be involved in politics.2 Another widely influential book gives many real-life examples of remarkable Christian influence on laws and governments.3 One book that has received wide consideration in the United Kingdom proposes a rethinking of major political questions in light of the Bible’s priority of personal relationships.4 There have been a few recent books by theologians and biblical scholars dealing at a more theoretical level with the question of Christian perspectives on politics.5 In this book I start out by explaining what seem to me to be five clearly wrong (and harmful) views about Christians and politics: (1) “government should compel religion,” (2) “government should exclude religion,” (3) “all government is evil and demonic,” (4) “the church should do evangelism, not politics,” and (5) “the church should do politics, not evangelism.” As an alternative, I argue for what I think to be the correct view: (6) “significant Christian influence on government.”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


“God gave the requirement for the death penalty in Genesis 9:6 at the beginning of human society after the flood, when methods of collecting evidence and the certainty of proof were far less reliable than they are today. Yet God still gave the command to fallible human beings, not requiring that they be omniscient to carry it out, but only expecting that they act responsibly and seek to avoid further injustice as they carried it out. Among the people of Israel, a failure to carry out the death penalty when God had commanded it was to “pollute the land” and “defile” it before God, for justice had not been done (see Num. 35:32–34).”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


“This law is even more significant when we put it in the context of other laws in the Mosaic covenant. In other cases in the Mosaic law where someone accidentally caused the death of another person, there was no requirement to give “life for life,” no capital punishment. Rather, the person who accidentally caused someone else’s death was required to flee to one of the “cities of refuge” until the death of the high priest (see Num. 35:9–15, 22–29). This was a kind of “house arrest,” although the person had to stay within a city rather than within a house for a limited period of time. It was a far lesser punishment than “life for life.” This means that God established for Israel a law code that placed a higher value on protecting the life of a pregnant woman and her preborn child than the life of anyone else in Israelite society. Far from treating the death of a preborn child as less significant than the death of others in society, this law treats the death of a preborn child or its mother as more significant and worthy of more severe punishment. And the law does not place any restriction on the number of months the woman was pregnant. Presumably it would apply from a very early stage in pregnancy, whenever it could be known that a miscarriage had occurred and her child or children had died as a result. Moreover, this law applies to a case of accidental killing of a preborn child. But if accidental killing of a preborn child is so serious in God’s eyes, then surely intentional killing of a preborn child must be an even worse crime. The conclusion from all of these verses is that the Bible teaches that we should think of the preborn child as a person from the moment of conception, and we should give to the preborn child legal protection at least equal to that of others in the society. Additional note: It is likely that many people reading this evidence from the Bible, perhaps for the first time, will already have had an abortion. Others reading this will have encouraged someone else to have an abortion. I cannot minimize or deny the moral wrong involved in this action, but I can point to the repeated offer of the Bible that God will give forgiveness of sins to those who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Although such sin, like all other sin, deserves God’s wrath, Jesus Christ took that wrath on himself as a substitute for all who would believe in him: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).”
― Wayne A. Grudem, quote from Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture


About the author

Wayne A. Grudem
Born place: in Chippewa Falls, The United States
Born date February 11, 1948
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