Four Takes on Christian Participation in Government


I have quite a bit going on in my life right now, but I hammered out this essay last night. It is something I have thought about a bit, and I will only cover it briefly here.

I suppose that there are four basic positions that a Christian in present day America (using the term Christian in the loosest and broadest sense possible) might think he should adopt in his interactions with civil government. The first three all have some Biblical basis, though obviously all three cannot be correct. The fourth is Biblically indefensible and idiotic, which is why it is the most common of the four among present day professing Christians. Eschatology does figure into these systems somewhat.

The first is that of Theonomy, or God’s Law. Theonomy holds that God’s standard of law as revealed to Moses in the Old Testament is the eternal standard for law in all countries in all time periods. This position would criminalize both sinful acts against others (such as theft and murder) and sinful acts with no legal victim (such as adultery and sodomy). Theonomists participate in government, as they believe they have a divine mandate to do so to advance the kingdom of Christ, the same as when they preach. Presumably, at some point, a government could get so corrupt that they could no longer participate and would either resist it or let it self-destruct –at which point they could step in to rebuild a better one.

This is the position articulated by the Christian Reconstructionists in late 20th century America. The Theonomic worldview would reject the prophetic concepts of a Rapture and tribulation; from what I have read, Theonomists believe that they will slowly Christianize the world at which point Jesus will return. Leaving prophetic views, in a sense, the 13 colonies and the early American republic had a mild version of Theonomy -as did the antebellum South. The Kinist movement seems to usually be Theonomic.

The second position is that of “participation with qualifications”. This position would hold that Christians may participate in civil government as long as the state was not doing anything evil. They would vote, hold office, and fight. As with the Theonomists, presumably at some point the government could get so corrupt that they could no longer participate and would either resist it or let it self-destruct –at which point they could step in to rebuild a better one. Like Theonomy, the second position holds that the foundation of right and wrong, and thus law, must be an unchangeable moral code higher than man –written by deity. The big differences between position two and Theonomy are twofold: (1) that they do not see a scriptural mandate or prophetic image telling them to gradually take over the kingdoms of this world for Jesus and (2) that victimless sins would not be criminalized. This position would see history as an eternal struggle of peoples and governments between right and wrong with Jesus ending the struggle when he returns, perhaps after a period of great religious apostasy.

The third position is total nonparticipation. These people see the kingdoms of this world as under Satan, and see no scriptural mandate to take them for Jesus. These people hold that the church is the only current representative of Jesus’ kingdom on Earth. Obviously, the Amish and Mennonite peoples would take this position. They generally see the world as a bad place until Jesus comes back to end it. This position is taken by many pacifists, but is not limited to pacifists. There are a few people, like Christian agrarian separatist Michael Bunker, who own guns and believe in self-defense and defensive warfare, but who do not get involved in politics as they believe that God will raise up the king he desires.

The fourth position is that the state is an agent of God, basically just God wrapped in the flag. (Note: Apparently this position is only valid if it is the American or Israeli flag). These people fanatically participate in government even when it is very corrupt, thought they do not try to institute moral laws or take over the state to advance God’s kingdom. They oftentimes think that things will end with the climax of a one world tyrannical government that Jesus will end when he returns –about seven years after they are zipped to Heaven safe and sound. Blowing up non-combatant women and babies abroad is fine to them, but abortion of babies at home is the height of evil. (I personally know an Independent Baptist preacher who had a distraught veteran come to him that had accidentally killed women and kids by throwing grenades into a building before entry; the preacher told him it was okay because he was “under orders”). The position four boys will support the troops no matter the morality or Constitutionality of the war they are engaged in; well, not if we fought Israel. Basically the state is their God and must be totally obeyed, unless it infringes on the meetings held in their 501 (c)(3) churches.

At this point in my life, I take position two. That being said, I do not condemn those whose personal study of the Bible and conscience indicate to them position one or three. I hope this will give my readers some food for thought.

© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam or Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.


Author: Joe Putnam

I am a Christian (Reformed/Sovereign Grace Baptist type), white American of Western European bloodline, advocate of an agrarian social order, Kinist, White Nationalist, admirer of America’s Founding Fathers and the Boys in Gray, homesteader, indie published author, and amateur historian. I have indie published several books, all of which are available from Amazon. I am a life long resident of rural Orange County, IN –in the part of the Upper South that many would term Greater Appalachia or the Dixie Frontier. In addition to my own blog "Putnam Liberty Notes", from May through July of 2017 I dual published many of my posts at the popular multi-author Alt-South blog Identity Dixie. In addition to my blog writings, I am currently gearing up for (at least) two more book projects –one theological and one historical. The theological one will cover the three interpretational views of Daniel’s 70th Week. I hope to have this book in print in late summer 2017. (Hint: I am, not a Dispensational Futurist). The historical book will be a biography of George Rogers Clark (1752-1818). Clark was a noted Virginia militia officer who’s campaigns, including his successful siege of Vincennes, basically took the Old Northwest from Britain during the American Revolution. Clark spent the rest of his life around the river that separates Clarksville, IN from Louisville, Kentucky. I hope to have my Clark bio in print in early 2018.

3 thoughts on “Four Takes on Christian Participation in Government”

  1. The Apostle Peter stated in Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” KJV. It would seem Peter would submit to civil government only if it didn’t contradict God’s law which seems to be position 2 that you wrote about.
    Progressives at the turn of the 19th century felt the world needed to be cleaned up to usher in the millennium so Christ could return. Ideas of social justice and a massive “war to end all wars” so a supranational state could be set up was preached from many northern pulpits. One of it’s advocates Woodrow Wilson who advocated a League of Nations was responsible for U.S. entry throwing the victory to France and Britain. This caused horrible and punitive sanctions against Germany and led to the rise of Nazism. It also allow Russia to be thrown to the Bolsheviks. So much for an era of peace. Ideas have consequences.


  2. Joe, I enjoyed this post and left a comment.  It’s been awhile since I said hello.  I got a bit of breathing room at work and wanted to say hello.  How are things with you?


  3. Hello Anthony,
    Glad to say hello. I am planting more fruit trees and gearing up for Spring. I am having some WiFi connection issues this morning, and just barely got my new post posted. As such, I am saying hi here in case my WiFi fails before I get you an email sent this morning. Appreciate the comments you left.


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