Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
By Rev. Mark Creech, Executive Director
As executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, I rub shoulders with a lot of lawmakers and other political figures in our state. I deeply admire their commitment to public service. Nearly all genuinely want to make a positive contribution to society. But most, unfortunately, haven’t the slightest clue concerning the purposes of God for their office. What is just as sad; their constituents don’t know either.
From whence does all authority and dominion flow? To what end are all powers appointed and judged of Almighty God?
Such questions introduce a concept, which is so far removed from the collective memory of Americans, it sounds like an intrusion of religion into the serenity of a nation that has almost become completely secularized. Nevertheless, it is a view that must be revived, if America is going to be true to her pledge of “one nation under God.” Furthermore, it is an understanding that must be rekindled, if we are to avoid the judgment of He who is Sovereign over all the nations.
The first question is answered by the words of the Apostle Paul, saying, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom. 13:1). King Solomon, the wisest King to ever live, affirmed the same, arguing as the voice of God, saying, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth” (Prov. 8:15-16).
John Knox, the great reformer of Scotland, summarized the principle in this fashion: “[I]t is evident, that it is neither birth, influence of stars, election of people, force of arms, nor finally, whatsoever can be comprehended under the power of nature, that maketh the distinction betwixt the superior power and the inferior, or that doth establish the royal throne of Kings; but it is the only and perfect ordinance of God, who willeth his power, terror, and Majesty in a part, to shine in the thrones of Kings, and in the face of judges.”
This is why no person elected or appointed to high office should ever have reason to boast. No reason to take pride in one’s abilities. No reason to think of oneself superior to those under authority. Why? Because it is God alone, who by His Sovereign movements through history, raises up whom He will, to see and examine how the one appointed will carry out the duties of his office.
The Apostle Paul also addresses the second question by declaring for what purpose God commits power to men: “[H]e is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:4). In other words, God has committed power to legislators, judges, commissioners, councilmen, governors, the president, etc., for one primary objective — to serve the public good and to put down evil.
This is why God established government. In fact, man’s nature is so corrupt and sinful, if there were no appointed powers to punish vice and maintain virtue, we would be better off dwelling among the animals. It’s sad, nevertheless true, that the beasts of the field are typically more merciful toward each other than humans are with their own kind. So, certain persons are appointed by God to execute justice — to protect the God-given rights of all — to administer authority in such a way that society may please God.
How, then, can any public official achieve such a noble function with little or no knowledge of God’s revealed will in His word? It is impossible!!!
When Joshua was inaugurated as Israel’s leader, God gave to him the rule by which all political leaders should order their service: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Josh. 1:8).
Would that our leaders would consider what is really required of them. In the final analysis, they will not be judged by opinion polls. The measure of their success will not be determined by what history says, but by what God says — whether they obeyed His commandments and led their people to do likewise.
Moreover, the hope of a nation depends on whether its leaders will direct their constituents in this manner. The Scripture says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2). Who are the righteous authorities, except those who lead with a biblical worldview?
America’s founders agreed with this approach to government. George Washington said, “True religion offers to government its surest support.” John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, argued, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
Indeed, America once again needs godly leadership. But before blaming sinful leaders for all the nation’s woes, it should be remembered that in a representative democracy, leaders are only a reflection of the public. Allow me to conclude with one more quote from John Knox. He said if calamities should befall a nation so that the wicked rule, then “let us accuse and condemn ourselves as the only cause of our own miseries. For if we had heard the voice of the Lord our God, and given upright obedience unto the same, God should have blessed us, He should have multiplied our peace, and should have rewarded our obedience before the eyes of the world.”
Rev. Mark H. Creech (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.