Should Christians work to have Christian values in public policy?

One year I was invited to speak at the inaugural prayer breakfast for the newly elected governor of the state of Florida. On that occasion I had the opportunity to speak with men and women who were in strategic places in government. A question that’s very high on their agenda: At what point are we to maintain that very careful line of separation of church and state?

In our political heritage, as well as in our Christian heritage, we understand that there is a difference between the institution of civil government (the state) and the institution of the church. It is not the church’s task nor responsibility to tell the governor how to govern or to make the government establish our religious preferences. However, we also have to keep in mind that both the state and the church are under God. The state is not sovereign; the state never has the right to do wrong. The state is always under the authority of God. God institutes government, God ordains government, and God will judge government. He holds government and all other institutions in our society responsible for doing what is right.

What is right in given situations—right business practices, right labor practices, right judicial practices? Right and wrong are not uniquely decided by Christians. There are certain commandments we are to perform as Christians. For example, the Lord’s Supper. We’re not supposed to ask unbelievers to participate in the Lord’s Supper. However, God tells me as a Christian to pay my bills on time. He tells me not to use false weights and balances in my business. I think that it’s perfectly appropriate to recommend that the state have sound currency and not destroy the weights and balances of our society, to have honorable contracts and to do what is right. In other words, in those spheres of ethics that are right for all people, I believe it is a Christian’s responsibility to remind the state to stand for what is right.

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©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
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