Christian approach to law and government
Discuss on how any one of the following helped you think about a Christian approach to law and government: Please choose two.
• Skeeel & Stuntz.
Christian Approach to Law and Government
Government impacts our daily lives. It dictates how fast we can drive, regulates business, and protects us from domestic and foreign strife, among other influences. However, we rarely take some time to take into consideration its basic functions. Effectively developing a Christian perspective is hard owing to the fact that the Bible does not explicitly provide exhaustive treatment of law and government. Debates continue to abound about how Christians should approach the government and law, including discussions by popular scholars and professors of faith, like Michael P. Schutt, William H. Pryor, Charles Colson, as well as David A. Skeel and William J. Stuntz. The aim of this paper is to discuss how Charles Colson and William H. Pryor helped me think about a Christian approach to government and law.
My Christian approach to and perspective about the government and law has significantly been influenced by the viewpoints shared by William H. Pryor and Charles Colson. From Colson’s rendition, I got to understand that politics cannot bring about the kingdom of God since the two kingdoms operate with distinct understandings of how the world can be changed (Pryor, 2006). Whereas politics is founded upon the proposition that society must be transformed so that people can change, Colson debates that in the politics of the kingdom, it is the people who must be transformed to change the society (Orr, 2007). The role of the church is to change society fundamentally by demonstrating God’s love as evidenced in Christ Jesus, whereas the political power can limit the behaviour of people.
Through Colson, I have understood that Christians are citizens of heaven before we are citizens of any nation, obligating us to serve as ambassadors of heavenly kingdom at work in this world (Orr, 2007). While carrying out God’s work in this world, Colson insinuates that Christians ought not to depend on the government and law, but their individual penetration of the society as ‘salt and light’ (Orr, 2007). Colson adds that Christians must, thus, resist “the ever-present temptation to usher in the Kingdom of God by political means” (Orr, 2007, p. 200). From his viewpoint, I have learned that power often corrupts. As opposed to seeking to power over others or collaborating with political power, Christians should, therefore, follow the example of Jesus of exercising power in weakness as shown in His washing of His disciples’ feet.
While Colson’s view has made me appreciate the fact that the kingdom of man and that of God should never be combined, William H. Pryor argues that allegiance to the kingdom of God helps Christians discharge their duties effectively in worldly arena. According to Pryor, religious faith appropriately informs one in their fidelity to their pubic duty in a number of ways, among which include understanding their roles and obligations to their governments, their moral duties to obey legal authority, and in their responsibility to work both honestly and diligently (Pryor, 2006). Giving an example with himself, Pryor states that when he placed his hand on the Holy Bible when he was swearing an oath of office as a judge, he implied that he would faithfully and well discharge his duties. He states that his conscience remains as it was affected by his religious beliefs. He believes that it would be worthless for him to swear an oath while placing his left hand on the Bible or finishing with the declaration, “So Help Me God.” Taking an untruth oath is a contravention of God’s second commandment not to take in vain the Lord’s name.
Concerning the duty to obey legal authority and faith, Pryor challenged me that religious faith informs people’s duty to obey legal powers. As a Christian, there is a moral obligation to obey the governments and their law, while the Christian faith offers the foundation for people to administer or obey the law. Pryor adds that the duty of Christians is to obey the government along with its laws as expressed in the Bible’s New Testament’s Matthew, Romans, and Peter. Thus, Christians have a moral obligation to diligently enforce and obey the law. Similarly, from Pryor’s perspective, religion teaches people the duty of honesty, obligating professors of religion/faith both to be truthful in their communication and reasoning and honour other people’s property. This obligation is depicted in the commandments against stealing and against bearing false witness.
From Pryor, I have also learned whereas religion properly motivates and informs one to faithfully and diligently do their moral duties, obey the law and government, and work both honestly and diligently, there is a limit to the significance and relevance of religion in the execution of certain duties, like judicial duty.
From the foregoing, Pryor and Colson’s views regarding Christian approach towards the government and law have significantly informed how I demonstrate my religion in various spheres of my daily lives.
Orr, R. D. (2007). The Role of Christian Belief in Public Policy. Christian Bioethics, 13(2), 199-209. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803600701473489
Pryor, W. H. (2006). The Religious Faith and Judicial Duty of an American Catholic Judge. Yale Law & Policy Review, 24, 347-362.