Baptist or Anabaptist Politics?

David Burchard Christian Ethics, Politics Leave a Comment

A note on Baptists and political engagement:

Ireland, another example proving democratic consent does not make right, has joined the Axis of Western Evil, the nations of the West that rejoice to legally allow abortion.

For those who love righteousness and think that babies are precious blessings from God, this is a blow to the gut. For Baptists, it is yet another opportunity to consider how we engage in the political arena.

Do we leave such matters to Presbyterians and those who hold to an establishment principle? Do we say, “Oh well, pagans gonna pagan. Our concern is the church. Let the world eat itself”? Do we eschew patriotism and love of nation and deny any citizenship on the earth?

No. We as Baptists do not answer such questions in the affirmative. Though decay digests men and their institutions in this world, even great empires, Baptist men ought to fight in the political sphere, hoping for success at every turn, and entrusting the results to God.

Even when go down we must, we must go down swinging.

The 1689 Baptist Confession reads in 24:1:

“God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under him…”

All governments and civil rulers have been put in power by God and are under God. There is no place on earth where Christ is not the Supreme Ruler in the Land. Is this not what we confess when we say that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords? King Jesus is always in charge as the Monarch, the Single Political Head. Every government and magistrate answers to him now, and will answer to him on the day of his appearing. Every government and magistrate are to be assessed as good or bad based on the degree to which that government and magistrate submit to the standard of his Word in policy and practice.

It is good to support good governments and magistrates, and the good done by governments and magistrates, through all available means. It is good to oppose bad governments and magistrates, and the bad done by governments and magistrates, through all available means.

And there would be nothing in violation of this Baptist confession in establishing Christianity as the official religion of a state or nation, and making it a constitutional requirement for magistrates to not just pledge allegiance to a political constitution, but also to pledge allegiance to the Bible as the highest written authority in the land.

Does this endanger the distinction between the church and the world? No, because regeneration is necessary for entrance into the church, while only generation is necessary for entrance into the world. One enters by believer’s baptism the membership of the church. Birth into citizenship makes no statement about someone’s standing before the Lord, even if the State is explicitly subject to the Lord. And such constitutional requirements do not submit the State to the church. They simply recognize and affirm inescapable subjection to Jesus.

 

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