Leadership in Context Episode 90 Show Notes
Relating to Government, pt2
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
How does the Church relate to temporal or civil government?
1 Timothy 2:1-4
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Background: This is one of the basic instructions given in the Bible. Paul is in jail, awaiting his execution, when he writes this. He writes this not just to a young leader, but to an apostolic leader.
Context: In chapter 1, Paul writes about unruly people in the church, and outside the church as well as people who have resisted them and caused them problems.
In chapter 2, Paul is telling Timothy that the first thing he needs to do is pray and make prayers and petitions for all in authority. Why? So we can lead a quiet and peaceable life.
Pray for those in authority--that they do not interrupt you or get in your way. It’s great when we have someone who is an advocate for the Church. We aren’t looking to politicize the gospel. But neither are we looking to make the gospel irrelevant. We already have a Savior. We don’t need a savior. There is already a Supreme Court that sits in Heaven. The Supreme Court on earth is not THE Supreme court.
Paul starts chapter 2 with “first of all.” In other words, do not get sidetracked, but understand that if the government is not working properly or you have authorities in power who have the ability to disrupt what you are doing, then that is going to stop the spread of the gospel.
COVID-19: What is the issue?
Stopping the spread of the gospel is the issue. The church not meeting together, not worshiping together is a command of the Bible and critical. Yet, possibly higher than that is the hindering of preaching the gospel.
Role of the Believer in Government
Pray for government, and believe God that government will not get involved in the Church’s business. God never ordained civil, or temporal, government to be involved in the affairs of the Church.
The government’s job is to protect us from both foreign and domestic enemies. That is the primary job of the government—protection, not provision.
The government has not been designed to teach, to tutor, to mandate the Church. When it does that, the government is getting out of its lane. This is where the Kingdom is in conflict right now. We have a government that has overstepped its role and is unequally applying edicts. The government is trusting business leaders to open their businesses and keep social distancing, but is telling the Church to stay closed. The government doesn’t have the authority to do that.
Does the government have some authority to protect its citizens if there is a legitimate threat? Yes. We can debate about the threat, but the threat isn’t the issue. The issue is that there is unequal application.
We have to understand that our first role is to say to the government that we really believe in separation of Church and state. Separation of Church and state is not found in the Constitution, but in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a group of Baptists who were concerned about the government getting involved in the church’s business. Jefferson said that he believed that there was a wall between Church and state where the government would not be involved in the Church’s business. That is all hat the apostle Paul was telling us to pray for in 1 Timothy 2:1-4—that the government would not be involved in our business.
The job of the Church is to pray that the government will not interfere. When the government does interfere, it ends up hindering the gospel, gets us distracted, interrupts us. It puts us in a mode to be somewhat confrontational, which isn’t popular or in our comfort zone. Jesus was not always accepted by the powers that be. Most of the Bible was written from jail cells by people who weren’t looking for a fight, but a fight came to them.
The way we relate to government is by total allegiance to King Jesus and understanding that we have an obligation and responsibility to pray for the best government.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!