Bringing faith into public policy

By March 26, 2019

Int’l (MNN) – Should Christianity impact law and public policy? Many in the West hold that faith and politics should never mix. Religion is for private times and shouldn’t alter public government or policies.

However, Janet Epp Buckingham, a Professor at Trinity Western University in Canada who was recently hosted by InterVarsity, believes public policy and Christianity are inseparable.

Principled Policies

Buckingham believes that Christians should actively advocate for policies that align with Godly principles. This is a position she pulls from Scripture.

“I really started with some of the well-known Old Testament figures that we know, that I think we can take good lessons from in our current contexts. People like King David; people like Queen Esther; people like Nehemiah and how they were standing for Godly principles but also the public good. Sometimes in Israel and speaking to the nation of Israel, but also sometimes in a society that was completely opposed to God.”

This opposes the idea that Christians need to work in strictly “Christian” occupations, such as missions. Whether a person’s influence is small or large, they should be seeking to help display God’s heart through public means.

Follow God’s Call

Buckingham explains, “Some people will be called to careers in law or government and be able to work for the public good. And some people will be called to speak to particular issues of social justice. They may see a wrong in human trafficking or it may be something as simple as a new crosswalk in front of a school that will provide protection for children.

(Photo courtesy of Gentle Horizons on Flickr https://bit.ly/2CyDsAn and header photo courtesy of Patrick Feller on Flickr https://bit.ly/2UTA3Dr)

“It may be in their home country. It may be as they’re serving somewhere abroad where they see an injustice.”

Just as God gives different spiritual gifts, he gives different vocational callings. The Church must encourage people to follow those God-given calls into difficult public forums. If Christians refrain from interacting with society the results are a society that pulls further away from God.

“But I see if we, Christians are not engaged in those issues then we give them over to those who do not follow Christian principles.” Buckingham continues, “And I think as Christians we need to be praying for those who are in these roles. They are subject to a lot of temptation. You think about King David and how he fell in that role.”

Get Involved

Not only should Christians be praying for those in authority, but those not in the limelight should back Godly causes. Buckingham encourages people to find groups who share their passions. Join a leader who is already working in the area you are passionate about.

“We can’t be lone rangers. We need to work with other people who also have a burning passion for that issue. And we always need to start with prayer and seek God and see where God wants us to move. When we’re acting on our own and on our own strength, we are not going to be successful. We really need to be following God’s calling in these things.”

Pray for Christian leaders in government and the public eye. Ask God to give them wisdom as they seek to put in place policies that further His kingdom. Seek out ways to support or get involved with public policies and make positive changes in your community and around the world for the good of the Gospel.

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