(Un)Supersize Me. Jul13

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(Un)Supersize Me.

When I started research for this Blog a few months ago, I had the idea for an article titled, “Jesus isn’t a Republican or a Democrat”.  Up to that point, I had thought the differences between Republicans and Democrats were based on how they each viewed social issues like abortion, gay marriage, welfare, social security, the environment, etc.  I could see biblical principles supporting arguments on both sides of “the aisle”.  It wasn’t until recently when I was reading articles on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare that I realized I had missed, what seemed to me, the main foundational differences between the two parties: size of government and the authority of God.

Since I was young, I have always thought that the Government was big.  How could it not be?  It maintains all of our armed forces, interstate highways, foreign affairs, interest rates…  It houses our most famous politicians.  It takes a substantial percentage out of all of my paychecks.  I guess I have always operated under the assumption that it just had to be that way.  Is that how the government was when Jesus was walking around?  I’m not sure.  But I do know that He wanted the early Christians to be good citizens and neighbors, to respect authority (Romans 13:1-7), and to pay taxes (Mark 12:13-17).

So when Republicans are constantly calling for a smaller, more limited, government – what do they mean?  I thought Doug Wilson said it well in his sermon to the governor of Idaho this last Sunday:  “The Bible requires limited government because any claim to unlimited government by mortals is a spurious claim to Deity.”  He used the example of the early Christians who found themselves being persecuted because of their proclamation that Jesus was King, not Caesar (Acts 17:6-8).  Caesar was an earthly ruler – a politician if you will – but he wasn’t God and he didn’t have the authority of God.  Jesus supported this further in his discussion with the Pharisees over taxes.  “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” drawing the distinction between what is worldly and material versus what is godly and ultimate.

In a lot of ways, Government has become God to a lot of people.  Instead of praying and trusting in Him to provide for us (Matthew 6:25-33), we now have welfare, food stamps, healthcare – government subsidized everything. Are all of these things bad on their own?  No, but dependence on God and personal participation seem lost in the equation.

If you didn’t know this already, I am of the mind that God’s design is better than any of man’s designs.  If we are following His design for the family and living in community within the Body of Christ, there isn’t much need for government to provide us with any of these services.  As Christians, we are called to reach out to those in need, believers or not, who need our help – widows, orphans, disabled, needy (James 1:27, Luke 12:33, Acts 4:33-35).  This design lets us participate with God in providing for others’ needs as well as gives us the opportunity to share the gospel and testify to His love and work in people’s lives.  If government is already providing for all of these needs, this creates laziness in us, thinking we don’t need to be involved.

And I think it also tells people that they don’t need God – they just need government.  You got a problem?  Expand the government to try to take care of the problem!  Vote for whoever says that they will give you what you want – more stuff to take care of your problems!  Instead of God as Savior, we have politicians with promises.  What do you think would happen if the government became smaller?  I believe that liberty would increase and our participation in God’s Story would become greater.