Christian Citizenship

The following article was presented to families of Elliott Prairie Christian School and Hopewell Mennonite Church as a letter from the principal. I wrote this on November 4, 1994. I thought you might be interested in "chewing" this a bit. Please be sure that none of this was written in judgment of my Christian brothers and sisters who participate in politics.

It is required in stewards
that a man be found faithful

Everywhere we look we see reminders of our role in life: stewards. God has entrusted into our care our bodies, our families, our possessions, our church, our school, our resources, our abilities, our opportunities, our friends and neighbors. I am sure you could lengthen the list with things I missed. God has convicted me recently of one which I did not include in the list. Let me lead up to it by posing a few questions to you.

1.  Which of these Oregon ballot measures legalizes doctor-assisted

    (a) Measure 13   (b) Measure 16   (c) Measure 19   (d) Measure 20

2.  Which of these Oregon ballot measures is called "anti gay rights"?

    (a) Measure 13   (b) Measure 16   (c) Measure 19   (d) Measure 20

3.  Which of these Oregon ballot measures is against child pornography?

    (a) Measure 13   (b) Measure 16   (c) Measure 19   (d) Measure 20

4.  Who is not a candidate for governor of Oregon?

    (a) Denny Smith   (b) John Kitzhaber   (c) Ed Hickam   (d) Jolene Unsold
On Tuesday, Oregon voters face an array of daunting decisions which will impact the state and its citizens and residents for a few years, at least. Oregon citizens have the civic duty and privilege to vote. To stay home is inexcusable. It is the dereliction of duty. It almost seems there ought to be a penalty for not voting. To not vote is to despise citizenship.

I won't vote, though. I am not an Oregon citizen. I am merely a resident of this state. I was born a citizen of Oregon and of the United States of America, but some twenty years ago I pledged allegiance to a different country. "For our citizenship is in the heavens, whence also a Saviour we await --the Lord Jesus Christ--" (Philippians 3:20, Young's Literal Translation). As a heavenly citizen, I have other duties and privileges. I must not be derelict in their execution.

Did you ever wish you could vote for a certain candidate or on a certain issue? Did you ever wish you could at least sign a petition? In my weaker moments, I have. I would like to contribute my voice in the defeat of certain measures and candidates. However, voting and signing are such meager things for us to do. Even lobbying voters is a flimsy, short-term effort. As a heavenly citizen, I would be misdirecting my efforts if I were to involve myself in these things. Furthermore, I believe I would be violating my heavenly charter, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God . . ." (2 Corinthians 10:4).

I can no more vote in Oregon than Walter Mondale can vote in Japan. Mr. Mondale is not a citizen of Japan, he is only a resident. Not only that, Mr. Mondale represents a foreign power--he is the U.S. ambassador there. It would be quite indecorous for him to get involved in local politics . . . and he would likely lose his ambassadorship. Not only am I a foreigner living in Oregon, I represent a foreign power! "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ . . ." (2 Corinthians 5:20). I would be very out-of-line getting involved in local politics . . . and would do so at my own peril.

So what is the stewardship to which I referred at the beginning? Our ambassadorship. Just because I don't vote doesn't mean I should not be involved in the civic affairs of this state and this nation. In fact, I now see that for me to totally distance myself from local politics is a gross dereliction of duty. My duty is to pray, and through faith, to join the elite group who "subdued kingdoms" (Hebrews 11:33). Part of my assignment here is to perceive where the Enemy is trying to gain ground in the affairs of men . . . and then fight him there. So I believe that God expects that we raly to the battle to be waged this coming Tuesday. We must pray with vim and vigor, with zeal and faith, with tenacity and persistence to defeat the expanding unrighteousness in this state and country. I believe God wants me to pray (not vote, not put up signs, not lobby voters) against the anti-Biblical measures the voters of this state will face soon. Join me in the fight? Remember your stewardship!

One closing observation. Civic and party leaders and activists tell the citizenry, "Your vote counts! Don't minimize the power of your voice! Be a patriotic citizen!" Well, heavenly ambassadors can access something much more powerful than any vote or combination of votes: "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men" (Daniel 4:17)!

- Mark Roth (November 4, 1994)

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