Dr Greg Clarke is Director of the Centre for Public Christianity.
Anytime the ABC gives space to a Christian to write about public affairs from a biblical perspective is a appreciated.
Excerpted from the essay:
In other words, it is a common Christian mistake when thinking about politics, society and the church to look at things through your Old Testament, rather than your New Testament, glasses.
Nowhere in the New Testament is there any concept that a Christian ‘prophet’ might be given word from God on who should govern the land. The arrival of Jesus changes all of that theocratic language, and the role of ‘prophecy’ changes: it becomes a call to recognise the authority of Jesus, and to follow his teachings and his call to turn back to God.
The New Testament famously calls on Christians to “be subject to the governing authorities” (in Romans 13:1) but it certainly does not say, “go and appoint the governing authorities yourself”. In fact, it says quite the opposite. The very next verse suggests that if you resist an authority, you are in fact resisting God, because God is in control ultimately of who leads and who doesn’t.
We sometimes hear Christians saying that only a Christian leader will do, because “righteousness exalts a nation”, but that is an Old Testament idea (Proverbs 14:43, to be precise). That was a call to the ancient Jewish nation to obey God’s commands so that the nations around them (who worshipped other gods) would see how the worshippers of ‘the one true God’ thrived, and perhaps realise he was the living deity, unlike their things of stone and wood.