The Common Good
March-April 1996

Concern for the Church

by Tony Campolo | March-April 1996

The Bible gives very clear instructions that Christians should
be subject to government authorities (Romans 13:1-4).

The Bible gives very clear instructions that Christians should be subject to government authorities (Romans 13:1-4). Government, according to scripture, is ordained by God to create order and maintain it for the good of all. There may come times, however, when doing the will of God requires breaking the law of the state. This was certainly the case in the early church when the apostles believed that to do the will of God, they would have to violate the prescriptions of government authorities (Acts 5:29).

What seems to be at stake in the present discussion on the budget is a whole redefinition of what government is supposed to be and do. The Bible says that the government was ordained by God to do the good of God (Romans 13). And I believe that the extreme action that I took on December 7 was an attempt to call government back to this biblically prescribed responsibility. My other concern was for the church itself. There have been voices in the Christian community of late that have communicated to the world that Christianity is identified with the Religious Right. I respect the Religious Right, but the people who make up this group represent only a minority of the Christian community. As the Religious Right calls for support for this kind of budget cuts, I believed that it was essential to communicate clearly that evangelical Christianity was not a monolithic group that articulated such beliefs and values.

Tony Campolo is a professor of sociology at Eastern College near Philadelphia and founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.

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