Three biblical accounts point to the correct answer to the important question of whether Christians should seek to influence secular governmental official to do right and to make righteous policies.
First, Haman, a wicked high official in a secular government, plotted to kill all the Jews in the empire by influencing king Ahasuerus to write into law provisions that would authorize exterminating the Jews. Under the evil influence of Haman, the king enacted a law authorizing the killing of all Jews and the plundering of their possessions (Esther 4:13-14).
Mordecai and Esther, righteous Jews, sought to influence the king to change the law that he had put into place because it was an unrighteous edict (Esther 8:3). They did not merely submit themselves to that law and allow themselves and all the other Jews to be martyred because Haman and Ahasuerus were high-level governmental leaders over them in the providence of God.
Through their actions, Esther and Mordecai were able to influence the king to authorize additional laws that turned the tables on those who sought to kill the Jews and the Jews experienced a great deliverance (Esther 8-10).
Second, King Nebuchadnezzar was the supreme authority over the greatest empire in human history. In God’s providence, Daniel was a top official in that secular government. Daniel sought to have the king change his evil actions and policies that were oppressing the poor (Daniel 4:27). Daniel advised the king that his doing so would put him in a position to receive mercy from God, should God see fit to grant it. Just because Nebuchadnezzar was a secular ruler over a secular empire did not mean that it was right for him to go against God’s laws concerning oppressing the poor.
Third, Herod was an evil king who was put into his position by the Roman government. Even though Herod was in authority by the actions of a secular government, John the Baptist confronted him about his flouting the laws of God concerning marriage. John rebuked Herod by charging him that it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife (Matt. 14:4). Just because Herod was in power in a secular government did not mean that he was free to violate God’s laws concerning marriage.
These biblical accounts show that it is right for God’s people to challenge secular authorities about the laws that they enact and about their practices when those laws and practices are unrighteous according to God’s standards.
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