Posted by: JohnO | May 18, 2007

Should Christians Participate in Government?

Mennonite Statements on Peace (2)

Although men such as Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, Pilgram Marpeck, and others had the necessary pre-requesites to hold government office, the Anabaptists by and large concluded that a Christian could not occupy a governmental office since the principles underlying the office of government are of a coercive nature and basically incompatible with the principles of the gospel imperative for every Christian.

This view constitutes a major difference between Anabaptists and the Reformers who see state office-holding as a Christian vocation. Anabaptists spell out their rejection of participation in government (particularly though of as the “magistry”) with four major reasons

  1. The example of Christ Himself speaks against it.
  2. There is in the Scriptures no evidence for such participation by a true Christian. (Such examples as Cornelius the ceturion, Acts 10, are considered inconclusive since post-conversion details are not given).
  3. The teachings of Christ show an incompatibility between the worldly principles of lordship and might in government rule and the suffering-servant posture of the Christian. Matt 20:25-27
  4. A radical church-world distinction means the Christian is solely concerned with following Christ and does not have responsibilities for maintaining law and order in the world.

pg 15,16


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