Should Christians criticize, rally, and fight the government?
The Apostles said we must submit to rulers and authorities (Titus 3). However, we should also obey God than men; “expose evil” and rebuke sinners (Eph. 5:11; Luke 17:3). But then Jesus commands us to love sinners and pray for those who persecute us (Mt. 5:44). Isn’t that contradicting?
The Bible’s take on government
- God “establishes” ALL government, good or bad. (Romans 13:1)
- God “removes” leaders according to His plan. (Daniel 2:20-22)
- God raised “evil rulers” in the past to judge a nation. (Habakkuk 1:6)
→ Christian activists twist social justice.
Elijah, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Queen Esther’s experience isn’t about fighting the government—let’s take it into context.
Elijah: A prophet’s role is to pull down or build-up. God gave Elijah the “right” to be confrontational (Jer 1:10), that is what prophets do. Did God ask you?
Nehemiah: As a cupbearer, he was devoted and respectful to King Artaxerxes that he helped him rebuild the temple (Ne 2:5). The “great protest” of Nehemiah was against his fellow Jews, not the King.
Queen Esther: King Xerxes obliged Esther because she was submissive to the crown. Even if she was Queen, she remained a humble subject (Esther 7:1-10). She exposed evil to save her people by submitting to the King’s authority. Are you exposing or shaming someone?
Remember, you may speak up and defend the poor & needy (Pro. 31:8-9). Expose evil and deception (Eph. 5:11). However, malign no one, be courteous and avoid quarreling. (Titus 3:2)
→ Red flags of an abusive pastor.
Luther, Bonhoeffer, Graham’s actions
As a result, he was persecuted and could no longer preach or publish books.
On the other hand, when Billy Graham stood for the Black minority to hear the Gospel, he wasn’t calling for an uprising. Graham focused on preaching because that is what he was called to do.
As a result, he won the hearts of Presidents and a Queen by winning them for Christ.
Graham won the hearts of Presidents and a Queen by winning them for Christ.
Context of Proverbs 31:8-9 & Ephesians 5:11
Christians often justify criticizing “sins of the government” by quoting Proverbs 31. Defending others’ rights or speaking up for those who have no voice meant actually doing something for them. Otherwise, you’re just ranting or shaming someone.
Ephesians 5:11 referred to exposing demonic practices and false religions—have nothing to do with it! Exposing someone’s fault is a different thing. Without offering God’s grace, how does exposing glorify God?
Your social media rant means nothing.
Jesus’ response to an evil government
- Jesus did not incite people against their ruthless Emperor. (Luke 23:5)
- Jesus refused to be involved in political debate. (Mt. 22:15-22)
- Jesus knew the need for social-political change, but He came for another battle: To save souls, and He commands you to make disciples, not change the government (Matthew 28:18-20), Unbelievers often do that activism part.
- Early Christians disobeyed authority when told to worship the Emperor. The Roman government transmuted into a divine state, above reproach. We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Jesus knew the need for social-political change, but he came for another battle.
Bottom-line, what battle are you fighting?
Evil and corruption in any government will never rest. Jesus knew that, but it does not mean He approved it. His followers fought the battle for souls. In His time, God will replace evil rulers and will raise unbelievers to do that. Ask yourself:
- What does Jesus ask of me?
- What does the “great commission” mean to me?
- What qualifies me to criticize the government?
Jesus’ followers fought the battle for souls.