Romans 13:1–2 tells us that we are to obey our governing authorities, except in areas or circumstances enumerated elsewhere in Scripture, such as Daniel praying against the edict of King Darius. [Esau McCaulley] claims that because Scripture does not delve into the issue of evil rulers who do not govern justly, “we are free to fill in the gap with his reference to Egypt and the wider biblical account.” It is not our job to fill in God’s gaps: It is our job to allow Scripture to interpret itself and accept that there are some concepts in Scripture that are unclear. Nowhere in Scripture does God indicate that he is concerned with our comfort or the fairness of governments; rather, he is concerned with our sanctification along the way, and how we react to difficult circumstances.
San Antonio, TX
Allow me to add a perspective that I feel best answers the question posed on your cover. Early in my career, I participated in a Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers event where a speaker posed this exact question. His answer, from Matthew 5:9, had a profound impact, which became my career foundation: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” The first responsibility for an officer is to ensure the immediate safety of those involved, as well as his or her own. Most of the time, peace is brought about through skillful personal interaction or negotiation; the best arrest is carried out without any use of force and requires cooperation from the subject. And, sadly, there are times when peace occurs only after the use of deadly force. Peacemaking is no easy task.
Ernie Schreiber Detective (retired), Edmonton Police Service
I believe it can be a sin to vote for certain candidates, but many Christians believe it’s a sin to abstain from voting. This seems to be a cultural rather than a spiritual mandate. If there are two bad candidates, many tell me, “I voted for the lesser of two evils.” If we strip that sentence to its core, it says, “I voted for evil.”
True faithfulness will not stop with being anti-abortion. Rather, the sin is in voting for someone who refuses to protect the lives and well-being of vulnerable children and their parents at our borders, as well as those in our country who are in need—we are required to feed the hungry, give water to those who thirst, and clothing to those who have none.
Lois West Duffy
I empathize with Stephanie Ranade Krider’s decision to resign from her position because she couldn’t keep working for the pro-life group as it campaigned for Trump’s re-election. As far as abortion goes, we must ask how can we help these women in unplanned pregnancies? Adopt children. Foster children. Financially and emotionally support women in unplanned pregnancies. I have done all these things. But I also think about how contraception has lowered abortion rates.
I started thinking how to respond to Matt Reynolds’s editorial and kept reading the issue. The two articles looking at policing in the Bible were good, emphasizing that justice is the primary goal, not the protection of any particular method or institution. The best response was included in “Saving America’s Soul with Oral History” [p. 48] when it is noted there has been no public apology for slavery and Jim Crow. If you need any Scripture to persuade you that apologies are in order, look at Matthew 5:23–24. Our black brothers do have something against us, and it is up to us whites to seek reconciliation.
Kansas City, MO
By exaggerating the call for white people to “shut up and listen,” Matt Reynolds tries to restore a level playing field where white people have just as much right to voice their opinion on current racial tensions as people of color. Maybe there’s a nicer way to word it, but I think “shut up and listen” captures the basic posture we white Christians should adopt for the foreseeable future.
Long Beach, CA
I enjoyed Bonnie Kristian’s offerings in The Lesser Kingdom. Her sensitivity to the writings of Menno Simons and the Mennonite faith give us perspective that mainline Christianity too often overlooks. I look forward to her further writings that are prophetic, eclectic, and humble as she promises.
Des Moines, IA
This was the highlight of your September 2020 issue.
Thanks for sharing your testimony, Damon! It is a great story of thinking for one’s self and following the call of the gospel.
Correction: An incorrect number was provided in “Where the Gospel Beams” on page 18 of September’s issue. Farsi speakers in Iran number 800 times more than the 100,000 Armenian and Assyrian Christians in the country who have freedom to worship in their languages.
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