August 22, 2017

A Christian View of Government Shutdown

Joel Arnold

Writing about the government shutdown is automatically controversial. If you’re a conservative, it was the democrats fault; if you lean toward the left, the GOP did it; if you’re a libertarian it should have happened sooner and needs to last longer; if you’re in politics, it might cost you your job.

But here is one thing we should all agree on:

The government shutdown ought to point us to Jesus Christ.

That probably sounds a little odd, but give me a chance. One of the oddly unique things about American Christianity is its alignment with nationalism. I’ll never forget sitting in Zambia, reading a religious magazine. One of my Kenyan friends saw the huge American flag splayed across the cover and laughed. “Only in the United States,” he said. He was right.

For decades we’ve called ourselves a Christian nation but the last few years have left us not looking very Christian anymore. We have “in God we trust” printed on all our money, but what if the “god” most Americans trust in means little more than the money its printed on?

And that points back to the failure of the process. Our system is a good one. Our founders used a lot of practical wisdom and set things up with good checks and balances.

But at some point, did believers start to put more faith in the system than it deserves? Was “in God we trust” splayed with an America flag, as though the two were working together to get the job done?

Because one thing we should be learning right now is that governments fail. All governments fail. No matter how well you write your constitution; no matter how many checks and balances, it’s just a matter of time until everything falls apart. Governments and nations always have. They always will.

Except for one. Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of David, are citizens of another kingdom that will never end.

His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

And the good news is that the reign of Jesus Christ will never have a shutdown, budgetary problems or disagreements about policy. Every decision and every law will be righteousness, forever and ever. In that day, “peace will be like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isa. 48:18).

So while we look at the chaos all around us, can we remember who the real King is? Can we let the foolishness and failures of earthly governments point us to the one Who will never fail?


Joel Arnold is an appointee with Gospel Fellowship Association Missions. He is raising funds for future ministry in the Philippines.


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