How involved should Christians be in government and politics?

That was the main topic of discussion for James Skillen, Christian theologian and author, during chapel on March 9.

He believed we as Christians can have authority and still be active participants in the government while living holy lives. He claimed authority is not a bad thing, and we are called to be servants of God.

Skillen used the scriptural passage Luke 22, the scene of Jesus eating the last supper with his disciples, to support his main point.

“What’s best: to be at the table or to be the one serving the table?” Skillen asked.

We would expect the biblical Christians’ response to be that serving the table is best because Christ has called us to be servants. However, Skillen argued we are called to do both.

“We’re all servants in different capacities” Skillen said.

Parents have authority over their children, bosses have authority over their employees, and so forth. This does not mean those in positions of authority are not servants; rather, those in authority help the younger generations grow and mature so someday they can handle their own authority and responsibilities in an effective and positive manner. Similarly, we as Christians can still be servants while being involved in authoritative positions within the government. The term Skillen used to describe this is “public servants.” He explained that the goal of our servitude is the same, but our actions are publically seen.

Skillen also brought up the idea that we are to be joint heirs with Christ. Since Christ has called us to be stewards of this earth, we need to accept the given responsibility to take care of it. We are able to be co-heirs with Christ through leadership positions, helping to make this world a more just and godly place. Skillen said we are all meant to have authority in some part of our lives, and we need to know how to be good authoritative figures. Therefore, we should make it our goal to “learn how to be mature servants of the Lord.” When we take up the responsibility of being “public servants,” we are taking a step toward growth.

“We have to grow up to be all that God created us to be,” Skillen said.