The New Testament and Public Criticism of Politicians

The latest post from my friend and colleague New Testament professor Esau McCaulley. He addresses the full biblical witness about praying for our political leaders, while holding them to account.

Thicket of the Jordan


In the wake of the recent election, I have seen many Christians quote the biblical command to respect authority and pray for the leaders that God has placed over us. Two texts have been prominent in this admonition: Romans 13:1–3 and 1 Timothy 2:1–2. They read:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval (Romans 13:1–3)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so…

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One thought on “The New Testament and Public Criticism of Politicians

  1. Richard ~

    I very much appreciate that you’ve posted this for greater distribution. Like so many, I have been giving this whole busness some thought over the past few days. Perhaps I have been influenced by having spent much of today at the new African American History Museum in D.C., buti I believe this is more of a “Rosa Parks moment” than a “time to acknowledge the president elect is now going to be OUR president” – an approach I’ve heard recommended by so many who hope groundlessly for the best, and believe defusing the conflict now in favor of finally getting back to more normal days will be the strategy that realizes the best.

    In saying this I have in mind that, had the conflict that arose in the Rosa Parks incident been “reconciled” and the tension defused, then it is likely it would not have bloomed into an insistence on greater justice the way it did. Fortunately, that conflict was instead faced head on, highlighted by people of moral courage, and brought to the higher intensity needed for it to reveal possibilites for pursuing successful paths toward justice that might otherwise have remained hidden and unrealized.

    Many are refusing to recognize Trump as president elect. I believe they are right to do it. They have not yet found a moral way to prevent him from taking office, but I am holding on to the hope that someone WILL find a way. The effort to prevent Trump from becoming president is one I support.


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