Here in the tri-cities, July is a rather patriotic month. We begin by celebrating our nation’s birthday. We close the month by kicking off the Coast Guard Festival. So I’ve devoted four articles to the intersection of church and state. Here’s what I’d like to conclude with: a check valve. This is a device that allows water or air to flow in one direction, but not the other. If you’ve ever blown up a water raft, you’ve experienced a check valve. In the stem there is a valve that allows you to blow air into the raft. However, it doesn’t let air escape when you stop blowing.
I’d like to suggest that there should be a check valve between the church and the state. And when I refer to the church, I’m meaning God’s people and the kingdom we represent. Not just a religious institution. There should be a constant flow of influence from the lives of God’s people toward our nation and its governing bodies. Christians should live and vote and advocate in ways that are fully informed by Scripture and our Christian commitments. However, the influence should never run in the other direction. God’s people should never have their lives and convictions shaped by politics or our government. We are the salt and light of the world, not the salted and illumined. We are first of all citizens of God’s kingdom. We have been placed in America to bless it and influence it. It must never be the other way around.