WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 7, 2024—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced a new resource to serve as a guide for political engagement for Southern Baptists.
The resource titled, “The Nations Belong to God: A Christian Guide for Political Engagement,” was authored by Dr. Andrew T. Walker, ERLC research fellow and associate professor of Christian ethics and public theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Miles Mullin, ERLC vice president and director of research, commented on the publication of the guide.
“The ERLC desires to help Southern Baptists think biblically about political engagement in a way that neither elevates politics to a position of ultimate concern nor denigrates political engagement as unimportant. It reminds us that although Jesus’s Kingdom is not of this world, we can and should work for the good of our communities, states, and nation in a way that honors the Lord.
“This user-friendly guide poses 40 practical questions, followed by brief and helpful responses on a variety of topics related to political engagement.
“While the guide has been carefully crafted in an accessible question-and-answer format, author Andrew Walker does not shy away from challenging topics. He presents a thoroughly Baptist perspective regarding things like religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and ecclesiology.
“‘The Nations Belong to God’ will serve pastors and leaders this presidential election year, and continue to be an excellent guide to navigating the politics that often affect our daily lives the most–the politics of our local communities.”
Throughout the guide, users will find questions such as:
- What is politics?
- What should motivate a Christian to engage politically?
- What was Jesus’ attitude toward the government?
- What is the proper relationship between Church and the government?
- Should the gathered Church ever speak to political topics?
- Why is religious liberty an important principle for the government to uphold?
- Do I have an obligation to vote?
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to produce The Nations Belong to God,” said Walker. “As citizens within political communities, Christians rightly want to be involved in ‘seeking the welfare of their cities,’ but there is often confusion on how our heavenly citizenship informs our earthly citizenship and how to balance them biblically. That’s why I’m so excited this resource now exists. As I’ve tried to do in this booklet, my purpose was to demonstrate why our lives in Christ still relate to our lives as Americans (or any country) and doing so in a way that honors our Baptist convictions on church and state. My hope is that pastors will find this a worthy resource to distribute throughout their congregations.”
In the volume’s introduction, Walker explained:
“As we’ll explore in this volume, politics is how we arrange ourselves in society for the sake of justice and mutual benefit. In this way, politics is very ordinary. It consists of the small, daily actions of citizens stewarding the parts of creation order that are meant to be honored: life, family, and engagement in society.
“We’re to be engaged. We’re to be citizens, but citizens who understand that their primary citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). In the same way that Jeremiah called Israel to seek the welfare of the city, we, too, are to seek the welfare of the United States, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, or any nation where we reside with the type of love that God meant for us to give—not an ultimate love, but a love born of gratitude for the place where God has providentially placed us (Acts 17:26).”
This resource is free and is available here.