We are engaged in a spiritual battle—not a battle fought with bombs and bullets but with the armor of God. It is a deadly serious war, and it is far more important than any of this world's wars.

Despite their rhetoric in the heat of conflict, the vast majority of evangelical Christians clearly understand the difference between spiritual and worldly warfare.

The fact is, however, that many aspects of the life God has commanded have serious public and social consequences—for example, "Thou shalt not murder" and the mandate to rear our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Because both human life and education issues stand high on the list of political battles being fought in the United States today, every committed Christian feels that obedience to God and conscience requires that he or she do something about these matters. The question is what. Unfortunately, for nearly 2,000 years, earnest Christians have not agreed on the answer.

Scripture does, however, give basic guidelines for how we are to relate to government and carry on political activity.

1. We are to obey our government and its laws—bad laws as well as good laws, including unjust taxes.

2. We make one exception to this obedience: when our government demands that we do something that conflicts with our duty to God.

3. We do not have the right as private Christians to take the law into our own hands (no shooting of abortionists, no Boston tea parties). Individual Christians simply should not engage in private violence.

4. In the case of a conflict of governments, we have the duty to align ourselves with the government that stands nearest to what is right and good. This judgment may not be easy to make: thus Lincoln labored to preserve the ...

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