Michael Youssef - The Christian's Role in Government
Jane Robelot: Hello, and welcome to a special session of Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. One of the most popular topics in many churches and in Christian families is to what degree are Christians called to be involved in the political process. Dr. Michael Youssef's education, his work, his life experience, make him uniquely qualified to give us a Biblical worldview of government. He was born under a socialist dictatorship in Egypt. He came to the United States for his masters in theology, then earned his doctorate in social anthropology, and through his decades as the pastor of a church and leader of an international ministry outreach. Michael Youssef has traveled the world, met with heads of state, authored more than 40 books, and he would say one of the most meaningful decisions of his life he chose to become an American citizen. So Michael, let's start right from the Bible. What does Scripture say about Christians role in government?
Dr. Michael Youssef: Well, Jane, the Scripture is very clear. First of all, Jesus said when he was being tricked about Cesar and the government and he said, "Show me a coin". And he showed the coin, "Whose image is it"? They said, "Caesar". He said, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God". And then the Apostle Paul expound on that and so does the Apostle Peter by the way. And they explain that we are to live peacefully. That is obey the law of the land so that we can live in peace. In America, God has blessed us with a unique form of government. And the founders basically said the people are the one who govern themselves. And so, we have a huge responsibility in American to elect people, whom we believe that they will keep the peace, they'll protect the citizenry, because that's really the primary goal of a government. So we need to be thinking about that as we think about elections and voting and all of that. Is this government gonna protect me and keep me safe? Or I'm going to make me vulnerable? And that's why the role of government in the West, particularly in America, because even western democracy and I lived under one for a period of time not the same as you have in America. In America, for example, if you become a a British subject they don't call it a British citizen, but a British subject. You basically give allegiance to her Majesty, the Queen. And that's fine, that's their law. In America, we do not give allegiance to president, to Congress, to Senate, to the Supreme Court. We give allegiance to the Constitution. And the Constitution it said that we are basically, that we the people are the ones who decide who governs us.
Jane Robelot: Christians throughout the world live under vastly different forms of governments though. So is a Christians responsibility different if they were living in a Republic than say if they're living in a dictatorship?
Dr. Michael Youssef: Oh, absolutely. The responsibility varies. I can say the New Testament should be applied to the current situation in the country you live in. Not every country is the same. I lived under dictatorship. I didn't have a choice about certain things. I didn't even have a choice to vote. But nonetheless I lived in obedience to the law of that land. Only if the government would require me to do things against God. And therefore, I'll be like first century Christians would say, "God comes first. God is above Caesar". And God must be obeyed above Caesar. And so, if there's a conflict, I have to obey God and then pay the consequences, pay the price for that. It's very important. So I've experienced it. I'm not talking about theory here. But in the United States of America, particularly but and other western democracies as well. our responsibility, because we are asked by the government, by our very constitution to be involved. We must be involved.
Jane Robelot: Dr. Michael Youssef, thank you for this biblical worldview on government and we hope that you'll join us next time for part two of this discussion as we continue this non-partisan Biblical perspective on the American political process.