Book Review: "I Pledge Allegiance: Politics for the Citizens of Heaven" by Stephen Davey
I Pledge Allegiance: Politics for the Citizens of Heaven. By Stephen Davey. Raleigh: Charity House Publishers. 2006. 90 pages.
How should Christians and the church relate to the government? This is a question that many Christians struggle with, and often come to contradictory answers about. The problem with our misunderstandings is that they are not rooted in Scripture. In this short book, Stephen Davey provides an exposition of Romans 13:1-7 and shows that there are more important things than getting your way politically. The book contains a forward and four chapters.
In the first chapter, the author begins by giving a brief history of the pledge of allegiance and the court battles surrounding it. He uses this as an example, ultimately asking, "How are we to respond to these issues?" He cites Romans 13:1, and in doing so, makes it clear that he intends to engage the critical faculties of his readers. Perhaps this is because the command given in Romans 13:1 is so foreign to our modern way of thinking. Ultimately, Davey argues that, "We have not been called by God to save America; we have been called by God to save Americans." This is an important theme that carries through the rest of the book.
In the second chapter, entitled "Staying on Task," Davey provides an understanding and application of Romans 13:2-5. He writes, "I am convinced that our problem is not that we do not understand this passage, but that we do not want to obey it." Davey makes the argument that Christians are to obey the government as long as it does not interfere with three things: our conscience, the worship of God, or obedience to Scripture. He argues that, if we had as much passion that is put into action about Jesus Christ as we do about "getting out the vote," then the country would look far different.
In the third chapter, entitled, "Paying Your Dues," Davey laments the moral decline that the country has faced, especially in recent years. However, he reminds us that "This country and every country that has ever existed and will ever exist is under the pleasure, purpose, and power of God." He argues that the Christian is called to submit to government. He outlines the three roles of government based on Romans 13:1-5: To discourage evil, encourage good, and enforce punishment. He argues that there is a biblically appropriate time for Christians to disobey the government: "When the government demands that we do something that God says we should not do, or when the government demands that we not do something that God tells us to do, we must disobey."
In the fourth chapter, entitled "Further Questions," Davey takes on some common related questions that were not addressed in the body of the book, such as whether and how Christians should serve in the political arena.
Overall, this is an excellent book! I have already recommended it to members of my family, some of whom are incredibly politically-minded. Although it was written 14 years ago, the message that Davey presents in this book is more relevant today than it has ever been in my lifetime. If you are a Christian or are politically-minded, this book is a must-read. It truly puts everything into perspective.
Recommended Resource: I Pledge Allegiance by Stephen Davey