John Steward of Jesus
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"Citizen" of a "State"?

April 16, 1984

The critical question is whether a Christian may be a member (citizen) of a coercive community (state).  The government of such a coercive community is only the means through which coercion is exercised. 

It is often argued that we need government for good order, even apart from sin, and that in a sinful world (or a perfect one) even Christians need government.  True.  But we do not need coercive government.  We only need servants to administer the decisions in a voluntary community of willing participants (God's people).  Coercive human government is the product of sin, and will disappear (except for the government of Christ) when Christ returns.  It is temporary.  It is a concession to the necessities of a world filled with destructive men.  Force is needed to restrain evil.  Christians are not called to the exercise of that force.  Their calling is to be imitators of Christ, who endured suffering as a dumb sheep.