he debate on whether the church (an individual or a group of people who believe and have confessed Christ as Savior and Lord) should bring Biblical principles and values to secular governance is a debate that has taken place for a long time. For me - the journey of Christian values in public place or in secular government came out of necessity.
About 10-12 years ago, I counseled with a couple who agreed to separate while we continue to work on the marriage, they both agreed. The husband however called me couple of hours later that he would not be taking the legal separation agreed on earlier rather, he'll be pursuing divorce because of the legal implications (costs) and since she wanted him out of the house. That marriage ended in divorce and the children paid (still paying) dearly for the parent divorcing - I checked into the laws governing marriage in my "red" state and it alarmed me. This was my foray into Policy and Politics.
According to the Bible, what makes us "true believers or born-again" is not attendance of church, rather it is believing in our heart that Jesus is Lord and confessing same with our mouth (Rom. 10: 9-10), when we do this genuinely from the heart - God's Spirit (aka Holy Spirit) comes into our spirit (Rom. 8: 16). It is only after this happens that we seek the right fellowship. There are ton of people who attend "church" (gathering of believers) who are NOT born-again, and there are people who don't attend "church" but are born-again (they have the fear of God and have confessed Christ as Savior and Lord).
Dr. A.R. Bernard (Christian Cultural Center in NY) gave what I believe is the best description of the (canonized) Bible for a true believer, the Bible he said - is a book of "pattern and principles". Jesus said, "those who love me, obey my commandments" - this basically means, when you become born-again (as described in Rom. 10: 9-10) then YOU OBEY God's principles (John 14: 23), even when it negates what you think or feel. We see a pattern of this in the lives of saints in the Old Testament, from Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Daniel, and literarily everyone highlighted by God.
It is one thing to be born-again by believing and confessing Christ as Savior and Lord, it is another thing to choose to die to self and do the will of our Father that is in heaven on earth (see Rom. 7: 15 and Luke 2: 42). Apart from false and fake people who have invaded the "body of Christ", the enemy of God, his world system and human sin nature are creating obstacles for humans to OBEY the principles of God. As an example, the laws governing marriage is most American cities and states, negate the principle of God for marriage.
It is one thing to be born-again - meaning believing, confession and inheriting the Holy Spirit within you, it is another thing to die to self, abide/remain in the true Vine so that He can produce fruit through you. The reasons for not dying to self, are enormous - some are lack of transformation due to renewal of mind, lack of dying to self-will and doing God's will, schemes of the enemy on the mind - half-truths, wrong philosophies (looks good like - Humanism), etc. The enemy attacks both from without and from within.
As a true believer, I very much believe that a believer is first to be transformed from within with the help of the Holy Spirit and the written Word, then he/she start to bear fruit as he/she abide or remain in the vine. I believe the fruit from such a person (branch) are the result of such a person's Godly Character, and that godly fruit when eaten by other humans (non-Christians) - then they glorify your Father (John 15: 1-8). This pattern is seen in the lives of saints of old - from Daniel to Elisha to the apostles. Here are scriptures that encourage believers to influence his/her world (education, economy, etc.) for God.
Psalms 33: 12 (Political influence)
Matthew 6: 10 (God's Principles on Earth)
Matthew 28: 19 (Discipleship Commission)
Matthew 5: 13-16 (Believers are to sweeten and illuminate our dark world)
For many the issue is NOT if Christians should heed the command of God to sweeten and illuminate our world and have righteousness in the land, rather the issue is how do we do that in the political system of where God put us?
America has a Constitution Republic - a system where the Constitution supersede what majority think, a system put in place to protect the independence of the states deliberately limiting the power of the federal government and empowering the state but mostly the individual. Traditionally, the system allows for multi-party, however, historically - two political party have dominated through time. Those parties have changed overtime but they have always been separated based on governance ideology.
In America's Constitution Republic, the founding fathers decided to do away with what was common in those days, a "state religion" which infringes on how people practice their faith, like in England or with the Catholic church in Europe for decades or centuries. They set up a system of balance of power amongst three branches to create a checkmate, but they also believe as articulated by "Senator Webster" that the system of government they put in place require a strong value system, such as Judeo-Christian values provide. For decades, the values of Christianity provided the moral compass for America, not because it was enshrined in the constitution but because majority of the people were devout in their Christian faith.
The values enshrined in Judeo-Christian principles in public places started to be challenged at the turn of the 20th century, when America started to have leaders with socialist ideology such as President Woodrow Wilson, a former professor at Princeton University, by this time America's higher institutions where already a bastion of "socialism" or "communism", it came to a head after the second world war and the sexual revolution of the 50s and 60s. By this time, the k-12 curriculum of America's education institutions has changed dramatically - in some cases challenging (and omitting) aspects of the founding fathers value system.
The American church herself was going through a transition. Liberal theology was no longer a theory on college campuses but now mainstream with two denominations structure (Diocese of Christ and United Church of Christ). The division in the traditional theology circle of Charismatic and the Evangelicals became more pronounced, with one chasing the kingdom of God on earth - riches/wealth and the other thinking it is all about how much you know the Bible without the Holy Spirit. Permissiveness entered the church, the focus shifted from seeking Christ and His righteousness, to what have you done for me lately - and America exported the Charismatic brand (that focuses on self) around the world.
With renewed boldness and the church distracted, the enemy through earthly institutions, started changing things, words like Love, Tolerance, Truth, etc. were redefined, immorality hat earned past kingdoms judgments became normal. Municipalities across America started passing laws that equated homosexuality with civil rights, curriculums in public schools changed, the structure of the family changed in what our children watched on TV, before we know it - Immorality became mainstream. Unfortunately, the body of Christ was divided - some think we should not fight back, some think the fight against immorality is political hence racist, and all the phobic in the book, some think Christians are hypocrites, some think we can't legislate morality, - anyway while the church fought each other, she also lost Religious Freedom rights - no longer can a small business person run their affairs with values they learn from Church.
It is clear that righteousness exalt a people. It is also clear that God judges a nation based on a bad economy but based on immorality. It is also clear that the kingdom of darkness through its institutions have done a great job making Christians look bad or as a two item people, while making immorality look cool. The CHURCH (body of Christ) must go back to basics, teaching church kids foundational principles, so they can defend their faith, not the current emotional high they get weekly with free concerts at church. We must keep speaking God's Truth, both that Truth is personified in Christ and His Words are True (and never change with time and not relative either). There will be a price to pay but there is also rewards for those who stand for Christ.
William Femi Awodele is the Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc. and a Vice-Chair of Embrace the Heartland in Prayer (http://www.prayheartland.com)