Posts by dburkhard
Do Christianity and Politics Mix?
We’ve all known of things that don’t go well together: oil and water, Michigan and Michigan State, mayonnaise and ice cream, and of course: politics and religion. At least, that’s what we’ve heard. But what does the Bible actually say? More specifically, what BIBLICAL conclusions can we draw about how American Government and Christianity fit together? Let’s build on three ideas to reach a conclusion.
Ideal 1: The Bible says Human Government Comes from God
Let’s look at Genesis 9:6 and Romans 13:1-4. In Genesis 9, God talked to Noah after the flood and laid out some ground rules for humanity. One of those rules was Capital Punishment. We see this in verse 9: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” We know this isn’t simply talking about revenge because God is adamantly against murder. Instead, by giving this command, He created the institution to which he would give the authority to enforce that command. That institution was human government. Romans 13 confirms that the authority for the death sentence was given to human government when it says, “beareth not the sword in vain.” Check out verse 4: ‘But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” After the flood, God created the institution of human government with the sole purpose, at that time, of punishing evil.
In addition to God implementing Human Government after the flood, we have further scriptural proof that Human Government comes from God. Look at the language used in Romans 13. Verse 1 says “Ordained by God,” verse 2 says “resisteth the ordinance of God,” verse 4 uses the phrase “minister of God” twice, and verse 5 alludes to the principle that disobeying government is disobeying God. The Scriptural fact is that God instituted Human Government to accomplish His purposes. Genesis 9 and Romans 13:4 show us one of those purposes is justice, i.e., the punishment of evil. Romans 13:4 shows us that the second purpose is to promote good, i.e., enforce principles that reflect God’s character.
These facts lead me to ask two logical questions. First, if Human Government is from God, doesn’t that mean it is godly? We often hear we are not to involve ourselves in government because politics is dirty. Sure, but is it dirty foundationally or is it dirty because sinful people are leading it? We already know that Satan loves to run and ruin God’s institutions. He has continually perverted God’s institutions of marriage, family, and the church. The solution in those situations is for Christians to become MORE involved—to preach on taking back our marriages, our families, and our churches for Christ. I submit to you that Satan is having a heyday perverting God’s godly institution of Government, and the solution is not for Christians to run from it but toward it. 2. Since Human Government is from God, does it not follow that it would be crazy to think He doesn’t want HIS people involved in it? The logic easily flows to say, “yes, of course God wants His people involved!” Think about the antithesis of this for a moment. To say that Christians shouldn’t be involved in government is the equivalent to saying that God instituted government to punish evil and promote good, but that He wanted all the people who don’t know the difference between good and evil to run it! In addition, it would mean He wanted all the people who do understand truth to sit on the sidelines or, at best, participate at the lowest level. Human government comes from God; therefore, God’s people should be involved.
Idea 2: The Bible Shows God using Christians in government to be an influence for Him.
There are many examples of God doing this, but we will limit our focus to three. First, Joseph. Genesis 37-47 describes the life of a Hebrew man named Joseph. As a young man, his brothers sell him into slavery. Joseph is taken to Egypt, where his story takes an unexpected turn. Because of his good Christian character, Joseph rises twice to positions of power. The greatest of these being second in command over all Egypt. Only Pharoah was more powerful than Joseph was. From this position in government, Joseph was used by God to accomplish His purposes. These include saving the world from famine, providing food and health to the messianic line, and establishing the nation of Israel in a prosperous region. What is happening here? GOD purposefully placed a “CHRISTIAN” in government to INFLUENCE the world for Him.
The same is true for Esther and Daniel, who are the other two we will mention. To get into a position of government, Esther was in a forced marriage, and Daniel’s homeland was taken captive. God used Esther to save the entire nation of Israel, and He used Daniel to write Scripture and influence the release of Israel from the Medo-Persian Empire. Once again. God purposefully placed Christians into government to influence the world for Him. This begs the question: if God purposefully placed Christians into government (hostile ones, at that) in the Bible, why would we even begin to ponder the idea that God doesn’t want Christians discussing politics in church or leading in the political arena? I submit to you that God used Christians in government in the past to influence the world for Him, and He wants to do the same today.
Idea 3: American Government is distinct.
A popular definition of distinct is “readily distinguishable from all others.” This definition is an excellent description of the government we have in America. Let’s ask the question, “what makes American Government distinct?” Many things, but we will consider only two. First, American Government is distinct because it is accessible. America is a constitutional republic, meaning it is a self-government based upon a constitution. Abraham Lincoln famously called us a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Our government is accessible because our founders formed it to be run by us, the citizens. We make the policies in our nation from positions of elected office, and those positions are available to every single American citizen. What’s so distinct about that? Look what God had to do to get godly people in government in Bible times. Joseph had to be sold into slavery, Esther had to be placed into a forced marriage, and Daniel had to be taken from his homeland by its conquering nation. In America, things are much different. If we want to hold a godly position in an influential public office in God’s institution of government, all we have to do is run. We all have the opportunity to influence the world for God through His institution of government.
What else makes American government distinct? It built a country that is a powerhouse for the gospel around the world. America makes up 5% of the world’s population, yet it provides 95% of the world’s finances for missions and Christian education. Is that distinct? The math speaks for itself. America is in this position because its government is based on biblical principles. To prove this fact, all we have to do is look at a nation whose government is not based on biblical principles. Look, for example, at Russia. How much money does Russia send to Christian missionaries every year? Less than zero. In fact, Russia is now arresting and fining Christians for sharing their faith. The American government system is not “just another government.” It is a government that God is using to accomplish incredible spiritual purposes across the world. If there were ANY government at ANY time that Christians should pour themselves into to make and keep it godly, it’s American Government. In fact, the summarizing statement of all three ideas echos this claim: Christians need to be involved in God’s godly institution of government to have godly influence that will preserve our government’s good, spiritual, purposes around the world.
I believe the three ideas we examined lead to a definitive conclusion to the question “how does American government and Christianity fit together.” That definitive conclusion is this: American government is a tool and opportunity for Christians to influence the world around them for Christ. Instead of seeing it as dirty, let’s see American Government as fundamentally godly. Instead of being skeptical toward being in American Government as a Christian, let’s ask God how He wants us to participate and to use us like He used Daniel, Esther, and Joseph. Instead of seeing American Government as a distraction from our faith, let’s see it as a tool God is using to further His purposes. If we choose to view government God’s way and follow where He leads us, we may be amazed at how He works in our nation for His glory.
121: Big Step Froward
Over the past several months, God has been doing much to grow 121 Capitol Connection. It is my pleasure to inform you of a major step forward for the 121 Capitol Connection Ministry.
Up until January of 2021, I had been directing 121 Capitol Connection while on staff as missions pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Swartz Creek. Throughout that time of service, God made it clear that He was leading me to serve full time in the 121 ministry as a missionary to our Michigan State legislators. So, with the full blessing of my pastor and church, I formed 121 Capitol Connection as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization at the beginning of the year and am now a full-time missionary to our Michigan state legislators, sent out of Cornerstone Baptist Church!
This step forward produces several positive changes for the 121 ministry.
More time in Lansing.
Because I am now full-time, I will be able to make multiple visits to Lansing each week to reach legislators instead of the weekly or bi-weekly visits I made before.
Increased opportunity to meet with pastors and speak at churches. I am free on Sundays and Wednesdays to present 121 Capitol Connection in churches and during the week to meet with pastors so that I can help God’s people invest in their government officials for Christ and raise funds for the ministry. I also enjoy preaching about how Christianity and government biblically fit together.
Accountability of a board of directors.
God has blessed me with four excellent 121 Capitol Connection board members. These men help provide direction, insight, encouragement, and accountability to the ministry. Two of these men are pastors, one is an attorney, and the fourth is a legislative aide in Lansing.
Just like any minister going into full-time missions, my family and I are on deputation, concentrating a large portion of our time toward funding the ministry to which God has called us. Ministry expenses, administration expenses, and salary all add up very fast. My goal is to raise $8,000 in monthly support. If you are a pastor interested in financially supporting 121 as a church, I would love to talk more with you to set up a meeting. If you are an individual interested in finically supporting 121, I would love to get to know you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. There is a donate link on the website: 121capitolconnection.org.
Your church should have received a missionary booklet in the mail with information about my family and the 121 ministry. If you need another one or want an email copy, please let me know. You can also view the electronic version here.
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Faith Wins Michigan Pastors Events
Early Fall of 2020 I had the privilege to organize some of my favorite events my life. God has blessed me with the friendship of a man named Chad Connelly. Chad Connelly was the GOP chair for South Carolina and went on to serve as the first ever Director of Faith Engagement for the RNC. He spoke to over 80,000 pastors between 2013 and 2016. After his term as DFE was ended he started his own 501(c)(3) called Faith Wins for the purpose of maximizing the Christian vote and engaging pastors in the civic arena. His team, along with Evangelist Byron Fox and Senator Bob McEwan, traveled to multiple states throughout the summer speaking to pastors and imploring them to hold voter registration drives at their churches. I had the privilege of planning three of these meetings in Michigan. On Tuesday, September 22nd, we held a terrific meeting at Pastor Cody Kuehl’s church in Grand Rapids. Pastor Cody Kuehl did a fantastic job hosting and contributed much time to making the event a success. We had about 40 people in attendance. The next two meetings were smaller, but God still used them! We met for breakfast the next day at Pastor Gene Haymakers church in Mt. Pleasant and had about seven pastors in attendance. Our Final meeting was at Pastor Tim Berlin’s church in Warren where we had about 15 people in attendance. Both Pastor Tim Berlin and Pastor Haymaker worked very hard to promote these events and make them a success. Every pastor in attendance of these three meetings was incredibly blessed and challenged by Senator Bob McEwan’s speeches. God has blessed him with an incredible ability to communicate and to weave history and Biblical principles together into a revelation of wisdom for the appropriate course of action for our modern day. Nearly every pastor who attended left excited to hold voter registration at their church or do anything else they could to help maximize the Christian vote.
~ Pastor Dom
2019 Michigan Capitol Connection
2019 was a banner year for our Capitol Connection event. God blessed us with distinguished speakers, increased pastoral involvement, and a fantastic venue. This year we hosted the event at the Radisson and did a banquet session for the first time. Pastor Steve Smail of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Plainwell opened up the event on April 29th with a heart-aligning message touching on the Great Commission in reference to our government. We also had so many Christian legislators come to address the pastors in the afternoon of the 30th that we barely had time for a break before the banquet that evening. Many pastors were touched by the legislator’s pleas for prayer and encouragement as well as encouraged at the high number of Christian lawmakers in Lansing. Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey were our guest speakers at the banquet, which brought in seventy-five attendees. It was inspiring and challenging to see how their faith guided their decisions as state leaders.
2018 Michigan Capitol Connection
2018 was a challenging year for our Capitol Connection event. Due to the fact that the majority of legislators were campaigning for the 2018 election, session was canceled for the week of our event. This meant there would be no legislators present in Lansing. Although this was the case, we decided to go through with the event because we knew that reaching legislator’s staff was just as important as reaching legislators. Not only are their souls just as precious to Jesus, but many aides are very influential with their legislators or end up becoming legislators themselves. 2018 turned into our year to pour into staff, so that’s what we did. Instead of inviting legislators to the group sessions to speak to the pastors, we invited their staff. It was great to hear about their jobs, their prayer requests, and the legislature from their perspective. This year, Pastor Tim Berlin from Faith Baptist Church in Warren and Pastor Rusty Chatfield from Northern Michigan Baptist Bible Church in Burt Lake were our special speakers. It was powerful to hear from these two pastors who had been so faithfully involved in influencing their legislators in Lansing.
Public Servant Day Service
Here at Cornerstone Baptist Church, we are praising God for an awesome Public Servant’s Day Service!! This past Sunday we held a special service to honor our Michigan legislators. We invited the legislators from our surrounding districts as well as those we had formed good relationships with. In total, we had four legislators and two legislative aides (representing their respective legislators) attend. During the service, we took time to honor them and thank them for their service. Through the preaching, each one heard a clear gospel presentation as well as encouragement to live by wisdom, integrity, and sacrifice.
Following the service, we held a reception and brunch time to provide those in our church with the opportunity to meet their legislators. We also gave each legislator a few minutes to share with us a little bit about themselves and their jobs. Many of them used this time to express how much the 121 Capitol Connection Ministry means to them. Each also one expressed their extreme thanks for hosting the Public Servant Day service as well as for the prayers in their offices with Pastor Dom and those who visit in Lansing with him. We are excited to see how God is going to continue to work through the aftermath of this event.
April Prayer Post-Card Focus
Attention all churches! We have a special project in mind for the month of April. Here is what we are doing to give you and your church a simple, tangible, and impactful way to be a light for Christ to your state legislators. We are sending packets of these pre-stamped 121 capitol Connection post-cards to churches who want to participate. These are designed for you and your church members to express to your legislators your appreciation for their service and to inform them of your prayers. We have spoken with many legislators who have told us it is extremely rare to get encouragement of any type, so you can know these will go a long way. To be involved in this project, simply follow the instructions given in our video about this project on facebook.
2017 Michigan Capitol Connection
Michigan Capitol Connection 2017
September 18-20, 2017, we hosted our first Michigan Capitol Connection! This was a fantastic first big event in our 121 Capitol Connection ministry and we are already pumped about next year! We had thirteen pastors with seventy fellow believers from different parts of the state come to Lansing to meet with their legislators. Monday night Dr. Chuck Harding (founder of Awake America) opened the convention with a motivational patriotic message. Tuesday during the day, the attendees were divided up into groups and sent into every legislative office in Lansing. It was a great day for prayer, encouragement, and the developing of relationships between pastors and their legislators. Tuesday afternoon we were able to hear from different Christian legislators about the need for this type of ministry in the Capitol. Tuesday evening, we heard a powerful message from Pastor Brad Cranston. Wednesday was the final day of the event. Early in the morning we joined the Capitol Bible study and specifically prayed for the legislators in that group. The rest of the day was spent touring the Capitol and delivering Chik-fil-A cookies to every legislative office as a way of thanking them for the time they took talking with us the day before. We are doing this event again next year, September 17th-19th, so please make plans to come!