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Should a Christian Work for the State?

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Image: Ramone Romero

Image: Ramone Romero

What jobs can Christians have? Many would probably answer “all, because Christians should spread the light everywhere” but that would be an overstatement. Should Christians for example be prostitutes? Even if Jesus never said “Don’t be a prostitute”, we understand from the Biblical ethics that prostitution is not a very suitable Christian workmanship. In the early church, the Apostolic Tradition from 215 AD lists prostitution as a non-Christian job, along with some other very interesting occupations:

If someone is a gladiator, or one  who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast  shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he  shall cease, or he shall be rejected. If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. A military man in authority must not execute men. If  he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall  be rejected. If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a  soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Apostolic Tradition 16:7-11)

According to the early church, Christians shouldn’t be gladiators, soldiers or governor. Ron Sider has written more about this in his book The Early Church on Killing. Even “rulers of a city” is ruled out. They kill and hurt people as well, indirectly. The political power is power through violence. The early Anabaptists and the early Pentecostals rejected political power for the same reason as the early Christians: they wanted to change society through love and the Holy Spirit, not by force or swords.

Today I’ve attended a migration court where a friend of mine who has fled from Afghanistan had his asylum case tested. The lawyer who represented the Swedish migration department desperately wanted to deport him. She argued that Afghanistan is a safe place now and that there will be no problem for him to live in Kabul. We all knew that was a lie. The Swedish Foreign Department forbids all Swedes to go to Afghanistan bevause of the risks of conflict, kidnapping and terror, and admits that it’s getting worse.

Now why does this person stand there to tell lies in order to deport a young man against his will to a country she would never visit herself? What motivates her? A paycheck? The idea that if she doesn’t do it, someone else will? Both of these arguments were used by concentration camps officers as well. “I just did my job” is not a good excuse, it’s a terrible excuse. Get unemployed instead of destroying people’s lives.

When you work for the state, you will be forced to do horrible things if the state wishes to do so. The leadership changes frequently in a democracy, and you will most likely do things against your will. Why would you even like to do that? Work for the church, we need lots of people to spread the Gospel, heal the sick, help the poor and crush the racist migration system. Come out from Babylon and enjoy the freedom of the Heavenly Jerusalem!

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4 Comments

  1. dyfedwyn says:

    This is such a challenging post.

  2. Daniel says:

    We really need a collective revelation of the actuality of the Kingdom…If we are in one ACTUAL kingdom, we cannot be in another. It is not a metaphor or spiritual imagery… Today, the church is seen as an institution, or a club or even a (God-forbid) business. May we learn the implications of serving in this Kingdom, and learn its ways of spiritual army, spiritual economy, spiritual rulership, which are utterly contrary to the world. God Bless you brother for continually pressing us on this needful revelation!

  3. god is lord says:

    if only non Christians work for the state, you will have more wicked actions by the state. Working for the state is not always wrong as being a prostitute is, and even there, with Mary Magdalene, God showed great mercy.
    .

    • Hello my friend! I think the biggest problem with working for the state, at least in northern Europe where I live, is that you are expected to turn your own will and conscience off and obey the orders and laws from the government. AIn a democracy, that government can change quickly, turning your job description from good to bad in an instance, and in a dictatorship the government usually isn’t very good. If you work within civil society however, like the church, I can guarantee you that you will be able to do the stuff you assigned for.

      God bless you!

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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