A Jagged Contention: The American’s Vocation

“Just as there are many kinds of nations in the world, each with its own laws, there are many kinds of rulers. Emperors, kings, tribal chieftains—these are all offices Christians are enjoined to obey. There is another kind of ruler, though, the kind found in the United States and other democratic systems. This gives Romans 13 a special twist for Americans and others who live under a democratic republic. Our governing officials are not imposed on us from above. Rather, we elect our governing officials. Ultimately we rule them. In a democratic system the ‘people’ rule. Their leaders are accountable to the citizens, who enact their own law through their elected representatives and who are endowed by their laws with the task of self-government.

“Those who have been blessed by a calling to live in the United States or another free country have a more complicated vocation of citizenship than do those who live under a monarchy. In a democratic society citizens are still subjects, but at the same time they are rulers.”

– Gene Edward Veith, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, pgs. 112-113


What are the implications of Veith’s assertion that citizens in the US are both subjects are rulers at the same time? How can a Christian faithfully carry out both vocations? Is a Christian who lives in a free country ever “free” to exclude him or herself from the political process?