[This post is taken from a larger essay by John W. Robbins titled “What is Christian Philosophy?” (Read the whole essay here.)]
Christian political philosophy is grounded squarely on divine revelation, not on natural law, nor on majority rule, nor on the exercise of mere force.
Attempts to base a theory of government on secular axioms result in either anarchy or totalitarianism. Only Christianity, which grounds the legitimate powers of government in the delegation of power by God, avoids the twin evils of anarchy and totalitarianism.
Government has a legitimate role in society: the punishment of evildoers, as Paul put it in Romans 13. That is the only function of government that Paul mentions. Education, welfare, housing, parks, roads, retirement income, health care, or any of the other programs in which government is involved today are illegitimate. The fact that government is involved in all these activities is a primary reason why government is not doing its own job well: The crime rate is rising, and the criminal justice system is a growing threat to a free people. The innocent are punished and the guilty remain unpunished.
The Bible teaches a distinctly limited role for government. The Biblical goal is not a bureaucracy staffed by Christians, but no bureaucracy. There should be no Christian Department of Education, no Christian Housing Department, no Christian Agriculture Department–simply because there should be no Departments of Education, Housing, and Agriculture, period. We do not need and should oppose a Christian Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms or a Christian Internal Revenue Service. Some so-called Christians are engaged in a pursuit of political power that makes their activities almost indistinguishable from the activities of the social gospelers in the early and mid-twentieth century. This sort of political action has nothing to do with Scripture.