Things were easier for believers under a king, in some ways. Romans 13 and a lot of other Scriptures fit right into what a believer’s responsibility is in that type of government– God says that He directs the heart of the king, that our job is to submit to them, and that they reward righteousness. We’re to pray for them and give them the taxes they put forth.
Setting aside the question of whether the Revolutionary War was just according to the Bible, the system that the founders of this nation set forth for our national government require involvement and regular, bloodless revolutions.
So believers are both the ones that are to submit and the ones to vote for the rulers to submit to, which leaves them in an awkward spot.
The reason that it’s awkward is that if the government is truly by, of and for the people, they should have a say, and should stand up and declare moral right and wrong. They should be involved and should hold elected officials accountable. Yet if they are to submit to the authority, they shouldn’t be disrespecting authority, they should not be taking up cause against their government, and they should abide by the laws. These two things, while not contradictory, look very different in modern practice.
I think that Russel Moore is trying to strike a balance by having a forum at a missions conference where the candidates can talk to evangelicals. By letting the people talk with the candidates, they can hear first hand where they stand, and ask questions believers should ask of their officials.
However, as he closes his post with, we must be careful to remember that our first allegiance is not to this world, but the next.