The Christian’s Response to Politics

Some religious leaders caution Christians against publicizing political views, fearing discord that could split the flock, while others challenge believers to engage in all areas of public life, including running for office. What is clear is that in all matters of our earthly lives—including the political—God’s people are called to seek His guidance and direction and then speak the Word of God boldly.

Psalms 146:3-5 (NLT): “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those … whose hope is in the Lord their God.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV): “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Acts 1:8 (GW) [Y]ou will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me … to the ends of the earth.”

THE U.S. POLITICAL FABRIC IS TORN.

The last several decades have seen a wedge form within the body, separating families, friends, neighbors, and communities. On one side are those pushing for more government regulation of our personal lives, while their opponents push against more government, saying less government promotes a vibrant private sector.

Overlapping this battle is the divisive “culture war,” pitting secular voices  calling for “progressive” values against Christian voices defending biblical values.

Where Are Christian Voices?In both arenas — the role of government and the cultural war — there is no middle ground. If one is not “right,” then one is “wrong” — not partly right or mostly right, but completely wrong.

Both major political parties have seen an “ethnic cleansing” of sorts, where those left-of-center have migrated to one party and those right-of-center have moved to the other party.

The result of this realignment is a political middle nearly extinct, and, with it, any chance for either side to find compromise or common ground.

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WHAT SHOULD BE THE CHRISTIAN VOICE?

The Christian is called to observe two truths.

One is to follow biblical teaching; that is, to listen for God’s voice and obey His commands where He has made them clear (Lev. 22:31; Matt. 28:20; John 15:14).

The other is to follow the Lord’s mandate to love God and to love our fellow man. Jesus said we are to forgive our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).

The Lord was also clear that He created civil government to maintain order and domestic peace, to punish wrongdoers, and to keep us safe from our enemies (1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:1). He even calls us to pray for our political leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-3).Girl in Field - Christian Voices

In the most famous exchange on secular observance, Jesus told his questioners to “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:7).

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TRUE, WE ARE REMINDED in Scripture that the Lord Jesus will return to earth — the Second Coming — when He will gather the believers to Him and usher in a lengthy earthly reign, possibly for a thousand years — before providing the Paradise He promised that far exceeds the Garden of Eden (Rev. 21, 22).

Until then, we are called to witness in the way we act and speak that gives the glory to God (1 Peter 2:12).

So, is there a Christian List of Political Positions that we could refer to that will tell us the biblical stand on the day’s affairs?

It might be easier to point to Scripture in defense of marriage between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6) than it is to discern a Christian position on, say, the ideal tax rate (Matt. 17:27).

But looking for “right” positions on earthly concerns doesn’t feel at all biblical, especially in light of the apostle Paul’s statement that “our citizenship is in heaven,” and we are waiting for the Lord’s return (Phil. 3:20).

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WHEN JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS on the Cross, He also rose from the dead to create His church (Matt. 16:18), which He would soon commission his followers to build (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

The apostle Paul was clear that the Lord’s church should follow “one Lord” (Eph. 4:3-5), so there’s very little room for discord or fractious debate within the circle of believers. That is not to say there isn’t room for disagreement. That is entirely a different matter, as long as the issue is not a clear biblical mandate.

Cross Against Sky - Christian VoicesWe’ve seen what happens when God’s people fail to consult with God on all matters of their lives, from Adam and Eve’s decision to eat of the  forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6), to Abraham and Sarah’s plan to fulfill God’s promise to give them a son (Gen. 16:1-2), to Korah’s uprising against Moses’ leadership in the wilderness (Num. 16:31-33), and that’s just the tip of the first three books in a 66-book Bible.

The prophet Jeremiah was pretty blunt, wasn’t he, when he put it this way when God’s people stopped asking Him for guidance: “For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the LORD; therefore they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered” (Jer. 10:21).

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WHAT IS CLEAR is that in all matters of our earthly lives, including the political realm, God’s people are called on to seek God’s guidance and direction.

The apostle James, Jesus’ half-brother, says that if anyone lacks wisdom, he or she “should ask God,” who will give it (James 1:5). He says that the wisdom God gives “is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (3:17).

The psalmist tells us (Psalms 118:8-9 CEV) that it is “better to trust the Lord for protection than to trust anyone else, including strong leaders.”

Lastly, we’re reminded in Acts 4:24-26, that God is sovereign, and He will determine the outcome of any event, whether it be a plea for direction in marriage or which job offer to accept — or what the election outcome should be.

That doesn’t mean we will understand or even like the outcome (Isa. 55:9). It does mean that God is in control.

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WHEN THE APOSTLES PETER AND JOHN were released from prison, they reported back to the early believers that the political and religious leaders of the day had ordered them to stop preaching the Good News of salvation.

God's Wisdom - Christian VoicesImmediately, the believing community raised their  arms in prayer: “Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.’”

Their amazing prayer continued: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”

After they finished, the Bible says (v. 31), “the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

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PRAYER: O Holy and Merciful Father, we come to you in this troubled political season in our country and seek Your guidance. We ask for wisdom on what we, as Your followers, should share with fellow believers and with a fallen world hungry for Light and Truth. In the end, Lord, we know that Your Truth will prevail and that You alone are sovereign. We seek guidance that will help us navigate the coming months in a way that brings glory to You, Lord, and healing to our community. We raise this plea in Jesus’ Name. Amen

Author: Ward Pimley

Journalist/Author (retired) Evangelical Christian, Politically Conservative. Eager to share God's Message of Salvation and Grace.

2 thoughts on “The Christian’s Response to Politics”

  1. This blog post is an act of love and healing. Ward and I have discussed politics and religion for years. While I have problems with the passive message it is something to think and pray about. What should we as either Christians or citizens do when the government is turning repressive? For that is actually happening now. Ward mentions these passages:
    The Lord was also clear that He created civil government to maintain order and domestic peace, to punish wrongdoers, and to keep us safe from our enemies (1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:1). He even calls us to pray for our political leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-3).
    But the government is NOT living up to this responsibility. It is distorting freedom of religion, into freedom from religion, official atheism. It is threatening our basic liberty under the Bill of Rights. “Leaders” such as Barack Obama have made it very clear, conservatives are their enemies. They are poisoning the minds of our children. I pray more for deliverance, than for them, for they seem incapable of change. There will be no blinding light from God to change their ways, as there was with Saul.
    Near the end here, Ward reminds us that God is sovereign. I know Ward does not mean we should just sit back and see what happens. We must make our voices heard. Yet we must show grace as well. No nasty bumper stickers, tempting as they are. Don’t go seeking arguments with people.
    But we are free people (for now), and we have both a right and a responsibility to effect change for ourselves. If I didn’t have to work, I would run for office myself. Since I do work, I register small acts of protest such as letters to my Congressmen, and occasionally to the newspaper. Something is better than nothing. If I am in a small group of friends or relatives and hear a comment that is completely out of line I will respond. I help my local Tea Party, and attend rallies for freedom. I cannot just sit still and watch freedom eroded around me.
    As for politics from the pulpit, I am against it. Sharing a love of Christ is one of the last remaining link we have with political progressives, however few there are. I would hate for my pastor to make a statement that drives either them or me from the Church. And of course there is the legal angle….churches are in a precarious enough tax-exempt position, without putting it in jeapordy.
    Thank you Ward for your loving message. I will continue praying for us all, conservative and liberal.

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    1. David — Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You make a lot of good points, well reasoned. The difficulty with discussing civic matters from a biblical perspective is that the Bible is clear only that some matters pertain to God and His affairs while others pertain to the state. The problem you mentioned is that the state now is usurping the moral sphere, replacing God’s moral law with political policy and defending that usurpation on a false reading of the Bible! Up is now down; black is now white; bad is now good. As a follower of Christ, I cannot let that go unchallenged. I do not advocate for Christians to be passive and watch what happens. We are called to be “light and salt” to the world, and we also are called to do so with humility and love. It is clear, I believe, that God abhors homosexual unions; it is not so clear God’s position on the U.S. taking in Syrian refugees or how to revise the U.S. tax code. In the former issue, Christians must lovingly be forthright and defend Scripture. In the latter issues, Christians must pick their positions through prayer and promote them through love, even when disagreeing with one another. I am working on a second part to this post that I anticipate publishing shortly. Each post is a product of prayer, and I do not publish until I am convinced that my post will further God’s will, as I understand it to be. Again, thank you for your comment, and please continue to do so!

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