Politics are one of the most highly controversial topics among Christians today. Understand that there are a lot of factors to be weighed and not everyone is going to come to the same conclusions. Also understand that many of the conclusions people come to are not always intellectually thought through with great scrutiny. Instead, I would submit that many well meaning Christians have been led to their political positions by emotionally charged rhetoric, self-interests, and base prejudices.
It is imperative that you understand that while there is an absolute answer to every problem, it is not always clear cut on how to determine or defend the solution. The Bible does not offer definitive answers to every situation. You must also understand that no political party has ever been right on every political issue and therefore any parties’ attempts to claim exclusivity as the Christian party is downright blasphemous to the character of Christ.
Now that those are out of the way we can begin to ask the question on how our faith and politic overlap.
Christians have a tendency to either over-spiritualize their political efforts or under-spiritualize them. There are those who see legislation as the primary effort for the moral stability of society. But is this a biblical model or uniquely an American concept? What about communist North Korea or Islamic Iran? Should Christians rise up against their oppressors? This is clearly contrary to the teaching of Paul and Peter (Romans 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-17). Even theologians in Great Britain look on how many American Christians treat their political duties as out of control.
The argument for these Christians is that their faith is to inform their political convictions, but instead of developing a biblical model for political involvement they allow their conscience to be the sole authority for political activism. Take the issue of abortion. Yes it is murder and it is wrong. But murder was taking place in the early church as well, but the apostles did not form a political party to combat it. They stuck to the great commission knowing that gains in morality did not constitute gains for the Kingdom. When Peter was imprisoned he rejoiced. When Paul was imprisoned he praised God he had opportunity to share in Christ’s suffering. When Stephen was stoned there was no legal action taken to bring his attackers to justice (of which Paul was one). Christians today are drunk with political incentive. Understand, that the Bible never guaranteed safety or power. Instead we are privileged to suffer (Philippians 1:29) and those who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).
On the other side of the coin are those who underestimate the importance of the role they play in American politics. As part of the governing populous, Christians must stand up for what is right and speak out against injustice. To ignore the horrendous acts of violence against the unborn is not characteristic of believers. However, Christians should not be noted as the ones who are picketing, but the ones who care. I understand the reasoning for abstaining from politics, social justice, and the extreme right because in many ways it paints a picture of an angry mob not a wrathful God. Understand that no one ever comes to the saving knowledge of grace by only seeing God’s hatred for sin. On a scale of depravity we were all on the same level before we were saved. Lying is included in Romans 1 as well as the horrendous sins you’re picketing. Would you have been brought under conviction or provoked to anger if Christians were picketing outside your home before you were saved, “Revelation 21:8 – Liars go to hell!”? But even Christian liberals need to understand that morality is not something to be ashamed about. We all need to stand up for life. The character of Christ is equally tarnished by those professing to be His followers that don’t show any conviction for morality.
The evident truths of Scripture leave room for believers to fall on several different conclusions. Remember that the civil war is suggested to have been fought over a moral issue but the most noted believer from that time was General Robert E. Lee who fought for the South. Good people will fall on different sides of sometimes very sensitive issues. We need to be accepting of that, faithful to evaluate our own positions, and committed to listen without prejudice.
These next two weeks we will be discussing the issues of politics and faith. I am aware that this is a major hot bed for many people and I don’t want to create controversy or a platform for Christians to lose their testimony, but I do want to invite people to interact, understand, and engage the topics at hand. Furthermore, if you feel I am off in any way, I want to invite you to lovingly exhort me so that I can continually refine my own pursuit for truth and accuracy.