The Gospel and Politics – Part 3

This is the final post in the Gospel and Politics series. If you’re new to the blog, you’ll want to start with the first post in the series.

Party Lines
Politics in America are generally boiled down to Left vs. Right, with a minor independent faction that “everyone wishes” was more viable but no one really wants to buy into. We have the Conservatives vs. the Liberals, and it’s a never ending battle. A friend once asked me who Christians should vote for: The Republicans who often overlook the poor and needy, or the Democrats who are generally anti-Christian? The gospel doesn’t allow us to be anti-Christian, and it compels us to take care of the poor. So how do we handle this? The gospel cuts through party lines. We have to stop just voting a “straight ticket” and KNOW THE ISSUES! We need to do the work necessary to at least make a semi-intelligent decision on who to vote for based on their stance on the important issues. The goal is the advancement of the gospel, not securing a conservative or liberal congress or president. So we may have to break out of the box and vote for both parties in different offices. Giving examples would take far too much time, so I’ll spare the readers on that. What we have to do, though, is take a hard look at what each candidate believes and supports, and then prayerfully consider which would give us the most freedom to advance the kingdom of God. Simply saying “I’ve always voted republican” doesn’t do the weight of the issue any justice at all.

Don’t Play The Game
Any proper understanding of the gospel should drive a person to inexhaustible humility. We didn’t save ourselves, God saved us. The faith to believe in Him was His gift to us, and that faith fuels our convictions. So to play the Left vs. Right game is simply arrogant. It’s saying that “Our understanding of right and wrong is better than yours!” and there is no place for that in the Kingdom of God. To be sure, there are issues where Scripture is absolutely clear. Christians believe that abortion is wrong primarily because of the Bible, not solely on science alone. So, as a Christian, I believe that because I submit myself to the authority of Scripture, that I am right in saying that abortion is wrong (I know, touchy subject). That said, I also believe that I am ABLE to believe this because God gave me the faith necessary to confess Christ as King and to submit to Scripture as His authoritative Word. This means that any “We have a better understanding than you” toward non-Christians is self-righteous and sinful because it doesn’t recognize the grace extended to me so that I would believe. If it weren’t for God’s grace, I would be on the other team.

We must stop playing the Left vs Right and TRULY reach out with humility and compassion.

Clarifications
Right now, in America, we live in a tension between wanting to hold on to a constitution that promises temporal freedom and no persecution, and the gospel which guarantees true freedom and temporal persecution. While we can, we should indeed press for both. However, the moment that our pressing for constitutional freedom takes us off the path of representing Christ and being able to advance the Kingdom of God, we must repent and get back to the gospel. Getting back to the gospel may mean holding on to the gospel and letting go of the constitution. Advancing the Kingdom may mean really living out Paul’s words “To live is Christ, to die is gain” right here in America (Phil. 1:21). And our hearts should be so stirred with affections for God that there isn’t hesitation in letting go of temporal freedoms in light of true freedom and the price that was paid to secure that freedom.

5 responses to “The Gospel and Politics – Part 3

  1. “Don’t play the game.” This is a great point that church leaders NEED to hear and heed. When we play the game, we point in just about every direction but Jesus.

  2. i don’t vote… on principle…. so that pretty much means I don’t fully buy into what you said in post 2…

    but

    … i do wish those Christians who do vote did so with your guidelines here in post 3. Party-Line Christians are great for divisiveness within the kingdom.

    once a pastor of mine was riding me about going to vote, so I said “fine i’ll go vote, but if i do i’m going to vote for Gore.” He quickly changed his mind and told me not to go vote. It was all in good fun, in the sense of I was lying (i wouldn’t have voted for Gore) and he only told me not to go vote because he saw my point… that really has nothing to do with anything other than to take 5 minutes away from the essay i’m currently writing.

    on a side note, quit being insightful, it’s confusing me.

    • Haha, you think you’re confused after my being insightful, how do you think I feel? lol

      I can understand why you don’t vote, I think. It’s a completely broken system that forces us to choose between the lesser of two evils, so sometimes not being part of it makes more sense. And there is a Biblical precedent of not supporting political factions. Jesus set the example of not supporting any of the political factions, and declaring His own Lordship instead. Paul followed suit in this as well, boldly declaring “Jesus is Lord” in contrast to Caesar’s claim to be Lord. If we were in a purely monarchical government, then I would completely support doing that now.

      Since we have a measure of control in our government (though ultimately the hearts of men are like channels of water in the hands of God), then I feel that Christians CAN (not necessarily have to) use politics as a means of enabling us to proclaim Christ’s Lordship more freely.

      Grateful for your input (and support?), Jeremy. Glad you stopped by!

  3. (seriously, this is creepy… but i’ll just have to accept it.)

    Yes, you are correct in why i do not vote… summarily at least… there is still even more to it.

    I’m fine with those who want to use voting and political involvement as an avenue of influence. Without it, we’d probably be a lot worse off… or we might not. Christianity was highly influential in society well before constitutional, representative republics were in place. After all, the Kingdom of God transcends politics and societal structures.

    Unfortunately i think too many Christians think too highly of our “duty” to be involved in politics, so that the political avenue becomes the most important avenue of influence. To me, this is asinine. Our influence on society comes less from our vote and more from our hands. There are high levels of hypocrisy among Christians and their political stances. There does not have to be, and i think the way that you outlined moves away from the hypocrisy, but it is all too common.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *