Christianity or Politics? Can It Be Both?

January 23, 2015 at 8:14 AM

salvationcartoonI have been struggling (again) with my own involvement in the political arena for some time now. I have been wondering whether it is possible to blend my Christian convictions with any involvement in politics. Of course, I’m not talking about running for office. I’m referring to how or even if I should be involved in politics. Christianity or politics?

Yes, I vote (though I may not in the next presidential election, depending upon who’s running), and I’m certainly aware of the issues. It would seem that most of the time though, we – as a society – have narrowed things down to shouting the newest meme at one another.

Conservatives stand across the aisle from liberals and call them idiots and brain-damaged. Liberals do the same with conservatives. It’s a cacophony of noise that accommodates no one and simply ends in pious resentment, righteous indignation, and resolute disagreement.

In America – as opposed to Israel during Jesus’ day – citizens here have far more civil rights than the Jews of the first century. In America, we still have some semblance of free speech and expression. We enjoy the Second Amendment that allows us to bear arms. We can pretty much go where we want to go and do and say what we want to do or say, provided we are not breaking the law.

This is why some anti-abortion groups stay within the confines of the law in peaceful protests in order to bring awareness to the problem of abortion. Is this something Christians can do? Certainly, especially if it’s done peacefully, within the confines of the law. It may not only bring about awareness of the issue, but discussions that lead to salvation for some. Some good can come from a Christian’s so-called political involvement in society. However, can a Christian have one foot firmly planted in Christianity and the other firmly planted in politics? Is that possible?

I seem to have been here before with my thinking. I have been mulling this over in my mind for months, if not for a few years. Every once in a while, I look thoughtfully at the situation of politics and I wind up taking a few steps backwards to view it from another angle. I compare what I do to what Scripture teaches and for the life of me, I always come down on the side of Scripture, which seems to clearly show that neither Jesus, Paul, Peter, or other disciples who were true followers of Jesus ever really got involved in trying to change society through politics. It appears as though that was not done.

This is especially true if what the Bible says is factual about what will happen in the future. Yes, I’ve heard myself say that we must stand against the government’s unlawful encroachment of our rights. Is that what Jesus would do? Would Paul? Certainly, as a Roman citizen, Paul had additional rights that the average (non-Roman citizen) did not have. He also exercised those rights at various times, but it seems as though God allowed (or encouraged) Paul to do that so that governors, kings, emperors, and others would hear the gospel that Paul would present to them.

Yet, in today’s American society, I wonder if too many Christians have as their primary goal, the “saving” or turning of society? The argument goes something like this: America began as a Christian nation. Over time, things began to change. Humanism snuck in and took control of too many venues to note here, but chief of which was the secular school system, the one started by John Dewey (Socialist). Because we have gone off course, we Christians have an obligation to return America to its founding roots. I think I would honestly have to say I’m guilty of placing politics above Christ.

But too many Christians (who also claim the label “conservative”) believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. I’m not so sure. Yes, our founders were guided by biblical standards and included many of those standards in the writing of the originating documents and laws that followed. But to believe that all of our Founding Fathers were Christian is pushing it, when it is clear that at least some were Deists.

Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority or holy text.

Deists entertain the following (not exhaustive; emphasis added in first line):

  • Do not accept the belief of most religions that God revealed himself to humanity through the writings of the Bible, the Qur’an or other religious texts.
  • Disagree with strong Atheists who assert that there is no evidence of the existence of God.

Generally speaking, Deists believe in God, yet they also generally believe we cannot know Him. In essence then, there is no personal relationship that can be fostered between God and man. This explains why some of our Founding Fathers, though they owned and read Bibles, did not equate to Christianity. We can see why Deism and politics can go hand in hand and there is no contradiction.

But what about Christianity? Is it possible to be a Christian and be involved in politics? Can a Christian do both? Yes, depending upon the involvement.

As Christians, we can use laws as Paul did in order to bring positive change to society. But we need to remember that Paul’s priority was introducing the vehicle for salvation to everyone. Is that our top priority or is it merely to change things about society that we do not like?

“The greatest temporal good we can accomplish through political involvement cannot compare to what the Lord can accomplish through us in the eternal work of His kingdom.” (Dr. John MacArthur, Current, Vol. 20, No. 2, p. 4)

Can any Christian disagree with the above statement? How about this one:

“But our Lord did not come as a political deliverer or social reformer. He never issued a call for such changes, even by peaceful means. Unlike many late 20th century evangelicals, Jesus did not rally supporters to some grandiose attempt to “capture the culture” for biblical morality or greater political religious freedoms.” (Ibid, p. 5)

If we consider the things that Jesus said and did, it should become clear that His priority was always preaching the gospel of salvation. Yes, He performed miracles to help ease burdens, but these were not His priority.

I’m not done with this subject. I’ll have more to say next time, but it seems to be a subject that I need to constantly return to, in order to either place or keep myself on track.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, Life in America, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology.

Why All the Feeling-Centered Feelings in Christendom? Part 2 Christian and Politics Bringing Out the Worst in You

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