Christians and Politics: An Unholy Mix or Heavenly Call?
Politics and religion, we’re told, don’t mix. Sadly, many professing Christians think so too. “Keep your politics out of (fill in the blank)!” we’re advised in tones not to be confused with tolerance.
Christians are to be above petty political squabbling, heavenly minded and un-besmirched by the stain of worldly disputes. Our home is in heaven, we are assured, the implication being that as sojourners in this land and time, we have no say in what we must put up with.
Historic Christianity says otherwise, of course. It was historic Christianity’s influence on western culture that gave us institutions of higher learning, hospitals and scientific breakthroughs to separate us from our barbaric past, to say nothing of godly men who rose to meet great challenges over the centuries. Thank you Charles Martel. You could look it up, if you’re so inclined.
That’s what makes the past half century so heartbreaking. After being largely responsible for raising mankind’s worldly affairs out of millennia of muck and mire, Christians have taken flight and pretended that in doing so they were being pious.
But it wasn’t out of holiness that believers ceded the culture to pagans. It was fear of being disliked. Consequently, believers became part of the problem rather than the solution. Their retreat aided evil’s advance.
Despite noisy exceptions – and the Moral Majority and its ilk were definitely noisy and exceptions – the church has chosen non-confrontation rather than to speak truth to power.
But kumbaya doesn’t save anyone. At best it’s happy noise that obscures problems until they explode in your face. Same-sex marriage. Abortion. Etc. These and countless other abominable corruptions were aided as much by the silence of those who should have opposed them as they were by the loud agitators who advanced them.
Too many in the church today misunderstand their mission. They walk on egg shells to avoid offending anyone. They think they must be loved by the world.
But we aren’t to be loved. We are to love.
That’s worth repeating. We are not to be loved. In fact, we are to expect to be hated.
Seeking others’ approval is rooted in that original sin, pride. What we’re supposed to do instead is to love others by telling them and doing for them what is in their best interest. Not doing and saying what makes us Facebook buddies with them.
This is unavoidable for the faithful living among people who don’t know Jesus. The only other option is to tacitly endorse paganism’s myriad sins, and curl up and pray we won’t be exterminated as the defenseless cowards we appear to be.
The complaints are predictable. “The United States is not a theonomy!” “You’re suggesting Christians should do what Islam’s imams and mullahs do.”
This complaint is akin to the argument against guns. Guns kill, we’re told. But guns don’t kill. People using guns kill innocent people. And, people using guns protect innocent life.
Likewise, faith doesn’t make society or government evil. False faith in false gods make society and government evil. The good that was established in the United States’ historic experiment in self-rule was based on the good drawn from the Judeo-Christian biblical tradition.
Freedom to speak, to exercise religious beliefs, to assemble and to associate with whom you choose are all God-given rights, as is, incidentally, the right to protect innocent life in self-defense. Even with a gun. These things were established in our nation because they were drawn from religious truths. It didn’t make the nation a theonomy. It made it righteous. At least in intent.
We see the alternative all around us today as secularists and non-believers fundamentally transform what was inspired by God’s laws into laws to accommodate different visions of reality in which right and wrong are determined by popular vote or by edicts from on high instead of based on divine revelation.
Even pagans insist on laws. Those who demand religious faith be kept out of government never bother to explain how that can be accomplished. How are laws to be arrived at if not based on right and wrong? How would legislatures determine what behaviors should be accommodated and which should be proscribed?
The issue is not really that faith must be eliminated in government, but which faith will inform our government?
Christians should understand the relationship between politics and religion doesn’t require leaving your faith in the pews. The Apostle Paul advised, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
He didn’t amend the advice by saying except when those thoughts touch on public policy.
The world’s horrific public policies that mandate theft to redistribute wealth, suppress freedom of religion, murder babies in the womb and exalt sodomy as proper are all evils directly traceable to Christians jettisoning 2 Corinthians 10:5 from the public square. A vacuum doesn’t stay empty long.
Some complain that openly Christian political candidates are unlikeable. Where’s the surprise there? People who reject Christianity don’t like being told about Christian values? Go figure.
We might temporarily ingratiate ourselves with complainers by ceding authority to them to impose their standards that God says are wrong. But conforming to the world’s ways isn’t what Christians are called to do. You could look that up too.
Perhaps most importantly, we don’t love sinners, let alone love our enemies, by turning a blind eye to their sin or by endorsing or enabling it. Instead, that gives them a helping hand to Hell.
Christians are called to call the world to repentance. Not to call the world to infringe on God-given rights.
One overtly Christian candidate for president recently was criticized for his “Christian identity politics.” That’s a misunderstanding traceable to the worldview of the critic. The candidate is merely a Christian in politics. He, and others like him, are not subordinating their religious life to the pursuit of political power. They are subordinating political life to their faith. That’s the proper chain of command.
Christians in politics will rub some people the wrong way, true enough. But all politicians do. Even Charles Martel wasn’t all sweetness and light. He had rough edges aplenty. But he did advance Christendom by turning back a Muslim invasion. Had he not, there might be mosques on every street corner where you find a church today, to say nothing of a Constitution based on Sharia law rather than on godly precepts.
For that, Christians can thank a believer who didn’t keep his faith out of his politics.
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