Politics, the Church and the Individual Christian
Democrat. Republican. Obama. Health care. Supreme Court. Senate. This week, another election season has come and gone. As always, politics and the government have dominated news reports, talk shows and across-the-fence discussions. And yet again, I wonder if we are thinking as Christians in America. Let’s consider just a few principles from God’s Word regarding government and the philosophy of our church.
First, let’s agree with the Psalmist that “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes” (Ps. 118:9). It is dangerously easy to cross the line from political involvement to political dependence. If you find yourself despairingly frustrated about government, ask yourself where your trust is. Is God’s cause and Kingdom suffering loss? Are His plans failing to develop? Or are you trusting man and princes to give you happiness? Second, let’s obey Paul’s command under a much more oppressive regime to “let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1). Yes, that means everyone; yes, that means our governing authorities; and yes, Paul even goes on to specifically command paying taxes. His argument is simple but devastating: government is from God. Third, let’s include all high governmental figures in our prayers (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Have we spent as much time praying for government as we have voting? Done as much intercession for as we have conversation about? Talked in greater share to God about than talked to our neighbors about?
Our church has a clear mission—coming not from your pastors but from your Christ—and that mission is not political. As a church, we exist to equip believers for ministry, exalt God and evangelize the lost. It is impossible to find politics competing in our New Testaments with these priorities. Our mandate is to follow Christ in every arena of life. That includes applying biblical truth to who you vote for and why, how much time you spend focusing on politics, and what you understand the church to be all about.
The stump we’ll stand on is loyalty to Christ and His commands. The citizenship we are most concerned about is in a divine kingdom, not this one. The cause we advance, prioritize and center on is no political one, but a Gospel one. At the same time we must recognize our view of politics and our personal voting choices must fit under the lordship of Christ. Let’s trust God and not government, submit to government because we submit to God, and pray for government because we care about godliness. And let’s keep the church’s purposes in line with Christ’s, not our world’s.