The Christian’s Political Dilemma
Deborah Judge | February 27, 2014
These days many Christians are rethinking their role in American politics. By this I mean that many who stayed on the sidelines in the past are now entering the political arena. Why, isn’t it enough to pray? We are all sensing that America is in trouble and we need to fight for the soul of our nation but many don’t know quite how to sort it all out or even if Christians should get involved. They are hearing many messages that say:
- “This is a Christian country!”
- “Don’t mix religion and politics!”
- “We must have separation of church and state.”
- “Can America be a Christian country and still practice separation of church and state?”
- “The church should save souls, not get involved in politics.”
- “The gospel should transform institutions as well as people”
- “There is a longing to be ‘One Nation Under God!’”
Back in the 70’s American Christians got excited and felt that if they could only vote in a “born-again” Christian into the White House national affairs would some how miraculously get fixed because certainly God would be pleased with America! And we got Jimmy Carter who for many of us did not have a biblical stand on the issues and we certainly saw the unfavorable results.
If we fast forward to the 80’s, due to the disappointed with Jimmy Carter, the Christian stance took on another strategy and organizations like the Moral Majority and Christian Voice were formed to voice the concerns of Christians in America. Clearly having a presidential candidate that said he was born-again was not enough. They realized we had to be vigilant; we had to make sure the candidates we were going to support and vote for had views that were compatible with the Christian viewpoint. So we got Ronald Reagan and conservatives in Congress.
The secular media quickly put a damper on that because they caught wind of this strength that was building up among the Christian camp and they began their venomous, vicious campaign to criticize the Christian Right. The media’s distortion of the right’s position has only increased to great heights up until today.
On the other hand, the attacks also came from liberal Christians who said that a fusion of religion and politics would be a dangerous combination, something that would threaten the very basis of religious liberty.
With all this confusion, some assume that God is not interested in politics and we should all just go our merry way without Him and become a neutral/secular nation.
However, that is not the God we see in Scripture. The God of the Bible is interested if a sparrow falls to the ground, He has even numbered the very hairs on our head, so I would say He absolutely does know what is going on and he cares and is interested in the affairs or our nation. He even commands us to pray for those in authority (Romans 13).
An example that God does care is how His prophets of old delivered powerful warnings to the kings of Israel and Judah when they abused their position. They clearly let them know that God was displeased with them. So I would say that God is also concerned about those in public service in America. If He cares, shouldn’t we?
God says in Daniel 2:21, “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.”
Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a water course wherever he pleases.”
Is God involved in our nations affairs and in our electoral process? According to these verses we just read, He most certainly is involved. It makes perfect sense. Will the God who searches men’s hearts not search the heart of a nation?
Isaiah 44:24-25, “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb; I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense.”
God does have divine control overall things—He is still Lord over all of His creation.
So, if God is interested in our national affairs does He have an opinion about what is going on in American politics? Does the Bible speak to this?
You can absolutely find much in God’s Word that speaks about government and citizenship. God’s Word is a treasure trove of wisdom on economics, military power, war and peace, international relations, social reform, social welfare, crime and punishment, capital punishment, church and state—just about every issue you can imagine.
Don’t misunderstand me, the Bible is not a book on politics, but it is a book on good government to be implemented on earth as it is in heaven. It is very accurate on what works and what doesn’t! Those who refuse to preach on these matters are not presenting the whole counsel of God and are robbing the people.
Let us remember that there are no vacuums in leadership, if righteous people do not occupy those places in government, the ungodly will.
It is a good thing that born-again biblical Christians are entering the political arena. Remember, “When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan”, Proverbs 29:2.
It is a good thing that Christians are endeavoring to learn about biblical principles of government because they will function wherever they are applied. God’s people are under many forms of government in the world and they can certainly shine and be salt and light wherever they are. Christians should make their influence felt in all camps.
This doesn’t mean that all forms of government are equally right. Truth cannot contradict itself.
Who is right and who is wrong? Christians should not weigh the matters based on political positions but rather ask themselves, “What do the Scriptures say?”
Let’s not just talk the jargon and general terms that too often we hear in Christian circles such as, “moral views,” the “Christian position,” or “God’s answer” to this or that and giving too little attention is given to “what does the Bible say?”
Let us remember that our source of authority is and always will be God’s Word; the Bible.
A political position is neither Christian nor moral unless it can be supported directly or indirectly, with God’s Word.
The matter of citizenship for a Christian should be examined from God’s standpoint found in the Bible.
I hope this reflection has helped clarify the questions you may have had in regards to this topic.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through your studious approach of the matters at hand in the Holy Scriptures.
The principle of this verse cannot be overemphasized, “When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2