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7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics

How to be in the world, not of the world, in a culture of political vitriol.

Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.

It’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

Here are seven things to remember about politics:

1. Both political parties go to church.

There’s a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there’s a secular Right. Edwina Rogers is a Republican lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. She’s a Republican, and her entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they're not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.

2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings.

When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it’s up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.

3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others.

They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord “detests.” We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to make gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.

If you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved.

4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake.

The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party. The Republican party of today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.

5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7).

Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. This doesn’t mean praying the President will be impeached; it doesn’t mean praying your candidate will win. God commands us to pray for our leaders—for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.

6. Don’t be paranoid.

The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned—albeit, at varying levels of success—for years under the direction of alternating Democrat and Republican control, and at every flip, the other side thought it was the end of the world. It’s not. And if we’re a Church that believes God is in control, we have to believe that He is the one in control of the end times—not Barack Obama, not Mitt Romney and not whoever succeeds them.

7. Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation.”

It’s not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Before that, we thought it was okay to own people. Every generation thinks it’s living in the most important moment in history. We’re not, our parents were not and our children probably won’t be. And that’s OK.

Top Comments

Calen Horton

1

Calen Horton commented…

Thank you for this. Seriously.

Micah Wood

1

Micah Wood commented…

I feel like I just took a breath of fresh air... Thank you for the encouragement and exhortation. I've been struggling with this issue.

918 Comments

Kirsten Oliphant

5

Kirsten Oliphant commented…

I really liked this. I struggle with the place where faith and politics intersect. I try to avoid that intersection. :) I think that one thing I would say is that it IS okay to pray for "our" candidate to win or for those things that we desire to see. Just as it's okay to pray for our wants as long as it's in the context of trusting the bigger plan of God. As in, I can pray for my candidate to win, and then I can pray for the person who does win, regardless of how I prayed or voted. I do think it's okay to have desires and present those, but I think maybe your statement was a reaction to the fact that so many people seem to JUST pray for what they want.

Taso Grevenitis

2

Taso Grevenitis commented…

This article was beautifully written and so true. I have many heroes, and none of them are politicians. As Christians, our heroes should be guys like Jesus, Billy Graham, MLK Jr, Paul, etc.

Politicians are corrupt and immoral by nature. They are bough by corporations and unions, and they care nothing for the average citizen.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let's be honest; the politicians (on both sides) today are the modern day equivalent of the Pharisees and Saducees. And one day they will have to answer to The Almighty for their theivery.

Clint Stephens

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Clint Stephens replied to Taso Grevenitis's comment

Another name for this could be 7 reasons why totalitarian governments like weak preaching.

Seven ways pastors in Nazi Germany allowed their flocks to be ravaged by Nazi wolves.

A few truth mixed with a little leaven gets 7 reasons how the whole batch went bad.

Remember Facebook had been around in the 1930's and if any person would have mocked Hitler in 1933 then the Holy Spirit would have grieved.

Calen Horton

1

Calen Horton commented…

Thank you for this. Seriously.

Micah Wood

1

Micah Wood commented…

I feel like I just took a breath of fresh air... Thank you for the encouragement and exhortation. I've been struggling with this issue.

Viscount Montague Witherstone

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Viscount Montague Witherstone commented…

Hmmmm..... I am more inclined to insist that religion remains entirely separate from politics. Period. How individuals wish to practice their faith (within the boundaries of the law) is fine. Attempting to enforce thos ebeliefs upon everyone via political process is no bueno and very, VERY anti-American.

No one is persecuting Christianity. No one is telling Christians they can’t be Christian or that they have to accept anything unchristian. All they are being told is that there shall be no law passed which allows them to create a theocracy or practices bigotry against anyone legally.

If you can’t stand the fact that you can’t hate, then you’re not a Christian to begin with.

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