Many people have heard it all their lives. It has been a very common phrase for as long as many can remember. Christianity and politics are simply not supposed to mix. In fact, most people are brought up to believe the two should have nothing to do with each other. However, as our culture continues to change and as one begins to take a realistic look at the Bible, one cannot help but draw the conclusion that nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, there are very compelling reasons why those who cling to the idea of the Bible being inerrant and divinely inspired have no choice but to be involved in the political system. In fact, it is a responsibility that a Christian should not shirk.
First of all, the Bible is very clear that all authority of all kinds, including political, has been authorized by God. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 13:1 that God is, in fact, the supreme authority and furthermore, all earthly authority that exists has been instituted by him. Therefore, the most important question that has to be answered in the field of politics is who will have the responsibility given by God himself to direct the day to day affairs of the public?
God rarely intervenes in a direct fashion when it comes to human affairs. When he does, it is referred to as a “miracle.” Instead, his chosen method of intervention is to work through human beings. He works through men and women to whom he has delegated authority. This is true regardless of whether it is in church, home, or society.
When God looks for authority, He is actually looking for servants. He is looking for people who recognize that any authority given to them was by God. They understand that their obligation is to serve God first before serving others. They understand that they are to be good stewards of what has been given to them and that they are accountable for how they use it. They are, however, human and often forget this intended purpose.
For this reason, it is utterly preposterous for those who live under the banner of Christianity to voluntarily and deliberately exclude themselves from being involved in or speaking out about the political system using the age old excuse mentioned earlier that you cannot mix faith and politics. After all, the very Bible that is God’s written word makes it clear that political power is given directly from the object of their worship, God himself.
Many believe that Christians should stay out of the political fray because of the often underhanded and crooked moments that are the subject of many stories and often prevalent in the legislative hallways across the nation. This is completely illogical when one considers that a Christian is supposed to be salt and light in the world. Jesus taught his followers this very thing in the Sermon on the Mount which begins in chapter five in the book of Matthew. During the time of Christ, salt was used to stop the spread of food decay since no refrigeration was available. Light is naturally always used to eliminate the dark. His point in that sermon was that He wanted those who followed him to be involved in the activities of the world. They should help slow down or even stop the spread of immoral activity and expose the important matters that are often hidden from others who are walking in a sort of darkness that comes as a result of being ignorant from the truth of God. To hide away because something may be messy would have precluded most of the heroes of the Bible. It also makes absolutely no sense to leave the political authority of this world to be held by those who have no respect whatsoever for their Creator or refuse to even acknowledge his existence. When Christians avoid being involved, salt and light are taken out of the world and so darkness and decay should be naturally expected.
On another point, if followers of Jesus Christ stay out of the political system, they give up their right to have any voice about the decline of our culture. Many who claim Christianity seem to enjoy voicing complaints disparaging the condition of the country. Yet these same believers will often turn viciously on any fellow believer who tries to take action and do something to help improve the situation. Very sad indeed.
There is another reason why Christian involvement in politics is important. Romans 13 makes it clear that those in political offices are, in fact, ministers of God. For this reason, the role of a public official is every bit as important as the role occupied by a pastor or minister in the life of his congregation.
Every congregation has to be very careful in choosing the leaders who exhibit authority in church life. In the same way, a Christian citizen must be just as careful in choosing those who will exhibit authority in the public arena.
The word used by the Apostle Paul to describe governmental authority can be translated as the word “servant.” Elsewhere Paul uses the same word to describe himself as a servant of God. He is recognizing the authority given by God to civil servants.
Whether politicians recognize it or not, this is still a biblical fact. A public official who denies the very existence of God still receives his authority from Heaven just as much as a follower of Jesus. The question that must be answered is whether or not his decision making will be guided by the principles outlined in scripture or by his own selfish desires.
So the American Christian has this rare privilege to be part of helping to choose God’s servants in the political world. It is therefore reprehensible for a Christian to not recognize the awesome opportunity given and be a good steward of that responsibility.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that a law that was just was actually a law made by humans but rooted in an understanding of eternal law. It was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, who said it was in the interest of Christians to select Christians as their leaders.
For this reason, Christians should always be guided by the laws of God when looking at policy and worldviews. Moreover, they should be active in politics by holding those who choose to hold office accountable to be the ministers of God they are supposed to be.
Opinion by Rick Hope