Recently, a pastor publicly inferred that Christianity should be a qualification for the presidency. Last spring, a Christian radio station publicized a rapture that never came. Churches protest military funerals, pastors preach, "God d*** America," and ministers burn religious books. We don't riot in the streets and behead our enemies, but sometimes, we should just keep our mouths shut.
There is fervent debate over the place of religion in politics. Truth is, everyone's religious beliefs color his life. What you believe (or don't believe) about a god or gods dictates your worldview. It is impossible to separate religion from any aspect of life, including politics.
In America's self-professed tolerant society, it seems Christianity is the least-tolerated religion. I wonder if it isn't because we parade our erroneous understanding of our teachings before the world instead of "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). So many churches are conforming to the world, combating the world, and cuddling up to the world, that we turn off the world instead of testifying to the world.
One great error of church teaching today is that we are called to transform individuals, society, and the world. Some denominations teach that we will usher in a perfect world by social and political action, disguised as gospel action. Others believe we should withdraw from the world and let it go to hell. Both extremes miss the mark.
The bible teaches that man has chosen to rebel against his Creator, plunging the world into the curse of sin (Romans 8:20). One need only study history, science, and sociology, to see this truthand the world is not becoming a more idyllic place. Government overstepped its God-given role to protect its citizens and has become an obstacle to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It, too, suffers the consequences of sin.
Solely believing in God does not qualify anyone for public office, no more than any religion, non-religion or ethnicity makes any candidate perfect. King David of Israel was a man after God's own heart, yet he didn't fare well with Bathsheba, bringing disgrace to his family and trouble to the nation (2 Samuel 12).
Is there a solution to the nation's problems? Are we doomed to circle the drain of destruction, drowning in our own defilement? The answer Christians should proclaim is, "No!" That answer involves Christians in politics, but not just contemporary politics.
We are not called to change the world; we are called to warn and prepare people for the world to come. "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17). Jesus proclaims, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). John, beholding the future, says, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (Revelation 21:1).
We are called to show compassion, bless our fellow travelers, and give until it hurts. We are not called to rule this world, condemn it, or make it better. We are called to call people to Christ for forgiveness of sins and citizenship in the coming kingdom, where "God shall wipe away all tears and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4). We make disciples of all nations, not just Americans or Republicans.
Should we refuse our responsibilities and rights as US citizens? No (Romans 13). Nor should we disregard our duties as citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20), for which we are ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Christians, we can get involved in politics, but remember: God is the Eternal Frontrunner!
Alan is a freelance devotional writer for Lifestyles Over 50 and the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also the Peer-less Reviewer (General Editor) for Bridgeway Homeschool Academy in Catasauqua, PA, a Christian homeschool academy. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology.
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