Why Christians Should Get Involved In Politics
“My kingdom is not of this world lest my children would fight.”
That’s what Jesus said. But what did he mean? What are the implications of the Lord’s assertion that His Kingdom is not of this world?
At first glancing this passage or hearing it spoken aloud, I’m inclined to doubt whether Christians should get involved in politics at all. If the Lord’s Kingdom is not of this world, what business do we have involving ourselves with the kingdoms that are of this world? And who do those kingdoms belong to if not to Yahweh God?
One of the temptations Satan put before Jesus during his 40 days in the desert was that if Jesus would only bow down before Satan he would be given all of the kingdoms of this world to rule. Jesus refused, of course, quoting the Scriptures as he fulfilled the Scriptures in remaining sinless.
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Jesus did not submit to the Devil just to gain earthly authority and power, and neither should we.
Yet I have often wondered how and why Christians should get involved in politics, if they ever should at all. Subconsciously I imagine every Christian who considers running for office having Satan show up in the guise of a campaign manager or pollster saying to that Christian, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.”
Politics is such a notoriously dirty business, and politicians are known almost universally as disingenuous liars and charlatans. How can any sincere, effective Christian dip their toe in that pool and not pull it back dripping the toxic sludge of half-truths, pandering flattery, and persistent manipulation all over their once pure faith?
For starters, a number of men in the Old Testament seem to have done it.
Daniel, for instance, was among the captives the Babylonians carried away from Israel, groomed for serving in the administrative wings of the Babylonian government because he was among the best of the conquered people of Israel in the eyes of the Babylonians. He belonged to the ‘cream of the crop,’ as it were. The Babylonians made a practice of deliberately pulling the best of those peoples they conquered out of their homelands and transporting them to Babylon. This was designed to simultaneously strengthen the Babylonian Empire and minimize the risk of natural-born leaders stirring up conquered peoples to revolt and throw off the yoke of their conquerors.
At a certain point we read that Daniel was faced with a temptation very similar to that which Satan put before Jesus, arguably even a foreshadowing of what Jesus would endure during his 40 days and 40 nights in the desert.
The Bible tells us that he had so distinguished himself among the administrators in King Darius’ court that the king wanted to promote Daniel to a position overseeing the whole kingdom. Yet jealous rivals within the Babylonian court, desiring to eliminate Daniel rather than striving to outperform him honestly, conspired to have a law made that no one could pray to anyone but the king for 30 days, or else they would be fed alive to lions. In essence, political rivals lobbied King Darius to make this ruling specifically to get Daniel out of the picture because they knew he would not comply with such an abominable, idolatrous edict.
Sure enough, what was the response of Daniel? He did not resign his post and hide away from the duties of his office, nor did he bend his knee to a false god or forsake worship of and giving thanks to Yahweh God. No, he kept his post and remained faithful.
And so the ambush was sprung. Those men who had conspired against Daniel to assassinate him politically and physically went as a group to catch him breaking the royal decree they had suckered King Darius into proclaiming. Then, once they’d caught Daniel red-handed, they went again as a group to King Darius like so many cats bringing a mouse to the doorstep of their master.
But God rewarded the faithfulness of his servant and shut the mouths of the lions he was thrown to. When King Darius rushed to the lions’ den to check on Daniel the next morning, the assertion he was met with left no room for doubt as to which King is Sovereign over all men, over all beasts, and over all Creation.
“May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
In other words, even when those in government here on Earth are corrupt or forget justice in pursuit of their own self-interest, the Lord God in Heaven still oversees the affairs of men, weighing our hearts, seeing our innermost thoughts and knowing our plans. And He does not forget justice, nor does He turn a blind eye to whether we are faithful or depraved in the fulfillment of our duties and responsibilities.
If Daniel, by God’s grace, manned his post in a hostile environment and still remained faithful in the face of devious plots and schemes, corrupt and idolatrous edicts, and even attempts on his life, what excuse can we possibly have for retreat or compromise?
Resist the Flight or Flight Response.
Yes, you read that right. I know full well that the phrase is supposed to be fight or flight. Yet somehow we Christians all too often forget and forsake that there can be any such thing as a worthy fight when it comes to politics. All too often we limit our choices to one form of retreat or another – either compromising and giving the enemy enough of what he wants so that we don’t have to oppose him here and now, or else exiting the situation entirely. Are either of those responses to evil biblically defensible though?
When Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights being tempted by Satan, did he compromise? When Satan told Jesus to bow before him, Jesus didn’t negotiate the terms of his own surrender. He didn’t offer to nod slightly toward Satan instead of dropping to one knee, or ask how deeply he would need to be bow to avoid both Satan’s and the Father’s wrath simultaneously. No, Jesus knew he was in the right and stood his ground.
The Scriptures don’t tell us that the Devil will resist us and that we are to flee him, but rather:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
“The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
God’s people are not the ones who are supposed to retreat. We ought to be the ones charging in with no concern for personal safety so long as what we are striving for is clearly the will of our Father in Heaven.
Is it okay for Christians to compromise politically?
Yes, sometimes it is. Compromise borne out of true humility and consideration for others is very well and good when, for example, you’re choosing which restaurant you’re going to eat at with family or friends. You are to be commended when you make a habit of being agreeable with frivolous matters like that.
Where compromise becomes a dirty word in my mind, however, and where it should be detestable and intolerable to us, is when compromise is demanded in matters of good versus evil.
The present-day politician who immediately comes to my mind is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, currently running for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, who once quipped acerbically the following regarding the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear negotiations:
“An editorial cartoon summed up the foolishness of this administration’s views. It shows the Ayatollah Khomeini proclaiming death to all Americans and then shows John Kerry countering, ‘can we meet you halfway?’ We cannot compromise with zealots whose only objective is to murder our allies and us.”
Senator Cruz was absolutely correct on this specific issue, but I bring this example up not to steer the conversation to the Iran Nuclear Deal, but rather as an illustration of a larger paradigm which we seem to have forgotten. If we could paraphrase Senator Cruz to make my larger statement, he would instead say:
“We cannot compromise with Satan, whose only objective is to murder our allies and us.”
And if you don’t believe Satan is out to get you, just consider the words of the Apostle Peter.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
Should spiritual principles like this apply to political questions?
You can fully expect many avowed atheists and Christians alike to answer in the negative to that question. Phrases like “Separation of Church and State” are constantly bandied about at this point in the conversation as something of a trump card meant to silence any further discussion along these lines. In short, as this line of reasoning follows, your Christian faith is not supposed to inform your judgment, but if it does by accident or by unalterable commitment from you, then you are clearly unfit to engage in political discussion, and most certainly unfit to hold political office.
But wait. While the bias of an atheist is so obvious as to be not worth mentioning in relation to “Separation of Church and State” arguments, do Christians have a leg to stand on thinking or believing or talking that way? Is Yahweh God Almighty sovereign over only those matters of life in which the government is not involved, or is He sovereign over all rulers and governments just as much as He is sovereign over those who are ruled and governed?
Is abortion a political issue or a spiritual issue? Is terrorism a political issue or a spiritual issue?
Know this: God made up His mind long before the American people or government debated and decided and then reconsidered which positions to take on abortion, Islamism, false advertising, slander, perversion, theft, and a thousand other issues. Regardless of whether the United States of America was against abortion eighty years ago and is for it today, or was against Islamism 10 years ago and is for it today, God’s character and judgment is the same yesterday today and forever. He did not, he does not, he will never change. His positions have been, are, and always will be perfect and true, and he has no need to evolve on the issues.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
You can’t cherry-pick when it comes to Christian statesmanship.
Tragedy struck San Bernardino County in California this week when at least three gunmen, two of whom news sources confirm pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria before carrying out their attack, assaulted a Christmas party, killing 14 and wounding 21 more.
As Molly Hemingway at The Federalist wrote in her article from two days ago – The Left Prays After San Bernardino Shooting, To Its God Of Government – the liberal media has decided to turn its figurative guns not only on the literal guns used in mass shootings, but also on, of all things, prayer. Hemingway writes, “I’m honestly not sure what possessed all of these media types to choose “people who pray” as the target of their anger. It was really weird and revealing.”
It’s safe to say at this point that Christian prayer-warriors are a softer target for Progressives than are Islamist jihadists who attack Christmas parties.
And yet, as I try to walk a mile in the moccasins of America’s Left feet, a theory comes to mind as to what is behind this criticism of prayer from Democrats. Essentially they’re saying that our Christian prayers are hollow and insincere when they’re not coupled with action. It’s a vain, superficial sort of Christian faith that tells a hungry brother we’ll pray for him when we could instead invite him to have supper with us. It’s a fake, pale imitation of Christ-following if we see someone lying beaten and bloody on the side of the road and pass over on the other side because we have to get to church on time.
James, the brother of Jesus made exactly this point.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Yet you can’t have your cake and eat it too, secular Progressives. We Christians cannot cherry-pick which parts of the Bible will inform our judgment on the questions facing our nation today, and then ignore everything which offends and interferes with your broader plans and intentions.
Cynical politicians and their lapdogs in the media obviously think they’re pulling one over on American Christians when they clobber us over the head for not taking personal responsibility in addressing the troubles that plague our families, friends, and countrymen, but are they prepared to swallow and chew what they’re biting off here?
Christians who study more than just the Bible verses quoted conveniently in pursuit of agendas openly hostile to God’s character and person will, and indeed must, apply God’s Word in a way that says “Not my will, but thine be done.” Rest assured, responsible Christians aren’t addressing either Democrats or Republicans when saying “Amen” at the end of their prayers.
Christians should get involved in politics because they believe that the nation whose God is Yahweh will be blessed.
The pattern is woven consistently through the Scriptures. Those persons and families and communities and nations who fear the Lord and honor Him with both word and deed are blessed. Consider the words of the Psalmist:
Yahweh brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of Yahweh stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is Yahweh,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
Yahweh looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
Behold, the eye of Yahweh is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for Yahweh;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Yahweh, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
Godless men have grown bold in deriding together our prayers that God would bless America and bring it back to faith in Him. They’ve mocked us as they paraphrased the words of Jesus in a thousand ways:
“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
No, brothers, it is not time to take America back for Jesus. It is time to become men of action again as we remember that this nation and people, indeed all nations and peoples, have always belonged to our Mighty God and King and always will. It is time we reminded ourselves of this eternal, immutable truth and started living like we believe it. It is time to rediscover public service as a means of honoring the Lord our God. And that is the only reason why Christians should get involved in politics.