Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Why Christians Should be Leery About Politics

As Christians from the left and right continue to barrage Facebook and Twitter with political rants and pleas, I thought it would be beneficial to consider why Christians should be leery of politics. Politics is an age old game that never ends. Solomon warned us long ago of the danger of politics when he wrote, “If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and right, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them” (Eccl. 5:8). Solomon was not speaking of just Republicans or just Democrats, but of politics in general. It is a nasty business and Christians should remain cautious, especially in the middle of a political season that seems to go on and on.

Here are a few reasons why we should remain skeptical of politics in general:

Politics promotes unethical behavior. The goal of politics is to win no matter what the cost. Lying, cheating, and character assassination are all fair game. Politics is not about arriving at the truth, but about getting another vote. Most of the unethical behavior in politics is relegated to politicians and those who work in the business, but if Christians are not careful then we can quickly give up policies for character assassination. We can just as easily become enamored with the goal of winning and in exchange allow our ethical standards to suffer.

Politics embraces the language of gloom and doom. Fear is one of the strongest motivating factors there is and politicians understand this. They use fear to manipulate people to vote for them, or to support certain policies. The problem with this is that the most common command in the Bible is “Do not fear!” We are supposed to live out of faith rather than fear. Fear also robs us of hope, something Peter says we should be known by (1 Pet. 3:15). Politics has the potential of robbing us of two of the essential elements of Christianity, faith and hope.

It is a choice between the lesser of two evils. Often the political debate is framed as a choice between good and evil, but this is not so. When a person votes they are always voting for the lesser of two evils. There is not a single political party that represents all the morals and ethics that we find in the Bible. Although I believe Christians may vote, I do not think we should get excited about promoting the lesser of two evils. We should be excited about promoting the church, which stands as an alternative to worldly institutions.

Politics is divisive. Simply turn the TV to one of the 24 hour news channels and you are likely to hear two people yelling at one another. This is what politics does. It divides people. Family, friends, and if we are not careful, church members are at odds over politics. Christians need to rise above this behavior. We are to be unified in spiritual matters (Eph. 4:1-6), and should not allow worldly matters to divide us.

Politics offers a false sense of salvation. Political language bounces from one extreme to another. If politicians are not sounding the alarm of gloom and doom, then they are promising followers that they can solve all their problems. Some more charismatic leaders almost come off as messianic with the things people say about them. Politicians of the past are eventually canonized, and people quickly forget about all their mistakes and mishaps. Although the election of a politician may or may not lead to a better quality of life, it has nothing to do with salvation. Politics cannot solve the biggest problems this world faces, and we should not expect it do so. The only answer to the world’s problems is offered by Jesus, and not a politician.

The kingdoms and institutions of men will not last. The Kingdom of God will last forever, but all the kingdoms and institutions of this world will eventually come to an end. We need to keep this in mind when we decide to campaign for a politician or political party. What we are campaigning for will not last. We must also decide where we are going to spend our time and energy. Are we going to spend it on something that will come to an end, or are we going to spend it on something that will last forever?

As we get closer to November, we need to remember that as Christians our full allegiance should be to the Kingdom of God. We have not been called to preach a political message, but to preach Jesus. Remember that no matter what the outcome of the election is our hope and trust is in Jesus.

7 Responses to “Why Christians Should be Leery About Politics”

  1. [...] Why Christians Should be Leery About Politics by Scott [...]

  2. As Christians, we hopefully can all agree that things eternal are more important than things temporal. We do vote for the lesser of two evils, because every candidate who has ever run for public office is a sinful human being. We can only vote for who we feel will make decisions based on Godly principles to the best of his/her ability. We don’t have to be mud slingers, nasty, devisive to be involved in the election process. “Vote , if you must” is a statement that is very disturbing to me. My voting for who I believe is the most qualified and Godly candidate doesn’t make me less concerned about my Christian walk. It makes it more so.

    • Bobbie, thank you for your comments. I was trying to write a politically neutral piece on why Christians should be cautious about becoming overly involved in politics. I did slip at the very end and giveaway my position on this matter. You were very perceptive to catch that. I understand that many Christians believe voting is an extension of their faith, and I respect this. I, however, cannot go along with that. I am not apolitical or anti-political. I am simply refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils and will try and go about influencing the institutions of men in another way. I think Christians can have a tremendous impact on local governments without ever compromising any of our beliefs. I hold a similar position to many of the restoration preachers of the past, including David Lipscomb. Lipscomb preached that our sole allegiance should be to the Kingdom of God and he believed it was sinful to vote. I do not think it is sinful to vote. I did say in my post that Christians may vote. If you are interested in more of what David Lipscomb believe he has written a very good book entitled “On Civil Government” or you can get a briefer version here http://johnmarkhicks.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/voting-more-evil-than-dancing-says-david-lipscomb/

      If you would ever like to meet for coffee and discuss this further I would be happy to do so. I think you would find that we are in agreement on many of the same issues, but that we go about trying to make changes in a different way.

  3. Great reminder. Politics often becomes an idol in that the people and their politicians see politics as the source of true livelihood.

    Grace and Peace,

    Rex

  4. I once served on a municipal jury in Baytown, Texas. The defendant had been issued a traffic ticket for running a red light. He was a member of the House of Yahweh, which apparently had a compound nearby. His contention was that he owed allegiance to no earthly authority and, therefore, was exempt from the laws of the city, county, state and federal government. As I recall, he didn’t believe in paying federal taxes either and, in fact, believed it would be sinful to do so. I’m certainly not comparing what you are saying in ANY WAY to that scenario. I just cannot understand how we can exclude ourselves from participation in local and federal elections and how we are expected to live in this earthly realm without being responsible to our elected officials. I think it is entirely Biblical to do so, in fact. Am I misinterpreting Mark 12:17? I thought the point of this discourse was to honor our earthly responsibilities to government, knowing that allegiance to God and his commandments is our ultimate responsibility and must always take precedence. As I said earlier, making sure we elect officials who will ensure our right to practice our Christian beliefs is something we cannot ignore. Our US Constitution is a precious document – written by God-fearing men who wanted to protect our rights as Christians to practice our faith. How else can we ensure that our Constitutional rights are upheld, except by making smart decisions at the polls? I was one of those who posted a picture of the recent CFA dibacle. I hope any who read it followed the thread completely. (Sadly, I’m sure many did not and thought I was bashing gays and for that reason, I am sorry I ever posted it to begin with.) My point in posting was that I was proud of my fellow Texans for standing up to protect the Constitution – free speech for every American, including we politically incorrect Christians. These are the “fellow citizens” who I hope will show up to vote in November. As you said, I know that you and I share the common belief that God is our Savior – not Barack Obama or Mitt Romney (or as I would prefer, Condoleeza Rice). And, I do love my coffee, so maybe we can chat someday at Latte on the Square! By the way, the jury decision was unanimous – pay the $500 fine to the Yahweh guy.

    • Bobbie, I have rephrased that final sentence so that my article will be more politically neutral. I still hold to my belief, but the article itself does not reflect my personal choice to refrain from voting this year. I am contemplating writing an article addressing this issue because several people have asked me about it. I will say that my belief is nothing like the man you encountered. I believe Christians have a duty to pay taxes, be responsible citizens, and speak out against issues (CFA and others). I referenced CFA in an earlier post, and I think that is what you were referring to. The only thing I meant by that comment is that Christians should speak out in an ethical way (I would add to that loving). I agree with Dan Cathy and what he said, and I am sure your posts were respectful and reflected your Christian faith.

      In the above article I do mention that Christians may vote, and I nowhere say or allude to another option. I hope it is an article that everyone can read to remind them of the dangers of politics. Politics can become an idol like anything else. I do not think it is sinful to vote, and if a Christian chooses to do that I will not stand in their way, but at the end of the day we must realize that it is the gospel that will change the world. I look forward to enjoying a cup of coffee together and continuing this conversation. I would always rather talk face to face rather than over the internet.


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