Should Christians Engage in Politics?

Christianity in PoliticsReligion and politics are two topics that are sure to cause conflict and controversy. Especially in our current political climate; a climate in which people are very easily offended and angered when disagreement arises. It continually amazes me to observe the complete inability of some people to hold a rational conversation with those they disagree, without getting into a heated and degrading argument. When emotions run high, logic and reason are often thrown out the window. Things are usually no different when discussing religion and spirituality. Mix these elements into a political discussion and you have the perfect ingredients for an emotional atomic bomb. Some folks think that the issue of politics and religion, as controversial as they are, should remain separate and in different spheres of influence from one another. People say that “you shouldn’t mix politics and religion together”. However, not only is this sentiment unreasonable and unrealistic, it’s also false.

For the Christian particularly, it is quite impossible to disconnect our Christian convictions and our political views. While there are professing Christians that often do separate the two, I believe they do so out of inconsistency. The reality is that politics is not a sort of “neutral” enterprise that has no connection to one’s deeply held religious beliefs. Furthermore, let us not pretend also, that the secularist, non-religious skeptic is free from religious convictions. Everyone has a “worldview” perspective which at their base, is rooted in one “ultimate” authoritative interpretive grid. No one is neutral when differing world views are concerned. Everyone sees the world and understands the world in light of their underlying world views, and as such, see the different spheres of life through a particular lens; this includes the political arena. World views are all-encompassing and hence one’s politics will often reveal certain aspects of one’s worldview commitments.

It is quite obvious as well that politics encompasses ethical issues, and ethical issues are necessarily intertwined with religious convictions. Subjects like abortion and immigration come to mind. Both subjects cross hairs with ethical considerations and strike at the core of what one believes about the definition and value of human life, along with views relating to the question of the nature of our responsibility to the wider humanity. The Christian committed to the biblical command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” is also committed to playing this out in his or her political convictions. It is impossible to separate the two. Hence, if we are to ask the question: “Should Christians engage in politics?” The answer is an emphatic YES! How could they not given that politics is also a sphere of human activity that should be, for the Christian, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

Now to the “How” that should play out. This requires the believer to carefully apply biblical truth and considerations to the political process. Indeed, this is what we must do in all areas of life if we are to be committed to biblical truth. Indeed, this is the challenge of being a Christian. We are continually challenged to ask ourselves the question: How am I to apply biblical truth to all areas of life? The answer is not always an easy one, but the question still needs to be continually asked as we seek to live lives which honor God and reflect his truth. There will be areas of disagreement between fellow believers, but my admonishment to the readers: Let the disagreements be because one is convinced of biblical truth, not because certain views are popular in the eyes of the world . Furthermore, let us not impose upon scripture our own political agendas so as to make the Bible support what we want it to support. When we search God’s Word, we want “it” to speak to us as opposed to speaking on its behalf all the while distorting what is says so as to push forward our own views. If we do this with a genuine desire to honor and obey God, I think we are on the right track in honoring God in the political arena.

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