Here we are standing at the crossroads of faith and politics and it seems we are trying our best to go in both directions at the same time, but that just isn’t going to work.
I recently read this question on Twitter, “If you support the democratic party and profess to be a Christian, how do you reconcile the fact that they support abortion?
For starters this is a loaded question and one that would lead you to believe that the other party is not guilty of supporting anything against Scripture which is not true. This is the trouble with many of these types of questions posted online these days.
In the comments that followed I only saw comments from those who were against abortion and seemed to be against democrats. One even said that if you vote for a democrat then you are not a Christian. That is a very bold statement to make and I am not sure anyone on Twitter has the authority to determine who is an is not a follower of Christ.
Political Climate in Our Churches
In today’s churches it is not unfamiliar to hear a pastor preaching about politics or even sharing their political views. A very famous evangelist was just hired as an advisor to the President and she was quoted as saying if you do not support President Trump then you are not a Christian.
She says this based on biblical doctrine that God ordains those He places in leadership positions. Here is the catch, that is an Americanized concept. What happens if you live in Communist China? Are you to support the dictator who oppresses you and tells you that you cannot openly practice Christianity? It is easy for American Christians to sit back and say that we must support our President with no reserve.
Subject to the Authority
Romans 13:1 – “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement.”
This verse is where many political Christians will hang their hat. I am not a theologian and will not begin to dissect this verse, but I will say that I do not believe this is a blank check for governments to act however they want and expect us to just be okay with it. The verses that follow go on to explain the role of a good government. I will say this. I personally believe that these verses are more about respecting the order of things and respecting the position over the person.
As a Christian, I believe that we are to fight for what is right and if that means taking a stand against the status quo or the authorities in a respectful manner then we should do that. As an example, look at slavery. Slavery was legal for a time but that does not mean that it was right or just. Christians everywhere should have been willing to take a stand against this injustice in opposition to the authorities. Taking a stance comes at a price though, and we must be willing to pay that price. That is what submitting to the authorities really is. Are you against slavery? Will you be vocal about it? What if the government said you would go to jail if you publicly spoke against them? Would you remain silent and let injustice continue?
Taking my word for it is only so good but let’s look at what we can find in the Bible.
Submit vs. Obey
Act 4:19 “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard”
Here the disciples are basically saying that they when the government or authorities give a command that is not in line with God then they will obey God. We should be the same way. Here is the catch. Sometimes that comes at a price. This was a price that the disciples were willing to pay. Many of them were jailed, tortured, and eventually put to death for their belief in and continued teachings of Jesus Christ. Although they did not always obey the authorities they did submit to their authority.
Therefore, it is important for us to think spiritually before we pick sides on the political battlefield. We must remember that submitting to an authority and obeying an authority are not one in the same. We have a duty as Christians to love others and to fight against the injustices against all people.
I do not believe that your voting record is going to be what gets you into heaven. It does not matter whether it is democrat or republican. Neither one completely lines up with how we are supposed to conduct ourselves according to the Bible. For every reason someone says that one party is not Christian I can list a reason for the other party.
Nationalism over Faith
Here is the catch. Somewhere along the way we have placed Nationalism above our Faith. It means more to us be an American than it does to be a Christian. We are more focused on our rights as Americans than our duty as Christians. That comment will probably rub some the wrong way and that is okay. I will try to explain.
It is easy to say that Christians should obey the authorities when we agree with the authorities. How many of these same Christians would change their tune if the government took a stance they did not agree with. So many Americans today are fighting over our so called “rights” but those were not given to us a Christians. Those are something most of us were born into. I see Christians fighting over so many political issues when we should be praying. We should be praying that God changes hearts and then the laws will follow. Changing a law does not change anything other than legal status. It does not change a person’s opinion on something. It does not matter if it is your views on immigration, abortion, or gun control, we should pray as Christians that God gives us a unified mind on these topics and so many others.
Philippians 2:2 tells us “make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” This is a call to the church to be of one mind, to share one love. This call is not tied to a political party, it is so much bigger than that. This verse tells us that all Christians should work together with one mind and purpose. Now, we are left with the question, what is our purpose?
That purpose was given to us by Jesus. As He prepared to leave the disciples, he told them “Love others, even as I have loved you.” Loving others must be our purpose. The way we love others is the way show God’s love. This purpose must be greater than any other force in our life, even our sense of Nationalism. Even if it seems the roads are running parallel you cannot be on both roads at the same time. You must be chasing one goal and if that goal is Jesus than any other goal is against it. You cannot travel two directions at the same time. It is impossible. If you are heading in the direction of Jesus, then you are heading in a direction that is opposite everything in this world. Including Nationalism.