Last week’s article, “Good Laws vs. Good News” was met with this response: “We are not to be part of this world, but apart from it and therefore not a part of this world’s politics.”
This certainly sounds pious but what does it mean—biblically—to "not be part of this world"? Does the Bible say followers of Jesus cannot or should not participate in politics? I don't believe it does.
For those who claim otherwise, two problems immediately come to mind.
First, where and how does one draw a line between that which is political and that which isn’t?
Because Christians are “not of this world” we cannot vote? We cannot run for public office? Christians cannot be lawyers? Judges? Police officers? Fire fighters? Christians can't be in the military or work for public schools? Can a believer hold a State job of any kind? What about belonging to a labor union?
Furthermore, aren’t we participating in "this world's system" every time we pay taxes? Should we not pay taxes? (I’m thinking not paying taxes may indeed separate us from the world but in a whole different way.)
Second, this kind of monastic-like thinking (in my opinion) totally misunderstands what the Bible means by being separate from the world. We are separated from the world—not by withdrawing from it—but by God's word and Spirit. We are not of the world because we are in Christ.
Consider the prayer of our Lord:
I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. ~John 17:15-16
The Christian's sanctification is not in jeopardy simply because he is interested in politics or is employed by the State—his sanity maybe…but not his sanctity.