Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Politics & Religion

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.      

4 comments:

  1. Interesting that you would post this. I've been writing about this the past several weeks in my "Shoulder To Shoulder" e-letter. Clearly, if we are to be salt, light, officially delegated ambassadors, then we are to be involved in all aspects of our culture, including politics. Our problem comes when we fail to have a "Kingdom" perspective. If we don't see all of life as taking place within the Kingdom of God, then it's easy to separate our lives out into "secular" and "spiritual". Not only should Christians be involved in politics by speaking out and voting, but God wants some of them to hold political office. How can the light expose evil and reveal truth if it's kept in a closet? How can salt heal wounds and season culture if it stays in the shaker? How can we be officially delegated ambassadors if we refuse to represent our King in the culture? We are to be insulated from the world system, but not isolated from it.

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    1. Indeed. Thank you for reading and thinking.

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  2. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:16

    For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 2 Cor. 10

    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Mt. 28:18


    ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
    TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’
    “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

    He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." Mark 7

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    1. Thanks for reading and sharing scripture.

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