If you were born in the 1950’s or later, you were most likely taught to believe that the church should remain silent on political issues, and most definitely should not be engaged in the political arena, or elections. You may be unaware that almost every great social change in America was driven by the church, in addition, you may have never heard of the history of the pulpit’s influence on legislation in our country.
I will not be addressing the history of church involvement here, but rather, is it Biblical for the church to be involved in politics? I will provide Biblical examples, text verses for verification, and finally I will give the most common arguments that pastors and churches use to avoid politics, along with refutations to those claims. If you wish to seek out the history of the church and politics in America, I would direct you to David Barton’s website, Wallbuilders.
Many of you may be completely unaware, that is was not for Biblical reasons why the church abandoned the political arena, but legislation, specifically the Johnson Amendment in 1954, which was enacted due to the effective influence of the church on the body politic. This change to the 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax code, restricted the free speech of churches. I will not address this issue here either, but may in a later article.
To say that the Bible does not speak on politics is absurd, as the Bible is literally filled from cover to cover with individuals involved in the political arena. So, let’s take a look:
Adam: Was given dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:28 He was the very first government authority following creation.
Abraham: God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and said, as for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Genesis 17:4
Joseph: Clearly had a position of political power, thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. Genesis 41:37-41
Moses: Was sent by God to Pharaoh where he demanded Pharaoh to “let my people go” in Exodus 3:10
David: Was chosen as King by God in I Samuel 16
Nathan: Nathan confronted David on the sin of adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah in II Samuel 12
Queen Esther: Speaks to the King on behalf of her people Esther 4:13-14 (a revealing look at how God uses people, or puts them on a shelf).
Daniel: Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel 2:48
Elijah: Rebuked King Ahab I Kings 18:17-18. There are far too many other prophets to list that advised and rebuked kings, and they were not always polite about it, contrary to the opinion of modern Christianity today.
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking, that’s great, but that’s the Old Testament! All right, then let’s look at the New Testament:
John the Baptist: Confronted Herod about having his brother’s wife. Matthew 14:3-4
Philemon: Paul wrote to Philemon regarding his slave Onesimus.
Paul: Paul reasoned with Felix about his morality and corruption in his official capacity, and as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled…
Romans 13:3-4: For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Salt and Light: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his saviour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
Some other verses to consider:
When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice: but when the wicked bareth rule, the people mourn. Proverbs 29:2
They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Proverbs 1:30-33 Sounds a lot like America today doesn’t it?
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ezekiel 3:17-18
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons…Exodus 18:21-22
Now for the most common excuses Christians and pastors’ use:
We should do evangelism and not politics.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, also Matthew 5:13-16 above seems to speak against this, and don’t forget Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
If we are to avoid political and moral issues, it seems to me, a whole lot of the Bible will no longer be taught.
Politics will distract from the Gospel.
No, politics will bring evangelism and the truth of the Bible to areas it has almost never seen.
And my personal favorite: Satan is the ruler of this world government, and government is demonic, so Christians should not be involved in it. This opinion is taken from the words of Satan himself in Luke 4:5-7
Never mind that John 8:44 clearly states that everything Satan says is a LIE!
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And furthermore while we are on that subject Daniel 4:17 clearly states …to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will…
Romans 13:1-6 instructs us we should restrain evil, think of it this way, are we to leave the leadership of our country to servants of sin? Romans 6:16. Children of the Devil? John 8:44.
And if you don’t believe they are children of the Devil, who else could devise such corruption and evil?
And just one more little thing, I don’t believe 11 of the 12 apostles were martyred (John exiled), and Christians throughout history were martyred in innumerable numbers, (See Fox’s Book of Martyrs) because they were non-confrontational. It is pretty clear that they were just the opposite, bold, and preached powerfully against sin.
And while we are that subject, what has all this non-confrontational, don’t offend, be nice at all costs produced? Crime and perversion that rivals any era in human history. We have all but lost the country and countless souls to eternity without the Gospel.
Let’s examine this further, would more pacifism stopped Hitler? Slavery? Segregation? Terrorism? Of course not, it is ridiculous!
If you want to study this issue for yourself, first open your Bible and actually read and study it. Then I would suggest two books, Jesus, Politics, and the Church by Tony Nasif, which is short and easy to read, this is a great book if you don’t like to read large books, and if you seek something exhaustive on the subject, Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem is a great resource.
I will warn you though, you will learn truth that has been hidden from you in order to grow large corporate churches. Oh, and another thing, our Saviour holds us responsible for the truth that we know, so you will now be accountable for your inaction.
Some final thoughts before they kick in my door and haul me off for a hate crime and sentence me to more time than a serial child rapist, some quotes from Erick Erickson and Bill Blankschaen, a book every Christian should read, You Will Be Made to Care:
“Many people of faith have been trying to ignore the signs of smoke from this wildfire in the hopes that it will just go away. Others have been trying to avoid the heat by being nice, hoping that a little compromise would keep the flames at bay. Still others have thought all that would be required to extinguish the flames was kinder, gentler, more winsome voice. But the accommodation of evil never achieves the desired end; it only increases the inevitable cost of victory.”
Erick Erickson and Bill Blankschaen
“If I listen to what the world tells me, truth is the new hate speech. If I speak truth today, even to some Christians, they freak out….But political correctness is just another word for cowardice. It isn’t only robbing us of freedom of speech in America; it’s eliminating our access to the truth. And without truth, we have no hope of finding a better life.”
Pastor Steve Smothermon
“There’s a whole bunch of people who still hold to a Biblical view of sexuality, but they figure that if we just lay down our arms, this cultural war will go away. They are right that it may, but the terms are unconditional surrender. This conflict is not one that Christians can just get out of by out-niceing people. That’s what a lot of folks and a lot of churches think. We can just keep smiling, keep being as nice as possible, keep our heads down, don’t speak out of turn, and that we’ll be okay.”
Erick Erickson & Bill Blankschaen
“But there are some fights you can’t sit out. The cultural shifts in our nation in the past few years prove that some fights cannot be avoided– you will be made to care. You will be forced to pick a side. You will be forced to engage. You will not be allowed to sit on the sidelines and say, “I’m not a political person. I’m a private citizen; leave me alone.” The tolerant Left will not tolerate that. You’re either going to engage on the side of protecting religious liberty and freedom of conscience or you are going to lose it.”
Erick Erickson & Bill Blankschaen
“Not to engage in politics is to withdraw from engaging in the public business of the community, a community composed of immortal souls whose eternal destinies you help shape each day.”
Erick Erickson & Bill Blankschaen
Now, go out there and throw your body at the bulldozer, remember we’re on the winning side…..