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SHOULD CHRISTIANS THINK BIBLICALLY ABOUT POLITICS OR POLITICALLY ABOUT OUR FAITH?

Lord, we pray that you would be the center of all things. That we wouldn't be driven by our political beliefs but by your radical love that you have for us. Let us know you in deeper ways, let us encounter you radically!

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that God reveals political ends in the Bible, but he is not as specific about the means to achieve those ends. We are supposed to feed the hungry, but we are not told how we should provide the meal. We are supposed to pursue justice, provide for widows and orphans, and fight oppression, but we are not told about the best form of government to do all of that.

This is why Lewis warned against trying to establish a Christian political party or to say any party represented the Christian position. His fear was, if that happened, you would have a political party with basic disagreements on key policy issues, or there would be a group of Christians maintaining that they represent all Christians on matters on which the Bible is not clear.

Our challenge is to think biblically about our politics rather than thinking politically about our faith. That is growing more and more difficult in today’s politics that are driven by passionate outrage.

In 2011, about two weeks before I was sworn in as governor of Tennessee, I went to visit my predecessor, Phil Bredesen. We sat in his office, which was soon to become my office, amid the packing boxes and last working papers of his eight-year term. I was there to get any advice he wanted to give me as we prepared to take his place. His advice was ageless: “The governor should do those things that only the governor can do.”

As governor, you face an endless list of people and issues competing for your time. Every week we had a scheduling meeting where our scheduling team brought me a notebook full of requests for meetings. In addition to the myriad requests to speak or attend an event, there were legislators to meet with, communities to visit, businesses to recruit, forty thousand state employees to lead, and in-office meeting requests to consider. Deciding how to use the limited amount of time is one of the most difficult challenges for anyone in elected office. That is why Governor Bredesen’s advice to me was so good. It is incredibly easy to fill up your calendar and your agenda with things other people feel you should do but don’t really help advance your purposes.

Similarly, the church should seize this time to be about the things that only the church can do. Nathan Hatch, the president of Wake Forest University, says, “This is the opportunity—for the church to be the church, to return to the task of religious and moral formation, to build communities that bind people together, to instill a deep conviction that life can actually have transcendent purpose and is not all about individual wants and desires, and if you will, a life in which that transcendent purpose radiates into the world at large.”

So how can the church be the church? We can realize that our battle is not with people who disagree with us politically or with the culture that seems to be against us. Our battle is to bring meaning and love to a world struggling with meaninglessness and despair in a way that has rarely been seen. Today’s climate of meaninglessness is so severe that a new term, “deaths of despair,” has been coined to describe the mounting numbers of deaths due to suicide, alcoholism, or drug overdose. Drug overdose deaths are increasing. College campuses are dealing with what is almost an epidemic of depression. Fewer and fewer people report having more than one or two close friends. Our world increasingly longs for the words of grace and truth that only the church can give.

I believe every Christian is called to be in the public square in some way. Maybe it is in elected office, or it could be to serve as an informed and caring citizen and voter. We would be weakened as communities and as a nation without the faithful presence of believers. But the danger comes when those believers see their faith as a means to bring about the political ends they want.

The church, the body of believers, has a key role in the political process. But that role has to be marked by humility and reflection. It also has to be marked by a commitment to be more faithful to the Word of God than we are to either political party. In the words of Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, the church should be using our influence to “bless the world out of love rather than cursing the world out of fear.”

When it comes to the public square, the church has to move from a fear of what we are losing, to a deep desire to share the “hope that is in [us]” (1 Peter 3:15).

What an incredible perceptive. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and prayers in the comments below!

(Used with permission. Read more at The Christian Post. Article written by Bill Haslam. Photo by UnSplash)

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6 Replies to “SHOULD CHRISTIANS THINK BIBLICALLY ABOUT POLITICS OR POLITICALLY ABOUT OUR FAITH?”

  1. I am from TN. While Haslam makes some good points about the Church reaching out to those in despair and hopelessness, I take issue with a very fine line. Many Tennesseans considered Haslam an establishment candidate. Too many establishment Republicans go along to get along. Just like Christians tend to do this because we conflate tolerating and going along with someone with the same thing as loving them. I love my kids, so much so that when they are doing something I disagree with, I won’t go along with them, I will lovingly but firmly correct them. I believe our society is in such identity crisis and under such attack because we Christians have been passive, complacent, and “tolerant” of the sins of the time.
    While we were trying to always be “nice”, the radical Democrats have had a plan to destroy the family, the church, and America, and their plan was playing out without much challenge until Trump was elected. He pushed back on their globalist plan to turn America into some socialist like country. He pushed back on their removal of God from all platforms. He challenged pastors and Christian leaders to stand up to this cultural Marxist takeover of our education and other institutions. He stood up for the unborn and for our Christian Heritage. But some Christians couldn’t get past his “mean tweets”. Meanwhile, the “nice” candidate, Biden, was installed, yet his policies are far from nice to America. Everything this regime is doing is purposeful to the destruction of this great nation. Millions of Trump supporters understood what was at stake and knew that we were in for a fight and that fights are not “clean and nice” but messy and assertive.
    We live in a unique form of government; one that is By The People with a Constitution that is the Supreme Law of the Land. All established by men who quoted the Bible 34% of the time when establishing our founding documents. They utilized Biblical principles and understood that this Constitutional Republic would ONLY work with a religious, moral, and knowledgeable people. Heck, many of the leaders of the Revolution were pastors who knew their duty was to protect freedom for their people.
    Much more I could say, but We Christians have a duty to keep this Republic for our kids. That means we may have to put down our hobbies and get in the fight to protect our Constitution and fight against this evil that is threatening to throw us into darkness under the guise of “safety” from a virus with mandated vaccine passports.
    I have always found it interesting that the first people thrown into the lake of fire will be the cowards and the fearful. We must not run away from conflict. America has been a catalyst for the spreading of the Gospel like no other. We must do our best to keep it that way.
    Blessings!

    Amen! 5
  2. I am thankful that what the church can do is — EVERYTHING! When we pray, we will affect local churches, politics, friendships, influences, schools, homes, neighbors, addicts, corruption — EVERYTHING! The church has been sent by God to do everything and affect everything. We do this only in and through the power of the Holy Spirit, or we do nothing! When God leads us in our actions and conversations, He uses us to change the world. Thank You Jesus!

    Amen! 25
  3. I read this morning in Matt. 27:20-24 how the religious leaders used political pressure. The tactics of our spiritual enemy have not changed. (Note the fear of a riot in v24.) We need to indeed be “as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.” Thank You, Holy Spirit, for being our constant Guide! Our district is blessed with State and Federal Representatives whose lives are Biblically founded. I pray for them to maintain resolve under the great pressures.

    Amen! 24
  4. I think of many times in the Bible God put one of His in a high governing position and what is so incredible is each story of how they got there. Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, and David. Where would the world at that time been without the godly influence through these godly men? My husband said yesterday he wants to fix the political system and wishes he had gone into politics years ago, but now you have to pay a high price to even get in. Please pray for my husband. His name is Doug. If God would have him pursue serving as an elected official, that he would know and everything would fall in place. Currently we travel and share a Biblical world view of life across the nation.

    Amen! 24

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