Unless you’ve been living under a cabin in the woods for the last few months you’re probably aware there is an election coming up. On Tuesday, November 6th the United States will hold an election for President, among many other offices to be filled. Issues and controversies have become contentious over the past several months and the topic of faith is often brought to the center.
The question is, how involved, if at all, should Christians be in politics? To answer this question there are basically three schools of thought.
1. We should divorce ourselves completely from the secular political process.
The problem I see with this position is that it is not supported by scripture and could potentially be detrimental to the spiritual health and condition of a nation. If believers remove their voice from the process we are vacating our responsibility to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16, ESV). We become complicit in our nations cultural decay if we do nothing to promote righteousness, which, incidentally, “exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34, ESV). The uncomfortable call of Christians has always been to stand against the plague of sin and decay that inevitably forms across nations and people and to push it back with the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. We should immerse ourselves in politics and activism.
John MacArthur addresses this issue well. He says here:
Many think [sinful, cultural decline] is a political problem that will not be solved without a political strategy. During the past twenty-five years, well-meaning Christians have founded a number of evangelical activist organizations and sunk millions of dollars into them in an effort to use the apparatus of politics–lobbying, legislation, demonstration, and boycott–to counteract the moral decline of American culture. They pour their energy and other resources into efforts to drum up a “Christian” political movement that will fight back against the prevailing anti-Christian culture.
But is that a proper perspective? I believe not. America’s moral decline is a spiritual problem, not a political one, and its solution is the gospel, not partisan politics.
3. Find a position of balance where we can remain informed and engaged.
I believe Christians should be engaged and informed. We should not be ignorant of the issues, individuals or the process nor should we be obsessed with them. We should take account of what really matters and vote according to our conscience and faith. The fact is, we have to vote for somebody. If we abandon the process we are complicit in its decay. So we should be informed and engaged and vote accordingly.
Regardless of which candidate is elected, whether we approve of their policies and party or not, the Bible commands us to respect and honor them (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). We are also instructed to pray for those in authority over us (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). We do not have to agree with them, or even like them, but we do have to respect them. Politics is always going to be a difficult issue for Christians. We are in this world but are not to be of this world (1 John 2:15). We can be involved in politics, but we should not be obsessed with politics. Ultimately, we are to be heavenly minded, more concerned with the things of God than the things of this world (Colossians 3:1-2). As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all members of the same political party; monarchists who are waiting for their King to return (Revelation 19:11-16).