Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Does an Interest in Politics Have to Mean to Being a "Poor Christian"?

A question I have been often faced with is whether or not as a Christian, one should be concerned with politics. This can get awfully hairy, although in a purely one directional way. It seems that many Christians have a very hard time with anyone who attempts to take a stance on a political issue. Why is this?

I will attempt to think through some of the inevitable issues that are raised.

1) "God is bigger than the government, you should trust that His will be done".
I can see the point, as it is 100 percent true. The question is whether trusting that God's will be done and being an active participant in life are mutually exclusive. I believe that they are not. A great teacher of mine once said, "God who ordains the end also ordains the MEANS to that end". There is a reason we were not created as mindless robots, we have the ability and capacity to stand up for our faith and if necessary take a political stand against things that threaten what we hold dear.

2) "You should spend more time in prayer".
Yes, I have actually heard this one many times. Prayer is absolutely vital, and any Christian would benefit from as much time in prayer as possible. The debate has now become about the PERSON and not the ISSUE. A person's prayer life in this instance is irrelevant to the argument. Aside from logical fallacies, the purpose of prayer is not to always just sit back and wait for God to "fix it". We are to stand for Christ, not to go hide in a proverbial hole somewhere. Prayer is vital to our stand, but it does not prohibit our mobilization into action.

3) "The church shouldn't pick sides".
I don't really care if the church embraces the Republican party or not. I DO however care that the church more often than not refuses to support those who are pro-life, and who support our freedom as Christians. Not picking sides does not mean not standing for anything. The separation of church and state was intended by our founding fathers to protect the CHURCH from the STATE and not the other way around. In those days it was unfathomable that it would be reversed the way it has been, and the church itself seems to be convinced of the current interpretation that Christianity has no place in politics. Many in the government seem to be enjoying that falsehood. Our country was founded to give the citizens the freedom to at least complain and at most abolish the government and restructure it if the government started to abuse its power and threaten the inalienable (God-given) rights from its citizens. So why don't Christians even try identify threats to and thus hold onto these rights?

Christianity is not necessarily a religion of pacifists. The triune God is not a pacifist in any way. We as Christians are to love, but did Jesus stop loving us when he cleared the temple in holy anger? I'm inclined to think not. I am not advocating being argumentative, rebellious, or an all around pain in the posterior for no good reason, but I do believe whole heartedly that the majority of the church needs to step up to the plate and make it abundantly clear where a Christian should stand on certain political issues that are obviously going against what the Bible teaches. It is legal, and is not a problem with "submitting to authority", as long as it is done in the spirit of loving correction.

Two of the greatest thinkers of our time and advocates of the power of Christians' influences on politics, Frances Schaeffer and Chuck Colson, have much to say about the issue. A couple of excerpts will give the idea:

Chuck Colson wrote, "During the past half century, Americans have had before them a clear and menacing contrast between the free world and two regimes of terror: Nazism and Communism. Whatever the failures of our own system, it was obvious to all but the willfully blind that a free-market system was immeasurably superior to the alternatives. Yet today we can no longer simply point to that stark contrast, and as a result we must formulate a positive defense of the principles that undergird a free society. We must articulate the biblical principles that support economic freedom and a sense of vocation".

Frances Shaeffer wrote, "In this respect, we must remember that although there are tremendous discrepancies between conservatives and liberals in the political arena, if they are both operating on a humanistic base there will really be no final difference between them. As Christians we must stand absolutely and totally opposed to the whole humanist system, whether it is controlled by conservative or liberal elements".

Christians have a voice, and to use it in the political arena is not being less spiritual, it is letting your faith extend to all areas of life, not just in a box placed in the designated "spiritual corner".

1 comment:

Chris said...

Hey Sarah, this is Chris from your speech class. Found your blog on your facebook profile...

Um...this hymn is one of my all time favorites... I LOVE the lyrics.