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Should Religion Inform Your Politics?

Should Religion Inform Your Politics?

by Derick

 

As I get more into writing, I’m going to play it safe by starting a blog series, covering 5 of the least controversial subjects people talk about:  Politics, sex, money, religion, and sarcasm.

Should Christians be concerned about politics?

Yes.  At the very least, we should strive to be informed voters. Biblically speaking there are many reasons we as Christians should involve ourselves in the voting process. Here are 3 that I find especially compelling in my own study of Scripture:

 

  • To be a good steward (manager) of what God has given us.
    1. When most people think about stewardship, they think of material things, but I believe Scripture is calling us to manage everything well that we have control over, including situations, knowledge, intellect, talents, processes, opportunities, etc… that can be used for good, to the glory of God. Even if we don’t like the government and drama associated with it, I think that Christians should definitely take advantage of the voting process.  We fall short if don’t take what we’re given and make the best of it.
    2. This point could also relate to our call to do all to the glory of God in Colossians 3.
    3. Ecclesiastes 9 also talks about the importance of making the most of the time and working hard at whatever your hand finds to do. Again, most people think about vocational work in this passage, but I posit that “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” in verse 10 could apply to voting as well.  Voting is a means by which we can contribute to the progress toward finding the best people to represent us in government, and if we abdicate that responsibility we are not using “all our might” so that good may triumph.
  • The example of the apostle Paul.
    1. Paul was resourceful, taking advantage of the privileges of his Roman citizenship in Acts 22 for the cause of Christ. This allowed Paul to further his testimony before the chief priests and the council.
      1. As I mentioned in a previous point, this appears to be an example of Paul being a good steward of all God had entrusted him with.Each of us are born at a particular time, in a particular place, to a particular family, with particular opportunities.  There are many things about our lives that we cannot control, but we can control how we respond, by whether we do what we can with what we have.
        1. God does not view everything the way that man does. This is why Jesus said that the poor widow of Luke 21 had given more than all of the rich people.
        2. Likewise, this is why my parents did well to teach my brother and me that life was less about what was thrown at us and more about how we chose to respond to things.
      2. God will hold us accountable for what we did with what we had, and I want to strive to hear my Lord say “Well done, good and faithful servant”
  • Not voting may be a sin for some people.
    1. James 3:17 says that “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
      1. Furthermore, we are without excuse if we try to deceive ourselves or others. Proverbs 24:12 calls us to account by questioning “If you say, ‘behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” We can fool ourselves or others by claiming ignorance for the sake of personal preservation, but God, the creator of your soul, knows your heart fully, and he can never be deceived.
    2. For example, if you realize that the legal killing of unborn babies is an advocacy issue, recognizing that the right thing to do would be to contribute to a process that could be used to fight against such atrocities, while at the same time failing to do anything about it, you are sinning.
    3. Like I said, not voting isn’t always a sin for everyone, but as Christians, we should realize the responsibility that rests on our shoulders and be careful not to be quick to make excuses not to vote.

 

How should I vote well?

 

I mentioned above that we should be informedvoters.  “Informed” is certainly the key word here.  When you do your research on political candidates, you are evaluating the qualifications and determining to what degree they line up with your interests as a citizen of the US.  Essentially, it’s a job interview for our public servants, and “we the people” are the boss.  An elected official’s job is to do what’s in the best interest of her/his constituency. I usually try to focus on a few main factors when informing my vote.

 

  • What are the candidates’ views on issues that I care about.
  • To what degree do I care about certain issues? On this point, it’s somewhat more about evaluating myself.  There are definitely some hills worth dying on, so to speak, and some that just aren’t worth it.  I weight some views more than others when I’m trying to decide who to vote for.
  • Look at their ability and likelihood of accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish.

 

It’s important to realize that there are no perfect candidates, but it is important to evaluate who you think the best candidates are, among the choices you have. If you consistently find that you don’t have anyone on your ballot that aligns with your views, then maybe you should consider running for office yourself.

 

Unrelated to voting, but on the topic of being a responsible citizen, one of the best ways to advocate for yourself or others is to contact your representatives in government, and let them hear your voice.

 

If you’re an Arkansas resident, I would encourage you to check out the link below to a non-partisan publication, to learn more about your candidates in the upcoming election.

 

http://arkansasvotersguide.com/?page_id=13

 

6 Comments

  1. CARLA

    I have read and reread your essay. And it seems like you have really stretched scripture to apply them to your Ideas concerning religion informing your politics.

    I am going to point out a few things first about the Kingdom of God or Heaven and the earthly kingdom.

    * Many Christians have been deceived into believing that they can somehow “convert” the kingdoms of this world to become the Kingdom of God. In the process they have put their energy and hopes into bringing about the Kingdom of God by working towards getting more influence with government in order to transform government. Some even believe that Jesus will return once we have transformed the world and created the millennial Kingdom.

    *When Satan tempted Jesus he “showed Him all the kingdoms (political establishments of rule) of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” (Luke 4:5-6). Jesus did not deny that this was in the Devil’s power to do and thus He acknowledges that the kingdoms of the world do indeed belong to the Devil. There are many theories as to how and when the Devil acquired them, but the fact remains that they are his to give. Several times Jesus refers to the Devil as “the ruler of this world” John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), confirming Satan’s dominion here on earth.

    *At no stage do the kingdoms of the world morph into the Kingdom of God. There is not a single Scripture to support this popular misconception. The kingdoms of this world are so evil that they are completely destroyed (Daniel 2 and Revelation 18) and they will be replaced by God’s Kingdom. This will be a work of God and not of man or the church. “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). (See also Revelation 18 and 19).

    *Just like many Christians today, Jesus’ disciples also did not understand the difference between God’s Kingdom and political kingdoms. They too thought that Jesus would merge His followers with the world’s kingdoms and thus bring about His Kingdom. But in response to these ideas Jesus clearly said to them: “indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). In other words His Kingdom is spiritual and in the hearts of His people while the world’s kingdoms are political and have physical boundaries. (His Kingdom will ultimately become a physical kingdom, known as the Millennial Kingdom, but as said above, that will come about in a single cataclysmic event when He sets up His Kingdom.)

    *When Pilate questioned Jesus about His Kingdom, Jesus explicitly stated “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). It cannot be clearer than that. Jesus is indeed a King and He has a Kingdom, but it is not of this world. The god and ruler of this world and its kingdoms is Satan. These two kingdoms do not overlap, they do not merge and the one does not become the other. They are totally different in substance and have different kings.

    Now that you have read that, it should change how you feel about our political kingdoms here on earth. I pray you have a softened humble spirit.

    As per your essay you somehow used Paul’s right as a Roman citizen to further the Gospel as a reason somehow to expound on the fact that if you are a Christian you can use your American citizenship to further the gospel? Have a leg in politics? Use it as a right to vote? Your use there is confusing as it does not allow any premise to be used other than Paul not being beaten as it was against Roman Law (lex Sempronia) for a citizen of Rome to be beaten without speaking for himself. To wrongly claim Roman citizenship was a serious, even capital offense (Suetonius Claudius 25.3; Epictetus Discourses 3.24.41). He was not an Egyptian as they thought, but was a born free citizen of Rome. As for furthering the gospel he was speaking to his own kind. He was speaking to whom he was a member. Not the gentiles.

    The The Sanhedrin was composed of the priestly and lay nobility of the Sadducean theological persuasion together with scribes of the Pharisee faction. Paul finds himself on trial because of the Messiah’s resurrection and the new realities it introduced. For if Jesus had not risen from the dead, he could not have appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road, or in the temple, and commissioned him to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 22:15, 21). Paul would, then, not have promulgated a message or lived a lifestyle that his fellow Jews would have opposed.

    It is an ambiguous argument to use this portion of scripture to promote religion and civic duty.

    James 3:17 You have pulled this verse completely out of it’s context to promote an agenda about politics that is not even remotely close to anything written in this chapter. Although this verse may be regarded as standing independent of what has preceded, and as being in the form of a more or less inexact quotation, it is quite permissible to take it with what has gone before. Those to whom the words have been addressed had, to some extent, erred through thoughtlessness; now that things have been made quite plain to them, they are in a position to know how to act; if, therefore, in spite of knowing now how to act aright, the proper course is neglected, then it is sinful.

    proverbs 24:12 Again taken out of context to promote a political guilt trip. 11,12. If a man know that his neighbour is in danger by any unjust proceeding, he is bound to do all in his power to deliver him. And what is it to suffer immortal souls to perish, when our persuasions and example may be the means of preventing it?

    Trying to persuade folks to feel guilty into civic duty by somehow leading us to believe it is furthering the gospel is ludicrous. Your thought patterns are scattered all over the place trying to pull something together that is not meant to be together. It is trying to piecemeal parts, or trying to force puzzle pieces together that don’t fit. Moreover it is adding to scripture and meaning that is not there. And that is a grevous offence. Rev 22:18-19

    The only indication in the New Testament about Government to is obey the authority God has placed over us and pay your taxes. It is concise and clear. Romans 13:1-6

    Romans 13:8Pay everything you owe. But you can never pay back all the love you owe one another. Whoever loves other people has done everything the law requires.

    I don’t suppose you would post this correction as you do not appear to have a humble heart. Which is sad because you will be accountable for every word and deed and leading people astray on that day of judgement. Peace be to you.

    Reply
    • Regina Shea

      Surprise! Your comment is here.

      Reply
    • tania

      Wow, do you have a blog?! Because that’s something I would love to read! Amazing

      Reply
  2. Regina Shea

    Greetings Derick! While I appreciate what you wrote I do respectfully disagree with some of what you wrote. I don’t want to try and explain because I don’t want to violate scripture where it says women are not to teach men. 1Tim 2:12.
    In this case I don’t feel it’s my place to correct. I hope you are doing well in your studies. Many blessings to you and your sweet family.
    Oh and by the way, if my comment proves to be controversial amonst the egalitarian women please feel free to delete it.

    Reply
  3. Christine

    I am not a Christian or a practicing Catholic, but I do have a belief in God. I am a law abiding citizen and an active member of my community. I’m wife and mother. Also an American. As an American, I believe that everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they choose and to not feel threatened or afraid. We can disagree and still be respected by each other. I don’t think there is any place for religion in American politics. This is not the Middle East where they govern there people by religious laws.
    Keep the church off my ballot and out of my body.

    Reply
  4. Brian

    One thing that motivates me as a Believer to be concerned with politics/government is gratefulness to the Lord for His gift of Liberty! Americans are indeed blessed. Statesman Edmund Burke said it well: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
    The Bible says much about human government. The book of Proverbs alone has approximately 80 verses from 17 different chapters dealing with government, rulers, citizens, law and justice.
    In considering a candidate, I start with his view of human life. If he is not 100% pro-life, there is no need for me to consider that candidate further.
    Well written piece, Derick.

    Reply

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