Ephesians 4:17-24 (ESV)17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!--21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
This doesn’t mean that all Christians must agree or think alike when it comes to politics, but it does mean that when we do disagree on policies or solutions that we should be more concerned with people that we are with politicians and their positions. Christian families have broken up over differences over political views or politicians, friendships have ended because of differences over political views or politicians. People have lost jobs because of differences over political views or politicians. People have left churches because of differences over political views or politicians.
I have been saddened over the past several years, by the actions of many of my Christian brothers and sisters who have, under the cover of the cross, advocated racism and hate. In their advocacy they have repeated the assumption that this nation was uniquely established by God and that we have strayed from God, and it was up to them to re-establish our relationship with God as a Christian nation, by any means necessary. The problem with this kind of thinking all came to a head on January 6, 2021.
The insurrection that occurred in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021, by an angry, wild, and violent mob included many, in the mob, who carried Christian signs and banners. There was even a prayer to God made by a person in the Senate chambers asking that God bless the rioters and their attempt at an overthrow of the United States government following a Presidential election that has been described by a group of prominent conservative lawyers, retired judges, and former senators who said;
"There is absolutely no evidence of fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election on the magnitude necessary to shift the result in any state, let alone the nation as a whole. In fact, there was no fraud that changed the outcome in even a single precinct," the report says. “It is wrong, and bad for our country, for people to propagate baseless claims that President Biden's election was not legitimate.”
The authors, including former US Senators John Danforth and Gordon Smith, three former federal judges, and a GOP election lawyer, determined that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
We live in a hyper-politicized world. We cannot avoid political ads, articles, agendas, commentaries, and conversations. Nor should we. We should be aware and prepared. However we should participate in a way that glorifies Christ. That isn’t easy to do. I’ve often failed in this area. A lot. I’ve been unfriended and have unfriended fellow Christians over my political exchanges in the past, and I’ve been convicted by the Lord to change the way I respond when someone has views that are different than mine. If you, like me, need some guidelines on how to navigate our politically charged culture in a Godly way, here are some don’ts and do’s.
How Should Christians Respond in this Highly Politicized Environment?
The debate on this topic, of faith and politics, is as wide as the Red Sea parting, with Christians voicing views as extreme as those of the most liberal and most conservatives and everything in between. Many say that politics and faith don’t mix so Christians are wasting valuable time, money, and energy that they could be spending on saving souls for the kingdom. The big problem here is that those Christians run the risk of becoming ignorant about societal issues and, therefore, unable to address the spiritual needs of those struggling with them.
On the other hand, there are those who can’t seem to make the distinction between politics and faith and, frankly, don’t want to. For them, their politics and their faith are synonymous and combined in such a way as to make them indistinguishable. This camp of believers tends toward political idolatry and easy manipulation as they put their trust and hope in politicians and policies rather than in God.
Both extremes can be (and have been) divisive and dangerous, particularly within the Body of Christ, where believers are called to be united, of one mind, and to live at peace and in harmony with one another.
1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Romans 12:16-21 ESV Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Philippians 2:1-7 ESV So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
But with the ever-widening gap over ideologies about the environment, race, gender identity, gun control, marriage, and abortion (to name a few), it is becoming increasingly harder and harder for believers not to be affected and then be expected to remain neutral. It is nearly impossible not to get pulled into the partisan politics, which is consuming our country today.
So, what’s a sincere, conscientious Christian to do?
What is His “agenda” regarding how we’re to promote the betterment of our society, our world, and, most importantly, our “neighbor,”. because Scripture shows that God is "non-partisan".
Matthew 22:36-39 ESV “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
What Scripture says about:
Justice for and the defense of the poor and oppressed, the aﬄicted and destitute, the voiceless and overlooked, the alien and marginalized, the orphan and widow—our “neighbors” whom we are to love as ourselves—is uppermost in God’s mind and heart. Whatever we can do to help improve these unfortunates’ plight and lives (which can involve enacting policies at the local, state, and federal levels) brings God glory and honor.
Psalm 82:3-4 ESV Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Proverbs 14:31 ESV Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
Proverbs 31:6-9 ESV Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Isaiah 1:16-17 ESV Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Jeremiah 22:3 ESV Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
James 1:26-27 ESV If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Our neighborhoods, cities, and nation should be better places because of our presence and witnesses there. As peacemakers—those who actively try to reconcile people to God and to one another—we should not be the cause of divisions, but, rather, offer ourselves as examples through our obedience to our government and its authorities.
Jeremiah 29:7 ESV But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Romans 12:18-21 ESV If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
God is not about destroying, damaging, or dehumanizing life, given He is the author of it. As image- bearers, all lives matter, and God highly values each person—the born and the unborn—regardless of race or ethnicity.
Believe it or not, government is God’s idea; therefore, government is good. It’s in place for our societal well-being. God chooses to use human governments to carry out His will in the civil sphere. Governments are so important that God tells us to obey them and not to rebel against them (unless their laws are contrary to His).
Romans 13:1-7 ESV Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1. Be ﬁrm in our faith
For believers, our faith comes ﬁrst. That should go without saying, but there are those who have it the other way around. To those Christians politics comes ﬁrst. Here's what Pastor Andy Stanley says, “Evaluate politics through your faith rather than create a version of faith that supports your politics.”
If our faith is solid and uncompromising—built on the foundation of God’s immutable Word—then it will inform, or determine, our politics. The Bible provides the guiding principles for everything in our lives, including proper and faithful political engagement. Our faith, then, should inﬂuence our voting, platform, and policy priorities. Without a ﬁrm faith, we open ourselves up to manipulation, indecision, and compromise.
2. Critically evaluate and pray about each party and their platforms
No one political party’s platform aligns 100 percent with God’s agenda, however each party’s platform and policies have some issues which Christians can get behind.
Democrats: the environment, universal healthcare, social programs, disability rights, criminal justice reform
Republicans: the sanctity of life and marriage, protecting constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, economic growth, a strong military, and national security.
As one pastor has said, and I agree, he intentionally does not advocate for one party over another from the pulpit, for fear it may alienate those on either side from coming to church.
Here is my position; become involved and support whatever party you think you can do the best job from the Christian perspective but don't sell your soul to any political party.
Christians should be constantly evaluating and praying about the parties, their platforms, and policies and align themselves with whichever one holds closest and truest to the Gospel and biblical teaching.
3. To engage or not to engage
Nowhere in Scripture is there a command to become involved or is there one prohibiting involvement in politics. However, Scripture does include some examples of political involvement.
In the Old Testament, for example, Joseph and Daniel served in foreign administrations and used their inﬂuence to implement policies that beneﬁted society.
God used Joseph and his position in the Egyptian government to protect and provide for his extended family (which would become the nation of Israel).
Genesis 41:39-44 ESV Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
Daniel served in the administrations of multiple kings; Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.
Queen Esther used her inﬂuence in the Persian government to save the Jewish people from a state-sanctioned genocide.
God Himself selected Saul, Israel’s first king and then selected David and his lineage to lead the nation which ends with an ancestor of David, Jesus Christ, becoming the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Isaiah 9:7 ESV Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Christians have the freedom to engage (or not to engage) in politics, to use the gifts and talents God has entrusted to them there, just as they would in business, industry, or the church. There is a great need for Biblically- minded, God- fearing believers to serve as politicians, activists, lobbyists, school board members, and aides to elected government officials. In that way Christians can be the “salt and light” and “ambassadors for Christ”. Our warped world needs to hear counter opinions and suggested policies that align more with God’s purposes.
Matthew 5:13-16 ESV “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
While not all of us are called to run for oﬃce, at the very least, we should vote in local, state, and federal elections.
Romans 13:6 ESV For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
Through voting, it is possible to inﬂuence the outcome of an election and thus an issue. By voting Christians are delegating their ministry responsibilities to people who will govern on their behalf. So voting is really stewardship. Failure to vote is a failure to exercise God- given authority.
Voting is important but praying for governmental authorities, which is one of God’s directives, is more important. Everyone in power is there by God’s grace and appointment. Whether they know believe or accept it or not, they are His ministers, set in place to administer civil justice.
Daniel 2:20-21 ESV Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; (emphasis mine )
Christians can (and will) still disagree about a lot of things, including our political views. says Christine. Christian unity goes deeper and transcends our disagreements. Christian unity depends not on how we vote but on a mutual commitment to follow Christ in obedience, love, and the pursuit of righteousness and justice. Can you imagine the impact on our nation and the world if the church was truly and fully united? What an undeniable, unstoppable, and unconquerable witness to the transforming power of the gospel!”
Remember Who you represent before you open your mouth. You are God’s ambassador, speaking on His behalf, not your own.
Colossians 4:5-6 ESV Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Sometimes it I'd better to not say anything.
James 1:19-20 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
As Christians, we must not use the world’s methods of assuming, labeling, marginalizing, discarding, and disqualifying. We must challenge secular ideology and unjust policies, but we must do so in a way that honors God and draws people to Him.
Keep first things first, and your political exchanges will be a place where Godly fruit can grow. As much as people want to make politics cause the United States to reflect a Christian nation, the thing that we should strive to be is a nation of Christians.