Christians and Politics – Part 2

The United States of America was essentially formed by Protestant Christians who fled from Europe because of the persecution they were suffering from mainly the Roman Catholic church and the Church of England. One major group that came to America was the Puritans. They decided that they were going to be a “city upon a hill.” What they meant by this was that they would be a light to the whole world. The world would look upon them and see how a truly Christian nation would be run. Their dream was one of nobility, justice, morality, and above all, Christianity.

A quick look at your history books will reveal that what the Puritans desired was quite different than what actually ended up happening. You will see that they became the persecutors and killers. Not only did they cause trouble between the natives, they persecuted other Christians and even other Puritans.

Today, the United States is often seen as a Christian nation from outsiders, it is obvious something quite different to those who live inside. Part of this confusion comes from the fact that mostly people who founded this country were people who in one way or another came from a Christian tradition. The problems that always seemed to happen when the church and state mixed was obvious to the founders of the United States. The first amendment of the United State’s constitution was written as a way to safe guard the state and church.

The first amendment reads,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The first part of this text is what is commonly referred to as separation of church and state. Although this text really only helps prevent the state from interfering with the church, it also infers that the government will not hold any one religion above any other – at least, officially.

Separation of church and state is a big deal to Christians. But how far does it go? Does it or should it protect the government from the church? I do not think it does, but I think it should. This is the problem I see with Christians and Politics.

If someone is a Christian and they hold a political office, they will, vote, make laws, etc. according to their conscience. This may not necessarily seem like a bad thing, but the conscience of a Christian is (or should be) much different than the conscience of the world. If the U.S. has a president in office who is a Christian, how can he separate himself from Christ and still be president. In my opinion, a Christian President would do everything in his power to make Abortion Illegal – but wouldn’t that law go against the nature of the world?

In the United States, the president is suppose to listen to the voice of the people – but wouldn’t a Christian President be forced to listen to only one voice, God’s? You may be asking yourself, “is that really a bad thing?” No, not in itself. It would be great if all were Christians, if all listened to God’s voice, but that is not the world we live in. If it were, we wouldn’t need a president or a government – God would be our King and would govern us.

If the U.S. had a Christian President he would have to do one of two things, make decisions against his conscience and for the people or vice-versa. One would go against the whole point of appointing a president, the other would go against a Christian’s world-view.

Based on my understanding of government, God, and man, it is my believe that a follower of Christ should have no role in politics. They should not seek to be president, governor, senator, or any other office. To do so would put them in a situation that is both unfair to the world and unfair to the church. Instead, a follower of Christ should seek to serve the public in spite of the government – not through the government.

Comments

  1. Bernard Shuford says

    Sorry, Lew, but I just can’t agree with you here, even though I appreciate your clear thinking and intelligent discourse. This implies that only those opposed to God should be politicians, and even that Christians should make a concerted effort to keep other Christians from holding political office. I must disagree strongly. :)

    In Christ,
    Bernard

  2. Hey Bernard,

    Thanks for the comment. I don’t expect anyone to really agree with my conclusion(s). At least not in this series of posts.

    Question, why do you disagree?

    God’s Glory,
    Lew

  3. Steve Sensenig says

    Bernard, I’m not sure that I got from Lew’s post that “Christians should make a concerted effort to keep other Christians from holding political office.” Maybe Lew doesn’t believe that a Christian should hold political office, but I don’t see him trying to say that we should actively try to stop other Christians. He’s just expressing his own personal conviction.

    In my humble opinion ;)

    Anyway, Lew, this is an intriguing conclusion, and not one that I can say I’ve heard before. I can’t really refute your reasoning, though, so I have to say that I at least respect your conclusion.

    I do know that our current culture and political climate have reallllllly muddied the waters for Christians. I’ve been really frustrated in recent years, after having bought into the whole idea that a particular person was “God’s man for the White House”. According to scripture, whoever is in office is “God’s man”, right? Not a Republican or a Democrat specifically.

    Anyway, thanks for causing me to think.

  4. Bernard Shuford says

    Lew – I’m not ignoring your request for explanation, I’m just kind of behnid the 8 ball on a lot of things and don’t have time to really get into discourse right now. I’ll try to get back to you sometime this weekend, but I can’t guarantee it :)

    It’s more a perception based on my overall interpretation of Scripture than it is “a clear directive from God”.

  5. Steve

    Yeah, the most action I think we should take to prevent a Christian from holding office is letting them know why we think they should not hold office. Similar to what I did in this post. I would not say that we should vote for a non-Christian instead of a Christian or anything like that. My next post will be about voting anyway :).

    Regarding “God’s Man”… I think I agree with what you are saying. If God does actually set up governments, than we should respect whoever is in office (even Hillary). David was the proper king, yet he still respected Saul as the anointed one of God. The only difference would be that fact that it was over the Nation of Israel. But that doesn’t change the “fact” that God sets up governments (as I just mentioned).

    Something to think about – I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot lately.

    Bernard

    That’s fine, take your time… no pressure here :).

    God’s Glory,
    Lew

  6. Steve Sensenig says

    Actually, I hadn’t even thought in terms of Old Testament when I said that. I was thinking of Paul’s statements in Romans 13:1. But your points are well-taken, too.

  7. Bernard Shuford says

    Sorry, Lew, haven’t had time to get back here, and I’ve basically forgotten whatever I was going to say. Maybe it’ll come back. :)