Christians in Politics

Greg Strand – October 3, 2012 3 Comments

Charles Colson, God & Government: An Insider’s View on the Boundaries Between Faith & Politics, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 314-316, 331. This book was formerly titled Kingdoms in Conflict: An insider’s challenging view of politics, power, and the pulpit and published in 1987.

Colson’s words, from the chapter titled “Christians in Politics,” are fitting for us to remember, especially during this presidential election season.

There are at least three compelling reasons Christians must be involved in politics and government. First, as citizens of the nation-state, Christians have the same civic duties all citizens have: to serve on juries, to pay taxes, to vote, to support candidates they think are best qualified. They are commanded to pray for and respect governing authorities.

Second, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, Christians are to bring God’s standards of righteousness and justice to bear on the kingdoms of this world.

Third, Christians have an obligation to bring transcendent moral values into the public debate. All law implicitly involves morality; the popular idea that ‘you can’t legislate morality’ is a myth. Morality is legislated every day from the vantage point of one value system or another. The question is not whether we will legislate morality, but whose morality will we legislate.

The real issue for Christians is not whether they should be involved in politics or contend for laws that affect moral behavior. The question is how.

We can conclude that Christians, both individually and institutionally, have a duty, for the good of society as a whole, to bring the values of the Kingdom of God to bear within the kingdoms of man.

Greg Strand

Posts

Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

3 responses to Christians in Politics

  1. wow, that’s going on my FB! our history again throws a holy blanket over much of what we don’t do. Sad!

  2. Great points Greg. Many more Christians need to be involved, especially if in no other way than getting out to vote. If Christians voted at higher levels than the “average” citizen our political landscape would look different from where it’s at today.

    This begs a related question: Where is the line on preaching truth, ethics, morality, etc. (God’s law) from the pulpit vs preaching that leaks into pure politics.

    • Dave, you raise an important point. The biblical call for faithful pastors is to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2). A faithful pulpit ministry is a Word-based ministry, so it is the Bible that we preach. If we preach something or anything else, we are not being faithful. But the preaching of the Word must be done with illustrations and applications, so part of being faithful is helping God’s people to understand how to live and apply biblical truth in their lives. This is also part of the task of good, faithful preaching. However, we must not confuse the one for the other.

      It is also important to discern the differences between the responsibility of Christians and the responsibility of the church. Though they are related, they are not one and the same.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*