By Vince Torres, President & Executive Director
“As Christians, we are politically homeless.”
I have seen this sentiment expressed in some form or another by many recently. It is the idea that because Christianity does not fit perfectly into any political platform, Christians should avoid assigning their total allegiance to any political party or politician. Fundamentally, I agree with this and I have often warned of the dangers of political idolatry. Lately, however, I have come to see two other troubling Christian responses to public policy and politics in America – political indifference and political hypocrisy.
While the politically indifferent tend to ignore politics altogether, the politically hypocritical tend to draw a stark line between their faith and their politics. In either case, these individuals neglect the reality that their politics serve as a reflection of their faith.
In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul instructs the Christians in Philippi, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27). In the Greek, that statement can be translated as “Only behave as citizens worthy of the gospel,” which pairs nicely with Paul’s reminder in chapter three that as Christians, “our citizenship is in heaven” (3:20). Incidentally, the Greek words for citizens and citizenship in those verses are “politeuomai” and “politeuma” – which is where our English word “politics” comes from.
With these verses in mind, I believe we can appropriately say that spiritually speaking, we are not politically homeless; but rather, we have been politically sown to advance the Kingdom of God here and now. In God’s Kingdom:
- We have an affiliation – the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
- We have a platform – Scripture. (2 Timothy 3:16)
- We have a leader – Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:18)
- And we have a message – the Gospel (Mark 16:15)
When Jesus taught us to pray, he said, “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). Further, before ascending to heaven after his resurrection, he left us with a charge: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mathew 28:19-20).
Though Paul reminds us that our eternal citizenship lies in the eternal Kingdom of God, Jesus commands us to advance that Kingdom here on earth, which is why we have been purposefully sown into every sphere of influence, including our nation’s political party system. The fact that our platform (Scripture) and message (Gospel) do not fit perfectly into any political party does not render us politically homeless – but politically, a witness. (Acts 1:8)
Political idolatry, indifference, or hypocrisy are not the proper response to the state of our state and nation. Christian influence is. As Dr. Wayne Grudem states – like Daniel in Babylon, Joseph in Egypt, and Paul in Rome – “Christians should seek to influence civil government according to God’s moral standards and God’s purposes for government as revealed in the Bible.”
Though we may be “divided” along party lines, in Christ, we are one church, and through Scripture, we profess one truth. And with the Holy Spirit as our guide, we, the Church, have the power to influence our world in a manner that is neither liberal nor conservative – but revolutionary.
During these divisive times, may we not lose sight of our witness – and in the midst of every darkness, may we always shine as light.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” -Acts 1:8
“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.” -Matthew 5:14-16