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
Politics is one of the most challenging topics to bring up in any conversation. Most people have heard since they were young that they should never bring up politics or religion in polite conversation.
Yet today the events of COVID-19, rioting in major cities, the exchange of gunfire across rival groups, and the literal stalking and killing of peace officers, has brought the reality that the fate of our nation hangs in the balance. Sometimes the easy route seems to be retreating to our tribe (our friends and family) and avoiding politics. Often the argument goes like this: “we need to win the world to Christ and politics just gets in the way.”
I understand that some Christians make politics their sole focus in life and that is not good. I have seen many Christians unbalance themselves on any number of causes that matter in the Christian life. But to quote a friend, Joseph Backholm, “the answer to imbalance is not apathy, it is balance.”
Balanced views of your role in your family, your church, your city, and your nation are the major catalyst in building a civil society where God is honored, life is cherished, religious freedom flourishes, and families thrive. This means that you should neither let politics consume you nor run from it.
So, how do we talk about politics as Christians? Here’s how I think about it:
Politics is divided into conversations about partisanship and personalities, and conversations about policies and principles.
Today most political conversation revolves around partisanship and personality. Oftentimes people make decisions about a candidate based upon their personality. As one lady said about a candidate, “He just looks like a nice young man.” The Christian should be guided by a higher process. We are to be guided by the principles that matter most in the eyes of God.
Therefore, the Christian should think in this way:
(Principle > Partisanship)
(Principles are greater than Partisanship)
At Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming, we have looked at the contested General election races in the State of Wyoming. Of those races, there are a number of wonderful candidates we recommend to you. Please take time to consider voting for them and praying for them as the election draws near.
Also, please pray about what amount you would consider giving to Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming on a monthly basis. We are praying for 100 ministry partners who would pray about giving $100 a month to the ministry of Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming. If God places this burden on your heart, please visit our website and click the “donate” button.
Thank you for partnering with us and may God bless our work together
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Is it right for Christians to involve themselves in political things? Some Christians say no. They argue that believers should focus on “spiritual” things (like evangelism, prayer, Bible reading, and church) without getting “distracted” by the things of this world (which, of course, include politics).
I affirm that we should evangelize the lost, robustly pursue prayer and Bible reading, and actively involve ourselves in a local assembly of God’s people. But to say that doing these things precludes exercising our biblical responsibilities as citizens overlooks three important biblical truths.
First, God has created government as His “ministers to us for our good” (Romans 13:4). Therefore, government is something worthy of our time and efforts—it’s one of God’s gifts given to us to help promote the common good until His return!
Second, we are to “seek the welfare of the city where God has sent us” so that we may be left free to “live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (Jeremiah 29:7, 1 Timothy 2:2). For us to have the space to live our lives and raise our children according to God’s revealed will, government needs to respect its limited jurisdiction—it must refrain from interfering with the biblical exercise of our God-given rights.
Third, we have been given a cultural commission to transform the society around us. In the model prayer given to his disciples, Jesus instructs us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We are to work as God’s laborers until this goal is realized, “occupying until Jesus returns” and acting as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” by promoting a godly vision for society (Luke 19:13, Matthew 5:13-16).
We can’t afford to be apathetic. If we engage in politics, we can make large leaps forward in building a public square where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. If we withdraw from politics, another ideology will fill the vacuum. Those who show up and speak out will achieve the victory. In many ways, the sorry state of our government today is the direct result of retreat and indifference on the part of Christians.
The Family Policy Alliance® exists to unleash biblical citizenship throughout this great state and nation. This is accomplished through educating and mobilizing voters, discipling statesmen, and promoting sound policy. We know that the reformation of the “political” will only happen when Christians exercise their biblical responsibility to inform themselves and get involved in “political” things.
The Bible tells us of faithful believers who “stood firm and took action” when faced with an out-of-control government (Daniel 11:32). Will you stand with us?
Director of Advocacy
Are you feeling exhausted by the political scene? If you’re searching for some hope amid the mudslinging, you’re invited to attend a special live event October 18 in theaters nationwide.
Revive Us 2016 will feature Dr. Ben Carson, Francis Chan, Eric Metaxas and others for an empowering and interactive evening of inspiring messages, prayer and music. Tickets are on sale today.
Religious freedom on the ropes. God being pushed out of the public square. Families struggling to survive, let alone thrive. The current state of our culture can often leave one wondering if there is any hope left for America.
Dr. Wayne Grudem, says there is much to be hopeful about. He spoke at the Family Policy Alliance annual FPC conference this summer and we thought you’d like to be encouraged, just like we were.
In the toxic world of today’s politics, the teachings of Jesus and Paul can seem oddly quaint and thoroughly misplaced. How can political opponents love one another, be gracious and even forgiving?
The fact is, all of these principles – the Golden Rule, the Second Greatest Commandment, the Fruit of the Spirit – are required in politics and they are practiced more frequently than you know, particularly when the television cameras are not rolling. The reason is that these are rules for human behavior, designed by the Creator of human behavior. They draw people together, allow them to talk through differences and to listen, really listen, to the objections of opponents.
Sometimes these principles lead to political agreement, though many times not, given the ideological chasms that divide the political parties these days. But the New Testament teachings do lead to other important outcomes – to respect, to trust and even to one of the most unlikely things in politics: to humility.
Politicians who figure all of this out often emerge as leaders. Many of them, unsurprisingly, are Christian people who have found success in politics and brought credit to the Cause of Christ.
This summer, your support will bring a half dozen of these leaders together to teach a group of the best and brightest young legislators (and those aspiring to run for office) – Christians all. This week of intense training will be our inaugural Statesmen Academy. You will be building an enduring fellowship of Christian Statesmen and women who can learn from – and lean on – one another as they stay the course and transform our system of government from the inside.
Our politics sorely need such people.