Given how much governmental/legislative politics influences the lives of people, including Believers, there is often tremendous pressure on getting involved in partisan politics and picking sides. However, in surveying the political scene, a few questions come to mind regarding just how best Christians should navigate the political seas.
1. Planks, Platforms, and Policies
Political parties offer secular solutions for society’s struggles. However, God makes it quite clear in His Word that it is impossible for humans to find the solutions for life’s problems without Him.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14
The strait gate is Jesus Christ. The narrow way is God’s way, God’s solutions and God’s prescriptions for life. And that way leads to good results. The broad way is man’s way: man’s solutions and man’s prescriptions for life and it eventually results in destruction.
Moreover, we humans are not equipped to function independently of God: We can’t love without God, for God is love; we can’t do right without God, because righteousness comes from God, we can’t be wise without God, because wisdom only begins when we walk with God in humble reverence.
“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” ~ Jeremiah 10:23
Consequently, in supporting any political party, a Christian is also giving support to a set of manmade policies that are doomed to fail.
2. Peace, Prosperity, and Panaceas
Perhaps more dangerous than obviously unsuccessful manmade policies, are apparently successful manmade policies. Apparently, successful human solutions give the illusion that mankind has the answers to life: that we can provide our own salvation: that we do not need God.
In other words, the danger for Believers is that in supporting a particular political party, we (unintentionally?) send the message that success, happiness, even salvation can be found in manmade ideas. In Scripture we see this warning:
“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
…Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;” Amos 6:1, 3-4
The people in Zion (in Judah, the southern kingdom), had come to trust in the governing practices of Israel (the mount of Samaria) because of their economic success (as described in the books of Hosea and Amos).
In other words, they looked away from mount Zion where The Temple (and God’s mercy seat) was, and looked instead towards mount Samaria, the seat of government, which had instructed its people to worship idols it created for their salvation (1 Kings 12). God’s solutions in His Word was usurped by manmade solutions because of the apparent economic success and security of Israel.
3. Perception, Perplexity, and Pontification
No political party has a monopoly on virtue; no political party has a monopoly sin. Consequently, it is typical that each political party, either in policy or practice, supports something clearly wrong or ignores something clearly right. (Note, this is not to say all political parties are necessarily “equally” evil.) Often Christians are called on to choose between the evils in one party versus the evils in another. However, the Bible teaches clearly that ALL evils/sins are the same. Consider the following teaching of Jesus:
“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
“Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” ~ Luke 13:1-5
Jesus makes it clear that the size or the egregiousness of the sin is not the issue. Rather the only thing that matters is repentance. Therefore, it is inconsistent with Jesus’ teaching to choose any political party based on the relative size of its sins versus another political party. It matters not whether a political party is on the right side of any issue. Rather the issue, the ONLY issue, that matters is whether the political party adopts and advocates repentance. But this is not usually a policy of any (modern?) political party.
It is possible to repent, to receive God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, and still be wrong on any number of issues. While Jesus works in our hearts to sanctify/perfect us, washing us with the Word of Truth, we still make mistakes and hold misconceptions: e.g., Paul was wrong about John Mark (Acts 15:36-39 and 2 Timothy 4:11), Peter was wrong about the Mosaic Law (Galatians 2:11-21).
It is possible to be saved and be on the wrong side of many issues, BUT remain saved.
It is also possible to be unsaved and be on the right side of many issues, BUT remain condemned.
Salvation is infinitely more important than political/ideological orthodoxy.
4. Putrefaction, Petrifaction, and Purulence
God does not change (James 1:17). However, man and manmade institutions change quite a bit. Those who are saved are being changed into the very image of Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18). And those who are not saved are deteriorating, degrading into the image of satan (Revelation 19:20).
Man does not stand still.
Accordingly, unconverted men and their secular institutions, without the sustaining power of Christ, degrade and fail.
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” ~ Psalm 118:8-9
Eventually, the political party one supports will degrade. Eventually, it will become more and more difficult to find sufficient rationale to support it, beyond tradition or that it appears the least of the available evils (i.e., “at least it’s better than _____”).
But [Jesus] answered and said, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” ~ Matthew 15:13
Perhaps, like Daniel, if only evil choices are available one should refrain from choosing at all (see Daniel 1). Daniel and his friends rejected ALL of the food offered; requesting vegetables (pulse) instead.
Let us be clear, there is NO Biblical imperative for direct (partisan) political involvement of any kind. Rather, the Bible encourages us to PRAY (to God) for leaders in government (1 Timothy 2:1-6). That is, the Bible directs us to exclusively put our trust in The One Who cannot change: The One Who will never fail us: The One Who is good and is good ALL the time.
Phinally, Phinale, and Phinish
If political parties were full of Godly men, we would have prayer meetings rather than elections. Candidates would be seeking to serve rather than to rule. Solutions would come from Bible studies rather than think-tanks.
Any political party devoted to God rather than men would spend much more effort campaigning for God’s power than earthly power.
Perhaps Christians should spend more time and effort setting just that example. This is more than just choosing to vote or not to vote; it is more that choosing who to vote for: as Believers we must carefully consider our allegiances and our mindset towards political parties/issues.
We must realize that our lives and our well-being do not depend on political parties and/or political figures. We must look to Christ for everything and nothing matters without Christ. God alone is good. Therefore, there is no good without God. Let us put our trust, our hope, in Him alone.
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember The Name of the Lord our God.” ~ Psalm 20:7