Center-Rev. Dennis Dillon, Pastor, Rise Church, Brooklyn NY, Founder and CEO of The Christian Times

DO CHRISTIANS BELONG IN POLITICS?

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The relationship between Christianity and politics is a complex subject and a frequent source of disagreement throughout the history of Christianity, as well as in modern-day Christianity. Many believe that Christianity should have little interest in or participation in politics or government.

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus calls on his disciples to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the world. What He means is that Christians are called to bring out the colors of God right here in our homes, universities, businesses, and even in our politics.

Not only is politics just one area where we need to represent God here on earth, but it is also a platform on which we can carry out God’s command to give a voice to the voiceless (Proverbs 31:8) and help those in need (Ephesians 4:28). The Bible gives us truths regarding the Christian stance toward politics and government.

RESPECT AUTHORITY

God has His hand in politics and puts those in power for a reason. Romans 13:1-3 says “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority come from God and those in powers of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in the people who are doing wrong”. This is echoed again in 1 Peter 2:13-16 which says ” Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by Him to punish those who do right”. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil”. There is no doubt that our responsibility to the government is to obey the laws and be good citizens (Romans 13:1-2). God has established all authority and He does so for our benefit.

ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST

Though we are told to respect our leaders, we cannot forget who our ultimate leader is, God. God permeates and supersedes every aspect of life. It is God’s will that takes precedence over everything and everyone (Matthew 6:33). In fact, it is God who “sets up kings and deposes them” (Daniel 2:21) because “the Highest is sovereign over the kingdom of men and gives them anyone he wishes (Daniel 4:17)”. What this means is that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His will. Even though some men abuse their political power, using it to do evil, God has a way of turning it around for Good, “all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)”. At the end of the day, God is our true ruler. Isaiah 33:22 reminds us” for the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King, it is He who will save us”.

PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS

The Bible calls on Christians to respect our leaders and one way we can do so is by praying for them. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 tells us “I exhort therefore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth”.

WE HAVE TO PAY OUR TAXES

Though no one likes to pay the government, the Bible actually tells us it is part of our duties. Romans 13:6-7 says “Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them and give respect and Honour to those who are in authority”.

A bitter question might not be why should Christians get involved in politics but why should Christians lead. The answer is clear if Christians don’t step up and be decision-makers, someone else will. While we may see politics as “dirty game”, just like your bath, it never gets cleaned by you standing outside shouting at it, it requires you to get in it and cleaned it.

In my view, for a marked change, we need more Christians in politics. Christians who enter politics with motives outside the Christian faith are usually brought to shame more than the unsaved.

Should Christians enter politics? Let the discussion continue!!