During this election I will stand with Jesus. Didn’t expect that? Good. I’m not here to advocate one candidate or the other, or to tell you what values you should care about when voting. No, instead, I feel that the church has lost focus on what really matters. You might say otherwise, I’m sure, saying that the reason you are voting for so and so is because (insert misguided biblical understanding here) or (insert policy that most closely relates to my beliefs here). Here is the truth: the church has no business advocating a political agenda.
Don’t get me wrong, we as believers do have a responsibility to the country that we live in. However, that responsability is not campaigning the candidate of our choice to others. “But if we don’t vote for (insert candidates name) we aren’t being true to our faith, and (insert tradegedy here) will happen!” That’s what many might say, but the reality is that God doesn’t need us to have sovereignty over a nation. God doesn’t need us to campaign either. Imagine if part of the New Testament was Paul or one of the other apostles campaigning for a new emperor of Rome! (I know that doesn’t fit with the times, but I think you get my point.)
If we want our nation to be “Christian” that’s the wrong way to do it. A nation becomes Christian, not when the policies match up with the Bible or when a certain party takes control, but when its people kneel before God; when they come to know the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
What has happened is that we have mixed polictics and faith, and they don’t go well together. The truth is that when we advocate our beliefs as part of our politics, what we are trying to do is force our beliefs on others, and all that accomplishes is to alienate the lost, and causes them to close themselves off to God. Paul writes “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?…” (1 Corinthians 5:12 NIV) The lost need Jesus and do not need judgement. They need mercy and grace. Our government does not need to be Christian, we do.
The reality is that God has not called believers to be engaged in politics and government in this way, and instead we have been given very clear instructions on what we are to do.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 NIV
First and foremost we are called to submit to those who govern us, because God put them there and that is the case with both good and bad leaders. David submitted to Saul even when Saul tried to kill him, Daniel and his friends submitted to the king of Babylon, only taking a stand when their beliefs were challenged, and even then they did it respectfully and accepted the consequences of their actions! Too many Christians today believe they are justified in ranting about our leaders, or speaking ill of them, simply because they do not agree with with them.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV
We are also called to pray for our nation, not so that we can have a certain leader, but so we may live peaceful and quiet lives. Voting for one candidate or another does not make this true, in fact we as believers can live under any political regime, and still make this true, because peace doesn’t come from ourselves (or one political party or another), but instead from God, and He will direct this nation and others so that this will be true.
Our attention on believers should not be on who is President, but should be on these questions: Are we representing Christ well? Are we showing love to the lost and to our brothers and sisters? Are we focused on preaching the Gospel or preaching a political agenda? Are we standing with Jesus?