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Living In Grace

A Christ inspired work dealing with American Christian Culture in the New Century.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Faith, Religion, and Politics

I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.
Martin Luther

It seems that here in America we are now in a never-ending political campaign season.  The ads never stop,  the politicians are always politicking, and we are inundated with news flash after news flash.  Yahoo, Google, Bing, MSN, Fox, MediaMatters, and a vast array of others vie for our attention to keep us informed about our leaders sex lives, their choices of schools for their children, and what type of aftershave or perfume they wear.

We are not a theocracy, I am not a theonomist, and God has never commanded anyone presently living to establish His present and future Kingdom upon this Earth.
  His Kingdom has already been established with Christ as its King and we are His subjects.  While we are to be obedient to the state ( up to a point ) we are servants of our King and we are to be about His business.  There should not be a false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular as many believe, if not in word then in deed, as our vocation is a calling of God and everything we do should be done as unto the Lord.  Our chief aim as believers is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever and contained therein is the whole of our existence. 

" Faith should not interfere with politics, " is a common refrain from many ( not all ) liberals, progressives, and various atheistic organizations found today.  There are even supposed Christian organizations that want to separate the Church from the State entirely, but they are for now in the minority.  When you hear faith and politics don't mix it is most often leveled at the Christian Faith.  To be sure there are some logically consistent people out there that want an entirely secular state ( I for one do not believe one can exist ) but usually Christ is its focus. 

Why is this?  Is it because in America we do have a strong Christian heritage and most Americans at this time still nominally consider themselves " christian ".  Is it because Christianity demands certain things from its adherents such as obedience to our King, holiness ( apart from God there is no such thing ), and an expectation of some of the same things of those in power over us.  Is it because of the exclusivity of Christ in an increasing pluralistic society?  Or perhaps it is because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers,  against the rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places?  When believers of Christ proclaim the Truth the powers behind this present world system are not comfortable and often react by trying to suppress the Truth, but that would be like trying to darken the Sun with wet burlap.  It simply cannot be done.

How should we as believers react to all this?  Should we became more piestic and ascetic renouncing the world and all that it contains?  Should we jump into the political area in full force and try to affect change on our society through the legislative process?  Should we neglect the preaching of the Gospel in favor of campaign reform, financing, and Get out the Vote?  Which candidate would Jesus vote for if He were here and how would He be registered?  I firmly believer that to both remove ourselves from the process and to totally rely upon it is unbiblical.

While we are not citizens of this World we are sojourners here and we are to be faithful to the time and place that God has Sovereignly placed us , and for many reading that will be the United States of America.  I whole heartedly believe that to vote, to support Godly ( as far as we know ) men and women, and to try and influence our Government to adhere to Biblical principles is the right thing to do, but I do not put my faith and trust in them.  We are to make disciples of all men in all nations and in doing so we will cause a change in our countries by God changing the hearts and minds of people.  Those people that God saves will vote, they will campaign, and they will gradually over time through the power of God and discipleship more closely align themselves with the things of God.  This is not to say that there are not differing ideologies but that there are certain things that are and must be upheld such as the sanctity of life, the holiness of marriage, the role of the family, and the freedom to worship among others.

I have come to believe that we as Christians have wasted vast amounts of time, energy, and capital with  our zealous love affair with the voting booth.  We most certainly should seek to elect the most qualified person for the position and if in accordance with the will of God that person will also be a Christian.  God raises up people, nations,and rulers for His glory and His purposes and we must always remember that what happens is according to His plan.  This does not negate our responsibility to act in accordance with what we know but it does place everything within a Christian Worldview that  emphasises the Providential Sovereignty of God.

Would Jesus vote?  I believe He would but I do not believe He would participate in the partisan nonsense that is the focus of American politics today.  I believe that He would vote, pay taxes, and work to correct all our misunderstandings that we have in the 21st Century about our place in this world and the world to come, but He has already done that now hasn't He?

What do you think:
  1. How far should our faith influence our politics?
  2. Should it influence it at all?
  3. Has the media gone to far in its reporting of politicians personal lives?
  4. Would you rather be ruled by a wise Turk or a foolish Christian?

Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

Anonymous Salweatherford said...

This has been on my mind a lot recently, and it has been the subject of several of my blog posts. I think we put far too much emphasis on voting and little to none on the sovereignty of God. I think it's important to vote, but only if it is done prayerfully. And when the "better" man doesn't get elected that prayer should not stop. I am sick of hearing disrespectful jokes and comments about the president, because it accomplishes nothing. First and foremost we should be on our faces before God pleading for His wisdom and guidance, and hoping that He intercedes. Good post, I'm going to share it.

June 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

Thanks Sal and I appreciate that you are going to share it.

Whether we like, agree with, or voted for someone in office is
irrelevant; God placed them there and we are commanded to pray for our
leaders.

A Living Stone

June 7, 2011 at 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Hoffman said...

Luther, You have pretty much hit the nail on the head. Martin Luther was largely defined by his view on the "Two Kingdoms." The Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdoms of this world are separate entities, yet ruled by the same God for separate purposes. When we try to blend them and create a Kingdom of God on the earth we end up with Medieval Roman Catholicism. As Christians, we need to recognize God's intended purpose for both Kingdoms and fulfill our obligations in both. I would like to recommend a book,
Martin Luther's Understanding of God's Two Kingdoms, by William J. Wright. It is a really good overview and response to critics.

June 8, 2011 at 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

Thanks Kevin, I do not believe I have read that book and I hope you come by again.  Anyone who at least occasionally reads Martin Luther is welcome ( although I am not a Lutheran )

June 8, 2011 at 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Hoffman said...

Luther, I am not a Lutheran either, but I don't think you have to be to appreciate him. I am Reformed. His views on this and also as this relates to Law and Gospel are pretty fundamental stuff.

I wrote on the idea of politics in the Church about a year ago on my blog; http://blog.1in1000.org/2010/05/politics-in-the-church-a-tool-of-satan/

Let me know what you think.

June 8, 2011 at 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Donald Borsch Jr said...

Luther,

I used to write for a political website named Political Integrity Now (dot) com.  I burned-out on all the hate from the Left, to be honest.  Obama had just been elected and Congress was controlled by the Dems.  But I digress.

I left politics, (human drama and theater for the gullible), far behind and have made only slight mentions to it on my own blog.  I enjoyed reading your take on the whole matter.

I live in a Theocracy.  I am a Kingdom son.  The exploits and machinations of our elected "leaders" mean absolutely nothing to me other than being amusing diversions.  I do support separation of Church and State, but allow me to explain....

Jesus has never asked nor wanted to be our President, Speaker of the House, or even our Mayor.  In His earthly ministry He addressed "government" in saying, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's", and from what I can tell, pretty much left it at that.  So, in my limited understanding, I choose to follow that example.  Caesar is Caesar, Jesus is Jesus.  Both have followers.  Both have adherents.  I follow after a King and His commandments, while others follow after mere men and men's ideals.

I liked this one:
"We are not a theocracy, I am not a theonomist, and God has never
commanded anyone presently living to establish His present and future
Kingdom upon this Earth.

  His Kingdom has already been established with
Christ as its King and we are His subjects.  While we are to be obedient
to the state ( up to a point ) we are servants of our King and we are
to be about His business.  There should not be a false dichotomy between
the sacred and the secular as many believe, if not in word then in
deed, as our vocation is a calling of God and everything we do should be
done as unto the Lord.  Our chief aim as believers is to glorify God
and enjoy Him forever and contained therein is the whole of our
existence."

My mindset, which echoes yours in points, is that we are indeed citizens of His Kingdom and everyhting else is just temporal nonsense, be it TEA Party, Republican, liberal, Democrat, progressive, etc, etc.  Political parties and ideals are as repulsive to me as Christian denominations.  But that's another story altogether.

You spoke wisely and with conviction, Luther.  This is a great post and excellent food for thought.

Bravo! 

June 8, 2011 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

Thanks Donald, this was something that has been on my mind as of late.  At one time I was a die hard Republican ( I am still a conservative but there is a difference ) and although I never thought God ran the GOP my words often sounded like it.

As Kevin said in his comment I am a two kingdom kind of guy.  There is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world with God being Sovereign over both but having different purposes for each. 

I will vote and do my best to support the best possible candidate ( I often think there are no good candidates ) but through it all God is in control and HE will bring to power whoever He wills.  Political parties are there to make money and remain in power.

June 8, 2011 at 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

I will tomorrow for sure Kevin.  Now it is time for some shut eye

June 9, 2011 at 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Donald Borsch Jr said...

"As Kevin said in his comment I am a two kingdom kind of guy.  There is
the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world with God being
Sovereign over both but having different purposes for each. "

Nice points!  Satan s indeed the prince of this world, but who is King over all?  Oh yeah, Jesus.  Last I checked, Kings were stronger than mere princes.

He does have a unique purpose for each Kingdom, doesn't He?  This one is temporal, His is eternal.  Yet both exist to glorify His Name.  Only He could do this.

June 9, 2011 at 12:57 AM  

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