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Christians and Politics

October 29th, 2020

During this time of elections in the United States, there are many Christians who are heavily involved in political issues and the potential implications of the elections. There are many concerns in the world today which has stirred many people to become very involved.

The following ideas and scriptures are presented to address the issues at hand. My prayer is that you would hear the voice of the Holy Spirit while reading in order that you would stand firm in your faith (Eph. 6:13).

There are Two Realms and Two Kingdoms

Jhn 18:36 “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Most Christians would agree that there is a separation between the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Satan is referred to as “the god of this world” in 2 Cor. 4:4.

Rev 11:15 “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

As we see in Revelations 11, at the end of the age Jesus will reign on earth after the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of God. However, this has not happened yet.  

Heb 2:8 “You have put all things in subjection under His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.”

In the future, when the kingdom of this world here on Earth becomes the kingdom of Jesus, we will see all things subjected to Jesus.

The realm of Earth is not the realm of the kingdom of God. All things on Earth are not submitted to Jesus at this point in time. Therefore, Earth is still Satan’s domain for the time being.

What are the implications of the fact that there are two kingdoms and two separate realms? How are Christians to relate to the kingdom of this world? And perhaps the most relevant question, are we as Christians supposed to affect change in the kingdom of this world, and if so, how are we to do that?

 Your Citizenship Affects You

As a citizen of the United States, how concerned are you about the elections in say, the country of Italy this year? Were you aware that there were national elections in Italy? Have you been following the candidates in Italy? Are you aware of their politics? Probably not, you don’t live in Italy and you are not a citizen of Italy. The election outcomes of Italy will not affect you, so…you probably don’t really care.

Phl 3:19-20 “…who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”

A Christian’s citizenship is in heaven, which is contrasted in the verse above with having your mind on earthly things. Just like the citizens of the U.S. are not setting their minds on the Italian elections – citizens of heaven do not set their minds on earthly things. The citizens of the United States are not longing and hoping for a certain person to become president in Italy. Nor are the citizens of heaven longing and hoping for a certain man to become president anywhere on Earth. Instead, Phil. 3:19 says that the citizens of heaven are eagerly waiting for Jesus to save them.   

Heb 11:13-16 “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

Notice here that the Godly people of faith who are listed in Heb. 11 considered themselves to be strangers and exiles on the earth. Why? Because they were not at home here. They were seeking a heavenly country to call their home.  They did not identify themselves as belonging to any physical country on Earth, otherwise they would have returned to their home country.

2Ti 2:4 “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

Christians are enlisted soldiers in active service. The Lord Jesus has enlisted all Christians into his army. As soldiers of God, as citizens of Heaven and of a heavenly country, why are Christians so involved in another country’s politics and affairs?  

How Does God View the Nations of the World?

Isa 40:15 “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales…”

Job 12:23-25 “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away. “He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people and makes them wander in a pathless waste. “They grope in darkness with no light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”

Do you ever wonder why politicians seem so out of touch with reality? Just read the verse above. Whether it be the country of Italy, Sudan, Yemen, Spain, or the United States of America – all countries fit into the two descriptions above in Isa. 40 and Job 12.

God Chooses Governing Authorities

Rom 13:1 “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

We see from God’s perspective how He views the nations of this world. But we also see that it is God Himself who establishes leadership in government.   

Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Daniel 4:17 “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.”

At times in scripture, God would appoint evil governors to punish unfaithful nations. God used Babylon to judge Israel when Israel wandered away from Him. He used Pharaoh of Egypt to show his power to deliver, and to demonstrate his reward for evil.

Speaking of Pharaoh:

Exodus 9:16, “… indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

If you knew God was totally in charge of choosing the government leaders of another country that you were not even a citizen of, how concerned and involved would you become in those affairs? If you knew that God Himself was going to choose the leader of the country of Aruba (of which you are not a citizen of anyway), how much care and energy would you spend being involved with the politics of Aruba?

What Are Christians to Be Concerned With?

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The Kingdom of God is not of this earthly realm. In Rom. 14:17, we see that the kingdom of God is actually defined as things that are only found in the Holy Spirit.  

Mat 4:19 “And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus tells us to be fishers of men. He never instructed his disciples to affect change through the politics of the Roman empire, to seek a change in Roman leadership, or through other human institutions.

1Ti 6:11 “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

What are Christians to do with their time and energy? The list above is a good list of things that Christians are to spend time in pursuit of.

There are very few scriptures that address how Christians are to relate to authority in government (we will look at the few in just a second). There are no instructions in scripture that tell Christians to put forth enormous amounts of time and energy into affecting change in the political arena. The territory we are to affect change in, is directly into the lives of people. Christian’s are told to make disciples of Jesus. Our arena of change is the hearts of men.

We are to preach the gospel and make disciples of Jesus. We are not given much instruction at all to affect change on the earth via politics. The amount of attention many Christians give to politics is out of proportion to the attention given to it in scripture.  

This World is Evil and Is Passing Away

1Jo 2:17 “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

2Pe 3:13 “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

Christians who are trying to salvage this world or change the world systems and make it a better place are engaging in a futile battle. This world will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth will be created.

It is not God’s way to fix and repair broken things. He kills corrupt things and then creates something new.

Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ…

2Co 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Rev 21:1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”

Political Leaders Who are Not Born Again Are Evil

Jhn 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father….”

Sorry to say, but if your president or government leader of choice is not born of God’s Spirit, his father is the devil and he is an evil man.

God will use the people He places in authority to accomplish His eternal purposes. He also uses Satan for his own purposes. But, Christians who get behind a certain political figure and subtly believe “he is the good guy” because of where their candidate stands on certain issues, should realize that if he is not a born-again follower of Christ, then he is wicked. 

A Deeper Spiritual Issue

Luk 12:15 “Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

Mat 6:25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Jesus tells us that our life is not dependent on things of Earth. Perhaps some think that if the “wrong guy gets elected, it’s going to hit us where it hurts.”     

Col 3:4 “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

If the wrong guy gets elected, how will it affect you? It depends on what your life is. If your life is Christ, then you are unaffected by political leadership and the decisions they make.

The kingdom of God is not affected by who the president is. It is not affected by the economy, by tax rates, by rioting, or by wars. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church. The Lord’s plans on the Earth will be accomplished.

If you are persecuted, tortured, and murdered by the government, your life is hidden in Christ and your spirit is unaffected and cannot be touched.

Tyranny and Oppressive Leaders

What about tyranny and oppression? What if the government tries to force us into slavery or seize our property? What about our rights?

Heb 10:34 “For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.”

During this time of persecution of Christians, their possessions were taken from them. Yet, they allowed it to happen with joy. What if the U.S. government forced citizens to leave their homes and live in government camps? Would you turn your house into a military fort, arm your family with guns, and shoot those who came to force you out of your house?   

Obey God Rather Than Men

Acts 5:29 “We must obey God, rather than men”.

In this passage, the legal authority told Peter not to preach Jesus. Peter states that God’s directions must be kept even when man’s laws oppose them.

For example, God has told us to assemble together as Christians. If the government tells us not to assemble, we obey God and assemble anyway, in secret if necessary. There are a number of issues that fall into this category. Christians don’t support gay marriage. Marriage is created by God. There is no such thing as a gay marriage. We condemn the practice of homosexuality, even if the government approves of it.

However, there is no commandment of God that tells Christians to hold on to and fight for possessions, homes, or even our lives. In fact, He directs us with the opposite:

Act 8:32, Isa. 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.”

This is referring to Jesus. He did not defend Himself or fight for His life when he was unjustly sentenced to die.

As a Christian, ultimately you have no rights. When you became a Christian, you gave up your rights in this earthly realm and you died. You were re-born as a citizen of heaven in order to obey God for eternity. During your time on Earth as a Christian, you are to expect suffering, persecution, harsh treatment, and hatred by the world. You may even be put to death because of your faith.

There are plenty of verses that explain this:

Col. 3:3, Rom. 8:17, 2 Cor. 1:6, 2 Tim. 2:3, 1 Pet. 2:20, Rev. 2:10, Rev. 12:11

Phl 1:29 “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”.

Dual Citizenship

As Christians, our citizenship is in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Our heavenly country is our first priority and it is the focus of our lives. At the same time, we do live inside these bodies, in which we also happen to live inside some governmental country here on the Earth.

1Pe 2:17 “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

1Ti 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

We see from the verses above that we are to show honor to the king of whatever earthly country we are living in. It is also desirable for Christians to be able lead a tranquil and quiet life in dignity. This is the reason we are to pray for those in authority. For example, it is desirable and preferable that we be able to assemble without persecution.

The apostle Paul speaks in Acts 25:

Acts 25:11, “For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

While Paul was under arrest, he asked to appeal to Caesar instead of being put to death. Paul was in a situation in which he could use the current governmental laws to avoid being killed. This may sound contradictory to Jesus being put to death as a lamb led to slaughter.

In the case of Jesus, He was obviously obeying His Father and doing the will of God. He was fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 53, that stated, “He did not open His mouth”. We must always obey God, no matter the consequences.

Is it therefore wrong to use the government’s laws to avoid death or persecution? Not in Paul’s case as seen above in Acts 25.  Coupling Paul’s example with the heart of the passage in 1 Tim. 2:1-2: If entreaties, prayers, petitions are to be made, in order for Christians to be able to lead a life of tranquility and dignity, then it would certainly seem allowable to cast a vote (if possible) that may lead to ending abortion or lessoning persecution.    

However, Christians must realize that voting and involvement in politics is not our primary arena to bring about change. When Christians predominantly focus on the political arena in order to prevent suffering, persecution, or affect change they have abandoned the means by which they are most effective.

Christian power and the ability to wield Christian influence is in the gospel of Jesus. Our power is in the ability to love. These two things bring the kingdom of God on the Earth into the hearts of men and women.

It Is much better to see the mother of an unwanted child come to Jesus, than to only create legislation to prevent her from an abortion. Jesus dealt with people directly to change them from the inside. He did not lobby the Roman government in order to bring about change.

Dominion Theology and Reconstructionism

Dominion theology is often used interchangeably with the term “reconstructionism”. These philosophies originate from Genesis 1:28.

Gen 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The idea of dominion theology is that Christians should subdue, and therefore influence all areas of society. This includes all areas in the corporate world, social arenas, and government. Those who subscribe to dominion theology believe that it is God’s command that Christians bring the kingdom of God on earth through business, politics, and social influence.

I cannot get into the many details and angles of dominion theology philosophy here, as it is extensive. To attempt to state it succinctly, dominion theology is rooted in an affinity and propensity for natural and physical proliferation (primarily through old covenant principles) of the kingdom of God, as opposed to spiritual proliferation of the kingdom of God via new covenant teachings. Genesis 1:28 commands us to take dominion over the animals. It does not imply that Christians are to rule and reign in politics and government.

Christians who subscribe to dominion theology (or elements of it) believe that Christians should infiltrate the government and pursue public offices in order to bring about Godly laws with the goal of creating a Christian society. This should not be the Christian’s cause due to the many reasons already explained. When Christ returns and establishes His rule on the Earth, only then we will see all the Earth subdued and submitted to Christ. This is something God does, not man.

To understand the foundations of this, we must realize that the old covenant was physical. The new covenant is spiritual. There are multiple scriptures that explain this:

1Co 15:46-47, Rom 5:14, Heb 11:19, Col 2:16-17, 1 Cor. 10:1-11, Heb 8:4-5, Heb 9:8-9, Heb 10:1.

The Old Testament law, the tabernacle, and the Old Testament stories (accounts of people, their lives, and their interactions with God) while real and true – are all symbolic of spiritual realities. The entire Old Testament points to and explains Jesus Christ. 

For example, God blessed the people of the Old Testament with physical items such as livestock, lands, and physical goods. These were all a sign of God’s blessing during the Old Testament. The New Testament reward is spiritual in nature. We are blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the church, eternal life and the priesthood of the believer. Of course, the Lord may still bless us with physical things as a Christian, but the gift of eternal life and the love of Christ in our hearts is exceedingly more valuable than any physical thing.

On Earth, as it is in Heaven

Mat 6:10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

This verse is taken from what we call “The Lord’s prayer”. It is a part of Jesus’ response when He was asked, “teach us to pray”. When the Lord was teaching His disciples to pray in the verse above, He was not giving them orders to take over the Roman government with Christian political influence. When the Lord’s will is done in the hearts of men, His kingdom comes on earth, where men live and walk. When we love and forgive each other, the Lord’s kingdom comes. When we overcome sin in our lives, the Lord’s kingdom comes. When we preach the good news and make disciples of Jesus, His kingdom comes on Earth.

Mat 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Notice how Jesus separates what is the kingdom and what is not. Although physical needs will be added to us as a result of seeking first His kingdom.

Luk 17:20-21 “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Dominion theology erroneously teaches that the kingdom of God comes on earth through physical or natural means (which includes societal laws, influence, and culture). On the contrary, the territory for God’s kingdom to come and take over is inside individual people, as Jesus states above in Luke 17. When a person has Jesus Christ living inside of them, that person will manifest the ways of Christ outwardly in the physical realm. But the physical manifestations are not the kingdom of God, they are only the effects of Christ being in someone.

Dominion theology strives to make the United States a Christian nation. Many might even say that the U.S. is a Christian nation and it was founded on Christian principles by Godly men. Perhaps we should at least consider the events that took place in England in the actual forming of the US – in light of scriptural instruction as it relates to governmental authority. 

There is no such thing as a Christian nation. A group of Christians is called a church. The scripture never tells Christians in various nations to try to make the physical country they live in, into a Christian nation. Remember, we are seeking a different country, a heavenly one. As Hebrews speaks of Abraham:

Heb 11:9-10 “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

Of the Church, Peter quotes the words of God:

1Pe 2:9 “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

If Christians are supposed to be given to politics and bringing about change through government and political leaders, there would be much more instruction in the New Testament telling us to do so. There are only a very few verses that address the political arena, instructing us to show honor and pray for those in authority – so that our lives will be peaceful.

In the book, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Edward Gibbon states that the early Christians “took no part in the civil administration of the empire”. Phillip Schaff wrote in “The History of the Christian Church”, that the early Christians had “a disregard for politics and depreciation of all civil and temporal affairs as compared with the spiritual and eternal interests of men”.  

Perhaps these historical claims are true, perhaps they are not perfectly accurate. Ultimately, each person must use the objectivity of the Bible and the help of the Holy Spirit to guide their convictions.  

4 Responses to “Christians and Politics”

  1. John Gain

    Excellent article. Thank you for shear me. I use ine sermon. Please keep and touch. John

  2. Lanre A

    This write up is a blessing. This is divine wisdom message. He who hath an ear let him hear. Dominion Theology is a big issue in the Christendom. Reason many so called church leaders with great titles to their names are busy scrambling and partitioning for souls and building their kingdoms which will eventually turn into rubbles. Preach the good news heal the sick raise the dead cast out demons. That’s all Jesus did and taught us. Greater works shall we do. John 14:12. Jesus promise never fail. Thanks thanks thanks sir. Good word.

  3. Bill Deese

    Good article, Terry. I don’t think dominion theology and the NT are mutually exclusive. If we, the church, are leading people to Jesus and hearts and minds are being changed, society/politics/institutions will change as well. I do believe that some Christians are called and gifted to engage the political world, at the minimum to vote every year and at the maximum run for office. The more we engage, the more persecution we should expect, of course. As an elementary public school teacher, now retired, I always knew what lines crossed would quickly end my career, but God seemed to bless my efforts for the Kingdom in a relatively godless environment. That said, we homeschooled our own four boys! One of my favorite books is Paradise Restored by David Chilton. I like the optimism and hope of that perspective that the world, under the relentless pressure of a Holy Spirit directed church, will gradually (perhaps millenia) be transformed to a more just and holy society until it’s ultimate perfection at Christ’s return. Depite American christendom’s contention that we are going to hell in a handbasket, global statistics just don’t support that, in my opinion. BTW, I loved and mostly agree with your book, The Way Church Ought to Be. It has really impacted my life over the last several years. Thanks again for this article.

  4. Kimberly

    Very well put Mr. Terry. Yes. I think Christians are getting too involved in the political arena. They are taking their minds off the important things. Jesus mandated us to make disciples. If we make disciples then we can bring change to our nation.

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