Bryan Fischer
April 5, 2008
Why Christians should and must be involved in politics
By Bryan Fischer

There are at least two main reasons why followers of the Judeo-Christian tradition should and must be involved in politics, reasons derived directly from the Scriptures themselves. I'll discuss the first today, and the second in a subsequent column.

Here's the first:

All political power has been delegated by God. As the great apostle says in Romans 13:1, speaking of civil authority, "There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."

This explains the fascination that Americans have with politics: politics, even if people are only dimly aware of the fact, is all about who among us will have in their hands the very authority and power of God himself to direct the affairs of our common public life.

God rarely acts directly in human affairs. (That's why we call them "miracles.") Rather than working apart from us, it is his customary practice to work through us, through men and women to whom he delegates his authority, whether in the home, in the church or in society.

He is always looking for willing servants who have a humble recognition that their authority is not their own but has been delegated to them by God, and who have a humble awareness that they are accountable to him for their use of it.

It is unconscionable for Christians to absent themselves from the public arena on the grounds that "Christians shouldn't be involved in politics," when the Bible they profess to believe tells them that political power comes exclusively from the very God they worship.

I've had people tell me that Christians shouldn't be involved in politics because it's so "messy" or "dirty." Well, I tell them, I was a pastor for 25 years, and I've never seen anything as messy at the statehouse as I have seen in the church. So if messiness is a reason to avoid participation and contact, we all ought to stop going to church immediately if not sooner.

And it's utterly illogical to abandon the supervision of our public life to those who have no respect for the God who grants them their authority.

D. James Kennedy was often told by fellow believers that Christians should just stay out of politics altogether. In response, he'd point out the irrationality of that idea. How can a Christian in good conscience, he would say, think it's a good idea to deliberately abandon the governing of our society entirely to atheists and secularists?

Jesus taught his followers, as recorded in the Sermon on the Mount, that we are "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world." Salt was used, in the absence of refrigeration, to arrest the spread of decay. Light, of course, was and is used to dispel darkness.

His point quite simply is that he intends his followers to penetrate all of life so that by our presence the spread of moral corruption can be arrested and darkness and ignorance about important matters can be replaced with illumination and truth.

And anywhere Christians refuse to engage, and so remove both salt and light, we ought to expect nothing but decay and darkness. When Jesus said we were the salt of the earth and the light of the world, he meant that we are his Plan A and there is no Plan B.

Further, if Christians think followers of Christ should just stay out of politics, then they have forfeited the right to complain about cultural decline and have forfeited the right to use instances of moral decay as illustrations in their sermons.

Many Christians seem particularly fond of complaining about how bad things have gotten, and yet immediately turn their firepower on any Christian who agrees with them but actually tries to do something about it.

Since lawmakers hold in their hands the very power of God, Christians in truth have much more reason to be concerned about political matters than our secularist friends.

In fact, as famous Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper said, we not only have reason to become involved in the political process, we have a moral duty:

"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith."

May his tribe increase.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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