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The Christian and Politics
By David A. DePra
The Bible teaches that Christians are to be the best citizens of their respective countries as they can be, as long as it doesnít require compromise with Jesus Christ. This would include any contribution we could make politically, socially, or otherwise, to better society. There is everything right about standing up for constitutional rights. There is everything right about insisting upon freedom of religion.
Yet Christians must remember that our calling is NOT a political calling. We are NOT called to reform the world. Indeed, we CANNOT. It is on this point that many err. The only change God intends to bring to this world is through His Son. He wants a new creation Ė not new political policies.
The problem with political Christians is not that they want to solve some problems, and defend our constitutional rights. No. Iím glad there are people out there who are doing this. We all benefit from it. But the real problem arises when we think that doing this is our fundamental calling. We will never change the world, or reform the world, through political means. We will accomplish nothing by condemning, yelling at, and protesting against the world.. THAT is dangerous thinking, and is unbiblical.
The idea that we are supposed to bind together as a political force in the United States, or other country, and, "get our country back to itís Christian roots," is not taught in the Bible in any form. Indeed, such efforts can, and have, become counterproductive to Godís real purpose in the Body of Christ.
If we think that we are going to change the country or world for Christ by standing on a street corner holding a protest sign, we are not only deluded, but blinding our eyes to what the Bible says is the worldís real problem. Yet Christians march against, and yell at, and protest against, homosexuals, abortion, and other liberal agendas, and think they are going to accomplish the will of God. Have we learned yet that all that such things do is polarize people against Christianity? Such protests do NOTHING to turn people to Jesus Ė which is what Christians are supposed to be doing.
Now, it is at this point that some people will say, "Well, we are supposed to suffer for the name of Christ. So if we polarize people against Christianity, so be it." The deception here is that it is quite possible to polarize people against Christianity for all the wrong reasons. It is possible to suffer for doing wrong instead of doing right, to suffer for doing stupid things, instead of suffering for Christ. But if we do suffer for the wrong reasons, it is always nice to be able to make martyrs out of ourselves as a justification, isnít it?
Today we have highly visible Christian leaders coming out against Sponge Bob Squarepants. The point is this, Christian leaders ought to start addressing the issues they were called to address Ė namely the spiritual health of the Body of Christ. We are to be a WITNESS of Christ unto the world. We are not called to be a witness AGAINST the world for Christ.
Christians in the United States today are not being persecuted for being devoted to Jesus Christ. They are being persecuted because of the things we have come out AGAINST Ė rather than the Person we are supposed to be FOR. If you read the newspaper columns, and watch the television programs, and keep your eyes open, you will almost NEVER hear anyone criticizing Christians because they preach a message which lifts up Jesus Christ. What we are criticized for is our political agendas, our supposed, "message of hate," and our hypocrisy with money. And much of this criticism, while certainly inflated, is JUSTIFIED.
The message of the New Testament is that our real enemy is NOT political. It is not flesh and blood. The real enemy is not only spiritual, but it is WITHIN. The Body of Christ is in bad shape spiritually. Until the Body of Christ gets itís own house in order, there will be NO REAL POWER against these things. Examine the last twenty years. Who do you think is winning this war? Is America becoming MORE Christian, or less? What has any of this accomplished?
That the United States of America was founded on Christian principles, and freedom of religion, is a fact. But the United States is not a theocracy. It is not the second coming of the nation of Israel. I believe God raised up the United States to be His vehicle for freedom of religion, and a place from where the gospel would go forth. But God never intended to use world governments as His primary witness. God is interested in His Body Ė those CALLED OUT of the world TO Jesus Christ. The Body of Christ is to be the witness of Jesus Christ.
Christians are not called to change the world, reform the world, or Christianize the world. We are called OUT of the world. We are no more called to reform the world than Israel was called to reform Egypt.
Furthermore, read the gospels. Jesus made no attempt whatsoever to reform Rome, or even the civil government of the Jews. Indeed, if there was one thing that caused tension between Himself and His disciples, it was that they wanted Him to be a politically minded Messiah. In the end, this is why Judas betrayed Him. There is a message in that for us if we would only listen.
If we care about the world, then we need to get our own house in order and become known for our relationship with Christ, instead of becoming known for everything we are against. A living WITNESS for Christ to the world doesnít focus on changing the world FOR Christ. It focuses on changing itself so that the world will want to come to the same Christ we claim to serve.
A witness unto Jesus Christ doesnít simply go around demanding that everyone become a Christian. Neither does a witness for Christ shove Christ down everyoneís throat. Or demand our political rights to be Christians. A witness for Christ BECOMES Ė in a personal relationship with Christ Ė someone whose is evidence of the risen Christ. But it IS much easier to carry around a banner then it is to carry a Cross, isnít it? When will we learn?
A church that seeks to change the world politically Ė indeed, which seeks to RUN the world politically -- all, of course, in the name of Jesus Ė Babylon. Have we forgotten that? Have we forgotten what happened 1500 years ago, and what it turned into? Apparently we have. But you see, if todayís Body of Christ actually succeeded in itís political agenda, we would, over the course of time, have Babylon all over again.
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Rev 17:1-5)
Babylon is when the church commits spiritual fornication with the world Ė becomes one with the world and itís ways. So what are we supposed to do? Trash the world? Go live in a commune somewhere? No. Again Ė we are to become a witness.
WHY do Christians seek to find political solutions to spiritual problems? Itís not that most people who try to do this are not seeing wrongs that need to be righted. And itís not that most of them arenít sincere. No, they are. The problem is that we have blurred the line between the church and the world to such an extent that we think that it is just a matter of a political position to make the two one. According to Jesus, and according to Paul, however, the line between the world and the church is so complete, that they are of two entirely different realms.
Many Christians today continue to think that Christianity is a theological position. A set of beliefs and principles by which we live. Therefore, it is an easy transition to assume that since this country was founded upon this list of Bible principles, and that the theological positions were built into our founding documents, that the solution is to simply return to our roots. But despite the fact that it would be nice to have Christian principles permeate our government, none of this addresses the real issue: Christianity is not of this world. Never was and never will be.
The governments of this world are manís way of organizing himself OUTSIDE of Godís will. It was that from the beginning. Democracy is the best version of this. But the point is this: You cannot present to God manís government over himself and expect Him to bless it. He will use it and work around it, and at times, even through it. But in the end, it isnít OF HIM. It is against Him. All of it. That is why He calls people OUT of the world into His kingdom Ė HIS government.
Christianity is a new birth into a new realm. It is not a political position, or even merely a theological one. The way to reform the world is to draw people to Jesus Christ. But then you wonít really be reforming the world. You will be inviting people into a NEW WORLD Ė into a new realm. This world is going down. Big time. We need to start realizing that we have not been faithful to Jesus Christ with regards to His command to us.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:18-20)
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