Christian Life 

Should Christians be involved in politics?

Jesus said: "My kingdom is not of this world." Some Christian groupings believe that as followers of Christ belong to a better world they should not be involved in the political scene. Others think differently.

Faith and PoliticsIT is argued that Jesus didn't get involved in influencing the political scene in his day; and that he didn't give any indication or instruction to his followers to do so. Though he came to change the world, his Father's plan was to change it one person at a time through each coming to faith in His Son. Accordingly some feel that the aim of Christians should be to evangelise lost souls and leave the political sphere to others.

However, other believers feel called to exercise their ministries within the political domain. The Christian Institute is one organisation that is heavily involved in issues relating to legislation and countering what it sees as deleterious effects on the manner in which our country is run through Parliament and the laws which govern our lives.

Colin HartIn the 2010 Annual Review, Christian Institute's Director Colin Hart  introduces the document in preface entitled: 'Seek the Peace of the City'

Around 600BC the children of Israel were exiled in Babylon. Taken out of 'the promised land' and enslaved in a pagan nation, they were understandably concerned for the future. How should they live in an ungodly land? God through the prophet Jeremiah urged them to "seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jer. 29:7)
For the sake of our neighbour and ourselves, we should seek the welfare of the nation in which we live regardless of whether it is godly or not. Unlike the Jewish exiles in Babylon we live in a democracy. This gives us all manner of opportunities to seek the welfare of our nation, encouraging what is peaceful and leading to true prosperity.
If public policy embraces moral relativism, there will be fraud and corruption and our neighbours get hurt. If public policy treats marriage as an easy-in, easy-out arrangement equivalent to any other living arrangement, our neighbours get hurt. If public policy treats
an unborn child as a lifeless collection of cells which may be discarded, our neighbours get hurt. If public policy treats elderly and disabled lives as 'not worth living', our neighbours get hurt. If public policy allows a woman to sell her own body to men for sex, our neighbours get hurt. These aren't abstract ideas, they affect real people and we see the heartbreak
and harm of broken lives in our nation.
When Christians speak out about marriage, abortion, assisted suicide, or prostitution we do so because we seek the welfare of our neighbours and our nation. Jeremiah's words
are echoed in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
Paul, writing at a time when the pagan Roman Emperor Nero was in charge, urged Christians to pray that their Government would give them the freedom to live godly, holy lives. Paul implies that this religious liberty will allow Christians to be a witness for the gospel by their morally upright lives.
If our Government limits our ability to live godly, holy lives, then our liberty to be a witness for the Gospel is also threatened. During 2009 we helped numerous Christians whose religious liberty had been unlawfully restricted. In many cases we secured a successful outcome, not only obtaining justice but also protecting gospel freedom for countless others in similar circumstances.
Let us take encouragement from Jeremiah and Paul. Looking to the future, with all its uncertainties, let us commit ourselves afresh to seeking the welfare of our nation and defending our liberty to live godly, holy lives.

Christian InstituteThe Christian Institute (CI) is a non-denominational Christian charity located in Newcastle in the north-east of England. It is committed to upholding the truths of the Bible and is supported by individuals and churches throughout the UK.

The CI campaigned with Baroness Young in 2001 against lowering the homosexual age of consent, and was criticised by the Charity Commission. In the face of complaints from the homosexual lobby groups and in response to these, the Commission informed the CI that it must adhere to its charitable aims to promote the Christian faith and not act as a political organisation; and that the CI, with Baroness Young as its patron, needed to be clearer about its status as a religious organisation rather than a political one.
Undaunted the CI has continued to battle legislation which it deems contrary to the Christian faith and ethos.

Christians Together, 22/07/2010

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Editor 05/08/2010 08:59
Regarding the SCP, I will shortly be posting more Questions and Answers from Donald Boyd as a supplement to what has already been published on that article.
I have not yet done so as we were (in July) in the middle of the holiday period.

Once these (further) Q/As are published it will be more appropriate to discuss SCP issues there.

This 'Should Christians be involved in politics?' is more for general discussion around this more general question.
ryan (Guest) 20/11/2010 07:55
NO they should not, there are temptation in power and The Earth is Fallen, We Are in The Fallen World where Darkness reigns. Christian Hope is When Christ Return, He will established The Perfect Government Which Nations
Seek For

Rosemary Cameron 20/11/2010 18:13
I don't thinhk that christians should be seeking to take over governments or rule nations - Ryan is right in saying that perfect government will only happen when Christ returns. However we are commanded to be salt and light. The use of the term 'salt' is instructive because it only takes a little salt to season a dish. That says to me that there should be a small number of christians in every sphere of life, including politics. Not trying to take over, but exerting a godly influence.
Peter Carr 21/11/2010 08:48
I agree with Rosemary;

Isa 49: 6 "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Ps 24: 1 " The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it"

Martin Lisemore 22/11/2010 18:18
Whilst I recognise there is no direct Biblical mandate to become involved in worldly governance of any kind, we must look to the pattern and example of the people of both Testaments for a lead here.

Consider Joseph and Daniel, both were involved at a high level of national government - decision makers, yet God's blessing rested upon them. Indeed, while they remained faithful, and in Daniel's case, firmly rooted in prayer, The Lord prospered them in their position. Joseph's interpretation of visions lead directly to his elevation to number two, to Pharaoh.

There are many other Biblical instances we could cite, proving the same point. I firmly believe The Lord wants His brothers and sisters in all walks of life, for where we are so is He, if we remain faithful to Him, and connected in prayer.

If we limit The Lord by saying not in politics, then how do we define politics? Most everything is political in one sense or another. Who sets the boundaries? And with what authority? There, surely, is a recipe for further disputations among the Body, the like of which Paul had spoken against, and frankly, how will be justify more disputes than we have now?

As with all man made executive decisions, there is usually an overspill; they are flawed. If we are limited in politics, then, by extension, we must be limited in this area, or that because it could be regarded as political.

If we now narrow the field of witness or activity, do we limit the fine Christians who are at work with prostitutes in brothels, prison chaplaincies, those reaching the lost rent boys on streets, or like David Wilkerson in New York, the disparate young gang leaders? Nicky Cruz was one such gang-lad! Do we stop the Salvation Army, and Church Army, reaching runaway homeless kids on railway stations, or bringing drug addicts to places like Teen Challenge? Oh, I could go on.

There could be no end to this limitation.

OK, I accept there is a distinction here, between being directly involved in an activity such as politics, and reaching the lost, without becoming tainted or involved. We can be directly involved in politics without becoming tarnished with involvement in the dark side of it all. We must stand for a Godly right, be a living epistle, and visible in every arena into which we are led.

Someone, a good few years ago, coined the phrase, 'visible Christians,' and as I recall, it was just in this sense. We must be visible and heard in any area into which we are led by the Holy Spirit.

But the principle remains. I dare not limit the Lord when His Great Commission says, Go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations. I don't read any sub-clauses or exclusions here.

I am involved in local politics here in the East of England, albeit at a very low level. I know I'm a thorn in the flesh. My local council is corrupt, partisan and doesn't represent the people. It represents farming interests to the exclusion of all others. It raises taxes without being democratic (not that I believe in a democracy because I don't!) but it's the system we have. Jesus worked within the prevailing system at the time of his earthly ministry. OK, so it crucified Him in the end, and therefore we know we are never going to be popular and could come to a nasty end.

Ryan, you are right in all you say, I cannot argue with you, nor will I. Yet I have to say your case is not complete. I admire you for you stand, yet I must say, we're never going to reach the lost while we limit the Lord Jesus Christ.

Penny Lee 22/11/2010 20:39
So there are some who reckon Abraham Lincoln should not have been in politics....
Martin Lisemore 22/11/2010 21:30
Andrea, I don't understand your post in relation to mine above.

Yes, many white Americans, particularly in the South, did not want Lincoln in power - actually having read about him, I'm not sure Lincoln wanted power - it does seem in some senses he was taken where he did not want to go.

But I stand on the above post. Christians belong in any sphere The Lord puts them. Then, and only then, will there be guarantees as to the outcome.
Penny Lee 22/11/2010 21:57
Martin, my comment supports your view! Those who think that Christians shouldn't meddle in politics would have been against Lincoln being involved in politics - thank God he was for he did a lot of good.

This doesn't mean, though, that every Christian should be in politics. Some of us (myself included) would be disastrous as we don't have the ability or drive to do it, but for those who do I would encourage them all the way.
Martin Lisemore 22/11/2010 22:32
Andrea Mac ... I praise God for you. Such clarity of thought. Such understanding in this dreary world.

No, we should not all be in politics, nor all in anything else. It is as the Spirit leads ...yes?

I'm not a great prayer warrior (Brian Ross last week taught me the meaning of the term), I'm a doer, an exhorter of the faithful, and one or two other things. I pray several times a day, but not often with the union with God an intercessor would experience. That's not my calling.

Politics are not my calling either - yet a christian voice at a very low level of government is making a difference, locally.

I firmly believe we must all be 'visible Christians,' in whatever way we can, standing, equipped, and ready to give a good account of the Gospel. And that in whatever arena we are led into.

Andrea, in these last days I've read all your posts on this forum, and those of Peter Carr. I may express myself differently, but I stand with you both, with the Jesus of the New Testament. Nothing else will do for me.

Penny Lee 22/11/2010 23:34

You may be interested to know that, while Peter and myself each came to know the Lord at different times and completely independently of each other, we did actually start in primary one together and lived in houses with adjoining gardens!
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