Christian Life 

Christians and Politics: an analysis

A recurring question concerns the differing views on whether or not Christians should become involved in the poltical process: much is determined by pre-suppositional theology.

The debate of whether or not Christians should become actively invovled in the political process prompts a variety of responses.
In fact underlying and shaping these views are two competing theological systems; those of Dispensationalism and Calvinism.

Political Spectrum
Stay out of it all Dive in
  • Present age changed through conversions
  • Total separation of church and state
  • No political invovlement whatsoever
  • Present age changed by imposition of God's laws
  • State to act as an agent of and for the church
  • Active Political Engagement

The above bullet points are very much generalisations which gloss over variations within each system. Holding, as they do to markedly different end-time views (eschatology) these theological systems greatly influence individual views across the spectrum of opinion on political engagement. Neither are these bullet points in any way a complete summary of the differences separating Dispensationism and Calvinism.

2. Dispensationalism posits a Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ and the 'any moment rapture' of believers. This eschatology puts a great emphasis on the need to evangelise as Christ  – it is believed –could come any instant. The Kingdom of God is essentially 'future' and in is presently totally divorced from the 'Kingdom of the this world'.

3. Calvinism is post-Millennial; believing that this present age should be brought closely into line through a church/state alliance which will propagate and impose God's laws on society. (The Reformer John Calvin worked to turn Geneva into a City of God on earth.) Believing strongly in pre-destination, evangelism receives little priority.

4. A more detailed summary of the conflicting Calvinist and Dispensational views can be found in the article entitled 'A Covenant-Keeping God'.

Related articles:
Towards a theology of politics         Christians and Politics        Christians and Politics: a debate

The Editor, 28/07/2013

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Colin Ford (Guest) 31/07/2013 23:02
Mr Benn,
I care NOT, nor do I want to know what "scientific and educational credentials" are held by John Mackay! They are only accredited by infidel institutions! Having said this, I believe he attained the usual secular degrees etc as a young student, but he came to faith when he could no longer accept the theory of evolution to be "fact".
Do you not realise that ALL, bar none of these "scientific and educational credentials" as you call them, have no Biblical accreditation? They are utterly opposed to the Abiding Word of God. Secular geologists have as their datum a universe that started without God, whereas Christian Creationist's, geologist's/scientist's believe in the Creation account according to the book of Genesis! Surely, most surely, you can see the difficulty??
Is Richard Dawkins YOUR hero?
John Mackay is most definitely, and most certainly NO hero of mine!! Perish the thought!!
That prerogative is reserved alone for the crucified ONE of Calvary the Blessed Lord, and Saviour Himself!
I do agree however with your assessment of "understanding and knowledge", they do appear to be somewhat inextricable?
And regarding eternal destiny, yes the Bible DOES teach eternal damnation for ALL unbelievers. (Are not atheists unbelievers?)
I know that vast multitudes have a problem with this; but again, this is the plain teaching of Scripture, not something that I have made up.
W Benn (Guest) 01/08/2013 09:35
Mr Ford. I like your 'infidel institutions' bit. Actually Oxford University cannot remotely be described as such.I have your measure and am thankful.
John Miller 01/08/2013 09:51
Mr Benn I am glad that you agree with me about the difference between knowledge and understanding. Where we differ is in your belief that we cannot have one without the othe and I refer specifically to the revelation of the only true and living God through His inerrant word, the Holy Scriptures of Truth.

We can have immense knowledge of them yet have no understanding. On the other hand it is indisputable that without knowledge of them we would have no understanding.

Men like Dawkins, whom my friend Colin wrongly credits, in my belief, with an understanding of them cannot have such. They read the scriptures with one purpose, to discredit and ridicule them and to disprove the existence of their divine authorship. Now in the in unsearchable ways ways of His grace God has touched the conscience of such men to enquire further into the truth of His word, thereby revealing Himself to them. However if there is stubborn refusal to consider that the God of the Holy Bible even exists and that the offer of His grace through faith in the Person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ is steadfastly rejected, God's righteousness demands that the Christ rejector must face His judgement and ultimately His wrath. Why? Because the atoning sufferings of Jesus made that entirely unnecessary!

One who searches the scriptures, not only to make himself aware of their contents, but also with a desire to understand and be blessed by the revelation of God's desire to bless and the way He has made that blessing available, will undoubtedly discover experimentally the wonder of being drawn into an eternal relationship with Him.

So to answer your last point, if an atheist reads God's word, not researches religion as you put it but looking for truth, seeking after the revelation of God and His truth, then I believe that God WILL reveal Himself to that person. I could quote from scripture passages to support this and am willing to do so if you are such a person. The man Dawkins is not such a seeker after God's truth.

My desire for you is that my God, the Father of The Lord Jesus Christ and the Giver of His Holy Spirit to those who believe, will one day become your God.
John Miller 01/08/2013 14:00
Let me suggest another little twist in our discussion Mr Benn. If Dawkins is right he and his ilk have no hope for the future, nothing to look forward to except annihilation and a nagging worry that in spite of their bluster and academic arrogance they might be in for a very nasty surprise.

If I and countless millions of my fellow Christian believers are right, we have lived a life here with a profound sense of God's blessing, a bright hope for the future and an unshakeable belief in the God of the Bible.

Now what if the atheist is wrong? Ahead lies the terrifying prospect of God's judgement "by the Man whom He has appointed, giving the proof of it by raising Him (Jesus) in raising Him from the dead". Looking at it from the atheist's point of view, the poor deluded Christian has actually lost nothing. He has had a happy life, certain in his faith, but will be no better or worse off than the atheist, but that faith will have sustained him and given him comfort, peace and strength in the difficulties of life, a resource denied to the atheist.

Now I know that God is real, that His love is real and that the salvation He offers in Jesus is real. I discovered that 63 years ago and have never doubted it for one moment in the intervening years. What is the basis of that knowledge? God's inerrant word and His gifts of repentance and faith that I received all these years ago.
Editor 01/08/2013 17:54
I believe it is futile to try and persuade atheists, doubters and sceptics of the existence of God.

The Christian faith, is after all one of 'faith': not unreasonable faith but faith nevertheless.

Perhaps we can now return to the theme of the article to which this thread attaches. There are many other articles on this website (more than enough in fact) on the subject of Dawkins and his views.

Thanks all.
Colin Ford 02/08/2013 00:00
Yes, well said; "it is futile to try and persuade atheists, doubters and sceptics of the existence of God". We can do nothing, but "witness", and be "salt and light"? It is only God "that giveth the increase" 1 Corinthians 3.7 ? In fact all we try to do in our own strength, such as "persuade" as you say, or argue, just tends to harden those whom are opposed?
To quote Mr B.W.Newton; "Faith, however, is not superstitious credulity. It seeks for evidence, and that evidence God supplies. The external evidence by which the Old and New Testaments is proved, is such as no sane mind that duly weighs it could honestly reject". He goes on..Quoted from "Remarks on Mosaic Cosmogony and Genesis 2 verse 5".
W Benn (Guest) 02/08/2013 07:48
I really do appreciate that the editor's job is to keep debates on track. That said when weird assertions are made in defence of faith it is difficult to ignore them. Faith does not,generally speaking,have a trait of seeking evidence other than reference to revelation; to assert otherwise is wrong. By the way Mr Ford's first sentence, at midnight just gone, is plain silly;there are something like 4,000 religions to be listed so even Mr Ford is an atheist c 3,999 times over. It is just one example of slapdash thinking. That is my closing comment under this topic in respect for the editor's wishes.
Editor 02/08/2013 11:14
Thanks all for helping to keep discussions on track.
I have no wish to stifle valid debate, but could I ask that anyone wishing to discuss a particular subject first use the site 'Search Box' to identify any relevant article which may already be on the site. In this particular case try 'Creation' or 'Evolution' or - dare I say it 'Dawkins'.
Thanks again.
Colin Ford (Guest) 02/08/2013 22:19
Mr Benn,
I am a 52 year old man. Oftentimes I DO go to bed after midnight! Sometimes even as late as 1.00 am! I am very sorry if you are so offended! Christians are NOT perfect people! Ask anyone else on this website. All we profess to do, is BELIEVE! We have called on our Saviour! And yet, even with this in mind, the Abiding Word of God does teach that there is such a thing as false professors of THE faith; Matthew 7.21, a very sobering truth, but true, nonetheless.
First of all, I would profoundly disagree with your statement about Oxford University; without doubt, in the dim and distant past, Christianity, certainly did have an influence on this once great institution, and all the others; but that is now, all but dead.
Regarding your "4,000 religions", please be so kind as to tell me how many of these "religions" have a claimed written revelation? How many others have sent the Son of God to die for our sins? 1 Corinthians 15.3?

Colin Ford (Guest) 02/08/2013 22:20
Sorry editor! Forgive me, I should have posted elsewhere.
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