Bad Ideas of Christians About Government | Dangerous River #3
Day 3 | Bad Ideas Christians Have about Government | Dangerous River #3
Every year in Arizona, there are stories all over the news about people trying to cross over flooded washes during monsoon season. Heavy rains come and flood streets and crazy drivers filled with a tad too much courage go rogue and punch the Prius through a raging river, thinking they’ll be fine! It never fails, cars go whisking down the wash, choppers start flying, cameras start rolling, and millions of people watch on their TV’s and say, “That was dumb!” Yet we all know that when most people are faced with their own #RiverCrossingChallenge, it’s hammer time! Somehow sensible people lose all sensibility and get a wild streak and go for it! That’s always a bad idea. Bad ideas are everywhere, and a popular one among Christians is what I call Dangerous River #3. It’s the idea that as Christians we shouldn’t engage in politics. We should share Jesus, but don’t speak up about politics.
DANGEROUS RIVER #3 | SHARE THE GOSPEL, NOT POLITICS
While it’s always right for the church and Christians to share the gospel, it’s not wrong to share about politics. Many pastors are afraid to speak up in their sermons about such issues when, in fact, they should feel free to speak about political issues from a pastoral position. They have freedom from a personal position to support or oppose candidates or legislation. As the Lead Pastor/ Founding Pastor of North Valley, I generally try to avoid speaking up too much on political issues and don’t think it’s necessary to share my personal positions on candidates from the pulpit. While I appreciate the freedom, I don’t sense the need to exercise it.
There is a growing concern that many of those who have objections to the Christian faith do so because they perceive that most churches talk too much about politics and therefore want to stay away. I’d rather teach them about Jesus, the Bible, and how to live, rather than how to vote, and let Jesus and the Bible inform them on how to vote. Yet, this doesn’t excuse me from needing to address issues within culture that relate to politics, or even directly deal with politics. It’s just that you won’t find me grinding away at every issue that hits the media, and try to uncover a political agenda and then try to persuade our people one way or the other.
Rather, I will challenge the church to engage political issues with a Biblical and Christian worldview. I often encourage our people to vote their values, meaning Biblical values: values that are derived from the divine, synthesized from scriptures, tested truths, and biblically-based.
If we uphold the Bible as truth, we must seek to apply it in all areas of our life. We can’t simply take Biblical teaching and apply it to our marriage and family, our faith, and the church, yet dismiss it in areas of politics. Politics affect the way the world works, how well we are able to love our neighbor and do good to all people as God’s Word would command us (Galatians 6:9-10, Mark 12:31).
ALL OF LIFE MENTALITY
We must seek to apply it to every area of life, including government and politics. This should influence how we conduct ourselves as citizens, help us value, honor, and appreciate governmental state workers, as well as cause us to consider how we might be involved in politics as well.
For there are only three institutions that God has created on earth: marriage (Genesis 2:18-25), the church (Acts 2), and government (Genesis 9:1-17). These are the only three institutions God created. With that being said, it makes sense to honor God not in just two-thirds of our life, but all of life.
Furthermore, we must consider passages of scripture that speak to our role as influencers and contributors to the community at large. In Matthew 5:16, the writer says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” We are called to show our good works, not simply to other believers but to the world (5:14).
The Christian is called to have a global influence (John 3:16). God has called people from every tribe tongue and nation (Revelation. 7:9) to represent him, to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). This doesn’t mean that everyone should go into politics. This doesn’t mean that everyone should go into pastoral ministry. Rather this means that everyone should go into the field to which God is calling them: into the world, for God loves the world. While he calls us out of the worldly values and gives us heaven’s values, we are called to bring some of that down to earth (Matthew 6:10). We are called to go into the world as God’s sent people to share and show the love of Christ (John 17:16-18).
For we are created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). We are created to do good, not only for God’s glory but for the good of our community, city, and state. This challenge is found in Galatians 6:9, where Paul says to do good to “all people,” or in Jesus’ statement about loving your neighbor (Matthew 22:39).