The Difference Between The Gospel And Politics

The Bible teaches that we are in this world but not of this world. With that in mind, should Christians be involved in politics? Personally, I believe we should, absolutely, since we do live in this world and we are called to have a positive impact on the world in which we live. Plus, if Christians drop out of politics entirely, everything around us will collapse. Still, we must remember that there is a massive difference between the gospel and politics. It is literally the difference between heaven and earth.

The gospel is the message of salvation, proclaiming that all can be freely forgiven through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The message is as pure and beautiful and undefiled as the Lord Himself, full of light and without any darkness. The gospel is transcendent.

In stark contrast, politics is earthly. It is full of division, full of conflict, full of power plays — not to mention full of pride and corruption all too often. It is marked by different parties jockeying for position, by politicians changing their positions to stay in office, and by backroom, “good old boy” dealmaking.

As I noted in my newest book, “The Political Seduction of the Church,” as followers of Jesus, we must remember that the political arm of our work will always be fleshly. It will always be a mixture of believers and non-believers. It will always be corrupted by power, personal ambition, and greed. That’s why we must never put our full trust in the political system, a party, or a candidate.

Politics has its place, but it is not the kingdom of God. And to the extent we get in bed with politics, we are making a deal with the devil. Really now, if the church itself has its share of fleshly corruption, how much more does the world of politics? 

Again, I absolutely believe that Christians should be involved in politics. 

We should vote in an informed way, especially in major elections. We should call on our elected officials to do what is right. We should confront evil and wrongdoing, especially in our own communities, beginning with local school boards and city councils. We should be prophetic voices to the political system, getting our message out however we can. Some of us should even run for office if that is our calling and burden, provided that we are mature enough for the journey.

We should also pray for our elected officials, especially those who oppose biblical values and undermine our essential freedoms, asking God to change their hearts and bring them to salvation. Those who are strong believers also need our prayers, since the opposition against them is great.

But at no point can we put our total trust in the political system, as if America could be transformed by Washington. And at no point can we put our total trust in a political leader, as if they were the next political savior.

As I wrote in “The Political Seduction of the Church,” certainly, most Christians would agree with the statement that “God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.” 

But all too often, in practice as well as in attitude, we act as if He is Republican or Democrat. His cause is the party’s cause (and vice versa). A vote for one party means a victory for the kingdom of God. It is us (meaning, Christians and one particular party) vs. them (meaning, non-believers and the other political party). 

This oversimplifies the facts and, in many ways, is an insult to the Lord.

But here is where things get tricky.

If you hold to conservative Christian values, then you are almost certainly in staunch opposition to the Democratic Party, from their radical LGBTQ+ activism to their militant pro-abortion position, just to name two of the most obvious areas of difference. And it’s no secret that the most pro-life states are red states while the most pro-abortion states are blue states.

It’s also true that President Trump, despite his obvious flaws and shortcomings, stood up for our religious freedoms, appointed pro-life justices, pushed back against transgender activism, and much more. What a contrast with President Biden’s policies today!

But Donald Trump is not a savior any more than Joe Biden is the Antichrist. And the Republican Party is not God’s party — as if every Republican was marked by purity, righteousness, love, and integrity, not to mention filled with the Spirit — while the Democratic Party is not Satan’s party — as if every Democrat was demon-possessed and didn’t stand for a single good thing.

If America is to be transformed, it will be by the power of the gospel, not by the power of politics, nasty attack ads, immature mocking, or slander. As a colleague recently said to me, “You can’t do God’s work using the devil’s weapons.”

It is true that some Christians are so

 

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