Jesus & Paul on Politics!


November 2006

Dear Ministry Partner,

James Madison, one of the American founding fathers, once said, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

Politics. The very word seems to be a turn-off to most decent people. It brings up images of compromise, corruption, selfishness, and opportunism. It is as if we hire (elect) people to go do a certain job, and instead they spend their work hours "boosting their personal finances". Yet every two years in America, a major election cycle occurs when we have the chance to pick who makes the laws which will control our lives. All of us care about our future, so what’s a Christian to do about this mess that is called the political process? Is Christianity supposed to be involved or separated from politics?

Both Jesus and Paul had comments on the topic in the New Testament, and politics is actually composed of several important issues, so the study of politics from a Biblical point of view is important to a Christian. The word politics is defined by Webster as "the science and art of political government." So unless we want to do away with political parties and have a dictator, we seem to be required to live with the political process. The election process is where the science of government ends and the art of persuasion begins. If a culture was governed by the principles of Christianity, the politicians would "play by the rules" in both campaigning for office and later conducting themselves on the job. So Christianity strongly needs to be involved in the political process if we want it to be ethical. In light of this, it is actually the absence of Christianity which makes politics so inefficient, frustrating, and disgusting. If Christianity is "separated" from politics, then we invite the worst people to control us — and encourage the most unethical practices in the election campaigning process.

If we want politicians to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, then we have to agree on a definition of ethical behavior — i.e. the Ten Commandments and Biblical principles. So it stands to reason that unethical people will want to get rid of the Ten Commandments and Biblical principles in government so they are unrestricted in what they can do to us ordinary citizens. Naturally, these kinds of unsaved men and women will often stoop to any lie or unGodly technique to try to persuade the masses for their ultimate unethical goals and purposes.

We who are decent cannot run away from this process just because someone yells "separation of church and state" (a phrase which does not occur in any legal documents in the American government). Rather, we must speak up to bring accountability to these professional liars. (Note, the Apostle Paul did not refrain from identifying liars, and in fact said to "rebuke them sharply" in Titus 1:12-13.) To bring the needed correction, we Americans simply need to vote at elections in order to "hire" the more honest and Godly candidates for political offices. While at some elections it may seem like we are choosing between the lesser of two evils, that is better than allowing the greater of two evils to get into positions to control our lives and society as a whole.

The Apostle Paul recognized this in 1st Corinthians 6:4-5 where he rebuked the Corinthian Christians for not choosing the Godliest individuals as their judges. "If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame." The clear message from this passage of scripture is when Christians have the opportunity to elect people, those candidates should be the ones whose personal morals and agendas most conform to what is approved and expected in the church.

Jesus recognized the "political parties" of His day and throughout the four major New Testament gospels was quick to publicly and privately criticize the compromise and sin where it existed. The Apostle Paul even identified which political party he belonged to when he saw it was beneficial to do so (Acts 23:6). Jesus did not stay "uninvolved" from the political parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but rather deliberately spoke out to bring public accountability for their sellouts, selfishness, and incorrect positions on issues, even including a "secular" topic like taxation (e.g. Matthew 16:12, 17:25-27, 22:29). Jesus also publicly addressed the character of the king of His day (Herod) by calling him a "fox" (Luke 13:31-32), rather than somehow perceiving it was inappropriate for a "spiritual person" to express an opinion about politics or candidates. While Jesus did not run for a traditional elected office, in reality He was and is openly campaigning for people to choose to make Him their King. In fact, Christians who witness (which we are all supposed to do) are actually "campaign workers" for Jesus. So if we are to be Christ-like in all we do, then we should not ignore the political parties of our day and the related character issues and policy issues which always exist.

Similarly, God used prophets throughout the Old Testament to point out sin and compromise in political leaders (usually kings) in both verbal ways (e.g. 2nd Samuel 12:1-7) and in writing (as demonstrated throughout books like Judges, Kings, and Chronicles).

Modern Americans have a much better political situation than the Jewish believers of the Old Testament. Every 2 to 4 years, we can get rid of politicians of bad character by simply voting them out of office. However, there are forces trying to keep Christians from running for office — but even worse, a huge percentage of Christians have not even voted in major elections. I realize that it takes time to insert the voting task into our schedules. In addition, many Christians think that just their one vote will not effect an election. But that is why we must be people of principle rather than just doing whatever is most convenient at the moment. In reality, many elections have been won or lost by a few votes per precinct. And proper Christian stewardship demands that we do what we can do and should do regardless of how much difference it seems like it will make. Otherwise, each Christian could think, "Why should I tithe, or witness, or pray, because I am only one person. It won’t make much difference."

One reason our voting is important is because key moral issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, human cloning, stem-cell research, immigration laws, and other life-changing and culture-changing directions will be addressed by the people we elect. In addition, James Dobson said, "Christians should vote as a tangible demonstration of our love and concern for our neighbor. Many of the policies instituted by those in elected office will affect our loved ones and those around us in very real ways. Christians are not simply another special-interest group, pushing only for those issues directly impacting us. Rather, (our concern should be)... for all."

While many churches and ministries don’t want their tax-exempt status threatened by announcing support for a particular candidate, we can still encourage Christians to get informed on all the candidates and issues. There are non-partisan web sites which give the voting records of politicians such as (from Focus on the Family) and (the Family Research Council). We all must take the initiative to do whatever we can for the good of God’s Kingdom, because as Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Doing what we can,

Dale & Judi Leander

P.S. — For amazing insights into how forces in our nation have been succeeding in influencing us and the population in general, get our special book offer The Marketing of Evil.


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