On Monday Dave Rose is in the hot seat. He’ll be hearing from pastor and author, Nancy Ortgerg. She’s the Director of Leadership Development at Menlo Park Presbyterian...
Politics is often seen as a dirty business. In recent times there have been many scandals that have made the general public apathetic towards the political system.
During the Inspirational Breakfast show on Monday 10th August, Dave Rose discussed whether Christians have a moral obligation to be involved in politics in some capacity. It’s an interesting and important topic, as politics is a subject that affects all believers, but not one that all believers feel they should be involved in.
In the past the Church and the state had been very much been linked, with the Church in charge of issues such as education and healthcare. In the current day this is no longer the case. The rise of the welfare state in the last few centuries has meant that state’s influence has grown and the Church’s impact on these issues has deteriorated. Many secularists would argue that this is the way it should be and that the Church has no place in policy, but is this really the case?
Many secularists would argue that the Church has no place in policy
Andy Flannagan, a director at Christians in Politics, stated on the show that if we look at the Bible we see that God has liked to have an input in the governance of a nation. The books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus are dedicated to a plethora of laws that God passed onto Moses for the people of Israel to abide by. Going back further, in Genesis we are given the example of Joseph, who through his gifts became, in effect, the Prime Minister of Egypt. This is a good example for us, as Egypt was clearly not a nation that revered God, but God allowed Joseph to rise in prominence which made Pharaoh acknowledge ‘the spirit of God’. The same can be applied to today. Whilst we may not be living in a ‘Christian nation’, Christians being involved in politics can still be used to bring godly influence.
What I am not saying is that all Christians need to run to be local councillors or MPs. There are some who are called to do this, but others who are called to other activities that you may not even regard as political. As mentioned by Dave Rose, if you give to or help your local foodbank in any way, you can argue that you are politically active. Foodbanks are a massive issue for the government at the moment, and by aiding one, you are showing the government that there is a need to help some members of the public further. This form of social activism is very much deep-rooted within politics, and requires Christians to be active to bring about change.
If there is a lot of crime in your area, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and ask your local MP what can be done about it. Some may quote the passage - ‘Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”’ (Romans 12:19). But there is very much a difference between vengeance and justice, and God is very much concerned with the latter. Theologian Russell D. Moore remarks that ‘God tells us we should be concerned with justice’ and gives the example of ‘the apostle Paul pleading his case all the way up to Caesar’. This suggests that being politically active to achieve justice is not wrong, and is not something we should be afraid to do.
...praying for those in governance is a form of political activity
There is even the argument that praying for those in governance is a form of political activity. Paul urges that – ‘supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.’ (1 Timothy 2:1-2). I would say that this is the absolute minimum. If any form of other political activity is not possible, praying that political leaders would make correct decisions is the one thing that we all have the obligation to do.
Whilst the government may not always do what we believe is best, they have been put in place by God for his purposes. Paul affirms this stating - ‘Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.’ If that is the case, it will be our prayers and involvement in politics that will influence the people that God has put in place, so it is important that we as Christians are active in politics in some form or another.