I will start out this week by stating that neither political party is a Christian party in the sense that everything they advocate for lines up perfectly with the Bible. There are numerous policy issues the Bible does not clearly speak on. On issues like these, Christians should debate charitably and extend liberty toward one another on points where they disagree. In recent years the two major US political parties have clearly adopted positions on moral issues of which the Bible does speak. On these issues, not only is the Bible’s teaching clear, the application for public policy is also clear. The Bible teaches that every human being is a unique image bearer of God and possesses inherent dignity. Thus, biblically human life is supremely valuable and there is a duty to preserve life. From the perspective of the Bible, it is right and just to support laws and policies that preserve life. Obviously, killing unborn children is morally wrong and ought to be opposed. Likewise, the Bible is clear that God ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Also, marriage is representative of the relationship between Christ and the church. The Bible holds marriage in extremely high regard. Changing the definition, like the Supreme Court tried to do in 2015, is a direct affront to God’s authority. While supporters of same-sex marriage claim to be on the ‘right side of history’, they are on the wrong side of the Bible.
Thus, concerning the moral issues of life and marriage, one of the major parties has embraced positions manifestly at odds with biblical morality. The result has been increased moral confusion in the culture, the undermining of human dignity, and the increased loss of innocent human life in the womb. While poverty is also an important moral issue in the Bible, the specific action commanded is to concern oneself with care for the poor…not set affirmative action admission quotas or implement government-run anti-poverty programs…versus supporting church or private efforts. The biblical position being prescribed…concern for the poor…simply does not break down along party lines…like it does for abortion and marriage/sexuality. Although neither political party perfectly represents evangelical Christians, party platforms do allow us to make considered judgments for who to support at election time. Political scientists have shown that politicians increasingly vote in line with their party’s platform…80% over the last 30 years. (https://www.vox.com/2016/7/12/12060358/political-science-of-platforms). Consequently, a party’s platform is a good indicator for how politicians from that party will vote. For Christians, as a platform recommends policies informed by biblical morality, it is easier to make an informed decision about which party to support based on their platform. As part of a holistic effort to create a culture of life and morality, Christians must engage the political process to pass laws that protect life and the sanctity of marriage.
If theologically conservative Christians appear increasingly aligned with one party over another, it is because the other party has forced them there by taking positions on moral issues that oppose the Bible’s explicit teaching. Christians should not feel perfectly at ‘home’ in either political party, thus they must constantly study the platforms of each before deciding which to support.
Whether ‘politics’ defined broadly…as the arena in which people organize and govern their shared lives, or narrowly…the domain that includes the state, political parties, and public policy, Christians should care about politics and engage in the political process. Not only is politics unavoidable, it represents a tangible opportunity to honor God and show love to our neighbors. While Christians on the left and right are sometimes too quick to say they speak for heaven as they advocate for their set of issues, American Christians, with their right to vote, have a unique opportunity and duty to affect politics. Ultimately, Christians must filter all issues, candidates, and party platforms through a Christian worldview and submit them to God’s Word.
> What political or moral issues does the Bible address?
> Are there policies that are explicitly condemned by the Bible?
> Are there areas where well-meaning Christians can disagree?
These are important questions, and Christians must be instructed and discipled to think through them with biblical clarity and wisdom. Christians are called to submit everything to the Lord, including their political engagement. Thus, as those charged with discipling their flocks, it is not enough for pastors and Christian leaders to acknowledge that various policy positions are profoundly evil yet not encourage concrete action. It is not enough to pray for candidates and speak on a handful of issues when there is ability to do more. While a pastor should never say “Thus saith the Lord” on political issues, they should make sure their congregations are equipped with the resources necessary to honor God in the voting booth. (Remember that it was a pastor’s denial of voter guides in the narthex of the church that got this “Politics and the Church” started.)
We must engage, but we must engage biblically. As Christians we must be prepared to grapple with the reality of our two-party system and be willing to follow our political theology to its logical end by voting for candidates and parties that support clear biblical values.
Next week we will return to a historical review of how our government tried to take a stand against the liberal/progressive/communist influence. Unfortunately, elements within the government were aligned with enemy ‘invasion’ while in the meantime church leadership found comfort within the four walls of a building. Very few pastors took a stand and that seems to be a continuing pattern to this day. Fear of offending would seem to be paralyzing many who are charged with delivering the Word of God and taking a stand on that Word in society. What is your church leadership doing to support the Word of God in politics or are politicians being given free hand at destroying that Word?
“Christians do not lose until they quit!” Rick Scarborough