Jesus Was Not A Politician

With an election happening in the US I thought it was a good time to dig this out of the archives:

Jesus Was Not A Politician

I remember a few years back attending a church in Tennessee. This was and election year (1996) and I opened the bulletin for that day's service and discovered a leaflet inside with the views of various candidates on issues that should matter to Christians. Upon further reading I noticed all of the candidates listed were Republicans. There was not a sheet for Democratic candidates and where they stood on the issues.

Over the years I have heard many well-meaning believers say something along the lines of, "If you are a Christian you should vote (Insert Political Party Here)".

In examining my Bible, though, I have not yet found the chapter which says Jesus was a republican, a democrat, a conservative or a liberal. I did not find Jesus actually affiliated with any political party, be it a "Christian" party or any other. In fact I find something totally different.

I find a Scripture where Jesus is asked about paying taxes to Caesar who, let's face it, was not a fair or just ruler. He was in charge of a nation that was occupying Israel and demanding allegiance to Caesar and Rome. Opposition was met with death. Crucifixions were the norm. Yet, when asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar Jesus said in Matt. 21 that they should give to Caesar what was due him, and to God what was God's. He was not saying to fight against authority, but to do what was required.

For me, a real eye opening Scripture is found in Romans 13:1-7. It is not a comfortable section of Scripture, nor one that "goes down" easily. I've struggled with it myself, but my struggles do not negate God's Word. My opinions need to conform with His, not vice versa.

So what does this Scripture say? It says things like God establishes all authorities and that we should submit to these governing authorities. If we rebel against these authorities we rebel against God. Rulers hold no terror for those who do right. These are not “comforting” Scriptures.

I believe we can stand for truth and righteousness. However, I think in standing for truth we should do so in a spirit of love. I believe we honor God more by standing for truth in love than in fear, anger or animosity. Yes, our ruling authorities may be corrupt. However, we are not their judge. Only God is. We can speak out against tyranny while still operating in love. Name calling, divisiveness, these things are not of God. If we speak in love and are attacked by men, so be it. God is in control. Better to operate under His care than to try to do things on our own. We should not fear what man can do to us.

There is a point where it is OK to disobey authorities, when we are called to do something that goes against God’s law. If you look at Acts 4:18-20 you see Peter and John called before the ruling authorities and told to not talk about Jesus anymore. They asked the leaders to judge who it was better to obey God or them. They left and still spoke about Jesus. They didn't gather a protest group, picket the Sanhedrin and write attacking letters to the Jerusalem Times.

There is also a point where Jesus was called before the rulers and He was silent.

We have options in how we respond to corrupt governments. Let's respond in a way that glorifies God.


Anonymous said...

Question: The Romans 13 passage you refer to seems to say that God chooses our leaders. The obvious question is that does this mean there is no point in a democratic system. Are my votes wasted if God's man or women will come to power anyway?

RDA said...

Good question: I would postulate that there are more benefits to a democratic system than just choosing a leader however. Are your votes wasted? No. You should vote and vote your conscience realizing that whoever wins, they are there for a reason. No your vote is not wasted because you are still making your voice heard.

The problem is when politics and Religion are so intertwined that people equate Christianity with one political party.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply but it evades the main point of the question. Will God's person be elected irrespective of my vote? Can my vote (or lack of it) thwart the will of God? It may look like I'm being argumentative but I am in a genuine quandary.

RDA said...

My vote or lack thereof cannot thwart the will of God! God has a plan for each nation and His plan sometimes calls for good rulers and sometimes bad but His plan will be accomplished regardless of our vote. He is sovereign and His plans will come to fruition.

Will God's person be elected irrespective of my vote? Yes

Can my vote thwart the will of God? No

Why should you vote? You have the chance to at least make your voice heard and to act on your convictions.

Anonymous said...

Good answer. Thanks