Gary DeMar looks into one portion of the intriguing topic of a Christians’ role in politics. Can the gospel and social activism co-exist? If not, why not? If so, how? I doubt most people will give an emphatic, “No!”, but there will be some disagreement on what levels and decision making.
Should Christians involve themselves in the world by participating in politics, pursue advanced degrees in education, medicine, science and law, produce films on a wide range of subjects, seek careers in journalism, and develop non-governmental programs for long-term social reform based on a well thought out biblical worldview?
Or should Christians spend their life in so-called full-time Christian service and reject the world? If every Christian followed this narrow ministry track, who would fund both domestic and foreign missions? If Christians abandon politics and the courts, to name just two “secular” realms that impact us on a daily basis, it’s quite possible that the freedoms that we have to preach the gospel might some day be taken away.
What would happen in today’s world if what’s left of the salt and light of Christianity were withdrawn? Not only can’t a biblical case be made for such a narrow shaping of the Christian worldview, it would be impossible, impractical, and frightening to attempt to defend and implement such a position.
Christian author and pastor John MacArthur argues for a narrowly focused gospel agenda: “We are interested in people becoming saved. That is our only agenda. . . . It is the only thing that we are in the world to do.”
The only thing? What about the millions of Christians who work in hundreds of different professions that have no direct relationship to the single agenda of “people becoming saved”? How is this different from being involved in social issues? They both take time away from preaching the gospel. Has he told the members of his church to quit their jobs and head for the highways and byways to get people saved 24/7?
Right after MacArthur tells us that preaching the gospel “is our only agenda,” he adds this caveat: “If we are going to see our nation transformed, it has to be done from the inside out, that’s our agenda.” But how? Can we do it from afar, cloistered behind the walls of the sanctuary? Could the Samaritan who helped the man who “fell among robbers” (Luke 10:30–37) have demonstrated compassion by only preaching the gospel? At the conclusion of the story, Jesus told His audience to “go and do likewise” (10:37).
While some argue that personal acts of mercy are warranted and encouraged by Scripture, being involved in politics is a waste of time, money, and energy when lost souls are at stake. If governmental policies are hurting the poor by making them dependent on the State, how can Christians ignore the political process that reinforces multi-generational poverty in the name of “social justice”?
The Bible has a great deal to say about the oppression of the poor by individuals and governments (1 Kings 21:1–16; Eccl. 5:8; Isa. 3:14; 10:2; Ezek. 22:29; Amos 4:1; Zech. 7:10). Saying “it’s the government’s job” to deal with poverty, jobs, and housing is akin to saying “go in peace, be warmed and be filled” (James 2:16). The poor today are oppressed more by government policies than by individual oppression. A Good-Samaritan Faith requires Christians to get involved in politics in order to halt the oppression of the poor by policies that make people dependent upon the State.
Personally, I have been lauded and criticized for my calling to social activism. That’s another hot button for me: Don’t criticize another’s ministry/calling. Disagree with his views-fine. Discuss topics-sure. But don’t criticize the calling. Some just don’t see it that way. I have experienced praise and criticism from those I disagree with, but remain good friends as well as like-minded people. Occasionally, the criticism is concerning being socially active. Usually, it is more about how and on what levels a Christian should be involved that I take heat for.
Much of that criticism has come in the comments section of my blog, which I am ok with. I leave it there purposefully. I want to learn how others think. Recently, a reader left this comment:
Jesus said, “we would be known by our love for one another”. I am only sure that you love the Republican Party – and maybe that counts toward Christ meaning. America is your Idol and has become more important than the true cause of Christ you should be representing.
I think like most other RR [Religious Right] sites, this is a republican front organization “masking as an angel of light”. Similar organizations like FRC have almost identical republican politics covered in Christian “good sounding things”.
I tell you what; groups like these made me a democrat and I think you are making more everyday – I am trying to help with this.
Once I woke up, I refused to identify with the false Christianity doctrine of politics and religion – it has never saved a single soul.
I can’t wait to vote for Hillary or Obama. Rush is already on his rampage against them both, but it won’t work – “God sets his hand against the proud”.
My whole family has moved entirely away from the RR and most Republicans. Entire churches are starting to realize the evil that has worked its way into Christianity through their false belief about republican values. Wake up; the Republicans are just using your religion to get elected. They will never let abortion get outlawed – they would loose their voting base.
Is this his way of disagreeing with everything I am? Or is he trying lure more Christians into the dungeon of liberalism? Let’s look at his darts of division:
- Love for country should not be confused for idolatry.
- What’s sinful about Christians supporting Republicans?
- No one made anyone else a Democrat. You chose that for yourself.
- Politics and religion never saved a soul? It’s because of Christians being involved in politics that America even exists so I guess he’s correct if no one has ever been saved in America or by an American.
- Don’t confuse pride with confidence. Rush knows liberals better than liberals themselves and this aggrevates them more than anything. Labels of pride hold no merit.
- Threats about the Republican Party not overturning Roe only began to surface after Alito and Roberts were appointed to the Supreme Court. As if they could walk in and decide to overturn it on Day 1 of their new seats. It’s the Democrats who are using voters to keep government programs in place in exchange for votes. Homosexual marriage, welfare, affirmative action, abortion, etc. Talk about deception.
Any party who can convince Christian voters to vote for them because they will work to rid our country of abortion, keep the economy going with principles of free enterprise, prevent homosexuals from destroying families, and keep us safe by fighting terrorism should get our vote. If it doesn’t line up identical, then go the party that covers the most bases.
A vote for a party that works against those issues is either ignorance or rebellion. Ignorance can include not doing enough reading to know where candidates stand or how a party will carry out its agenda. Rebellion is knowing and voting liberal anyway. Both are sinful and will be judged on judgement day. Until then, let it be known that conservative Christians are on the rise and, as witnessed in the last two Presidential elections, are fast learning how to vote.
Stop The ACLU trackbacked with: Christian Social-Activism: Should we be a Doormat?