Politics, Government, and…the Gospel?

by Frank Powell

I see this often in Christian circles…people take to social media, blog posts, pulpits, and other platforms to blast government decisions and rulings. Whether it’s the current Hobby Lobby case or some other case of governmental discrimination against Christians, we love to use these as opportunities to explain why the government (or the President) is evil and corrupt.

Politics and…Hobby Lobby?

I wonder if some Christians do not hope for cases like the one Hobby Lobby has with the federal government to rule against the Christian organization or belief. It gives them an opportunity to blast off and show their true colors. A barrage of angry men and women (under the umbrella of Christianity) will spit verbal poo poo bombs to the world if Hobby Lobby does not receive a favorable ruling. Just watch for it. They will explode and stink up our timelines and conversations.

And this is where I become really disheartened. I can’t understand what this accomplishes. Please, if you are a verbal poo poo bomb thrower, let me know what you think you are accomplishing by releasing your bomb to the world. Your actions only seek to further the divide between Christians and the surrounding culture.

Where my allegiance rests.

Your verbal attacks also reveal something about your understanding of the relationship between God and His world…you believe the government is largely responsible for the future direction of the country, not God. This is problematic and troubling. I am not anti-government, anti-President, or anti-America.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Our ultimate allegiance should belong to Jesus, not any country or party.[/tweet_box]

But let me be clear…my allegiance is to the King. My allegiance belongs to Jesus, not to this country. Period. I love this country, and I am thankful for the opportunities it has afforded me, but ultimately my allegiance is not to America. I do not believe America rises and falls because a certain party is in control of the House and the Senate or because a certain President is holding office. I believe countries rise and fall because there is an Almighty God that is sovereign over every inch of His creation.

Jesus and politics.

Think about Jesus. That’s always a good place to land. Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). Granted, the Roman government during the time of Jesus and our government today are two different beasts, but the principle remains the same…Jesus had no allegiance to the government. Jesus did not revolt against the government, but neither did Jesus place his hope in the government. Jesus also never bashed the government, even though they stole from the Jews and often mistreated them.

You see, many Christians fall into the trap of the disciples throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry. The disciples believed Jesus was going to do his best William Wallace impersonation (if you are unsure about William Wallace, please do two things before proceeding…1.) get somebody to open hand slap you 2.) do a Google search). Jesus was going to kill everybody, and then he would overthrow the government.

Likewise, many Christians today believe that if we can just get the right man in Washington and gain control of the Senate and the House, this country will stop its tragic drift away from God. We will have a revival. Strangely, Jesus thought differently. Maybe Jesus was on to something. Maybe we should step back and take notice. The government is not going to be the primary catalyst for Kingdom advancement.

The government will make decisions contrary to a Christian worldview. Governments always have and always will. When you place more trust in the government to make the right decisions than you do a God that has infinite power and wisdom, we have a huge problem.

How God feels about politics.

I will be honest…I do not believe God cares about any particular party more than another. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I think God loves people, not parties. I am not saying there is no place for healthy political discussions. But at the end of the day, our political discussions must not override the truth that God is sovereign over them. And please, please, please…stop making every discussion and every decision a political one. I know you think the President is going to bring about the demise of this country, but 1 Kings 2 is not talking about politics. Neither is 1 Kings 3, 1 Kings 4, or Matthew 1.

[tweet_box design=”default”]We must look at politics through a gospel worldview, not the other way around.[/tweet_box]

How have we become so misguided that we begin to look at the gospel through a political worldview and not politics through a gospel worldview?  For some of us in the South, Fox News is gospel. For many, a Democratic President automatically equals destruction for our country. Everything he does is the product of an agenda. Every decision he makes is the wrong one. Hey, let’s assume for a second that you are right and the President does have an evil agenda (which I do not believe to be true). Even still, as a follower of Jesus, why are you bashing him and not praying to the God who is sovereign over him? I am just curious. I am trying to figure out why we try to justify bashing our leaders and our government when our example (Jesus) had every right to bash the government…and never did.

Either God is sovereign over all things or He is a liar. If God is a liar, we are all in big trouble. If God is sovereign over all things, he is sovereign over the government and its decisions.

The response to politics.

So, what response do we have as followers of Jesus? We fall on our knees and pray. We pray without ceasing. We pray for God to look upon America with favor. We pray for God to work in the hearts of the ones making the decisions. And when somebody we dislike gets elected, we still pray.

We stop relying more on governments than we do a God that is sovereign over them. We stop using social media and other platforms as an opportunity for us to promote our agenda (in the name of Jesus, of course). We stop believing Jesus fights for a certain party. Whether or not the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby or any future case of this nature, the truth remains that God is present and active in His creation. And he rules over any decision made by an individual or group of individuals.

Let’s focus our time and attention on the power and majesty of God. Let’s use our platforms to promote Jesus and not some party or agenda. Let’s use the transforming power of the gospel to shape our understanding of politics and government, not the other way around.

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

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