What is the Christian

What is the Christian’s role in politics?

The world system and its principles are opposed to God (John 14:17; 15:18, 19; 1 John 2:16). We have been taken out of it (John 17:6, 16). We are called to be distinct from it (2 Corinthians 6:17; Romans 12:2). The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ stands between it and us (Galatians 6:14). Although some of these passages refer to the religious world, we are assured that "the prince of this world" (John 12:32; 14:30; 16:11) controls every aspect of the world (1 John 5:19); therefore, the principles apply broadly.

"In the days of His flesh," what was the Lord’s role in the political world? He was aware of its injustices (Luke 13:1-3) and of the "undesirables" in authority (Matthew 22:16-21). The political Jews tried to draw Him into that, but He used both occasions for a spiritual message. The truth of salvation which He preached eventually changed social problems, like slavery, but that was not His focus. We are not reading too much into His words, "I pray not for the world" (John 17:9), to recognize that those taken out of the world system by salvation are His present concern and not the world system itself.

He was crucified through bribery, political intrigue, political weakness, expediency, and laws opposing God’s truth. Even then His servants did not resist (John 18:36). This was based on a principle: His kingdom was not from this world. And neither is ours. "Our conversation (citizenship, politics, enfranchisement, voting rights) is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20).

In the first century of Christianity, the few wealthy believers who could participate in politics never received any encouragement to do so or to raise funds so others could. The pervasion of democracy now makes such involvement available to all. The present, prominent involvement of believers in politics, as much as we appreciate their confession of faith, does not change scriptural principles.

D. Oliver