“Two things I don’t talk about are politics and religion.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this and I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered if anyone could get through a week without talking about something in either area. If they can, they are much more creative than I. This post was born from recent reading in Jeremiah, Wikipedia sources on Christians who hold certain conspiracy theories, and thoughts about the current war in the Ukraine.
My thoughts concerning the title of this article continue to change as life rolls along but I want to share with you where I am right now. Just how does a Christian view the contrasting effects of politics and their beliefs about God in their daily lives? It is a question that could fill an entire book but I’ll attempt to make it short and sweet here using only a few realities in our world.
The first reality is the war in Ukraine. If a Christian wants to hold a position or opinion about a war, they should do what anyone else would do, and that’s to attempt to find out the facts. One would think that, with all of the communication we have these days, this would be an easy task. It is not always the case. Propaganda abounds as each side tries to make its case. In Ukraine’s case, a country has invaded another country and has killed innocent civilians who had no interest in politics except that they wanted to live a free and undisturbed life. Their country has been torn apart by bombs sent by a leader with odd ambitions and have been dropped by those who are willing to follow his orders.
As a Christian, I look at the words of a godly prophet who preceded Jeremiah who said:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Anyone can make the situation in Ukraine as complicated as they wish but, in light of this Bible passage, a Christian’s support for justice for the innocent is warranted.
A definition of “politics” can easily be found online:
“the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”
It is obvious to me that justice must play a role in a definition like the one above. Thus, Christians need to be involved in certain aspects of politics.
Jesus was very clear about the civic duty of paying one’s taxes. He was not saying that all having government powers are righteous or just. He knew the book of Jeremiah well, having inspired it, where we find these words against Babylon, no question a political entity, written at the height of its power:
“cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.”
Jesus knew that the picture of Babylon above would eventually be a reality and, from reading Jeremiah 51, it is obvious that the ruins of Babylon are a result of rebellion against God and His people, a second reality.
God’s people rebelled against Him so he allowed a political solution to help them learn a lesson; Nebuchadnezzar would grow strong and take Israel into captivity. Eventually, the evil in the Babylonian empire would cause them to be destroyed to the degree seen in the photo here at the top. It is a picture of God’s justice. The sovereignty of God is at play here but that is a deep subject for another day.
There are always two sides to a coin. Jesus was very clear on paying taxes but he was silent when asked to defend himself, a third reality. From a human standpoint, it seems that Jesus had every right to defend himself against false accusations of any political nature (which are hard to separate from accusations of a personal nature if one reads the definition of politics above). But, he didn’t. I would submit that we should generally defend ourselves from false accusations because they do neither us nor our accusers any good. In Jesus’ case, his silence was the best thing for all involved including all of humanity. It displays how God’s position as King of King and Lord of Lords is cemented forever. The reason for his silence is explained in Hebrews 2:
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.“
Thus, God’s pronouncement that:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts”
The Christian must accept that his/her understanding is limited so his/her wisdom regarding politics and religion and how they should interrelate is limited as well. At the same time, the Christian makes an effort to understand and make the best decisions he/she can in light of God’s Word.
Christians, or anyone else for that matter, will never figure out complete justice in politics or religion. In the end, complete justice will be decided by God. It is something we should ponder seriously but we should never put ourselves in the eventual role of God.
Just go out there and do the best you can, asking for the help of God, of course.
Thoughtful post, Chris! May the Lord bless your efforts to make complicated issues simpler!
Thank you, Maria! Thank you for your kind words. As a former teacher, that’s the goal, to make something that seems difficult easier to understand. Understanding a Creator who made the universe and all the beauty that we see can be quite an undertaking. Without God’s Word we would be lost as you well know. His Word says this (also as you well know):
“Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Gospel message. It only takes the faith of a child. Praise be to God!
I just saw this reply, Chris! Yes, I see the teacher in you, helping us to think using the proper categories.
Thanks, Maria. Sometimes I wonder if anything I write or say makes any sense to anyone. Then I happen upon something I wrote years ago and it makes sense to me.
I have been told by former students and other teachers that I was a pretty good teacher. I only hope that God might use any gift I or any other of my Christian friends have to bring glory to Him. That is the ultimate purpose.
May God bless your day, Maria.
[…] Christianity, Politics, and Religion — Wings of the Wind […]
Thank you for the reblog, Maria!
Thanks for the good ponderings, Chris. The church has been trying to figure out its relationship to politics/government since Rome adopted Christianity as the official religion in 380 AD. It’s my contention that the church historically went way too far to the side of conflating faith and politics/government.
You’re welcome and thank you for the good comment, Tom.
I think the Church’s most important roles are to preach the gospel throughout the world, worship God, and to help our neighbors.
Your point is well taken. It seems that when anyone has tried to convince people that some form of theocracy would be the way to go it’s implementation has failed miserably. It is evidence to me of man’s fallen condition. A man uses his “faith” to gain a certain position only to be corrupted by the powers that be in the end. It has happened time and again throughout history. I could give you a list of false teachers and prophets (you would recognize them all) who would run for office in our day if they had any chance of winning. Even our secular society can see through their lies.
That stated, I have no problem with Christians running for political office and would, in fact, encourage them to do so. They should be open about their faith and not afraid to take Biblical positions on things that we know are spiritually important to any country. If we had had enough men and women like this serving our nation, abortion and same sex marriage would have never been passed into U.S. law. In order to have good leaders we need a wise electorate. Sadly, a wise electorate does not exist in our day. If the Bible were the guide of a majority of individuals we would still need political parties but there would be no need to rile up the people in the pews. The people in the pews would already be riled and we would have good leaders. Sadly, in our day alone we have times where we have few good choices and that not only includes our civic leaders but leaders in many churches. Morality has been legislated to varying degrees since (and before) 380 AD. Some of the legislation has had a great positive effect on society. The legislation that seems to get any government in trouble comes when man puts his law above God’s laws.
There was a time in American History when the Ten Commandments had more authority in people’s eyes than it does now. When I was a kid things were that way to some degree. Authority didn’t come from a man with a political or religious position, it came from an understanding of God that can only come by studying God’s Word. It is what created order and civility, again to a degree. I continue to write this as much for myself as for you Tom because I am still working out my position on this subject. The topic is thought-provoking and important.
I remember your post about the recent American Bible Society poll on America’s current Bible reading habits. That article, in my view, explains our problems. We have been woefully negligent in making God’s Word the authority in our lives. If our Bible reading is any indication, and I think it is, we are in the worst spiritual shape that our country has ever been in in spite of all the attempts to rile up Christians politically. The Word is primary. Until we get that right, we will get nothing right.
I appreciate if you have gotten this far, Tom but it sure feels good to put this out there for some reason.
God’s blessings my friend…
Thanks for all of your good thoughts, Chris. I’d reply longer, but off to my weekend work marathon. Have a blessed weekend.
Thanks, Tom. If I remember correctly, you have 24 weekends to go. Knowing your schedule makes me appreciate your “Weekend Round-up” even more. I have no idea how you get those done with your schedule.
May God bless your Weekend as well!
Thanks, Chris! I actually draft the roundup on Tuesdays and check for any additional breaking “big” stories through Thursday.
I’m sure some weeks you are overwhelmed by possible entries. So much is going on.
With your schedule, I figured you were doing something like this. You have to sleep sometime during the weekend!
Thanks. Yup, not much blogging work going on Friday thru Sunday.
I have been seeing a lot of Putin propaganda on Gab…dont know if you are on there
I’m not on Gab, Pastor Jim. Putin propaganda is certainly no surprise to me. He appears to think he is a master of it but his “chess” skills seem to be weakening these days. For someone who seems to want to create some form of legacy about himself, he as made some terrible moves, some of it, as I understand it, in the name of religion.
Yeah its sad to see Putin’s propaganda being spread freely and willingly by some
Indeed. He was a bad leader right from the start.
Also thank you for sharing your background and experience with those with mental health esp. those you loved. Just prayed for you Chris
Thank you for your prayers, Pastor Jim, and for your kind words as always.
If we can’t talk about our life and its purpose, then what can we talk about?
I couldn’t agree more, BETH. I suppose we could talk about the weather because that is important as well but we can generally get through that in 5 minutes because the weather changes like the wind.
Life and its purpose, on the other hand, is the most important of subjects.
I really appreciate you stopping by to share your thoughts.