It’s often been said, “There are two things you shouldn’t talk about in public: religion & politics.” Although many may give a hearty “Amen” to that statement when uttered, I don’t know anyone, really, who lives by that axiom. Just take a stroll through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, & Parler (whatever that is), and the masses are always opining about “The Two Taboos.”
But what about the Church? Should the Church be engaged in the political sphere? Should the Church be discussing politics in Sunday School, small groups, from the pulpit, or from the pastor’s office? Succinctly, absolutely “Yes” is the answer. However, as the Bereans, we should take a stroll through the Scriptures to discover our answer to any, and especially these, questions. What does the Word of God say in precept, principle, or model for us in practice?
God, Adam, Humanity, and Public Policy
From the beginning, God as King of Creation, Law-giver, and Judge (Genesis 1-3) was the clear standard for society; this has not changed. But, by what standard was Adam to “subdue the earth, and have dominion” (Genesis 1:28)? By what standard was Adam to “rule over” Eve (Genesis 3:16)? By what standard was soceity to relate to the first murderer, Cain, when expelled from the community of his family (Genesis 4)? By what standard was Noah to warn humanity of God’s impending judgement unless they repented from their sin and joined him in the ark (Genesis 6-7)? By what standard would future murderers be judged when they took the life of those with whom they lived (Genesis 9:6)?
I could go on, couldn’t I? What was the standard that Moses used to inform Pharaoh of his wicked policies? What was the standard Joshua used when he led the children of Israel into battle conquering the pagan nations that occupied God’s land for Israel? Esther to Xerxes? Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus?
You may object, “But, what of the New Testament?” Consider, John the Baptist to Herod or Paul to Felix, or perhaps Jesus’ exhortation to His disciples in Matthew 10:16-23 when the Master tells them that they “will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles…”. OT & NT alike, the people of God speak to the governors of man concerning God’s will for humanity.
The Word of God speaks to all humanity, revealing Himself to us, governing us, and guiding our policies. There is no subject or political office that is separated from God or His perfect governance. God, the King of all the Earth, governs all the earth with His Word.
The Church, The Gospel, & Policy (Politics)
By God’s design, the Church as an institution & God’s people as individuals have been the Divine Mechanism by which He guides, even commands, public policy. However, this is not at man’s whim or by man’s best thought. The Church and Her members are the prophetic voice guiding princes and their policies to God’s righteousness from God’s Word. From the Garden into eternity, God governs humanity by His Word.
Paul told the Galatians that the Gospel, the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ, took place at “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), leading his readers then and now to the reality that all of life (personal, familial, ecclesiastical, and political) center around the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul didn’t lead the Galatians to this point for the Church alone but for all of “time” which by necessity would include all that falls within the venue of “time.” Human government is just as much in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to govern its policies as individual men are.
The Gospel is sufficient. When did the Church relinquish the authority, clarity, sufficiency of the Word of God in the political sphere? And why? Surely, Peter would have lumped politics and policy in with what God has given when he said He gave us “all things that pertain to life & godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). Surely, Paul would have lumped politics and policy into how “All Scripture is…profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
The Church has been armed with Truth. In a world that is sinking under the mantra “there is no truth,” the Church must rise with Gospel on her lips and speak the Word of God into this escalating death trap.
Armed for Spiritual Warfare
To quell any fears, doubts, or suspicions that may be arising, I am not a Theonomist. I am, however, a Biblicist. The Lord & His Bride were greatly wounded through the Crusades and other foolish and murderous endeavors to force people into right worship; the first table of the Law is not the government’s to enforce, only encourage. We should never go back down that road.
The road we should travel, however, is the road where the Bride of Christ speaks Truth on political issues, to politicians, and in the public square. Some have accepted the false dichotomy of a “Sacred & Secular” divide. There is no such distinction from the King of Creation. The Church is a “city on a hill” with a Light to shine into the world around us. We do have an obligation to speak on policy, politics, and to people in authority and under authority. Don’t surrender God’s clear design to the wave of public opinion that says “Keep your religion out of the public square” for it is that public square that is in desperate need of the Gospel as well as its implications & imperatives for living.
The Democrats, Republicans, Independents, atheists, and idolaters are not the enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…[but] against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10-12). Therefore, fight these spiritual battles with the greatest spiritual weapon ever gifted to mankind, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For “it is the power of God to salvation for those who believe” (Rom. 1:16).
Church, take the Gospel into the political sphere and rejoice in effectual Word of God accomplishing His purposes through its proclamation (Isaiah 55:11).