Should the Church be Involved in Politics
Introduction. Since at least the 1980s (in conservative
circles) and long before that in more liberal circles many churches in the
religious world have begun to take a very active role in political elections
and various political causes.
the last Presidential election one popular “mega-church” actually
conducted an open forum with some of the candidates being asked questions
about their positions and beliefs.
- The more that the federal government
has made decisions that impact religious beliefs and practices we can well
understand the desire for the church to take action to influence the
direction things are going.
Historically some Christians have take
positions that argue that even as individuals the fact that Christians are citizens
of heaven means we should avoid any participation with earthly
governments—avoiding voting, military service, or serving in any political
office. Since World War II, fewer Christians take this view regarding
individual involvement with civil government, but what should be the position
of churches collectively? Should churches be involved in political action?
All examples of Christian interaction with civil authorities concern:
testifying before the authorities.
political action (i.e. registering to vote, promoting candidates, protests,
church is the pillar & ground of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15).
A. This sets the bounds for its
activities in the fact that it defines its purpose.
work of the church involves "equipping" and "edifying." (Eph. 4:11-13).
A. To expand into the arena of politics
is to either expand beyond authorized works of the church or (by necessity)
neglect authorized works of the church.
are good things with which the church ought not be burdened (1 Tim. 5:16).
A. A problem that has plagued
us for generations is the false assumption that if something is a good work for
individuals it must naturally be a good work for the church collectively.
B. This is not true! Unless the church is
authorized to do something it cannot presume to do it without altering the
focus of its work, purpose, and nature.
With that said, a few points must be kept
Civil authorities are God’s servants for good (Rom. 13:1-7).
A. While we must oppose the
church turning away from its authorized purpose of teaching the truth, that
does not mean that Christian are anti-government or opposed to
B. It fulfills a God-ordained
1. As individuals we can (and
should) exert influence in all areas of our lives in a way that promotes good
and allows the light of the gospel to shine around us (Matt. 5:14-16).
2. That does not mean that the church
should use its facilities as polling places, organize and host demonstrations,
or work to promote or defeat particular candidates.
Christians are to submit to laws (1 Pet. 2:13-17).
A. When the church fulfills
its task to teach and preach the truth, it lays the moral and ethical
groundwork that helps to demonstrate what is right and what is wrong in
accordance with the standard of God’s word.
B. Civil government exists to
uphold this as well as to protect and defend against those who disregard it.
1. When churches move to
involve themselves in political action, they focus on the effect rather
than the cause.
2. Unless people are taught God’s law
they will never see the reason to make, pass, and enforce human laws that
conform to divine will.
God knows the heart of a man.
A. Paul describes God as “He
who searches the hearts” (Rom. 8:27).
1. Peter said simply that God
“knows the heart” (Acts 15:8).
B. Keeping the church
separate from political involvement has a preservative effect as well.
1. If the church was
authorized to promote a certain candidate, and then that man or woman did wrong
the church would bear shame.
2. When we follow the biblical pattern
this danger is avoided—As individuals we may be disappointed by candidates that
do wrong whom we once supported, but it does not bring shame upon the Lord’s
church and political parties are separate institutions, governed by separate
A. The Head of the church is
Christ (Eph. 1:22-23).
1. Local churches are led by
elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1).
B. Political parties such as
the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Reformed, or any other parties are
governed by human ideas, and human leaders, to carry out human goals,
objectives and ideals.
1. Some may be good—but, some
may be bad.
2. Just as the church has no
authority to support, maintain, and promote any human institution—it has no
authority to collectively support, maintain, and promote political parties and
3. Just as the church must
keep itself pure from the unrepentant Christian whose sinful deeds would
negatively “leaven” the church (1 Cor. 5:6)—the church must be wholly separate,
pure and spiritual.