The following is a response to my podcast "Jesus & Politics" from a thoughtful brother one generation behind me.
I listened to your talk “Jesus in politics,” and I couldn’t agree more with the premise. I have long felt that it is inappropriate for Christians to be outspoken and/or too greatly involved in politics. We are in the world, but not of the world.
I’ve spoken to some who feel strongly it is their duty as disciples to advocate for the vulnerable through political means, and that they have a voice that the poor and weak do not have. Although I understand this perspective, I feel it is often an excuse to protect their own rights or express their own feelings/opinions unencumbered. There are many (and arguably more effective) ways to help the poor and vulnerable without resorting to worldly politics.
More importantly, however, I feel it is a foolish move to polarize oneself by latching to a political party/ideology—especially via social media. Our mission is to spread the gospel of the kingdom, and be all things to all men in order to help them find the Lord. How shameful would it be for a politically charged statement or a post to cause someone to stumble, or question our motives unnecessarily (even if the content of the statement or post was true). Shame on us if the opinion we pronounce keeps anyone from listening to the gospel from our lips. “We do not fight with the weapons of this world” (2 Cor 10:4).
Clearly the best example is Jesus himself, as you point out. He did not subscribe to a particular political ideology, even amidst immense pressure to do so from all sides. And he wasn’t swayed by the “silence is violence“ propaganda or other manipulative tactics spewed by radicals. Instead, he was focused on the kingdom of heaven, and our citizenship therein. We are not called to dive into the politics of countries where we are not citizens.
Thank you again for a timely podcast, and one that is inspiring to me and our spiritual brothers and sisters.
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A few more responses:
- Jesus didn't demonize people—how different from so much political discourse! Instead, we're called to be peacemakers. Our main identity is in Christ. I need to rethink whether I should be identifying politically with any group. It's okay to have opinions, but if these mean we're sinning against others, or causing division, then we need to repent.
- Yes, we're called to change the world soul by soul. The effect of God's advancing kingdom on earth is stronger than anything politics can achieve.
- I'm astounded by
how easily people can be manipulated, swallowing anything their party or group says. Even Christians can be led astray, as the Bible reminds us. Thanks for calling us to think things through.
- Many churches are failing to help their members think biblically about issues like Black Lives Matter (racial equality), Women’s Empowerment (gender equality), and conspiracy theories (QAnon, election fraud, etc). This lesson provides a helpful framework so that we're better prepared to engage.