Sin and Political Involvement

This is a touchy and somewhat controversial subject, but I wouldn’t feel right without addressing it this week. Some teachings (not so sure “doctrines” are strictly correct, but maybe I’m splitting hairs) in WCG waxed and waned. Most of these are minimized or even thrown out by some COG splinters.

One thing that has seemed more or less consistent with WCG in the splinters has been that of political involvement. What is not consistent, though, is the teaching itself in some regards. In short, the message seems to be, “Get dirty if you wish, but not too dirty.”

I ran across the article, “Whose side is God on? A outsider’s perspective on American Christianity” on Gershom’s Journal. I think it is worth a read. It points out the danger of thinking that God is on your side in whatever political involvement you may be engrossed in. That is exemplified in no more stark terms than in warfare, which is an example often cited by the COG.

There are 2 inconsistencies I have seen within the Church, though:

1. The allowance for participating in local issues. For example, you may be for or against a school levy, and so you feel obliged to vote in regards to that issue. I’m sorry, but that just does not make sense. If God’s will is good enough on a national level, then why don’t we trust Him on a local level?

2. In spite of official teaching, there are those who unofficially argue in favor of or against certain issues. I’m not talking about the obvious ones, either. And, I do mean heated discussions.

I don’t remember what the last heated discussion was about, but let’s just take the example of health care, which is on everyone’s mind. Philosophically speaking, I’m neither for nor against socialistic medicine. The taxes might be another matter, but even a sensible system could work that out. Therein lies the problem, in fact: coming up with a sensible system. My take on it is that health care will be totally screwed up if the government takes it over. It is also my opinion that health care will be totally screwed up if the government does nothing about it. In fact, I believe that health care will be screwed up if government backs out of it entirely. It just doesn’t matter.

Likewise, I’ve always thought that voting by party was a pretty stupid way to vote. Over time, it has become more and more evident that most Republican politicians are hypocrites. It has also become more and more evident over time that most Democratic politicians are hypocrites. If anything, it has become more blatant over time.

At the bottom of it all, as God and religion have been slowly pushed off the public stage, politics has filled the vacuum. The problem, of course, is that politics is morally bankrupt. Politics involves winning at all costs. As a result, more and more of our politicians have turned out to be morally bankrupt as well.

And so, my question in all of this to those who believe Christians have a moral responsibility to be involved in politics: How can you support and even vote for a person or party that is morally bankrupt?

You know, it is easy to say, “Well, this candidate is pro-choice, so I cannot vote for them. I will vote for the other candidate.” However, in practice, it rarely boils down to one issue. What if your pro-life candidate is against the death penalty, for gay marriage and/or wants to hike taxes during a recession? Doesn’t make it so easy, right? Doesn’t make it so black and white, does it?

And, even if a given candidate seems to talk the talk and walk the walk about values, there’s no guarantee that they will once in office. For all you know, they may make up all sorts of stuff about WMDs being in enemy hands and start a war that throws off the entire power balance of the Middle East, which then threatens security through the entire world.

So, is political involvement a sin?

Let me put it this way: Anything that you look to for deliverance other than God makes an idol out of that thing.

The bottom line question is whether we Christians are supposed to make this a better world or not. Some view it as a social obligation to enforce the laws of the Kingdom (usually biased towards specific laws while ignoring others, BTW). “Social justice” and “moral responsibility” are often thrown around to urge people to contribute to a certain party or to get out and vote.

However, Christ said, “Thy Kingdom come.” Christ disappointed many followers because He made it clear that He did not come to cause a revolution against the Roman Empire. Rather, we are called out of this world (Jn 15:18-19). We are separated, even though we are in the world (17:14-16).

No, Christ looked forward to another Kingdom. Jesus pointed to a Kingdom that was also separate from this world (18:36), but will one day rule it.

So, even though we still have an obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves, to feed the poor and hungry, to take care of widows and orphans, our involvement in the world needs to stop at the point that we are becoming part of a corrupt system. Our endorsement should not be applied to the world’s way of doing things.

At first, this may seem like a strange comparison, but when you think about it, it should make sense once it sinks in:

22But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (Matthew 8:22, King James Version)

For more information on political involvement, please read “Politicians Are People Too“.

0 Comments

  1. While the COGS basically say stay out of politics/dont vote, there is an underlying right-wing political viewpoint in the COGs, some more/some less. The more members and ministers involve themselves in a political viewpoint, the more worldly they are/bring in worldliness into the Church. To say the least, this is not good Its interesting that many foreign-based members I talk to see the political bias in the American COGs, but no doubt many American members/ministers chose to embrace a right wing political philosophy, which as you point out is hypocritical and not godly. I look for the day when this wrong thinking is denounced by the leadership. I hope I dont have to hold my breath too long.

  2. "The bottom line question is whether we Christians are supposed to make this a better world or not."

    Yes, by our lives as Christians. The way we live and the examples we set to those we interact with and in what small ways we may be able to help others. This is where the belief of social justice leaves the track. As Christ said the poor will always be with you. That's said not as an excuse to ignore others or do nothing. The Bible also explains that we are to do good to all men. The problem though is that christians could pour every dollar into solving social ills and get involved in politics yet it would still not solve the problems of society.

    Regarding christianity and politics. To the extent that someone bringing a religious message is viewed as simply a shill for the left or right it dilutes and compromises whatever positive is in the message. Is the person preaching Christ or simply using Christ as a way of reaching a political objective.

    Even in man's government there are policies and practices that have been shown to have more value than others throughout the course of history. I would personally argue that personal economic freedom leads to a better life than a controlling govt but that is an argument for the politicians, not for those preaching the gospel.

  3. John D Carmack

    @Buckblog: While I agree with much of what you say, I really cannot agree with your conclusion that "Yes" we are supposed to make this world a better place. It is not in our mission statement. Not only is it not our Christian duty to make this world a better place, but it is not even within our power to do so.

    For example, you admit "The problem though is that christians could pour every dollar into solving social ills and get involved in politics yet it would still not solve the problems of society."

    Consider, then, if it was our duty, then why wouldn't we eventually solve the problems of society? Would God expect us to do something that we are incapable of doing, even with His help?

    Furthermore, consider the logical extensions if our calling is to make this world a better place:

    1. Why only call a few in this age? Why not call the majority of people so that we can change the society we are in?

    2. If it is our duty to change the world for the better, then we'd better get out our pencils and go to the polls. We had better show our support for the candidate that shows the most "Christian ideals". We have an obligation to get out our checkbooks and support the organizations that support making this a Christian nation. No candidates running that reflect our values? Then one of us should run! What better way to ensure our values are being represented?

    3. We should not shun jury duty. In fact, we should volunteer for it. We need to ensure that Christian justice is done.

    4. What of military involvement? If it is a "just war", then it would be unjust to not serve in the military!

    I was resisting doing this, but I'm going to quote Todd Friel of Way of the Master. While I don't agree with his theology in general, I think he has a point when he says, "It's not a Christian's job to make this a better world to go to hell from." The point is that a Christian should have a much longer range view than a non-believer.

    As you may or may not be aware, there are too many secular minded people have co-opted even the skewed mainstream gospel. While even that message has its flaws, it still at least points to Christ. The current popular "social gospel" says Jesus came to feed the hungry, heal the sick, but nothing about His Kingdom, repentance or anything else of permanent value.

    We are given a commission — a Great Commission. We are to make disciples throughout the world.

    No, it is not a Christian's job to make this a better world. However, a huge by-product of true Christianity can and should normally be the betterment of everyone. By becoming more like Christ, the Christian will try to relieve suffering within his or her sphere of influence. We will try to influence others towards righteousness within our realms, wherever they may lie.

    Having said that, I do not think we do enough to feed the poor. I do not think we do enough to alleviate suffering. There are other groups that evangelize better than we because they show an outgoing concern for others more efficiently and better than we do. Other groups are better at realizing that you cannot assist someone with their spiritual needs when they are suffering greatly physically and/or emotionally. However, the endgame is not about this temporary existence.

    Politics in this country invariably revolves around issues of this world. It takes one's eye off the long range view of the Kingdom. People get caught up in the short range view, and corruption is often the result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *