I’ve posted a couple of times on my Tumblr regarding Christianity and politics, and my discomfort with too closely mixing the two, so I’m not sure how much more I can beat that dead horse. I recently ran across an image, however, and I’m compelled to say a little more on the subject. Here’s the image:
The thing that disturbs me here is not that this person is pro-America, pro-2nd Amendment, or pro-Christianity.
It’s the way that she is mixing these things together that discomforts me. Her pose makes a very definite statement regarding the way that these three go together.
It is not a statement that I think that I can responsibly agree with.
Jesus and Politics
The reason for my hesitation is that when we, as Christians, align our faith with American nationalism, or with a particular political ideology, or with a certain economic system, we run the very real risk of subjecting our Christian faith to our politics. When we do this, we put Christianity in the service of political ideology.
This means that our allegiance to our political ideology is uppermost in our affections, and not our allegiance to Christ. All of the sudden, our faith becomes a way of shoring up our ideology. All of the sudden, the Bible becomes a proof text for defending our political points of view. All of the sudden, there is a political requirement for what real Christian faith means.
But this is just the opposite of how it should work. If we are Christians, our faith should challenge us to think beyond nationalism, beyond politics, and beyond ideology. Such things are man-made creations, and, as such, can only ever be deeply flawed. They cannot be perfect reflections of God and his intentions for the world. And they must not be substitutes for the God we worship in the person of Jesus.
Jesus is bigger than Politics
Christianity cannot fit neatly into any man-made political, ideological, or nationalist system of thinking. Christianity challenges us to grow beyond such human constructs: to think, and to be, and to do in ways that are consistent with God’s intention for his human creations.Our #faith should challenge us to think beyond political ideology. Click To Tweet
Our faith doesn’t serve our politics. We don’t interpret our faith in the light of our ideology.
We interpret our ideology in light of our faith, and where we are challenged by that collision, we must give pride of place to our faith. Politics can never be the lens through which we interpret our faith. Rather, our faith ought to control how we think about and approach political activity.
Now, I want to make it clear that a Christian can be passionately involved in political issues. We can be pro-guns, or pro-life, or pro-America. We certainly ought to be pro-Bible!#Politics can never be the lens through which we interpret our #faith. Click To Tweet
But we must be clear that being “God-fearin’” is not identical with being “gun packin’.” We must realize that being “biblie believing’” is not the same thing as being “America loving’.” Otherwise we run the risk of not being clear on what is, and what is not, essential to our Christian faith.
What we must do about our Politics
We can be proudly American, Republican or conservative. What we can never be, though, are people who are those things first. We cannot be people who submit our faith to our politics. We can’t let our political passions drive our approach to faith.
If we are to be faithful to the Messiah we trust and the God we worship, our politics must be controlled by and submitted to our faith, and not the other way around. We must keep our priorities straight. We must always remember that our citizenship is in heaven, and not a matter of mere earthly political constructs. We owe our final allegiance to our Lord Jesus and our Father in heaven, and must reject anything that seeks to come between us and that first allegiance.
When we have these priorities, we will be able to engage in politics as responsible Christians. Without these priorities, we run the risk of making our faith serve our politics, our ideology, or our nationalism. Without them, we run the risk of worshipping the creation, and not the creator.