Even though everyone may be worn out about the election this year and may be frustrated after all of the debates, we must be thankful for what it all exposed. We must realize that all of the generalizations of how we describe ourselves have been unfolded. What we really believe has been put on the table. No matter what a person says they believe, we are able to understand what they mean in times like this. There are those who claim to hate religion and say they want to keep it out of politics, and there are those who are religious and say we should not be strongly engaged in politics. However, we must realize, there is a strong connection between politics and religion.
Politics reveal our worldview
Many people who say they are not controversial, will tell you there are two things they do not talk about: politics and religion. In most work places, one rule is that the employees do not speak about two things: politics and religion. People are able to find a sense of peace when these conversations are not brought up explicitly, but it is a false peace. People are left only to talk about are things that really do not matter. The problem is that no matter what you talk about, your worldview is leaking out even if you are trying to muffle it.
How one views everything in the world is shaped by his foundational beliefs about God even if he claims to be an atheist or an agnostic. How one views the science of government or the affairs of state is shaped by his beliefs. When Christians grasp this concept, there will be no escaping the fact that the standard of righteousness for government explicitly comes from God and ought not be altered or tainted by human ideologies. We then can realize there is no room for compromise because we see that when a political statement is made, a religious statement is being made as well.
Christians may profess various creeds, confessions, and statements of faith. Through the political realm, however, we are able to see how those doctrines shape their worldview. How does the sovereignty and Lordship of Christ shape the way they view rulers on earth? What example does the humility of Christ through incarnation set for the men they choose to lead the nation? How does the eighth commandment shape their view of property taxes and public schools? How does the tenth commandment shape their worldview about ObamaCare and Social Security? How does their view of creation shape their view about the ban of Cannabis, certain vitamins, and other plants? Obviously it is clear that our theology informs us about the sanctity of life and the sacredness of marriage. So why is it hard to see that our theology should shape, and is what shapes, the way we view anything else, including the political realm?
It is not ironic that atheists will tell you that even though they may not agree with a person’s sexual lifestyle, they are not able to come up with a reason to say that they are wrong. It is because their worldview will not allow them to. Even atheists understand that a person’s political and social views are and should be connected to their religion. If a Christian is arguing against Socialism, atheists and sadly misinformed Christians will often argue that Jesus himself was a Socialist. They will misinterpret his statements and twist scriptures to justify a system of “charity” based on theft. Even though such atheists and misguided Christians are wrong about the scriptures, it proves the point that there is no disconnect when it comes to politics and religion. What they are trying to do is appeal to the worldview of Christians by saying that if Jesus were here, these are the things for which he would advocate. So even though they would mock Jesus when it comes to scripture they have not yet found a way to twist, they are essentially arguing that Christians must look to the final authority of scripture (the life of Jesus) to determine what they believe about law when it is convenient for them.
Religion and politics go hand in hand all throughout the Old Testament. There was direct interaction with prophets and kings. Even today we see that most presidents have had a council of pastors or spiritual advisors. Even the pagan Kings in scripture took counsel from diviners who were supposed to have a direct connection with a god or gods. Even Pharaoh had “wise men” and sorcerers. In Indian and African tribes, they are led by spirits and/or ancestors. The rulers of a land rule based upon their object of worship. When Israel asked for a King, the political statement was not absent of a religious content. God told Samuel that when they begged for a King like the other nations, they were rejecting him—Yahweh.
Politics shows the ignorance of Christians
One thing we—the whole world—can clearly see from this election is that the body of Christ is divided in its application of the Christian worldview to politics. We may be of one mind when it comes to basic doctrines in general, but there is great confusion and division when it comes to what we believe about governing authorities. Sure there is room for us to have our own opinions on certain matters, but when dealing with issues that have been the main topic of debate as of late, there should not be this much confusion. Sadly, some Christians have used the Bible to justify their choices in an irresponsible way and others have claimed the Bible has nothing to say to social and political matters and made their “conscience” the final authority.
This election has also exposed the fact that there are many Christians who were at a total loss at what to do in this election. It is understandable for the world to be lost and undecided. However, Christians should not be confused, especially in the matters that have been presented to us. Christians should feel confident on Election Day and not have anxiety like unbelievers. The reason why so many Christians are instead confused is because they have not been well discipled. They may have learned doctrine and may they have been through membership classes, but true discipleship has not occurred. If it has occurred, then many have been discipled by misguided teachers. Many Christians were lost and could not even find help from their pastors because their pastors did not know what to do either.
Politics shows the sin that remains in our hearts
Through this election we have seen many compromise out of fear, many become pragmatic out of allegiance to a worldly system, and many promote policies that exalt the kingdom of darkness. The reasoning of many Christians and non-Christians of why they are voting for a certain candidate or law reveals the idols they cling so closely to. In the majority of cases, people’s justification for their choices has been that they are against someone or something, not that they are necessarily for what they have chosen. We hear over and over what such people are against, but we never really find out what they are for. Why not? Because they live in fear? Because they have never thought through their Christian worldview? Or because they have been bribed by their idols?
The choices we make, or have made during this season, in the political realm reflect the choices we make at home, in our churches, and in our communities. The compromises we are willing to make in the voting booth reflect the compromises we have already made in our hearts and our faith; they are the same compromises we make, and will continue to make, on an everyday basis in our lives. This is why we are in such a mess in this country, and why the political choices before us have been so wicked. We lack courageous men and women who stand for something and are not willing to let up or compromise. We lack men and women who are willing to sacrifice and not be sucked into delusions and the comforts our idols promise to our sinful hearts.
One of the most damaging sins that remains in our hearts is that we want Christ as savior but we do not really want him as Lord over our lives. Our lives therefore show many choices that are deny his rule. Our political choices reveal who we really want as King. We want him as Lord in our households when we want our wives and children to submit, and when wives want their husbands to live with them in an understanding way. We want him as Lord in our church when we want sermons to be heard, ministers respected, tithes paid, or need to discipline someone. But when it comes time to choose a civil authority or vote on legislation, we may pay him lip service, but we forget him being Lord over this country, and we instead choose a king like the other nations.