The Christian Political Conundrum

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I was privileged today to have lunch with a Republican US Senator at a small gathering of evangelical pastors.  It was quite enjoyable to interact with a politician who has absolutely no fears of losing his election and therefore is willing to say what he really thinks.  I would sum up his message this way: he and the party have to make compromises in order to win elections and we Christians have to compromise with him because the consequences of losing are too terrible to bear.  To this end, after an initial hat tip to the abortion issue to secure his bona fides, he delivered a message focused on racial demographics and electoral politics.  The senator came across as a committed conservative, but an equally committed pragmatist who mainly wants his side to win.  

For me, the high point occurred when an older Baptist minister complained that politicians no longer talk about God.  He mentioned that with prayer and the Bible removed from schools, and with politicians unwilling to call for prayer and give thanks to God, the country had turned from its only true Benefactor.  The senator's reply was interesting.  He flatly answered that if he started talking about God he would lose elections and that his Democratic replacement would attack our Christian values.  I found his candor refreshing and his message telling.

These exchanges highlighted for me what is the Christian political conundrum today.  Our national politics are contested between one party that stands for secular paganism (abortion, homosexual marriage, etc.) and another party that has retreated to a conservative secular humanism.  Obviously, for biblical Christians, one of these is worse than the other.  But neither holds great promise for a godly future.  Here, then, is the political conundrum for Christians in America today: there is no victory through politics.  I firmly believe that Christians should be actively engaged in exercising their political rights and duties and that churches should speak prophetically regarding national sins.  But if God's blessing really matters, it is only the church that can turn sinners from condemnation for idolatrous unbelief to salvation through repentance and faith in Christ.

With this in mind, I do not really mind that the senator was such an admitted pragmatist.  After all, politics are always downstream of religion.  The fate of our nation will ultimately be decided by its stance toward the true and living God.  A faithful, godly society can only happen when pastors and churches herald the grace and sovereign claims of God the Son and when God graciously blesses his Word by the power of his Spirit.  This is why I answered the way I did when the senator asked me to get my church to be more politically active.  I answered that my calling was to proclaim the Word of God and the grace of Christ so that sinners would repent, believe, and be saved.  He thought that was a good idea, told me would do his best to protect our threatened religious freedoms, and we parted on terms that I thought were surprisingly agreeable.

Posted October 16, 2014 @ 1:35 PM by Rick Phillips

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