Should Christians be involved in politics?
Jesus said: "My kingdom is not of this world." Some Christian groupings believe that as followers of Christ belong to a better world they should not be involved in the political scene. Others think differently.
IT is argued that Jesus didn't get involved in influencing the political scene in his day; and that he didn't give any indication or instruction to his followers to do so. Though he came to change the world, his Father's plan was to change it one person at a time through each coming to faith in His Son. Accordingly some feel that the aim of Christians should be to evangelise lost souls and leave the political sphere to others.
However, other believers feel called to exercise their ministries within the political domain. The Christian Institute is one organisation that is heavily involved in issues relating to legislation and countering what it sees as deleterious effects on the manner in which our country is run through Parliament and the laws which govern our lives.
In the 2010 Annual Review, Christian Institute's Director Colin Hart introduces the document in preface entitled: 'Seek the Peace of the City'
Around 600BC the children of Israel were exiled in Babylon. Taken out of 'the promised land' and enslaved in a pagan nation, they were understandably concerned for the future. How should they live in an ungodly land? God through the prophet Jeremiah urged them to "seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jer. 29:7)
For the sake of our neighbour and ourselves, we should seek the welfare of the nation in which we live regardless of whether it is godly or not. Unlike the Jewish exiles in Babylon we live in a democracy. This gives us all manner of opportunities to seek the welfare of our nation, encouraging what is peaceful and leading to true prosperity.
If public policy embraces moral relativism, there will be fraud and corruption and our neighbours get hurt. If public policy treats marriage as an easy-in, easy-out arrangement equivalent to any other living arrangement, our neighbours get hurt. If public policy treats
an unborn child as a lifeless collection of cells which may be discarded, our neighbours get hurt. If public policy treats elderly and disabled lives as 'not worth living', our neighbours get hurt. If public policy allows a woman to sell her own body to men for sex, our neighbours get hurt. These aren't abstract ideas, they affect real people and we see the heartbreak
and harm of broken lives in our nation.
When Christians speak out about marriage, abortion, assisted suicide, or prostitution we do so because we seek the welfare of our neighbours and our nation. Jeremiah's words
are echoed in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
Paul, writing at a time when the pagan Roman Emperor Nero was in charge, urged Christians to pray that their Government would give them the freedom to live godly, holy lives. Paul implies that this religious liberty will allow Christians to be a witness for the gospel by their morally upright lives.
If our Government limits our ability to live godly, holy lives, then our liberty to be a witness for the Gospel is also threatened. During 2009 we helped numerous Christians whose religious liberty had been unlawfully restricted. In many cases we secured a successful outcome, not only obtaining justice but also protecting gospel freedom for countless others in similar circumstances.
Let us take encouragement from Jeremiah and Paul. Looking to the future, with all its uncertainties, let us commit ourselves afresh to seeking the welfare of our nation and defending our liberty to live godly, holy lives.
The Christian Institute (CI) is a non-denominational Christian charity located in Newcastle in the north-east of England. It is committed to upholding the truths of the Bible and is supported by individuals and churches throughout the UK.
The CI campaigned with Baroness Young in 2001 against lowering the homosexual age of consent, and was criticised by the Charity Commission. In the face of complaints from the homosexual lobby groups and in response to these, the Commission informed the CI that it must adhere to its charitable aims to promote the Christian faith and not act as a political organisation; and that the CI, with Baroness Young as its patron, needed to be clearer about its status as a religious organisation rather than a political one.
Undaunted the CI has continued to battle legislation which it deems contrary to the Christian faith and ethos.