Christians and Politics
The dinner-party taboos of 'religion and politics' are firmly back on the table. Christians Together looks at some of the underlying factors and present one young American preacher's views.
There are several factors presently combining to cause (require?) Christians to re-examine whether and how they should engage with the political process. Most Christians – at least those living in open, free and democratic societies – would see it as an opportunity, even a duty, the seek to influence public policy and legislation.*
However some fairly recent developments have substantially moved these questions from being relatively abstract and of interest mainly (or solely) to those who are actively interested in politics in general.
The following factors are combining to play a part in shaping perceptions and heightening concerns:
increasing relativism which has turned its back on absolutes of right and wrong
- the growing stridency and ill-liberalism of atheists and secular humanists
- the growth and influence of Islam
- the extent to which an increasing number of politicians, business leaders and public agencies have been exposed as untrustworthy (a great pity for the many who aren't)
- growing hostility from employers to Christians exercising their faith
- increasing threats from new legislation and the state regarding free speech
- the prospect of having to choose between the mandates of God and the strictures of men
It can be both/and...
Unfortunately, whenever the subject of Christian involvement with politics arises a well-worn debate re-emerges focussing around whether to become involved with mainstream political parties or, alternatively, form an exclusively Christian party. However such discussions – often heated – on this question are unhelpful, as these options are not mutually exclusive. Some Christians, at the level of the individual, may feel that their sphere of ministry is to mainstream involvement; others might sense that God is calling them ‘outside the camp’ of the secular parties.
One man's views
Paul Washer is a young American preacher who is developing a growing reputation (or notoriety?) for ‘telling it like it is’. He has a no-punches-pulled style and one Christian blogger has written:
Paul Washer is a genuine believer with the guts to deliver the truth of the Gospel. Something all of us can be if we surrender to Jesus Christ. What makes it so different and even shocking to some is that they have heard such a watered down, politically correct version of something resembling the Gospel all their lives and when they hear the unfettered, blunt truth, it shocks them.
Paul is the kind of man who, since he speaks the truth, intimidates lukewarm pastors and invigorates those filled with the Spirit. The Lord has blessed his ministry because of his consistency and faithfulness. Every, single, one of us can be the same if we surrender to the Lord!
What astonishes me is that Washer's ministry has an impact that is just as heavy on the ‘Christian’ community as it is on the non-believers that hear his message. Those who would claim to be of the Body of Christ should be standing and preaching the Gospel along with men like Washer, instead of being awed by them.
The video below gives a (very short) summary of a view that he recently expressed.
Caveat: Christians Together neither endorses or supports any advertisements attaching to the video
* The Brethren see a total separation between the Christian church (community of believers) and the state; and as such, do not get involved in the world of secular government and public policy.
Christians Together, 20/04/2009