Christian Life 

Christians and Politics: an analysis

A recurring question concerns the differing views on whether or not Christians should become involved in the poltical process: much is determined by pre-suppositional theology.

The debate of whether or not Christians should become actively invovled in the political process prompts a variety of responses.
In fact underlying and shaping these views are two competing theological systems; those of Dispensationalism and Calvinism.

Political Spectrum
Stay out of it all Dive in
  • Present age changed through conversions
  • Total separation of church and state
  • No political invovlement whatsoever
  • Present age changed by imposition of God's laws
  • State to act as an agent of and for the church
  • Active Political Engagement

The above bullet points are very much generalisations which gloss over variations within each system. Holding, as they do to markedly different end-time views (eschatology) these theological systems greatly influence individual views across the spectrum of opinion on political engagement. Neither are these bullet points in any way a complete summary of the differences separating Dispensationism and Calvinism.

2. Dispensationalism posits a Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ and the 'any moment rapture' of believers. This eschatology puts a great emphasis on the need to evangelise as Christ  – it is believed –could come any instant. The Kingdom of God is essentially 'future' and in is presently totally divorced from the 'Kingdom of the this world'.

3. Calvinism is post-Millennial; believing that this present age should be brought closely into line through a church/state alliance which will propagate and impose God's laws on society. (The Reformer John Calvin worked to turn Geneva into a City of God on earth.) Believing strongly in pre-destination, evangelism receives little priority.

4. A more detailed summary of the conflicting Calvinist and Dispensational views can be found in the article entitled 'A Covenant-Keeping God'.

Related articles:
Towards a theology of politics         Christians and Politics        Christians and Politics: a debate

The Editor, 28/07/2013

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Christians and Politics > Christians and Politics: an analysis