What place does the church have in politics?

Should we want America to turn to God? Of course! Our hearts’ desire should be to see the people of America turn to the Lord in repentance and become the people of God. But nowhere in the Bible was this purpose accomplished through political power. It takes the power of the Spirit through the proclamation of the gospel.

The Bible is not short on what it means to display the heart of God to those around us. In fact, the Israelites failed in one major area over and over again: bringing outsiders into the people of God. They were never meant to have an elitist mentality. And Jesus reaffirms this in His commission to the church, the people of God, as He commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. But what place does the church have in politics? The answer? The church has both everything and nothing to do with politics.

Nothing to do with politics

Let’s tackle the “nothing to do with politics” part first. In short, we can’t be faithful to God and practice politics the way that the lost do. A major example of this was on display in televangelist John Hagee’s church recently. The entire church was chanting “Let’s Go, Brandon!” during a ReAwaken America event.

Maybe you don’t have any context for that phrase. During several events recently, celebrities and other well-known people suggested the use of that phrase instead of more explicit language and cursing Joe Biden, our current president. Cordially cursing a political leader is the kind of thing that you can expect from a lost generation. But certainly as those called to encourage and lift up while also calling out injustice, this shouldn’t be our response.

Should we want America to turn to God? Of course! Our hearts’ desire should be to see the people of America turn to the Lord in repentance and become the people of God. But nowhere in the Bible was this purpose accomplished through political power. It takes the power of the Spirit through the proclamation of the gospel. And in this way, we should have nothing to do with politics.

Everything to do with politics

As Christ followers sojourning through a lost land, we are called to certain standards. One of those in hot debate in our time is social justice. Justice to be had because we serve a God who is just. And one of the ways that justice is dealt is through the government and justice system. Additionally, our involvement in the means of governance in our land (elections and decrying the obvious injustices and corruption around us) is a means of grace that should be accompanied with the gospel proclamation of the church. We should be doing it all, in sync, together, for the glory of the Lord as we serve the poor, evangelize all who have ears to hear and make disciples of this nation and all the rest. 

In our gospel-driven involvement with those around us, election of upright candidates and holding those representatives accountable, we will be driving politics as a church in massive ways. But when we focus on party lines and political saviors, we will undoubtedly join the ranks of those looking for a military Messiah and miss Jesus, the one true Savior, in the process. We don’t want America to succeed for America’s sake. We want American souls to be saved by Jesus for God’s glory to be on display. And while we are doing this, we will continue to move out into the other nations. 

If we fail in this mission, we will be just like the disobedient, elitist Jews of old, neglecting our mission of broadening the people of God. It shouldn’t be enough for America to be awakened by a political force. We should want all nations to know what is the length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God through Jesus his Son.

James Hammack

James Hammack is a regular contributor to The Rope. He also is digital services manager for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. He also serves as worship pastor at Sovereign Grace Church, Prattville. He and his wife, Alicia, have three children.

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