I feel very averse to confrontation. It’s not a desire or a talent of mine to deal with confrontation very well. I’m passive aggressive, and I’m honestly weak in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, at the same time, I am incredibly passionate. I want to sound off on everything under the Sun– arrogant, I know.
I am a history major. I really like history. I mostly really like modern history (like 20th Century to present). I’m fascinated by the big geopolitical conflicts of the past 100 years– WWII, Soviet Russia, Vietnam, Terrorism, North Korea, etc. Because of this, I have also always leaned heavily into political interest. I love to engage in discussions. I love to read articles. I love to watch the news. I spent most of time reading nonfiction as a kid, and now, that’s all I do. I’m a certified nerd. I enjoy learning. It’s awesome.
Let me explain to you where these two things meet in the middle. 2016 had a heated presidential race. If you didn’t think so, well… then, maybe you’re not a real person. It was pretty wild. It was very interesting. I remember being in high school at the time. The conversations were fun. It was fun to analyze and talk about Hillary and Trump and all of that stuff. Sure, things got heated, but between high schools kids, nothing was ever that serious. And then Donald Trump became President. And that all changed.
You see, it’s not fun anymore. It’s not enjoyable. The conversations are always tense. The insults are always personal. It’s rare to have the conversation about American politics anymore that doesn’t get personal. As I get older, I get more and more disenchanted with the American news cycle. Politics aren’t fun anymore. They aren’t exciting. They are painful. It brings me to a point of great sadness to watch this dictate our quality of life in the United States. I don’t know really what to think, and I freeze.
But then, I really always end up at the same question.
Where is Christ at in all this?
I’m not asking that in the sense of, “Is God really there?” I mean this question in the direction of one specific group of people, actually. That group is the group of people who would call themselves “Christians.” And though I’m seemingly arbitrarily posting this online, I have decided that I must share my heart on why all of this political nonsense amongst believers is hogwash– and potentially why you don’t belong in my Church.
First off, I am still waiting on someone to show me a verse anywhere that says that, “All believers must have a political opinion about everything, ever.” Secondly, I need someone to explain to me the purpose in equating Christianity and a political ideology (but don’t misunderstand me– Abortion is murder). Sure, there are numerous things that overlap politics and faith. But last I checked, Christ endorses truth– which He Himself is (John 8:31-32). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is countercultural to every political worldview because every political worldview was created by people for people. The Gospel was created by God for His Glory– those are two completely different takes on the world we live in. Every political party in history was designed by a person or group of people to inculcate solutions they felt would best benefit other people– who are, by nature, sinners (Psalm 51:5). It’s inherently a sinful system created by sinners for other sinners. Why would we expect it to work perfectly?
I’m not here to endorse the idea that Christians must be involved in politics or the idea that Christians must not be involved in politics. I’ll be totally honest with you– I don’t know where I am at on that. I have read multiple books, watched multiple sermons, asked multiple people, and I don’t know my role (fully) as a Christian in the political process in the United States. I know some basics. I’m not confident in a firm stance at this point. But let me tell you something I do know.
Let’s make a set of things very clear that are factually correct. First, Donald Trump– or any President– is not the great purveyor of morality as is codified by Scripture. Sure, if a President claims to be a Christian, they ought to strive to live like it according to God’s Word (John 14:15). That’s the standard. But in all reality, the POTUS is not your pastor. Let’s stop crying, “Wolf!” every time someone makes a mistake or prays. Always remember that lost people act like lost people and Christians act like Jesus (at least they should).
Second, there are absolutely zero excuses for the believer to engage in sinful behavior on account of any frivolous cause. Jesus did no such thing. You ought not do so either. Anger, envy, profanity, jealousy, unwholesome talk– these things ought not be the result of our involvement in politics. If politics is causing us to sin– just like Instagram is causing us to lust or television is causing us to be lazy– we have to cut it out. Don’t take my word for it. Take Jesus’ word for it. He preached a whole sermon on it (Matthew 5-7).
Third, God is not calling us all to be ascetic monks. Some of us can’t give more time to personal study and reading God’s Word on a practical level. But if you have hours in the day to rant on Twitter, salivate over CNN, worship Fox News, and react every time someone in Washington blinks… then you have enough time to grow even more in Christ. There is absolutely no excuse for having the desire to be in the debate and not in the Word. Plenty of church members can give me a rundown on the Iran Nuclear Deal and their opinion on it. A discouragingly small number of believers can explain the full Gospel. Let that one sink in.
God absolutely hates idolatry. Jeremiah is littered with it. Exodus is littered with it. The Bible is littered with it. God hates it. He hates it. If there were adequate words to explain this concept, I would use them. God hates to the nth degree idolatry. And the fact of the matter is that all sin is idolatry. And the more brutal fact of the matter is that politics has become an idol. I’m not righteous– I don’t bathe in prayer and worship. But the frequency and potency politics has in the lives of us calling ourselves “Christians” is very concerning. God willingly took the Cross for me. And the best I can do is cuss on Twitter about Republicans or attack someone because they are registered Democrat? Absolutely not.
The call of every believer— yes, every single believer— is to share the Gospel. Jesus mentions this literally twice before He leaves Earth (Matthew 28:19-20/Acts 1:8). Hardly none of us are doing that. I’m not doing it. You’re not doing it. None of us are doing it. We aren’t. Let’s be realistic. But do you know what doesn’t share the Gospel? Political arguments. You know what doesn’t disciple your fellow believers? Aggressive criticism of the current administration that gets personal. Do you know what sends a bad message to the unbelieving world? Clubbing people with God’s Word– often ignorantly– for the sake of proving that God ordains varying forms of legislation or political opinion.
I don’t care what party you are in. I really don’t. There are Christians that are registered Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green Party, etc. We can talk about why you choose certain parties, but pick your part. I don’t ultimately care who you vote for– once again, we can debate that. I do care what comes out of our mouths. I do care about what comes out of our lives. Most importantly, I care about what comes out of our hearts. These hearts of anger, malice, profanity, injustice, pride, judgement are not hearts of flesh. They are hearts of stone. John writes (God inspires):
There is absolutely no biblical basis for allowing the sins of politics to dictate who a believer is. We, as Christians, are called to Know Christ (Jeremiah 33:3) and Reflect Christ (Matthew 10:38). Ultimately, being a Christian is the call to be a martyr. We want to be the executioner. Kill the opposing opinion. Murder the other party. Assassinate all argument. We want to be right. We want to be heard. We want to be first. It’s an absolute embarrassment to the character of Christ that those of us who claim to be saved from sin continue in sin and idolatry like the pagans do.
God says be last.
If you call yourself a believer and you are far more embroiled into the news cycle than you are the Scripture, then you don’t belong in my Church. Here, in my Church, we preach Christ Crucified. We preach salvation for any who repent and believe. We preach that all are dreadful sinners at the hands of wrathful, just, loving, and gracious God of the Universe. We don’t preach a political platform. I’m not endorsing asceticism nor am I endorsing extreme partisanship. I’m endorsing Jesus.
One of these days, there will only be two parties. God decides your membership. It won’t be, “Lock Her Up!… Build the Wall!… Impeach him!… World War 3!… She’s a Liberal!… He’s a Conservative!… Russian Collusion!”
It will be either… well done… or it will be… I never knew you.
God will get His glory. That’s a guarantee. He will do it at with the blessing or the cursing of a political party if He wants. I don’t know which. I don’t know the future.
But I do know who holds it in His hands.
Soli Deo Gloria.
2 thoughts on “You don’t belong in my Church [Op-Ed]”
Excellent and well written. I believe we need to be involved in politics to prevent godless policies. But, we should never resort to hate. We have to remember that we don’t fight against flesh and blood. The devil is a liar. God bless you!
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