Faith and Politics – Bridging the Gap

March 8, 2019

As political correctness continues to overshadow religious freedoms and become further entrenched in society, there’s never been a more important time for Christians to involve themselves in public policy.

Christianity and biblical moral truths have contributed to the political landscape since the founding of America. Yet, the role of faith in government has become an increasingly contentious issue — particularly in recent years.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that while two-in-three Americans consider the U.S. a Christian nation, 59% nevertheless believe religion’s influence on the country is declining. Many Christians are urged to refrain from engaging in the political realm due to the “separation of church and state.”

But when believers resist participating in the public square, they cannot influence the laws governing weighty issues like abortion, hunger, homelessness, and human trafficking — all of which are addressed in the Bible. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil,” wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Throughout Scripture, God calls on His people to care for the poor and widowed (Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3); to be just and merciful to those in need (Matthew 23:23); and to respect and value life at all stages (Jeremiah 1:4-5; Matthew 6:26). Those who avoid their civic duties fail to take seriously Mark 12:31: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s clear that the need for Christian involvement in politics is great. From simply voting to running for public office, God-fearing individuals can make a difference by advocating for laws and policies that contribute to the betterment of society.

How Can You Make a Difference?

Begin a Career in Government or Political Science

The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, from the pew to the political arena. By professionally entering the field of public policy, criminal justice, or government, you’ll have opportunities to become a God-fearing leader, seeking to promote laws that protect the unborn, advocate for the vulnerable, and contribute to the preservation of the family.

Doing so may mean pursuing a career change or advanced education. Earning a degree in government or political science will not only teach you the core aspects of political issues from a Biblical perspective, but it will also prepare you to carry out justice, protect the oppressed, and promote human flourishing as a Christ-centered political leader or policymaker.

Get Involved in Government

Throughout history, God has called faithful men and women to serve in the public arena. These individuals are accountable to God to exact justice, speak wise counsel to secular rulers (Daniel 4:27), and apply God’s principles to government. In doing so, they pave the way for generations of blessing. Proverbs 29:2 says: “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”

The Bible is full of examples of men and women engaging in political life. From Esther to King David, God used men and women in positions of political power to fulfill His will. Similarly, the Apostle Paul spoke of the importance of Christian engagement in government: In Romans 13:1, he says that our political leaders have been “instituted by God.

Another key way to influence politics is through voting — yet far too many citizens refrain from making their voices heard at the ballot box. According to the United States Elections Project, only 56.8 percent of the eligible population voted in the last presidential election — 43.2 percent of the eligible population did not.

By exercising your right to vote, you can participate in electing those who aren’t ashamed to boldly defend Biblical values. You can also hold accountable those elected to protect our religious freedoms and protect human dignity. 

Be a Good Citizen

As Christians, we are called to respect and honor government leaders (Romans 13:7); to obey the laws enacted by the government (Romans 13:1-5); pay taxes (Matthew 22:17-21), and most importantly, pray for our leaders. 1 Peter 2:13 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority,” and 1 Timothy 2:1 tells us to pray for “kings and all those in authority.”

Remember to pray for our country and our elected officials. Ask God to give them wisdom, humility, and guidance as they structure policies and enact laws. Pray they will fight what is evil and promote what is good. 

Politics undeniably shapes culture, forms society, and defines our national identity. But as Christians, our ultimate hope rests not in governments or rulers, but on a coming King and His coming kingdom. Isaiah 33:22 says, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us.” We understand that God is the One who raises up governments and leaders and brings them down. We have confidence in God’s sovereignty over our country.

Yet, when Christians abandon the political arena, we risk allowing those who are not driven by righteousness or a desire for God’s best to determine our future. Because of this, believers have an obligation to keep their civic responsibilities and make a positive difference whenever possible. In doing so, we speak up for the vulnerable and fight injustice. We help reconcile a broken world back to God — and so advance the Gospel.

Interested in studying politics, law, or public policy? Liberty’s Helms School of Government offers more than 50 degrees, in both online and residential formats, that can prepare you to positively influence your community — at any level.     

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