Several things I heard or read in the days around July 4th led me to the topic of today’s article. On Independence Day itself, a Sunday as you will recall, the pastor of my church called out those who said that Christians should not be involved in government or politics. I agree with my pastor.
His comments reminded me of a Facebook exchange I had a few days earlier. My Facebook friend said, “Many think the church should stay out of politics. With the way that politics has gone of late – many politicians need to stay out of politics.”
My response to that was, “The way politics has gone of late is a good indication that the church has already done too much ‘staying out of politics.’”
Politics is never mentioned by name in the Bible. However, the Bible does give us some overriding directives that are not erased by current events. Jesus “said to [His disciples], ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 15:16). Nowhere in the Bible are we told “except for the world of politics.” Frankly, the world of politics could use the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just think about how politics would change if Christians would go into that world to demonstrate “the fruits of the Spirit.” The Bible says this, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Just imagine if politicians would practice “the fruit of the Spirit.” That would put a whole different face on the world of politics because it would put a whole different heart into politicians. But it will never happen until Christians who demonstrate those qualities involve themselves in politics in all the right ways and for all the right reasons.
One of my former students, Rick Boyer, who is now a lawyer, recently wrote:
“I was asked to give a lesson on one of our Christian founding fathers in Sunday school yesterday. I lucked into Rev. John Witherspoon.
“Witherspoon understood this crucial truth. Liberty has an essential cause. Without the cause of liberty, you cannot long enjoy the blessings of liberty. And once the people reject the cause of liberty, they must inevitably lose that liberty.
“The Founders understood exactly what, or Who, that great Cause is. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
“Today, Americans want the blessings of liberty while attempting to banish the great Cause of that liberty from our public and private life.
“If you rid our free country of God, you destroy that free country. Witherspoon understood this. ‘Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.’”
Rick – and Witherspoon – were right. The far-left political forces in our country who want to destroy our freedoms have been working for years to destroy the influence of the church – thus the big to-do about keeping the church out of politics. The church and the attributes (fruit) of Christ’s followers, were a huge mover in the efforts to create our country and our freedoms in the first place, so of course our enemies want the church to remain silent.
The church of today needs to rediscover its responsibility to the country. More importantly, it needs to rediscover its relationship with the Spirit of God. Only then will the church regain the voice God gave her. Only then will the church learn how to use that voice to make America and the world a better place.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.