Recently someone asked me to read a newsletter from the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) and to give them my thoughts. I’m not sure they expected what I wrote. Here are my thoughts about the marrying of politics and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The inspiration for my answer comes from reading and listening to much of what author/blogger Frank Viola has written. I encourage you to check him out.
As I have grown in my knowledge of Christ and my understanding of the Kingdom of God that Jesus ushered in, and called us to be a part of, I find myself less and less interested in the “kingdoms of the world” and their “worldly systems,” including politics.
I no longer want to be involved in the “arguments” of liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, left-wing and right-wing. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ. I am “in this world” but I am not “of this world.” This world and its worldly systems should have no pull on me.
My citizenship is in heaven. My life is in Christ and His Life is in me.
As believers we have to ask ourselves; what is my identity tied to first and foremost? The answer should be, our identity is tied to, and aligned with Christ before anything else.
Too often people are more concerned about the workings of American or world politics than they are the workings of Christ in the world. We attempt to “change” things by “electing” the right person, or enacting the right laws. We think that through the worldly system of “politics” we will make a difference. What too many do not understand is that the kingdoms of this world and its worldly systems are at odds with the Kingdom of God.
However, many Christians still align themselves with the principles and thoughts of a political party before they align themselves with the Kingdom of God and His Word. A political party, nation, business, or other entity cannot be “Christian.” There may be Christian individuals who are involved in the political party, nation, or business, and these entities may exhibit principles that align with the teachings of Christ, but the entity itself cannot be “Christian.”
Some Christians will say things like “I am a conservative republican because the liberal democrats are godless and against God.” Such a statement is judgmental and in error. Making that statement negates the word of God that says, “What must I do to be saved?” to which the response is “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” The answer is not, “well you have to vote a certain way” or “join a certain political party” to be saved. It is as simple as “believe in the Lord Jesus…”
Nowhere in the New Testament do we see Jesus or His disciples advocating for political involvement to bring about change in a kingdom that is temporary and worldly.
Contemplating on and working within the systems of the world distracts us from the Kingdom of God’s work. We expend energy, resources, and time, on areas that would better be left alone and thereby allowing us to focus our efforts on the work of God and advancing His Kingdom in His way.
If we are going to be a part of the Kingdom of God then we must “untangle” our hearts, allegiances, and “loyalties” from the present worldly kingdom and its systems and we must wrap them up in the message of the Kingdom of God.
The “Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee” has a mission statement that states is: “The mission of OCPAC is to promote and support public servants who oppose expansive government while promoting Constitutional liberty, free markets, and a Biblical Worldview.”
This sounds innocuous on the surface; however, it is evident from their mission statement that their main focus is promoting the “republican” agenda and its ideals of conservatism, which is fine, I don’t have any argument with that. At the end of their mission statement, they add the phrase “and a Biblical Worldview.” Whatever that means to them.
I believe if we examine scripture, we will see what God’s idea of a Biblical Worldview really is.
What does the Bible say about the “world?
- “…In this world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33)
- The world’s “deeds are evil.” (John 7:7)
- “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31)
- The world cannot receive the “Spirit of Truth” because it “does not see Him or know Him.” (John 14:17)
- The world’s idea of peace is different than Christ’s idea of peace. (John 14:27)
- Satan is the ruler, prince, and god of this world (John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4)
- The world will hate the believer (John 15:18-19; 17:14)
- The believer is “in the world” but they are not “of the world.” (John 17:14-18)
- The world is “accountable to God” not to the believer (Romans 3:19)
- Believers are not to be “conformed to this world” and it isn’t our responsibility to transform the world (God will do that) but rather we, ourselves, are to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2)
- The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 1:20; 3:19)
- Believers are a spectacle to the world (1 Corinthians 4:9)
- One day, saints will judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2)
- The world has been crucified to the believer and the believer to the world (Galatians 6:14)
- The world is in darkness (Ephesians 6:12)
- Friendship with the world is hostility with God (James 4:4)
- The world is passing away (1 John 2:17)
- The whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19)
This is the true “Biblical worldview.” We cannot usher in the Gospel of the Kingdom through worldly systems, including politics.
As believers we do not work within an ungodly, worldly system to usher in the principles of the Kingdom of God. Rather we do it, as Paul says, through the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit.
One of the things believers must ask themselves is this: Are we more concerned about preserving the “Republic” of American government than we are about ushering in the Gospel of the Kingdom?
If what the “democratic” leaders across America are doing is a concerted effort to persecute and to silence the church then we should respond as the Apostles did in the first century…and count ourselves worthy to suffer for the gospel. (Acts 5:41) But the United States government’s reaction to this current pandemic is not persecution of the church and to think that it is diminishes the real suffering and persecution that happens daily to Christians around the world. Now if you want to say that it is “unconstitutional” for the government in America to pass a law that “prohibits” the gathering of groups of 10 or more at a church because it violates the First Amendment’s “Free Exercise Clause” then yes, say that, but don’t call it “persecution.”
Some among the conservative movement consider a believer’s “civic responsibility” as a “divine calling;” but is it? What is our “divine calling?” Isn’t it to “go into all the world and preach the gospel?” Isn’t our divine calling to pray for “…all men, kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3) Our divine calling is not to make sure the government is treating us fairly.
Throughout this “pandemic” no church has been told to not teach or preach in the name of Jesus! We have just been asked to use some common sense until the threat of infection is minimized.
When Christians act in love the world takes note and wants to know how we can love those who hate us! When we act in hate, anger, and with conspiracy theories, the world also takes note and wants to know what is wrong with those crazy people!
If we are going to be a spectacle to the world, then do it because of love not because of hate or conspiracy theories.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things believes all things, hope all things, endures all things. Love never fails;…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
What do you think? How can we usher in the Gospel of the Kingdom God’s way?
Keith, I am impressed with Frank Viola’s messages promoting what he terms as the “Insurgence.” It sounds like “revolutionary.” I have also been following a ministry that is called “Prophecy Reformation Institute” that is calling for a new reformation, equal to or more significant that Martin Luther’s great Reformation. Its website is http://www.prophecyrefi.org His objective is to bring the Church to teach, preach and practice the Kingdom of God. Actually, both ministries are about revolt, or rebellion against the statue quo of the Church as we have known and practiced it for too long. It is about being a revolutionary. Maybe that is too strong, but it seems to be time for something pretty strong when we realize how weak the Church is compared to the New Testament model. [Hope I got this website right. If not I will correct it.]
Yes, Irene, as you know I follow Frank’s teaching on the Gospel of the Kingdom and it’s “revolutionary” ideas. I believe many in the church have tied themselves so closely to the politics and political parties of this world system that they have neglected the greater need to follow wholeheartedly the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” I will check out the site you referenced.
What about the point that is being made that “if Christians had been involved in politics the US wouldn’t be in the shape it is in…I’m not trying to play the bad guy here I really want to know…If our voting doesn’t count for anything why vote????? If we can accomplish more without being mixed up in politics I am all for it….
Diana, this is a good question. I pray you see my heart in this; I am not advocating for not voting…I have voted in every election since I turned 18 in 1976! Political parties and the government can do much good. However they cannot bring in the Gospel of the Kingdom. And as well meaning as politicians are, what they can do through the carnal worldly system pales in comparison to what God can do through Christ and the ekklesia to bring “God’s ruling presence” into the world. I have no problem with people voting into office Christian men and women, I too vote for that. But we cannot expect just by being involved in politics that we will somehow change the world or America through laws and policies. It will change most when Christians become radical about ushering in the Kingdom of God more than ushering in a certain politician. That is the gist of what I am trying to communicate. If most Christians were as “radical” and “avid” about spreading and sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom as they are about sharing and spreading political ideologies then we would see the change in our country we are wanting. Thank you so much for your question. Blessings.
Well said! Thank you for writing this. It makes me sad when believers get their loyalties and priorities mixed up between institutions of this world and God’s Kingdom, but it is so encouraging to hear others speak the truth in love.
I am way late on this but this is some of what my church is going through. They talk about Jesus during our gathering then immediately go outside and start talking about politics. I am convinced that if you are putting your hope and passion into anything other than Jesus it is idolatry and it will destroy you.