More and more these days, people are associating Christianity with a political movement. If you scan the headlines and listen to newscasts, you will hear the words “Christian” and “evangelical” used with a set of political beliefs, a group of voters, or in combination with an agenda.
To some degree, this association is warranted. Through the years, particular Christians have identified themselves as members of the self-described “Moral Majority,” “Christian Coalition,” and other groups whose agendas are to influence voters. There are “Christian” Political Action Committees dedicated to influencing congress on social and other political issues. Churches are hosting nationally televised debates for political candidates.
Given these trends, is there an appropriate balance between our involvement in fulfilling the great commission and our involvement with political movements, issues, or candidates?
This is a complicated and controversial issue. Here are some cautions and questions to consider.
First of all, there is a danger in Christians becoming more known for their political beliefs than their Savior. It is concerning when Christian leaders refer more to “Judeo Christian values” than to the name of Jesus Christ. Anytime a believer, church, or denomination is known more for anything other than Jesus Christ, there is a major problem. That includes political issues, opinions, and agendas.
Second, if we are not careful, our involvement in the political process can distract us from our true mission in life, to know Christ and to make Him known to others. Christians have every right to be involved in the political process, but we should always weigh the opportunity costs of doing so. Here’s a question to ask: “Is my time and involvement in political pursuits keeping me from being freed up to follow the Lord’s leading to minister to others or tell others about Christ?”
Third, the volume and nature of politically based email and social media communication is concerning. Most of it is in the form of modern day chain letters, closing with something like “If you really love America (and/or the Lord), you WILL share this.” Many of these posts and emails turn out to contain lies, half truths, or innuendos about a political figure or group. No wonder Christians are becoming much more known for what and who they are against rather than who they are for, the Lord Jesus.
In light of these trends, here are a few questions for self-reflection and evaluation:
- In your conversations with others, are you more willing to share your political opinions than the gospel?
- Do you complain about your governmental leaders more than you pray for them?
- When you receive a political email, do you check the facts before forwarding it?
- Have you limited your realm of influence for the gospel by not associating with people who hold political opinions that are different than yours?
In this political season, let’s remember to keep the main thing the main thing, pointing people to the Lord Jesus.