Ever wonder what role the church is supposed to play in politics? For example, what – if anything – should pastors say about politics from the pulpit, all over America and all around the world? Does the Bible tell us how to vote?
Here’s what the Bible says:
Let the Church be the Church.
The Church’s highest calling and purpose for living is to fulfill the spiritual, eternal, invisible kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Church’s goal is to exalt Christ and to preach, teach, and model the message of redemption, over and above anything else.
But what does that look like? How does the “Church be the Church” when it comes to the area of politics?
The Church’s first priority is to pray for the government.
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1st Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge you, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases our God and Savior who wants all men to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
We don’t pray so the economy gets better or so that our lives are happier or easier. We pray, first and foremost, for those in authority so that there would be peace in the land so the gospel could go forth and people could see the reality of Christ in what we say and how we live.
Christians tend to often be the most negative, critical people who blog, and email, and send little things to one another that you open with these little ads toward one another on both directions.
But I wonder what would happen if we prayed and cared about the souls of those people, and asked ourselves, first and foremost, if there’s a kingdom of heaven that’s spiritual and eternal and my allegiance is first to Christ, maybe that ought to be my priority first and foremost.
The Church’s second priority is to preach and teach the truth of God’s Word. This is so that God’s people would be informed and have a biblical worldview shaped by His values.
God’s not looking for a Democratic vote or a Republican vote. In fact, I have news for you! God is neither a Democrat or a Republican. And when He wants you to vote, He’s not looking for you to say, “Well this is my Republican or my Democratic…” He’s looking for a kingdom vote.
God is looking for the children of God who understand the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom on earth will always be in conflict.
He wants us to understand that the government doesn’t have the power to change the world but only restrain evil. Only we have the power, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to make a difference.
The Church’s third priority is to model truth, justice, and righteousness.
The world changed because of Acts 2:40-47. The people in the early Church lived in a corrupt culture, with a corrupt government, where there was tremendous injustice and immorality. Yet they came together, and they loved each other and they followed Jesus. They made sacrifices and they met the deepest needs in the community.
We should be doing the same.
As individuals, we should be helping runaway teens, helping to stop sex trafficking, helping people that are HIV positive, regardless of how they got it. We should be feeding the poor and living in community.
When Christians live like Christians, we’re the most winsome, powerful group on the face of the earth.
So, let’s let the Church be the Church. Let’s radically live out and model – not subservient agendas around smaller issues – but the big agenda of Christ and Him crucified.
That’s the role of the Church.
For more information about being salt and light in today’s culture, check out Chip’s series Culture Shock.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip