The Elephant In The Church

The Elephant In The Church July 3, 2018

 

For many Christians, the idea of separating their faith and their politics is absurd. They see nothing wrong with having an American flag in the sanctuary. They have no problem pledging allegiance to the flag before the service starts. They sincerely believe that being patriotic and Christian is perfectly fine – even normal.

But for the first 300 years of Church history, no Christian would have ever pledged allegiance to their birth nation. To do so would have been treason. In fact, Christians were martyred BECAUSE they refused to declare that Caesar was Lord and went to their deaths shouting, “I have no King but Jesus.”

All of that began to change when Constantine entangled the Church and the State.

But, I’d like to ask a question: In over 6,000 years of human history, how many of mankind’s basic problems have been solved by politicians?

None of them. 

How many of man’s sins have been dealt with by all the greatest politicians who have ever lived?

None.

As stewards who must one day give an account of our money and time, why would we invest anything in a system with such a disappointing track record for success?


Politics is about writing and passing and enforcing laws. Even God’s Law wasn’t capable of transforming the hearts of men and women. Why do we still believe that we can do better?

Do we really need more laws? Do we need better people writing the laws? Is our problem the lack of law enforcement?

What does the Bible have to say about all of that? Do experts in the Law set us free? Is the Law capable of changing us into the image of God? 

“For if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Gal. 2:21) 

Let me ask you this: What if there was something that could reform the convict? What if there was a formula for changing people into better citizens? What if there was hope for every broken marriage? What if every addict could find hope for life beyond their daily habit? What if there was a way to create an entire society of people who loved one another, cared for one another, and went out of their way to bless everyone around them?

Now, I’m not saying that there is something like that. But, what if? Just imagine it! Wouldn’t something that revolutionary – something with the power to change every human heart from within and make them a brand new creature – wouldn’t that be better than any political solution you had ever heard of in your life?

And if – just if – that sort of society-changing paradigm actually existed, wouldn’t it be foolish to waste your time on a political solution? Especially if, so far, not one single politician or ideology had ever once come close to something nearly so effective and powerful?

Several years ago I was in a Christian band. I wanted more than anything in the world to get signed to record deal. Why? So I could share the Gospel with more people, I told myself. But eventually I had to admit the truth: I wanted to get signed to a record deal because I wanted to be famous. I had to admit that if I really wanted more people to hear the Gospel, our band could play bars and clubs and street corners. 

Mixing Politics and Christianity is no different. We may tell ourselves that we’re doing it because we want our nation to be more Christian. But if that’s what we really wanted, we’d spend more time preaching the Gospel and living out the commands of Jesus in our daily life. 

Besides, do you know what you get when you mix religion and politics? You get politics.

The truth is: Legislation will never change anyone’s heart. The Gospel is not spread through Political Initiatives or Laws. 

Let’s just admit that when we seek political solutions to our problems it’s because we’ve given up on changing the world by sharing the Gospel and now we just want to pass laws to force people who are not Christians to act like we do so we’ll feel more comfortable in this society.

No political agenda, party, system, or politician will ever bring our nation any closer to the image of God. Only Jesus can do that. 

Our core problems, as a human race, are spiritual in nature. The only solution is spiritual. 
Jesus is our answer. He is the only answer. 

No other additives or preservatives are required.

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Jesus Unbound: How the Bible Keeps Us From Hearing the Word of God”, available July 4th, 2018.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Steve Rustin

    “do you know what you get when you mix religion and politics? You get politics.” Such a great line. You are one of my favorite bloggers, thanks for doing what you do!

  • Ivan T. Errible

    So you’re going to renounce tax breaks and housing allowances and clergy deferrals from the draft?
    All of those are Constantinian.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    If Jesus is the answer, why are the most devout societies almost always the least “progressive” and most dysfunctional?
    Compare Sicily with Sweden or Vermont with Mississippi or Iran with the Netherlands or New Zealand with the Philippines or….

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    Anabaptists are a good example of Christians in America who aren’t like the ones you describe here. I’ve been reading up on them and visited one of their churches last Sunday. We have a lot of Anabaptists in Pennsylvania where I live. You may enjoy reading this: What is an Anabaptist Christian? https://www.mennonitemission.net/Downloads/DL.MissioDei18.E.pdf

  • Yes, please.

  • Matthew

    I´m wondering why my post, which offers an alternative argument to the one you make in this blog post, didn´t make the moderation cut?

  • Matthew

    ???

  • kcwookie

    “But, I’d like to ask a question: In over 6,000 years of human history, how many of mankind’s basic problems have been solved by politicians?
    None of them.”

    Depends on how you keep score. I could ask how many problems have been solved by clergy and give the same answer.

  • wakingdreaming

    It shocks me that you don’t see how political this post is.