Some “Things” about the 7 Things Christians Need to Remember about Politics

In a recent article by Bryan Roberts’ at Relevant Magazine, he offers us 7 things to remember about politics as Christians. Here’s that list:

1. Both political parties go to church.

2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings

3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others.

4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake.

5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Tim 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7).

6. Don’t be paranoid.

7. Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation.”

From my perspective, these were all really good pieces of advice. Given the current cultural and political climate of the church, many people need to hear these seven things!

This article might fit as a good complement to what I wrote about a week ago on this very issue:

When American politics lure us into media driven arguments about the next best hope for now until 2016, let’s say: “that’s it!” Our hope is in something even better, a political rebel, killed by the government of his day and raised to life by God. This hope dethrones the powers (visible and invisible) and compels us to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth…”

Clearly, we both are trying to demonstrate the ways in which the media and hype often determine the ground rules of political discourse among Christians in America.

But I wonder if something deeper is revealed by these seven areas to remember?

What I think it reveals the most is how much hope we put into politics in general.

In a recent speech, vice president hopeful Paul Ryan called America the “hope of the world.” Does that sound like anything Christians might say about a Person rather than a nation? How odd that Christianized sloganeering hardly phases a majority of Christians in the United States. Many cheered this on. And to be clear, the left side of the aisle uses the same lyrical patterns as well.

During the reign of the Caesars in the first century, when the governmental powers made claims like this, the Christians twisted the phrase to point to actual truth.

“hhhhmmm…. Caesar is Lord, huh? Nope… Jesus Christ is Lord!”

“The Empire thinks that Caesar’s birthday is the “beginning of good news?” They must not have heard the story of Jesus’ birth, where actual angels declare this to be the truth about him!”

“Caesar and his empire – Savior? Nope! Peace-bringer? Nope again! And no, Caesar didn’t fulfill “all the hopes of earlier times” – only Jesus did!”

We need to take the language of American political discourse and excommunicate it from our rhetoric. What if we did something as simple as proclaiming and living into the reality that “Jesus Christ is Lord?”

As helpful as the seven steps offered in the Relevant article are, they reveal how far the church has strayed from its provocative and prophetic role as a voice standing outside of the system.

The very fact that the author (rightly) has to tell people that “both parties go to church” says a lot about the way Christians continue to play into their games. Then, it’s even more telling that he says that “thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake.” Why in the world should Christians even claim a political party in the first place? Doing so renders our voice flaccid.

Jesus is Lord. Democrats aren’t. Republicans aren’t.

We may have some ideas that resonate with either (or hopefully) with both sides, but identifying with a party simply lures us into playing into their hand.

Let’s mourn and repent of the fact that an article identifying these seven areas is even needed in our day and let’s return to our ultimate allegiance: King Jesus!

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  • Bravo!

  • Dave Palmer

    Nicely put, Kurt! Thanks for delving deeper into that article.

  • Nate

    That Paul Ryan statement dovetails nicely with “we have no king but Caesar.” As does much of the “America” rhetoric

  • Magnus Ramage

    I’ve been listening to a talk by Tom Wright on his recent book “How God Became King” (I may well have got the link from your blog).
    As he puts it in the book: “the whole point of the gospels is to tell the story of how God became King, on earth as well as on heaven”.

    But he makes the interesting point that if we say God is King (i.e. if we establish a theocracy), or by extension if we say that Jesus is Lord, then that begs the question as to *which* God, or *which* Jesus we’re talking about – what is the understanding of God or Jesus we’re talking about? And of course there are many different answers to that question.

  • Double true bro

  • regarding politics, the left is no more right than the right, and the right is wrong.

  • Charles Riley

    I think any good advice how to deal with this season where we are being asulted with election stats along with the sky is falling is more than welcome. Sense I gave a couple bucks to a political cause a couple years back I have had 3 or 4 calls a day and all trying to scare me. When I first started working as a therapist this one young man who was a quadriplegic as a result of an accident was telling me God was going to heal him on Nov. 23 of that year and so he was going to skip rehab and wait on God to heal him . When I think of those who tell me not to concern myself with politics or who wins that God will take care of it, I think of my client. I didn’t know if God would heal my young friend but given my personal experience as a quadriplegic and my professional experience I suggested that he work as hard as he can to better himself while he waits on God’s purpose for his life. I had him convinced that it was a good thing to care for his body and this would not hurt his faith for his healing. This is how I feel about my involvement in politics. God has his purpose and he will accomplish this no matter how I try and get in his way. I think I can support a person for president and share and work to better my country and our people and just maybe this is how God will stop abortion in this country. Who knows. God is in control and the sin or problem of politics comes in when we forget this. Thanks Kurt. Corky

  • Dave

    Both parties do not go to church. People go to church – parties do not. After seeing (hearing) the reaction to the proposal to amendment to the Democratic platform during the Democratic convention, I do not believe that the Democratic party is the party of religion at all.

    • The dem platform drama only proves that not all dems go to church. Not all repubs do either. It is irrelevant that the dems aren’t “the party of religion.” The point is that neither is the party of Christ and that is what is important.

  • The Rhetoric in the run up to a presidential election is the laughing stock of the free world. The way so many Christians seem to get confused as to who their saviour is – Jesus or their candidate – is cause for genuine concern.

  • Taking political slogans and Christianizing them? I’m on board!

    “Heaven–Home of the Martyrs”