Posted: 10/30/18 at 9:20am. Post by Tony Brooks.
With all the hate crimes, us versus them in politics, and Christians often hurting each other, I think it is time to revisit this blog post I wrote before our last presidential election:
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV)
Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. (Mark 12:17 NIV)
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. (Acts 5:29 NIV)
This is not an easy one for me. I have been private about political views and will continue to be. As a religious leader (and teachers are in that same category), I can talk about issues based on scripture, but not any further. Scripture is my compass, and it is complicated!
There are many ways as Christians we could look at government and politics. I didn’t even bring up Romans 13, which has a lot to say. (I would recommend you read it as well.) Here is my main point as I talk about small groups and Sunday School in relation to politics…don’t do it! Let me share some reasons why:
- Encourage everyone in your class to vote. We are in the world, but not of it—as Romans 12 reminds us. Vote your conscience. Allow God’s word to permeate our present condition, do your homework on all candidates, and vote. That is our right and privilege.
- Do not recommend candidates and spend time in class talking about this. When we do so, we risk three issues: first, you take the time away from Bible study, and how to apply God’s word to our lives. (That is what small groups and Sunday school are about!) Second, we risk alienating class members into an “us versus them” mentality, which will destroy your class. Third, you jeopardize our Baptist principle of the Separation of church and state. We do not want the government dictating how we believe and how we do church. We should not dictate to them in our multi-faith country. We can talk about issues as they apply to scripture, but not candidates.
- Be careful of your witness on social media. When we disagree with others’ opinions, we should do so with respect and not anger. I have seen too many Christians spew anger at others’ opinions about the political parties. When we do, all unchurched persons see it from their friend’s posts and our posts. We have sent them further away from God!
- God is in control. God can handle our world. The question is: can we set the example for our world? I truly believe that our next president and other elected officials cannot solve all our problems. It will take every Christian living out of the Great Commandment and Great Commission. (With God all things are possible!) When we share God’s love for every person with respect (all are created in the image of God), and seek to empower every person to become their best, we begin the journey to see that all things are possible with God.
Jesus lived in a pluralistic age. He loved all of humanity as he was willing to take on a cross. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in this election and forfeit an opportunity to do Kingdom work!
May we embody Micah 6: 8: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Amen. May it be so!