How Involved Should The Church Become In Political Issues?
Frequently, we hear this question raised by television and news personalities. Many people believe that church- es participating in the political debates of the day should not be considered tax-exempt, non-profit organiza- tions by the Internal Revenue Service. “Separation of church and state”, we hear. And the battle rages.
Keep in mind that the Christian is first and foremost a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20). Jesus teaches that we must “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matt. 22:21). Should the church endorse candidates for public office? Should we raise money and contribute to political campaigns? What about forming an organization to promote adherence to some moral principle? Should we join the political fray and use our pulpit to sway political opinion? Some people see no problem with involving the church in such activities. In fact, many engage the church in these things. During a national election, I once attended a Sunday morning service in a “conservative” church where an announcement was made encouraging us to pick up a brochure being distributed to the assembly by the “Christian Coalition.” The brochure detailed the positions of candidates for office on a variety of moral and social issues.
Without question, Christians must stand for what is right and oppose any and every false way. Morality is not al- ways a private issue, so we may need to speak out boldly and publicly about immoralities which assault us. We must uphold the sanctity of marriage as God designed it, oppose abortion, and identify the evils of illicit drug and alcohol usage. We must teach the value and dignity of every human being made in God’s image and avoid racial prejudice and discrimination. These are moral issues which are often used as “political footballs” — kicked about by the candidates and their political parties. But we must remember that these questions cannot be settled at a ballot box! These are matters which require teaching, persuasion, and reason from Gospel principles. But political parties often say one thing and do another in order to obtain votes. Christians must stick to the truth, popular or not. Churches must preach the Gospel boldly and leave partisan politics out of their agendas and pulpits. The Gospel is God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16) not a certain political party platform. Our hope is not in our elected leaders, but in our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ. All political parties are right on some questions and wrong on others.
When the church plays partisan politics, the biggest loser will be the church itself.
￼— Mark White