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Christianity and Politics

Posted by Chance on April 11, 2006

Okay, kind of a vague title, I admit. Especially since that is what so many of my posts are about. Last Sunday, the young adult preacher discussed Palm Sunday, where Jesus rode on the donkey. He pointed at something I had never noticed. In Psalm 118:26 the Psalmist says “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.” Many of the gospels mention that the people of Jerusalem quote this verse as Jesus is riding on the donkey the Sunday before his crucifixion. In Luke 19:38, however, there is a slightly different phrase “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Now, we all think of Jesus as the king, this is not unusual, but Israel thought of Jesus as an earthly king, as someone who would help the Jews break free from the Romans. As the people awaited the Messiah, their expections of what he would be overshadowed who he actually was.

The pastor pointed out that many times we can do this as well. It can happen with our political beliefs. That hit home with me. I know many times I tend to believe what I want to believe, then use the Bible to support it. My goal should be to study the Bible, understand what God wants and commands, and derive political beliefs from that. Doing so is very difficult, however. There are many Christians who believe the Bible, yet have widely varying political beliefs. Also, the Bible seems so silent concerning the role of government. The New Testament mainly focuses on submitting to the authorities, but it does not focus on what type of authority should be established. There is the theocracy established in Israel for much of the Old Testament, but this is a situation where a nation almost directly communicates to God.

Anyway, no matter what political belief system we have, we should ensure that we do not manipulate our understanding or image of Jesus to fit along with our political convictions, and that is not meant for anyone reading this, this is meant really for myself. But how does one totally separate themselves from what they believe? How do we derive political philosophy from the Bible, without somehow doing the opposite? Sometimes our political beliefs are imbedded in us, as well as our religious beliefs, so its hard sometimes not to read the Bible without our political lense. No matter what we come up with, we should always be careful to attach Jesus’ name to our cause.

What Jesus wants, and what the Bible commands, is clear. Flee from sexual immorality, do not be drunk, abstain from profane speech, feed the poor and hungry, love your wife, etc… While we may all have different opinions on where government gets involved, I believe that the Bible is pretty clear on morality for our own lives.

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3 Responses to “Christianity and Politics”

  1. The Prophet said

    Good Post. Something that drives me absolutely crazy is when parties use one passage or one verse in the Bible to lean their policies on, when other passages speak to the contrary.

    With the whole Mexican immigration policies, I’ve been hearing the “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to Me” quote.

    Personally, I’ve been challenged by this debate recently. I mean I do want to show hospitality to the least of these, and most who cross our borders are the least of these, but at what price?

    And should there be a price?

    Also, it’s not really a “welfare from the church, not the government” issue, because I don’t believe in the church breaking the law. I’d like to hear your opinions on this situation.

  2. Chance said

    The immigration issue is something I have been thinking about too. I think I’ll post about it.

  3. Chance said

    The immigration issue is something I have been thinking about too. I think I’ll post about it.

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