Christians, Leave Your Politics At The Door

 

There’s a trend developing within the church that I don’t like.  A trend that I think will cause increasing trouble.  A trend that, if not dealt with clearly and decisively, has the potential to divide that which God seeks to unite.

It’s not the trend of contemporary worship music style.  It’s not the trend toward increasingly complex multimedia presentation.  It’s not the trend of small home groups.

It’s the trend of combining political discourse with the function of the church.

I’ll make my point as simply, as succinctly, and as directly as I can:

 

POLITICS HAS NO PLACE INSIDE THE CHURCH


If you’re using the church as a soundboard for your personal political agenda, then you need to stop. You are dividing the church.

 

I have followed national politics as a hobby interest for roughly 20 years.  I consider myself reasonably astute, well-versed in political discourse, and unapologetically conservative.  However, the one thing I will not do is use the structure of the church (or its captive audience) to make a stump speech for my political views.  “Why is that?”, you ask?  The reason is very simple:

Politics divide.  God’s purpose for the church is to unite.

There are people who don’t know the love of Jesus Christ, and they’re going to Hell for it.  All of the political proselytizing in the world won’t do ONE SINGLE THING to bring someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus, so if you’re telling yourself that it’s okay to mix church and politics, then KNOCK IT OFF.

This means you, Tea Party Patriots who hand out your stickers on Sunday morning and place your pamphlets on car windshields in the church parking lot.

This means you, militant pro-lifers who use the sanctity of life as a bludgeoning tool to demand the immediate compliance of all who disagree, rather than invest yourselves in the life of a young woman facing an incredible choice.

This means you, political activists who bring your preferred political candidate into the church on Sunday morning during election season to parade them in front of the congregation.

This means you, ministers of the Gospel who use church lobbies to peddle pamphlets and tell graphic stories of the horrors of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

This means you, average laymen who argue with your brothers and sisters about whether Jesus was a Liberal or a Conservative when he said “If you love me, feed my sheep”.

NONE of it has any lasting value for the sake of the kingdom of God.  Even the Apostle Paul – an erudite man of considerable political skill and persuasion – told the church at Philippi that:

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11, NIV, emphasis added)

Paul understood that the only thing worth knowing is Jesus Christ.  Political agendas mean nothing.  Political goals are worthless in the eternal realm.  Political ideals do not save people from their sins.  He considered all of it garbage if it interfered with his knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Should we now, in light of Paul’s profession, use the church as our bully pulpit for petty, insignificant political differences that serve no purpose other than to point fingers of accusation and blame at those who don’t agree?  Shall we take the church – whose purpose is to reach the lost – and turn it into a “Conservatives Only” or “Liberals Only” club?  Shall we unite the body of Christ with what amounts to bullyragging?

Christians, you will not be held accountable for how effectively you castigated your political opponents.  You will be held accountable for how well you followed in the Master’s footsteps – “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)

I don’t believe that political activism is inherently sinful, just as I don’t believe that riding my motorcycle is inherently sinful.  But there’s a time and a place for everything, even politics.  The church is neither the time, nor the place.

Christians, leave your politics at home.  Bring your love for Jesus and your love for each other to church.