The question naturally arises whether Christians, who are driven by Jesus’ love to love others, should be involved in politics? If “Politics” is defined as the process of effecting civic and social policy, then by all means “YES!” Christians should be out there in the political arena helping to drive the bus!
The resultant question from that is whether Jesus himself was in politics? Was Jesus political? The answer there is absolutely “YES!” as well. While Jesus correctly kept himself out of the issue of whether he was attempting to be an earthly ruler (“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21), he clearly told Pilate that He was a King, and that His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). So then, again, should citizens of the “Kingdom of Heaven” be involved in earthly politics?
The answer there derives again from the earlier statement that we should “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The double meaning in that statement implies that we should not just pay taxes but be involved in the running of the Government for the good of all people. We cannot just sit in a Christian ghetto someplace and hide our heads in the sand and pretend that it will all be OK. On the contrary, Christians should be and often have been involved in politics and the political process. Many outspoken Christians were involved not only in the creation of the United States, but in the shaping of its policies for the good of our own people and the nations where we have interests.
One of our most cherished, admired and loved presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was a deeply reverent man who was devoted to Jesus and His teachings. His knowledge of the Bible is evidenced in many of his writings and speeches. Many Christians have also been involved in military roles through history including one of my personal favorites – General George S. Patton. Patton was a driven man, but one who had extreme reverence for Jesus and the teachings of Christianity.
Another great example of a Christian man who was devoted to Christ, but who found himself in an untenable position was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. What Bonhoeffer witnessed is beyond the capacity for most of us, but his response is one of the most amazing things I have ever heard of: Bonhoeffer was a Christian ordained minister in Germany prior to World War II, who taught The Bible. And yet, what he witnessed in the NAZI atrocities was so horrible that he was driven to become a spy inside the NAZI intelligence operations! Bonhoeffer found that in spite of the teachings of Christ that we must sometimes kill in order to rid society of a great evil!
Of course that is the basic answer to World War II which I have studied for most of my life. The evil in society sometimes makes it necessary for Christians to kill, or take part in killing. Please note that this does not condone murder, nor should this be used as an argument to kill doctors who perform abortion or something like that. That’s not what I’m talking about at all. My point is simply to argue that sometimes Christians must be involved in life or death decisions during times of war, and sometimes they must even take life in order to preserve the goodness of society as a whole.
But Christians must be involved in politics, the running of Government in order, if for no other reason, than to prevent an extremist regime such as the NAZI’s from coming to power again and doing much harm to society as a whole. Success of society is not measured in productivity or GDP, rather it is a measure of how many young people are getting married and having families. How many young people are committing suicide and are on drugs? How many young people have “checked out?” This is our true measure of “success.” The idea behind this is that we must pass the baton of leadership from our generation to the next and see that they hold similar sorts of values to what we have cherished. As I have said in the past as well as here, those values are not based on some silly notions of financial or productive successes, but are rather gauged by how much we love and care for our children.
Jesus commanded us to love one another. That’s our bottom line. Being involved in society, in the running of Government is a good way to love one another.