True Christianity and Politics—Are They Compatible?
This Q&A is not meant to be a comprehensive review of various political persuasions, but rather a look at whether true Christianity and politics are compatible. Even within various political parties, there can be quite a difference of views from various factions within the party, but this usually only increases the difference with apostolic Christianity. We want to make it plain that adherence to any political persuasion is but folly and not to be countenanced by those who are baptised Church of God members.
First of all, let us quote from our Statement of Beliefs under the heading “Relationship with God”:
“We believe that a Christian’s duty to God is of a superior and higher nature than our duty arising from any human relationship (Acts 4:18-20; 5:27-29). We therefore, following Biblical commands and principles, do not participate in voting for national elections or jury duty, and we do not join the military…”
We have some previous Q&As on the question of voting, as follows:
“Why do you teach that a Christian should not vote in governmental elections?” (31st January 2002).
“Is It Really That Important to Understand that We Must Not Vote in Governmental Elections?” (17th April 2015).
“Would you please explain why and in what way governmental officials are ‘God’s ministers,’ as mentioned in Romans 13:4, 6? Does this mean that we could or even should vote for them in political elections?” (28th December 2012 and 4th January 2013).
“Is it a Sin to Vote in the Presidential Election?” (4th November 2016). In that Q&A, we say this:
“In our free booklet, ‘Should You Fight in War?’, we address biblical passages which PROHIBIT a true Christian from voting in governmental and presidential elections and from getting involved in political campaigns in ANY way, pointing out that one cannot separate the issues of voting, jury duty service and FIGHTING IN WAR! We state the following:
“‘It is inconsistent to take the position that one cannot join the military because one is an ambassador of Jesus Christ and a citizen of another government – the Kingdom of God – while at the same time serving on a jury or voting in governmental elections. For instance, in the United States, the President is also the Commander-in-Chief, having both the right and the obligation under the Constitution, in certain circumstances, to declare war. How can one refuse to participate in war, while voting for a person who has the right and the obligation to declare war? In the past, people were disqualified as conscientious objectors because they did not refuse to serve on a jury or to vote in governmental elections. It was ruled that such an obvious inconsistency in position showed evidence for non-sincerity of the applicant.’
“We also explain in our booklet that it is SATAN who rules this world and EVERY country, WITHOUT exception. It is true, of course, that Satan can only do what God ALLOWS him to do, but generally speaking, God is NOT getting involved in the affairs of this world, and neither should we. God will ONLY intervene and see to it that certain individuals end up in governmental positions, if they are temporarily needed to fulfil aspects of God’s plan. But this would be GOD’s doing, NOT ours.”
We feel that it is worth reiterating the biblical view on voting so that there is no doubt whatsoever as to what God’s Word teaches. We have been consistent over many years and it is important to lay this foundation before embarking on looking at true Christianity and politics and why they are simply not compatible. That is not to say that we are not to take an interest in what is going on but that we are not to get involved and entangled in political arguments favouring one party or another as none of them have the answers to ridding the world of poor and ineffective government, and they simply do not agree with or implement true Christian teachings as a basis for their existence.
We have also propounded this teaching in sermons and sermonettes over the years, including “My Candidate is Not Standing,” “Why Not Vote” and “The Christian in a Political World.”
There are, and have been, those who think that Christianity and politics are inseparable. In the 20th century, Donald Soper was a UK high profile and prominent “Methodist minister, socialist and pacifist.” We can see straight away a contradiction in terms – a minister and a socialist, thus taking and advocating a particular political stance.
On the BBC News website, dated 17th February 2015, the following report was published: “In a letter urging congregations to vote on 7 May, the House of Bishops said that ‘it does not endorse a political party but encourages debate on issues such as nuclear defence and the economy.’” This is about the Church of England, of course – in politics. They said: “We want to encourage people… to engage more deeply with politics.” Politicians need to deliver a “fresh moral vision” ahead of the general election, the Church of England says. “We want to encourage people… to engage more deeply with politics”. The 52-page letter – an unprecedented intervention by the House of Bishops – says: “It is the duty of every Christian adult to vote, even though it may have to be a vote for something less than a vision that inspires us.”
Just look at ANY candidate – and we do mean ANY candidate standing in any constituency for any party at any election at any time. Ask yourselves these questions:
Are they promoting the true Christian message? Are they totally opposed to abortion? Are they totally opposed to homosexuality? Do they denounce the evils in society? Do they even know what they are? Will they pursue the goal of eliminating blasphemy in our society? Will they uphold the sanctity of marriage? Will they promote biblically based laws and understanding? The list could go on and on…
Could any politician, of any persuasion, anywhere in the world put across a programme endorsing God’s Way—and for the electorate to vote for this and for him or her to have the ability to implement? Not a chance on either count—Satan would see to that!
One well-meaning but confused website remarked: “Where we have a voice and can elect our leaders, we should exercise that right by voting for those who best demonstrate Christian principles.”
A writer in the Christian Post wrote in 2015: “When the moral and righteous people of God do not take it upon themselves to vote or run for office, they are carelessly leaving the fate of future generations in the hands of the wicked and immoral – and that, dear brothers and sisters, is not loving your ‘neighbour as yourself.’”
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, the late human leader of the now defunct Worldwide Church of God, wrote the following:
“Jesus’ disciples live in this present evil world as though they were foreigners, here merely as the guests of the nation where they reside, as AMBASSADORS for Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:20) and His coming Kingdom, not of any of this world’s government. A foreign ambassador does not involve himself in making their state [where he lives] a better state, or voting, or entering their army or fighting for their cause… The true Christian is one who follows Christ, and Christ did not vote! Jesus did not try to reform Caesar… He preached the doctrine of a radically different world to come… This is Satan’s world and Jesus Christ did not come to reform Satan or improve Satan’s handiwork, but to save His followers from Satan and his system. Since God’s Kingdom is not literally set up as yet, the true Christian’s citizenship is now reserved in heaven.”
In John 17:16, Jesus was praying for His disciples and said: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
One commentator wisely observed that “The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.”
We must remember that politics is a profession of leaks, briefings, lies, double-dealing, deceit, division, argument, name-calling, horse-trading, compromise, intrigue, hypocrisy, coups and much more, where politicians can be cowed into submission for the good of the party, often at the expense of personal conscience. It is a profession with pretty much the sum total of human nature operating in the quest for, or the maintenance of, power. Politics, often, rides roughshod over God’s laws and commandments, and politicians are often involved in the introduction of new laws that are not in accordance with the Will of God. This paragraph alone gives enough information to clearly show that true Christianity and politics are totally incompatible.
Some have come to the erroneous conclusion that we should vote (and, therefore, be involved in politics) by voting for the lesser of two evils. This was evident in the comments of many in the 2016 US Presidential election, but for the true Christian, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 is a piece of Scripture that must be followed: “Abstain from every form of evil.”
True Christians are a rare breed of God-fearing people on earth in these end times, and it is clear that true Christianity and politics are completely incompatible.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)