“There’s no need for politics in the church,” you might say after reading the title of this post. But statements like these miss the entire middle part of our Bibles we call the major and minor prophets. These books are filled with declarations of how nations must change their attitudes spiritually, personally and politically. The Voice of God propels these prophets onward to butt heads with political powers, because the “powers that be”—even the ones anointed for the job—are always off from God’s expectations and need to be reminded of that and given correction.
And that’s why no one liked the prophets. No one truly wanted to hear what God had to say, so these prophetic messengers were often either told to shut up or were killed. After all of these centuries you’d think we get it by now, but many Christians still try to silence modern day prophets who cry out on the same exact themes as the prophets of old.
Any political edge that I have comes from Jesus. My theology and understanding of the Bible is heavily centered on Christ. Don’t hear me wrong: I believe all of the Bible is infallible and equally inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16), but I find it incredibly important to put my main focus on Jesus while reading all of the Scriptures. Soaking myself in the four gospels teaches me to read the whole Bible in the light of God incarnate. When we see Jesus, we’ve seen the Father (Jn 14:8-11) so that’s where I start.
And if we start with Jesus, we see that he did a whole lot more than heal people and display signs and wonders. He also cared much about the natural things in life. He came “to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Lk 4:18), spent much of his time with the poor and unlovely, taught us to lay down our weapons (Lk 22:49-51), love our enemies (Mt 5:44), and reach out to people of all ethnicities (Mk 11:17). And since “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev 19:10), his prophetic words are the ones we must follow.
Some say Jesus didn’t get involved in politics, but His favorite message was of the Kingdom of Heaven—and kingdoms are always political. Not to mention the fact that the “separation of church and state” is a modern day idea. In ancient times, politics were religion. Jesus’ actions and teachings lived out in His followers fly in the face of politics and politicians throughout the centuries; for the rules and regulations of His kingdom run counter to that of any country’s. And as Christians, it is his country that we are citizens of (Phil 3:20) under his leadership as King/President; and therefore, we follow his directions regardless as to what any other kingdom expects of us.