Sep

6

Christians & Politics, Pt.1

By pastorbillwalden

Over the years I have changed my views on some things. One of those changes has been my view of the need for Christians to be involved in politics, i.e. voting, campaigning, serving in public office, lobbying, etc. (all of course, as one might be led by God)

Generally, I haven’t been interested in politics.  For me, it has always seemed like too much effort was needed to stay current on candidates, their views, their voting records, and their promises for change.  It was always easier to just keep doing my job as a pastor, knowing that that was a worthwhile effort.  Over the years, I have also been busy as a husband, a father and a short term missionary.  I have always felt that I was doing my part in serving humanity through the ministry, and that politics just wasn’t for me.  I voted, but stayed more or less happily ignorant of much of what was happening.

I believe that some Christians try to excuse themselves from being conscientious citizens, politically speaking. Let me share some thoughts that some Christians might have for sidestepping their political responsibility.

Regarding The Environment…
It seems as though Christians and Conservatives are cast in the light of those who are out to rape the planet.  As a Christian, I certainly hold the needs of humans over those of the animal kingdom, or of the Earth itself.  I don’t believe in “Earth First”.  As far as creation is concerned, I believe in “people first”.

I also know what the Bible says about Planet Earth, and it’s final outcome.

2 Peter 3:10 tells us…”But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up”.

I wonder if some Christians believe that since the Earth is going to be burned up, why not just use it up? What does it matter anyway?  I wonder if the view of some Conservatives and Christians might simply be a knee jerk reaction to those whom we might call “tree-huggers”?

It is clearly wrong to worship the creature or the creation, (Romans 1:20, 21,25) but I think it is also wrong to be environmentally irresponsible.  It simply makes sense to try to keep the environment as clean as possible, while keeping all things in perspective.  A toxic Earth isn’t good for anyone. I lived in Orange County in the ’60′s, and I remember getting a sore throat and having difficulty breathing on smoggy days.  It weren’t no fun.  :(

Genesis 1:26-28 tells us about man’s dominion over the Earth.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Man is to have dominion over the Earth.  He is not to worship the Earth. But having dominion does not rule out being environmentally responsible.

While environmentalism isn’t a main concern for me when it comes to politics, it is important and wise for government and the free market to develop alternate energy sources, and to be environmentally responsbile.  After all, we live here.  Let’s keep it healthy.  I think that that has become obvious to most folks.

I’ll share more thoughts soon…

18 Responses so far

Umm… You’re really going to make us wait for the rest? :-)

Yup. ;)

Pastor Bill,

Good topic, I am always torn with what our role should be in politics. Because I can easily become a political junky, I am worried I will get to enthusiastic over politics. But at the same time God has given us the freedom to be involved, and of course a responsibility comes with the freedom.

I have always been an environmentalist in my own mind, but have never been in-step with the green party. I will vote for clean air, clean water, and protection of our great national treasures like the redwoods, etc. But, I also believe people have a right to work, and government should manage both so that people can work, and the environment can be protected too. The problem is government seems to fall one way or the other; either robber barons are allowed to rape the land, or a fictional spotted owl is allowed to put people out of work.

But as a Christian no political topic is more important to me than the protection of human life. I will always vote pro-life. So I hope your additional writings will include this topic as well. Also more recently I have begun to question my support for capital punishment; as I am learning first and second century Christians did not support capital punishment. I have more to study on this topic, but would love to see you address the issue also; but as the Lord leads.

Blessings,
BMR

BMR,

We are on the same page here. Whew! ;)

I do want to share more thoughts on other political topics. Pro-life is huge for me. Parental rights is big. Religious freedom and the legislation that is being called “hate crimes”.

We know how things will turn out, and yet we have to be involved here to some degree.

Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts. You too LTW.

BMR and PB,

What I know is that things are much more lively ’round these parts when you two are not on the same page. heh

You asked: I wonder if some Christians believe that since the Earth is going to be burned up, why not just use it up? What does it matter anyway?

I hope the person with this sort of thought process doesn’t bother to eat healthy, sleep well and or get plenty of exercise, because you know… They’re going to die anyway so what would be the point?

The point is simple; we are to be good stewards with all of God’s blessings, and a lovely planet (Regardless of its present day flaws owing to sin having entered in) is indeed a blessing to be managed wisely.

That being said, I also think that since we have evolved as much as we have and since we are such a brilliant people these days then there should be no problem figuring out a way to drill for our own oil and keep the polar bears happy at the same time.

Oh, but then again, we still don’t have a state budget, do we?

Looking forward to the rest of this,,,but like BMR I tend to be a junky when it comes to politics I have a Fox News Junkie for sure. it is on almost 24/7 here.

“I wonder if some Christians believe that since the Earth is going to be burned up, why not just use it up?”

That type of thinking is right up there with, Romans 6:1:”Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

Christians are to be the models of responsibility; we are to react, not overreact.

Great subject, Bill.

The thing that set off Martin Luther, and started one part of the protestant reformation was the selling of indulgences. A person could purchase forgiveness for sins past and ones they planned to commit. The Catholic Church found this a great way to raise money.

Today the environmental movement is doing the same thing only they call them Carbon Offsets (See Carbonfund.org).This is why Al Gore can have a $30,000.00 + Gas & Electrical bill at his compound in Tennessee, and fly all over the world in private jets, and ride in gas guzzling limos to speak about global warming and still be hailed a “great man” by the Hollywood and liberal elitists. You see he donates money to the carbon fund, so it is OK for him. I don’t know about you but his just smells like environmentally safe horse manure to me!!! :roll:

I am so glad Jesus walked where He asked us to walk. I am so glad in Christ we have one who leads by example. I am so glad one day Jesus is coming back, and He will rule the world again!

BMR

Bill,

I couldn’t agree more! We are to be salt and light. The church is to be the practical presence of Messiah on earth. Would He treat His creation as we have? I doubt it.

God bless!

Hi Pastor Bill;
I really appreciate this post. I agree that it’s so important to be informed and involved in with the voting process of our free nation.

It’s huge that we have a government where we can vote and be involved in the decisions our ‘Christian’ nation … “One Nation Under God” …. is making…

…which not only affect us, but our children and grandchildren…. and our witness to the world.

We have a government that is free… and many people gave their lives so that we could be free.

Part of our freedom comes with the responsiblity to know what’s going on when it comes time to vote and to know that our vote is very important.

I believe that the more people, especially Christians who take more of an interest in what’s going on in our country, government, and especially in our own local home towns, the more changes we will see for our nation returning back to our “One Nation Under God.”

We know the end, true, Jesus wins! We also want to be responsible and good stewards with what He’s entrusted to us… just as you said.

We don’t need to be consumed with politics to the point that it pulls us away from our God-given responsibilities…

…but i think we all have time to stay informed… especially with the way we have access to the media…

Most importantly, I believe, if we’re praying for our president, our leaders and the decisions they need to make, i think the Lord wants us to know how to pray for them specifically. I’m sure our president covets our prayers.

I’m blessed we have strong Christian leaders that stand up in the face of opposition to let us know what’s going on in Washington, in Congress, in our local governments… to tell us the truth.

Thanks for this post.
blessings,
helen

Hmm… Now that it seems we have established that Christians should care about their environment, all God’s creation, and now that we have established that many of us who declare ourselves to be Christians do actually care about our environment, and that perhaps we should in some cases care a little more, then I think it might also be safe to say that some environmentalists would find it a curious thing that we Christians can also appreciate and be stirred and moved by the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2rDp6FnbP0 —Maybe there is some common ground on this particular issue?

Politics and the church has always been a sticking point with me. I’m thankful Bill that you are taking on this subject and I interested in reading people’s perspective on this.

When it comes to the enviroment, I live in an area of great natural beauty (you’ve been here) and have seen the nonsensical forest management practices brought on by the compromise of politics.. it’s hard to take government seriously.

I wonder if many Christians shy away from supporting sound enviromental policies because they may be hesitant to associate with the classical, stereo-typed, left wing enviromentalist? There are reasons to divide, but there should be common objectives that we could agree to work towards.

LTW,
I used to be a big Cat Stevens fan. Still am, actually. I didn’t watch the whole video, but I remember thinking that Cat was a Christians way back in the ’70′s. It turns out that he was in his initial stages of becoming a Muslim. So I guess that left wingers, us Christians, and Cat are one big happy family. I wonder if, as a Muslim, he still holds those views re. the environment? That would be an interesting (maybe short) read: “Muslims And The Envirnoment”.

Mike,
Those (your last paragraph) are precisely the kind of thoughts that I think many Christians don’t (might not) think about.

The idea of Jesus’ kingdom not being of this world might make it easy for many brethren to throw up their hands and relieve themselves of any political involvement here.

That theme will be the next installment, Lord willing.

You said: “So I guess that left wingers, us Christians, and Cat are one big happy family.”

Careful there PB, someone might bust out singing; “We are the World” if we get too cozy over here. :-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne7fPpxAnuM&feature=related

I happen to be a big Cat Stevens fan and I have a lot of thoughts about his life as ‘Yusuf Islam’, but I will suffice to say that I pray for him quite regularly. God gave him an amazing talent and I refuse to believe that talent of his has been completely buried –beyond some sort of Godly unearthing, that is.

I’m looking forward to part two of this topic of yours. I’ve had more than a few brothers and sisters suggest that voting is pointless because God’s choice for president will happen regardless of our voting. —I’m not completely sure how best to address a statement like that.

LTW,
You “quoted” some, saying…”voting is pointless because God’s choice for president will happen regardless of our voting.”

If the Christian life is all about God’s providence, then we ought to cut out of our Bibles all the verses about prayer, fasting, seeking God, etc., since “God’s will” is going to happen. That is not a true theolgolical position that our Christian faimly and friends embrace. They know better than that. :)

If that were true, then stop all the prayer chains, don’t ask for prayer, don’t share Christ, etc., because that theology dictates God’s sovereignty apart from man’s responsibility.

Granted, the juxtaposition of man’s godly efforts and God’s providence is difficult to understand, yet we are told to “occupy until He comes”, to “do good”, to be “salt and light”, etc. None of those commands speaks of passivity in the Christian life, including, IMO, voting for President or propositions.

Thanks for stoking the fire a bit. I’ll take a bit of time to frame the next group of thoughts.

PB -
What do you think about this day being the anniversary of 9-11?

That day certainly affected our environment – we all are affected even to this day as we’re now at war to protect our country and our own lives -

– as citizens we stand together to protect our country – which includes our environment -

thus – our vote and involvement in government to keep us free
is so important -

helen

Bill, I used to listen to you when you were with “Undercover” and I hae the “Fourth Watch” album as well, but just discovered your blog.
I’ll keep my comment short. Since I was blessed by God to be born into a country that allows it’s citizens the opportunity to vote and have a say in the political process and the running of the government, I believe we should vote and exersize whatever rights we have as citizens. However, my problem is that too many Christians are looking to the government for the answers…we are only visiting this planet, our home lies elsewhere and we are citizens first of the Kingdom of Heaven. The cross flies higher than the flag and we need to remember that. As I watch the direction of our country go astray, I see that both political parties seem to be in it for their own good…and I see that one day, the church in this country will be persecuted.
Anyway, so much for keeping it short! LOL! Thanks for the thoughts Bill…keep ‘em coming.

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