". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


The Pandemonium of Politics: Should Christians Really Engage in It?

July 9, 2024

“I think what you’re doing is good,” she said to me, a Christian journalist. “But I guess my question is, why should Christians engage in politics in the first place?” It’s a reasonable inquiry, what she asked. And in no way did I feel it was ill-willed. Rather, it was straight to the point and, indeed, a common reaction to believers who take their faith to the public square. After all, why can’t we just stick with plain and simple evangelism? Why must we get into the chaotic realm of politics?

If asked several years ago these same questions, I would’ve argued that Christians should stay out of politics. It can be a confusing topic to navigate, especially when considering a verse like 1 Timothy 2:2, where Paul encourages us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” However, arguably, this verse isn’t meant to deter us from political engagement. Rather, it’s a roadmap to how we are to behave. Be it in the public square or in our private lives, we are constantly bearing witness to God’s truth, and we are called to do so in love.

But here’s the catch: Plain and simple, evangelism isn’t necessarily a walk in the park either.

To share the gospel message with someone, emphasizing their sin and their need of saving, is inherently offensive. We like to pretend it only gets dicey when we start talking about pro-life matters or LGBT ideology because they’re “too political.” But really, these topics aren’t political. They’re biblical. Not to mention, they’re destined to come up in conversation with those who want to live in obedience of Scripture, as we’re called to do. The Bible says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). To glorify God, we abide in His Word. And His Word is still sovereign in the political public square.

As guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice succinctly stated on last Wednesday’s episode of “Washington Watch,” we live in a society of people who “don’t want the Bible in any shape, form, or fashion.” The term “Christian nationalism” is heavily weaponized by the Left in order to scare believers into avoiding political engagement. There are countless individuals who have dedicated their lives to pushing Christianity out of the public square. But Matthew 12:43-45 talks about the return of an unclean spirit, which makes clear, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person,” it comes back to a house found “swept” and “empty” with “seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Such is true of our political climate.

Like many believers, David Closson, who serves as Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, is a proponent of the separation of church and state. As it was originally intended, this separation keeps the government from meddling with the church — not the other way around. Because as Closson told Hice, “the separation of morality and government” is simply not possible. The parable of the unclean spirit proves something will fill a space left vacant. As such, if truth is pulled from the public square, what else is there to fill it other than lies?

Closson emphasized, “[T]here is no such thing as a naked public square.” Ultimately, “All legislation is imposing someone’s morality.” Yes, Romans 13:1b states, “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Certainly, in the final analysis, God is sovereign over all things. And yet, we have a role to play, and that role involves not allowing the political house to be void of truth.

James 1:22 says to be “hearers only” of the Word is to deceive ourselves. It’s an incomplete picture. We aren’t called to be mere “hearers,” but we are to be “doers.” As James went on to say, “The one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Did you catch that? “A doer who acts.” We are called to act, and the political arena, as messy as it may be, is no exception. It, too, is in desperate need of the truth — the truth we possess in (and only in) Christ!

As church historian Robert Godfrey once said, “Love is always truthful, and truth is always loving.” Which is exactly why Closson posed the question: “Can you really say you love your neighbor in a comprehensive way if you’re not engaged in the public square, where so many decisions are made that directly impact the welfare of your neighbor?” We’re called to be stewards of our time, resources, and our vote. Not to mention, Closson added, “There are all sorts of examples throughout the Bible where people are … engaging in government,” such as Jeremiah, Joseph, and Daniel. “Government is not something that’s inherently dirty.” Really, the very fact that politics seem so dirty and grim is reason enough for Christians to stand boldly in the midst of it, for we are called to be lights.

As lights, we strive to make an impact and defend what’s right according to God’s standard. We use our voices in the public square, because while “we do evangelism first and foremost,” Closson stated, “we also engage this political process because we love our neighbors, and we love our friends.” We engage, Hice added, “because God instituted politics and government. … God created the family, He created the church, and He created government. And for us to say we’re [only] going to engage two out of three … is missing the mark that God has laid out for us.”

The Bible may not directly address everything, but it certainly lays out a roadmap of principals for practically everything. We find in the Bible instances where it says “thus sayeth the Lord,” Closson noted, and we use that as our foundation for all that we do. “[U]nless Jesus Christ is on the ballot, we’re always choosing between the lesser of two evils whether we’re voting for president or county dogcatcher.” But we aren’t trying to transform an imperfect government into a perfect one. No, in this imperfect system, we are pointing to a perfect and mighty Savior; a gracious and sovereign Lord.

As believers, Closson concluded, we need to navigate “these issues together and try to think as faithfully and biblically as possible.” Because if we don’t fight for the sanctity of life as laid out by biology and Scripture, then we only strengthen the side that wants abortion available even after birth. If we don’t uphold the sanctity of marriage, then we’re only paving the way for the destruction of the family unit. If we don’t uphold that we’re all made in the image of God and born exactly the way we were intended to be born, then we are sitting idle as people destroy their lives through body mutilation.

These are all critical battles that Christians have countless biblical reasons to engage in. But perhaps most importantly, if Christians, who represent God’s own kingdom, aren’t willing to proclaim that Christ is King and His truth prevails in the political field, who will?

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.