Finding Purpose in Politics

If you were to ask the average voter what they looked for in a political party, I’m sure you could guess some of the responses they might give. They might want the government to pay more attention to green issues and the environment. They may focus on the situation in Afghanistan. They might be concerned about standards in schools or the state of the economy. They could focus on immigration or constitutional reform. They may think life would be better if only the government would give out more benefits…or lower taxes…or provide more funding to the NHS…or support families more. Or they might be completely indifferent to and disillusioned by politics.

But what should a Christian’s attitude to politics be?

What should we be looking for in a party when we cast our vote on 6 May (or what outcome should we be wanting if we can’t yet vote!)?

Should the government be dealing with all of the issues mentioned above…or just some of them…or none of them at all? Or should their focus be on something completely different?

Most importantly, what is the Bible’s pattern for government?

We would love to hear what you think on this, whether your views are conventional or radical – but please let them be biblical!



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7 comments:

  1. Whoever you vote for, you are essentially enpowering them and telling them that they represent you.

    The Christian Party do put themselves forward, not as the Church attempting to take power over the state, but under the motto "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship".
    They are claiming they exist to have a voice. The mainstream parties have stopped listening to the concerns of Christians because they don't think they have to "win the Christian vote".

    We're in a democracy, it's not for us to try and change that, a democracy grants voice to each individual in government, and by extension it grants a voice to the voters who choose those representatives.

    I agree with the way the Christian Party are going about it. They will not stand against another Christian, and they try to support Christians in all parties, on the important matters where they have to stand against their own parties. It's difficult for them, but the Christian Party can be the one to stick the head above the parapet, and the Christians in the other parties can pile on behind.

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  2. Hello,

    What an apt subject to write about.

    Very briefly, I think that this is an area which the Bible is not silent on. It has quite a bit to say on the character or rulers, what governments should be engaged in etc. In summary I think that governments role can be summed up as being a servant of God to carry out justice and ensure the security of a people (see e.g. Romans 13)

    If the Bible informs us on government and if it describes it as God's servant etc, then it goes without saying that all that the State does and everything it seeks to achieve should be derived from and be guarded by Scripture. The fact that the State doesn't acknowledge this does not stop this being true because God has spoken saying that all authority comes from Him (Matthew 28:18-20)

    Kip' Chelashaw

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  3. I would say that the Biblical pattern for government is God ruling and people obeying. However, the people have to be willing - Cromwell's attempts to form a government which allowed every man to walk hand in hand with his Creator show that you can't *force* people to obey God. So, since God's sovereignty is not yet proclaimed by everyone on earth, I think the safest form of government is democracy. In my opinion, anything else is extremely dangerous, as we only need to look around the world to see.

    I think that part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28) and our calling as believers to bring the touch of God to people's lives, we should be involved in politics as much as possible. Okay, so we can't all be MPs :-) but I think that we should at least vote. I'll be honest that it drives me crazy when people are so apathetic that they can't even be bothered to vote! (Not voting because of conscience is slightly different, though.)

    Having only vaguely heard of the Christian Party, I've just looked it up... Definitely sounds interesting! Anyone agree (or disagree?) with their stance that Christians should *not* be members of the major political parties and if they are, won't be able to stand up to the pressure and therefore compromise their values and integrity?

    James, when you said "We're in a democracy, it's not for us to try and change that," did you mean that you think that maybe there is another kind of government would be better?

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  4. This is a great time to take stock of where we are as a country; and to explicitly think about things as Spirit filled, Christ following, Father loving people. Three things come to mind (none of which are intended voting and taking one's duty as a citizen seriously):

    1. We are part of a society, and are represented by our rulers. We get what we deserve (one of the more devastating effects of democracy, perhaps). As we look at the political shambles that surround us, this reminds us of our need to repent and plead for God's mercy.

    2. Exorbitant tax is annoying. Escalating fuel duties are annoying too. Christians should have views on the stuff that the parties are debating. But not forget they are being really pathetic. While thousands are regularly murdered in our land (+/- 200,000 per year) and while sodomy is systematically tolerated, almost every other issue is as irrelevant as every one of those hundred pennies you have in the jar on your window sill.

    3. That Jesus is Lord is necessarily political. But it isn't the kind of political that the secularists cast "political" in terms of. In a country far from Christian we might not be able to avoid "political" as defined by secularists, no more than Noah's ark was able to avoid getting wet with the water all around. Yet Jesus is Lord, not politics.

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  5. Thanks for all your comments, folks. This is such a relevant topic.

    You all had some great things to say, and I especially liked it when Kip said that the Bible is not silent on this topic. Indeed it is not! Proverbs, for example is full of instructions for leaders of nations. In Matt. 17:27 Jesus commands Peter to pay the taxes due, lest they offended those in authority.

    Tabitha, you made an interesting point about abstaining from voting. I know of many Christians who say that it is all too bad to bother voting. But we as Christians must use our voices, while we still have them. One day we may not have a say in politics- let us seek to do what we can while we are still able.

    I think that many of us (and I'm guilty of this as well) are "fair weather" Calvinists. Too often we forget that God is sovereign and that He has a plan for the UK, and of course, for the whole world. Psalm 62:8 says "Trust in Him at all times, you people...". That means when we have good leaders, and when we have evil ones. You are right, Timothy, that Jesus is Lord over politics! We must not forget that.

    Elspeth

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  6. For those of you voting today, I can't tell you who to vote for, but I can encourage you to use your voice wisely.

    For those of us too young to vote; we can all pray that God would raise up godly leaders for our nation.

    For those of you outside the UK, please do offer your prayers for our nation!

    To God alone be the glory!

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  7. Elspeth, thank you for the encouragement! :-) It's the first time I can vote and as the day had drawn closer I've got more and more excited (one person told me that I am the most excited person about the election that they know!) but, I've also become more aware of the responsibility. Maybe it's because it's really the first 'perk' of turning 18 that I have used or maybe it's because everyone has said this is the most important election for a generation but I am so grateful to be able to take part in it... and my questions about whether or not my small vote makes any difference is an overwhelming YES!

    I like what you said in your first comment: "Too often we forget that God is sovereign and that He has a plan for the UK". It's so true - at least, *I* sometimes find that I get so engrossed with my daily life that I forget that I'm part of a master plan - for this country, for the world, for God's Kingdom!

    Okay, I'll stop rambling now! One last thing, though - I agree that we should all be praying about the outcome and our government... Isn't it an exciting time that we live in?!

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