Is Your God Bigger Than Your Politics?
I just finished reading the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. On a consistent basis when he would go to preach he faced unbelievable opposition from other Christians. Sometimes the mostly Christian audience would throw garbage at him, yell horrible things, and even threaten his life. This was due to a different understanding of what the Bible taught.
When the Protestant Reformation was in full swing back in the 1500s, John Calvin, one of the great reformers sanctioned the drowning of some Anabaptists, because they wanted to take the Reformation too far. In other words, his understanding of the Bible was different from the Anabaptists, so much so, that Calvin believed their interpretation of certain areas of Scripture would disrupt the society as a whole. Ultimately this is an example of Christians killing Christians.
In my lifetime I have not seen such vitriol, judgmental proclamations, hatred, and division among believers as it is today. The main issue this time is not theology, but politics.
I wrote in a prior blog, “Why Are American Christians So Angry, Even Making Death Threats”, that as a result of the 2020 presidential election and the January 6th storming of the Capitol some Christians were threatening other believers with death just because those Christians criticized the attackers. So apparently there is nothing new under the sun.
Whether it is theology or politics, the most important question regarding differences is whether our God is bigger than the situation? What I mean is can we trust the Lord enough that no matter who is in office, that He still holds the world in His hand, including America?
I, like most Americans, believe certain political candidates are better than others. But not surprisingly other deeply committed Christians think differently. The key is can we disagree, still love each other, and believe that no matter who wins, that we can trust the Lord, period!
In the Old Testament we see numerous kings in charge of Israel and Judah that were labeled evil. Some like Manasseh ruled over 50 years. Also in the Old Testament we see God rising up ungodly nations to take captive his chosen people because of their wickedness.
In the book of Habakkuk, we see a dialogue between Habakkuk and God regarding the evil Chaldeans who ruthlessly oppress and take captive Judah. Habakkuk knows God to be a good God, but doesn’t understand why He isn’t acting to get rid of the invading horde. What totally surprises him is God tells him that He is the one rising up the enemy (see Habakkuk1:5-6).
When the Babylonians take Judah into captivity, Jeremiah is told to pray a blessing on this cruel and ungodly nation while in bondage. This is what the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:7. “And work for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the Lord for that city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you.”
In the New Testament we know that at the time of Jesus’ ministry, Rome was in power and had captured Israel. We know the Romans to be cruel and rule with an iron hand. Yet nowhere in Jesus ministry do we see him bemoan this fact. In fact when presented before Pilate just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus tells Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world (see John 18:36-37). He emphasized if his kingdom were on earth, His followers would be fighting to save it.
So what are the lessons in all this for believers in a democracy like ours? The lesson is to get the facts about the candidates’ positions, pray about who you should elect, and then due your civic duty and vote. Once you have voted and if you candidate didn’t win, don’t go believing that the sky is falling and the end of the world is at hand.
All throughout the Bible, God has used both godly and ungodly leaders to accomplish his purposes. So in a democracy, when someone has won an election they become the one that we believers should pray for regularly to do the right thing.
Who is to say which candidate is God’s person? He might want an ungodly individual in power for reasons we don’t fully understand. To believe that our happiness is determined by who is in charge, then we have elevated politics above the Lord. That my fellow Christian is idolatry.
So if Jesus is Lord at all, then He is Lord of all. Let us quit fighting and complaining the outcome of elections and get on to the business in winning people for Christ. The world needs to see that we love and care about them more than who is the elected leader. If we start doing that, then we will be doing what Jesus would do, being Kingdom minded, not politically minded.