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Q. Should Christians be involved in political activism like tea parties, protest marches and writing letters to Congress? Isn't this our moral duty in our representative form of government? After all, we live in a Republic - not a Democracy.
Fighting the Pagan Left
Many Christian political-activists are fighting what they believe is the pagan left in Congress, the Presidency and our culture. Some of our finest men such as the late James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries or psychologist James Dobson of Focus on the Family inspire Christians to sign petitions against immoral laws, to take the ACLU to task over its ambitions to remove religion from public schools, to engage in "Tea Parties" to protest excess taxes and government spending, and to stop the horrors of late-term abortion.
These seem like fine things to do. But, are they? What does God call His church to do in a world clearly ruled by Satan? (See John 14:30, Ephesians 2:2).
In Jesus' day Pharisees were the Religious Right. But, the first-century Pharisees could not avert God's judgment when Jerusalem was destroyed by Romans. In fact, Jesus denounced the Religious Right and pronounced judgment upon them!
No Protests against Evil Emperors
Paul, the Apostle John, Peter, and others lived during a period when emperors did terrible things to Jews and Christians. Yet, none of the apostles or Church Fathers led protest marches against evil emperors in order to replace them with godly men. In fact, Peter said,
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you. But, to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation (1 Peter 4:12-13, NASB).
Change from the Inside-Out
Unless we are a nation of saved men and women, we will continue this descent into immorality, thus bringing God's wrath upon us. Wrath is due when a society rejects God and suppresses human conscience (Ro. 1:18). Therefore, we must work to fulfill the Great Commission with the help of the Holy Spirit - working in love and devotion to one another and to saving a lost and hurting society.
While I have presented an incomplete list compiled by Pastor John MacArthur, you might want to consider the following points:
Ambassadors for Christ
1. Moralism is not our commission. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says that we are to become ambassadors for Christ, reconciling people to God (2002, 84).
2. It wastes immense amounts of time and precious resources to fight the system. Our energies should not be spent just trying to make sinners better people. …We're not interested in making cosmetic changes to our nation's moral climate. We ought to be proclaiming the saving gospel of Jesus Christ through which God saves people from their sins and gives them new hearts and eternal life (p. 86).
Kingdom not of this World
3. Moralism misconstrues the nature of God's kingdom. …Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight (p. 87).
4. Moralism is a religion devoid of theology (p. 88).
5. Moralism misconstrues what it means to be salt and light. But salt and light are not symbols of our moral influence or political power. These figures represent the gospel witness and the power of holy living (p. 89).
No New Testament Model
6. Moralism has no New Testament model except the Pharisees. …There is no New Testament model for political action. Jesus didn't try to overthrow slavery. The apostles didn't organize protests against the immorality, inequity, abusive tax system, or even the ruthless persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire (p. 90).
7. Political effort to moralize society result in unholy unions with unbelievers and enemies of the gospel. …When we are aligned politically with people who are offended by the gospel, our testimony is hindered and our ability to minister effectively is hamstrung…(2 Corinthians 6:14-17, p. 91).
8. Moralism is selective about the sins it attacks. One doesn't hear the Religious Right arguing with much enthusiasm against pride or materialism (p. 92).
Spiritual Warfare Forgotten
9. Moralism fails to understand the true nature of spiritual warfare. …Spiritual warfare is described in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. It entails smashing down erroneous ideologies with the truth of God's Word…(p. 93).
Making Converts not Enemies
10. The politics of moralism make those we are supposed to reach with the gospel into enemies. Unbelievers, immoral people, pornographers, homosexuals, and abortionists have become vilified and hated among believers. …But they are our mission field (p. 93).
(end of quotes)
Political activism tends to support the idea that we can force unbelievers to behave like believers. It assumes that we can force the world to be a better place - indeed, to bring forth God's Kingdom on earth.
This can become a form of "replacement theology," or a belief that the church has replaced Israel. It has a tendency to set aside the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture and God's judgments upon the world during a 7 year tribulation period.
Finally, we have observed people "worshipping" the U.S. Constitution as if it were God's Word. While the founders were mostly godly men, they were only men. They were not inspired as those prophets and apostles who penned God's Word.
Fulfilling the Great Commission
Saved men and women who fulfill the Great Commission will bring about change in our country: "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:18-20, NLT).
Changing our Nation
Nations are changed by first changing the hearts of its people. The Bible is clear that if we want to change others we must first change ourselves. This means working "one on one" with our brothers and sisters to strengthen our Biblical World View. We must do our homework. Remnant Report staff strongly suggest that we all support and attend local churches and home Bible studies as we consider spending precious time in political activism.
MacArthur, John. 2002. Can God bless America? Nashville, TN: The W Publishing Group. (Pages 84-97).
—- Why government can't save you. 2000. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing.
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