In Christ, all things hold together (Col 1:17).
An Urgent Need
We’re in the midst of a grave cultural crisis. Our post-modern culture is deteriorating. Our political discourse has become increasingly polarized and uncivil. We see chaos in personal ethics, in marriage, and in the family. We reap the bitter fruit of bad public policy. The unfolding cultural crisis we see before us is germane not only to the USA but across the world.
In our drifting, relativistic, post-modern culture, Christians are dismissed as morally inferior, evil, lost, confused and irrelevant to the issues of the modern world. To some extent this critique is justified because many Christians have, unfortunately, strayed far from Biblical faith in both belief and practice. This kind of functional apostasy leads only to confusion, demoralization and apathy. Additionally, when it comes to politics, even many evangelical Christians hide their heads in the sand, as if the gospel has no power to speak into the weighty human issues that political leaders try to resolve.
Today more than ever, we need wise men of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32) who understand the times and can help us apply God’s Word with godly wisdom to the issues of the day. We need Nehemiahs who will rehabilitate the burned out ruins of our culture and restore faith. We must build confidence in a Biblical worldview that is ultimately more fruitful than worldviews informed by all other forms of unbelief, including secularism and other belief systems.
Three principles for a Christian approach to politics.
In this article, we offer the following three principles for a gospel centered approach to the muddied field of politics.
- God has said that His Word does not return to Him empty, but will accomplish its purpose (Isaiah 55:11). We have confidence therefore that the Word of God gives Christians a clear, redemptive vision for political engagement that can be applied with truth and courage, precisely because it is from the Living God Himself. So politics is not an evil area to be feared or avoided. We do not abandon politics to the devil. For in Christ, all things hold together (Col 1:17). He reconciles to Himself all things (Col 1:20).
- The gospel-centered, four-point plotline of Scripture — creation, fall, redemption and consummation — frames up our Biblical worldview for political engagement. According to the Bible, we live in a perfectly created yet corrupted world that God seeks to redeem and restore. He calls us to join Him in His redemptive mission for the world, drawing all men and women to follow Him in every sphere of life – including the political sphere. William Wilberforce is a great example of a follower of Jesus used by God in the sphere of politics to eradicate slavery in the British Empire in 1833.
- Christians, whose core task is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), have a unique and vitally important role: to exercise Christian witness, proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with Christian character and discernment, and demonstrate to the world a Christian hope. More than ever before, in a disorientated culture that has lost its moorings, we have a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the relevance and veracity of Biblical Christianity rooted in the absolute truth of Scripture.
If we’re serious about the Great Commandments (Matthew 22: 36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20), we apply and live out the restorative truth of God’s Word where people are hurting and need hope. We are called to take the teachings of Christ and apply them to the most important defining issues facing our communities and society. In Christ, who reconciles all things, we mediate the polarizing discussions of our day with well-framed and well reasoned Biblical answers to the problems we face. As we do so, we give people compelling and coherent reasons to follow Christ. Otherwise the void is filled by self-serving false shepherds and cynical propagandists who are hostile to Christ.
Christianity is the only hope for the spiritual and moral renewal of our culture. When embodied in its fullness, the gospel transforms every sector of our society – including politics — for the good of the world and the glory of God. Ultimately, only the gospel can provide viable and meaningful answers to the problems of human existence.
The next article in this series moves from principle to practice: we will seek to apply these Biblical principles to the practical issues that face our country today.
- Ashford, B. and Pappalardo, C. One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics. B&H, 2015.
- Brooks, C.W. Urban Apologetics: Why the Gospel is Good News for the City. Kregel, 2014.
About the author
This article is written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Operations at Village Schools of the Bible.