Lesson 1: The Bible is About Politics

Voting-Bible-BallotWhen I entered the ministry back in the early 1960s, pastors were warned not to get too political in the pulpit or they would lose their tax exemption. John Kennedy was elected president after promising his Catholic faith would not influence his politics. And everyone I knew tried to separate church and state.

Then all of a sudden, everything changed. At first, churches took positions on hot political issues. Then a number claimed we were  to Christianize society by passing laws supporting religious beliefs. And now, many churches tell  their members to vote for particular candidates.

It’s a good time to take a look at the relationship between the church and politics. If you define politics as the way a society manages itself and plans for the future, the church will always be involved. The question is, “What is an appropriate  way to do that in this time and place?”

Let’s begin with the Bible. Even a casual sweep of the scriptures reveals that the story is told in the context of politics. The chief  proclamation of the Old Testament is that God frees the Hebrews from the slavery imposed by the Egyptian pharaoh. In the New Testament, God raises Jesus from death after the Roman governor executed  him.

The history of the Hebrew people pretty much lists one bad king after another, rather humorously repeating that this was a lousy king, and  his  successor was even worse. God used prophets to speak truth to the power of Jewish kings or  pagan emperors who conquered them. From beginning to end, the  Bible teaches how to live as God’s people in an hostile political environment.

You see the same when reading the Jesus story. His birth is told against the oppressive rule of King Herod and Emperor Augustus. He is constantly challenged by the ruling authorities during his ministry. And he is finally executed as the king of the Jews by the the Jewish council and Roman governor.

The apostolic church was always watched or persecuted by government institutions.  Many of its leaders were martyred as enemies of the state.

We usually focus on a couple biblical passages that counsel paying taxes and respecting the governing authorities for keeping order. However, there are also portions such as Revelation that claim the church should have nothing to do with tthe Roman Empire because it works for Satan.

Suffice it to say, the Bible has little good to say about political government. Next week, we shall examine how that changed during history.

Tags: , ,


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.