Country music star Sammy Kershaw sang back in 1999, “Let’s talk about anything, anything in this world, but politics, religion, and her.” For the next seven Sundays at PVCC, we’re going to talk about two of Kershaw’s dreadful three: politics and religion. Our authority and frame of reference will not be Fox News, CNN, or the Washington Post, but each Sunday we will open up the Word of God and allow Scripture alone to drive the conversation.
Why in the world would a church venture into a subject matter so unmistakably polarizing? It’s because the Word of God speaks to all areas of life, including the upcoming election in November. To be a Christian affects every single aspect of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord over everything. The Kingdom of God extends far beyond the church pew. Christ’s kingdom includes the public square, local government, school board, public restrooms, and Capitol Hill. As followers of Christ, our interaction with the culture and our civil government is an integral part of our Christian discipleship.
As a result, Christians do not have the choice to opt out of the “political” conversation. We are salt and light. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, which at least partly means working towards having a nation that has laws and policies that are good for our neighbors.
With that being said, Jesus is not a Democrat. Neither is He a white, middle-class Republican. When His opponents try to trap Him in Scripture, Jesus refused to be put in a political box (Matthew 22:15-22). Likewise, we are Christians before we are Democrats or Republicans. We pay honor and tribute to Jesus Christ before we pay Uncle Sam a dime.
If our national or political identity excites us more than our identity with Jesus Christ and His kingdom, then we have an idolatry problem. All great nations come and go, but the Kingdom of God will last forever. Whatever happens on Capitol Hill starting in November (whether it be good or bad), the Gospel and Kingdom of Jesus Christ will march on.
Yet it can be our temptation (mine included) to be so one-sided in our political ideology that we put on blinders and begin to dismiss and sometimes even demonize those “on the other side.” Frequently, these people with varying political views from our own are our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have very strong political opinions, yet I realize there are men and women of God who are far more holy than I will ever be who will not vote exactly like I will vote this November.
To be sure, our vote matters. In a democratic republic, voting is our civic and Christian responsibility. We must vote our conscience – not as it is shaped by the media or even by whom our granddaddy voted for – but we must vote our conscience as it is shaped by the Word of God. But at the end of the day, my greatest concern and prayer for Pleasant Valley Community Church is not nearly as much who we vote for in November as it is that we remain unified as one as the body of Christ. Jesus said the world will know we are Christians because of our love for one another. This includes the way we love one another in spite of our political differences.
So let’s just talk about the “elephant in the room” for a second (pun intended). Let’s talk about Donald Trump. There are Godly men and women (some of my closest friends) whose consciences will not allow them to vote for Donald Trump. I have the utmost love and respect for them because their consciences are shaped by the Word of God.
At the same time, there are Godly men and women (also some of my closest friends) whose consciences in this particular election will not allow them not to vote for Donald Trump (because of the alternative).
Jesus Christ does not love one Christian voter more than He loves the other: neither should we.
Here is my plea: for the sake of the unity of Christ’s church, and for the sake of the dignity of our brothers and sisters in Christ for whom Jesus shed His blood: let’s not throw another Christian under the bus because of how they vote in this upcoming election. Regardless of who wins in November, we’re still going to be the family of God in December, and for all of eternity.
**Join us starting this Sunday, September 18 – October 30 for Jesus and Politics at PVCC. We will cover the following subjects:
- September 18: Jesus Goes to Washington, D.C.
- September 25: Separation of Church and State: Does Christianity Have a Place in the Public Square?
- October 2: How BIG Should the Government Be? Submission, Civil Disobedience, War, & the Christian Response to Police Officers Under Attack
- October 9: Who Should Take Care of the Poor? Economics, Poverty, & Social Justice
- October 16: Christians & The Confederate Flag: The Gospel, Race, & Immigration
- October 23: When Johnny Wants to Become Judy: The Birds, Bees, & Gender Identity
- October 30: Is the War on Marriage Over?