(How) should Christians engage in politics?

Jun 14, 2020 by

By Michael Jensen, Psephizo:

[…] We are not utopians. The kingdom belongs to Jesus. Salvation is found in no-one else. The business of human politics in the midst of history is about holding back as best we can the sweeping tide of human evil. Government is a practical, even pragmatic, art—often the art of deciding between the lesser of many evils, with incomplete or inaccurate knowledge. Human rulers are as sinful as those they govern. Often, we will reel in horror as we realise the damage we do to one another in the business of governing, even with the best of intentions.

But there’s no alternative, this side of heaven, to government. Government can be evil, but anarchy is worse—especially for the most vulnerable. We have to have government, and for that we need politics. And for that, we need politicians. As voters, we need to weigh up the choices before us and choose which one will do less damage, we think, given our certain ignorance of all the facts. Ultimately, our hope in all of this is the judgement of God in Christ—that he will bring his perfect justice, and that he will be merciful to us for our mistaken and sinful judgements.

Now, I don’t mean that there’s no vision of justice and peace given to us, or that we must retreat into a kind of quietist huddle, all the while washing our hands of the blood of our neighbours. We are not to walk on by on the other side! We cannot, as some churches have done, hide behind some reading of Romans 13 which absolves us of all responsibility. On the contrary, and heaven forbid! The hope that salvation belongs to Jesus gives us every motivation to anticipate, where we can and as we are able, his perfect peace upon the earth.

This was the insight of those who signed the Barmen Declaration in the 1930s in Nazi Germany. Only Jesus Christ is the Lord of history. And this means that no other human being is. There is no other judge, only those who are subject to judgement. There is no other perspective that is unblemished; no other eye that sees without the cataracts of self-interest.

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