The religious leaders of the day attempted to trap Jesus by challenging him on his political stance. They asked him, “It is right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Scripture tells us that Jesus saw through their duplicity, telling them to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
Historically the church has struggled with the paradigm of two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. Trying to combine the two is like attempting to mix oil and water. Church history has been consistent on this matter. Every time Christianity has fallen into the trap of using politics to achieve its means, it has lost its power and effectiveness.
Relevant Christianity never loses sight of the reality that in the kingdom of God, everything is upside down when contrasted with the world’s pursuits. In God’s kingdom the greatest is the least; the first is the last; we are to love our enemies; and to be most effective, we are called to servanthood rather than to positions of political power and correctness.
John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Church movement, once said that if people truly have a relationship with Jesus, they will always (want to) vote for the right things (“right” as in ethically and morally correct). He said that our job as followers of Christ was to promote Jesus, not political bias. Getting involved politically can potentially derail our effectiveness, causing us to lose focus on our true vision, thus weakening our cause.
As an involved participant in the Christian environmental movement, I have endeavoured to stay non-political. For me, the care of God’s creation is purely a biblical matter of obedient stewardship. The world has politically polarized an issue that should be of great concern to every human being. The global environmental condition is an issue that has become a primary cause of human suffering in developing nations.
Knowing that Christ has called his people to a ministry of compassion, mercy, and social justice, we cannot allow ourselves to be caught in the duplicity of religion and politics at such a crucial hour. Our effectiveness will come only through authentic biblical conviction and the faith to act on it.
By Tri Robinson
Pastor, Vineyard Boise, Idaho.
Quote from Unchristian by David Kinnaman and Fermi Project (Baker Books, 2007) pg. 175-176
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.