Reasons Why the Church Should Not Be Involved in Politics
1. The Bible does not direct us toward political activism (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
The most important reason why we should not be involved in political activism is due to our mission. We have been called to reach the world with the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. We have not been called to moralize our society. The fact that the Bible does not encourage us to attempt to use means to bring governmental change should lead us to conclude that political activism must not be very important to God.
2. Jesus Christ did not seek to bring change in the political realm.
Jesus did not join with the Zealots, who were Israelites seeking to bring better government to the Jews. He did not suggest his disciples seek positions in public office. He did not speak out against the oppressive Roman government. He did not attempt to lead a movement to restore Israel as a nation for God. He did not organize a National Day of Prayer. Christ did call sinners to repentance, which made them citizens of heaven.
3. The pattern of the apostles’ ministry to the world was to preach the gospel, not reform the government.
Not only does the Bible not encourage us to pursue political means for governmental change, the followers of Jesus did not attempt to reform the government. This pattern of ministry should lead us to function in the same way, making the preaching of the gospel the vehicle for societal improvement.
4. Biblical and political issues become confused together.
While some biblical issues should be engaged in the political realm, far too often issues that are not clearly righteous are advocated with the same aggressiveness as those that are directly biblical.
5. Political reformation subtly substitutes for spiritual transformation.
As gains are made in the political realm there can be a sense of accomplishment. Yet no government can change the heart of man. Only God can transform our spiritual life and this spiritual transformation results in our service to others. The real answer to national decay is not found in our laws but in our hearts. No law can save a person and no law can save a people either.
6. The purity of the Christian message is lost through political cooperation.
The axiom that “politics makes strange bedfellows” is never more true than when religious people join together for common political purposes. It is extremely tempting to refrain from the clear proclamation of the gospel when you are in a partnership with those who are opposed to Christ. Also, as cooperation occurs it is easy for even those in the church to assume that those who join with us to share similar social concerns are also joined theologically. The political cooperation can make it extremely difficult to maintain a theological conviction that our comrade is in error and even bound for destruction.
7. Our political viewpoints can hinder our ministry to those who disagree.
We are to follow Paul’s example (1 Corinthians 11:1) by becoming all things to all men so that we might by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). In other words, we should become like those to whom we are ministering the gospel. To advocate a particular political party or campaign for a particular issue will cause an unnecessary division with those who need Christ as their Lord and Savior. When we join with the Democrats or Republicans or any other group, we will find we are unable to speak the Word of God to every group. The consequence of political activism is that the very ministry that God has called us to will be negatively affected.
8. Political gains are only on the surface and can be very short-lived.
Political gains are expected when there is a clear majority of support. But we know that as Christians we will always be the few, not the many (Matthew 7:13-14). The many often resent attempts to moralize them and may react against those they see as pressuring them. This can lead to overturning certain political gains with a vengeance. In the end, the moral agenda may be better served by not attempting to use political means.