Thinking about politics

JP: I hope that all will register to vote and vote in this year’s election. I voted the first time in 1972 (for one of the candidates represented below). You had to be 21 to vote back then (before the Twenty-sixth Amendment (I was born in ’49). Skip to bottom for my first involvement in politics (I’m not proud of it!). Comment. The above buttons do not constitute an endorsement!

A Different Kind of Power


Our calling to preach and teach the Gospel of the kingdom from the whole counsel of God to a complex and broken world, especially to the world of politics, involves living and ministering in the tension of a difficult and delicate balance. We must teach and preach that we live in two kingdoms. Augustine described it as living in two cities — the city of God and the city of man. As Christians we are citizens of the kingdom of God (Phil. 3:20) but are also called to be responsible citizens in our native countries (Rom. 13:1–7). Accordingly, we live in the often painful reality of the imperfect and broken present world, while longing for and looking forward to the perfect and blessed future world of the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21: 1–5). This balanced tension of two-kingdom living should make Christians both passionately hopeful for their certain future and practically helpful in their present context. One day there will be “heaven on earth” but not now — not yet.

So, in the meantime, we must faithfully teach Christians to be helpfully involved in the public square without becoming over-involved and intoxicated with the political power. There is no question but that our Savior expects us to be “the salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt 5:13–14). Thus, it would be unfaithful and disastrous for Christians to be absent from the public square. But on the other hand, we must resist the temptation to become obsessed with the power of politics and begin to think that we can usher in the king’s kingdom. Though politics is a worthy pursuit, Christ’s kingdom is not dependent upon who’s elected and/or which laws are passed or repealed. In Washington D.C. it’s easy to catch “Potomac Fever,” and Christians are not immune to such a distorted view of power. The power of the Gospel of the kingdom of heaven, though weak in this world’s eyes (Matt 13:31–32; 1 Cor. 1:27) is more powerful than the power of any nation. It’s a different kind of power — the power of the Spirit of God through the Word of God in the people of God. As a pastor in D.C. over the years I have been “lobbied” by Christian interest groups to support their worthy causes. But often I have concluded, that though I may personally share their convictions, it would be imprudent and unbiblical for us as a church to join their cause. Sadly, I’ve gotten an “earful” from very disappointed Christians who even questioned my commitment and faithfulness to Christ.

I worked for the Jerry Springer for Congress campaign back in 1970. More information here. More on the 1972 Presidential election here. The button above shows McGovern-Eagleton. Read about that here. Thomas Eagleton is famous for the quote: “The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot” … later morphed into “Amnesty, abortion and acid”. Sargent Shriver replaced Eagleton on the ticket (but not because of the Eagleton quote!). Sargent Shriver “remains to date the most recent pro-life supporter to have been in a Democratic Party presidential ticket” (Wiki article).

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