One Sunday, a pastor made the following point during his sermon: there are approximately 50% Democrats and 50% Republicans in his church. Why did he mention this? He wanted to prevent his congregation from degenerating into politically-divisive church members.
Sadly, many Christians across the nation do not take the same approach. For some, if a Christian is not a Republican, he/she is living in contradiction to the Bible. For others, to be a Republican is to favor the wealthy and undermine the help and support needed for lower-income citizens. Needless to say, Christians who take their political views too seriously can easily lead them to distance themselves from believers who disagree with them.
Is this what Christ envisioned for His Church? Should we define ourselves as either Democrat or Republican, and then avoid our brothers and sisters who align themselves with the other party? I believe the answer to these questions is an emphatic NO for the following reasons.
First, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party is concerned about furthering the cause of Christ. They may be passionate about America, but they are not passionate about the gospel of Christ. Even if a candidate professes to adhere to Christian values, they are still hindered from promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Great Commission for every Christian.
Second, just because a candidate is against abortion and same-sex marriage does not mean he/she would be the better choice to lead the nation with regards to the economy, our military, foreign policy, and other presidential responsibilities. For many Christians, they see it as their duty to vote for the pro-life candidate who also advocates traditional marriage. While these values are important, there is much more to being a qualified president than these two issues. Also, a candidate who focuses on helping the poor does not automatically qualify to serve as president. Both Parties subscribe to principles that in some ways are contrary to the Word of God. This is why neither Party should be defended by the conscientious Christian.
Lastly, and most important, Christians are to be more focused on the Great Commission than anything else. Let me illustrate: the best way to prevent abortions is not through having the right president, but through the proclamation of the gospel. After all, we had a pro-life president from 2001 to 2009 (and several others), yet abortion remains legal and rampant. Also, now that same-sex marriage is legal, is publicly opposing it going to lead more unbelieving homosexuals to Christ? Probably not. Why? The way from a homosexual to heterosexual lifestyle is through the gospel, not conservative legislation.
Simply put, our focus must be on evangelism, not politics. Remember the words of Paul, “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The power of God is manifested through sinful men and women responding to the gospel. As well-intentioned as many believers are, picketing abortion clinics, protesting gay marriage, or devoting ourselves to supporting pro-life candidates is not the answer.
My dear brother or sister, do not entangle yourself in political battles that cause division throughout the Church of Christ. We have something more important to focus on: the proclamation of the gospel. That message is not outdated, and the Great Commission has not changed. If Jesus Christ was walking the earth today, do you think He would be endorsing political candidates, picketing abortion clinics, or lobbying in Washington D.C. in defense of traditional marriage? Of course not. He would be doing what He did when He walked the earth some 2,000 years ago: preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Today, Christ is alive and well, and He is walking the earth in the Person of the Holy Spirit Who resides within us. Consequently, we should concern ourselves with what He told us to do. Yes, we want to see lives changed for the better, and both Jesus and Paul have revealed to us the greatest source of life-changing power: the gospel.
The next time you passionately discuss your political views, ask yourself if you are equally as passionate about discussing the gospel with those who need to hear it. Afterwards, think about which topic (i.e. politics or the gospel) occupies most of your discussion time. That will reveal where your focus truly is.
I leave you with the encouraging words of the apostle Paul:
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).