By Michael C. Mack
I’m guessing some of you are wondering why Christian Standard would devote almost an entire issue to politics . . . especially this year. I know—you know, we all know—what a divisive topic this can be. I know our readership, like many of our churches, consists of people across the political spectrum. Some of you may believe we shouldn’t talk about politics at all. We are, in fact, the Christian Standard, with a heavy emphasis on Christian. Some may assert we should stay in our lane and keep our focus on Christian church leadership issues. After all, politics, especially these days, only divides us, and we are a unity movement.
So, why did we decide to devote an issue to this sensitive subject?
We believe this is a significant issue for church leaders to consider and discuss. Politics and the church’s political involvement are hot topics, and that’s not going away. We can’t hide in our theological ivory towers and not talk about this. Political differences may be dividing our country, but we must wisely and courageously intercede and intervene to prevent those differences from dividing our churches. And oh, does Satan want to do that. Let’s not be unaware of his schemes!
The thought-provoking essays in this issue address how the church can live in and speak into a deeply divided political culture. We hope Christian leaders will not only read these articles, but also discuss them with other leaders. Go ahead and print articles and distribute them to fellow leaders. Search for the individual articles on ChristianStandard.com, post them on social media, and discuss the implications with your friends.
We try to be wise in our selection of articles and writers every month, but this month we were particularly aware of our need for discernment. I believe our contributors have written from a biblical perspective. We can certainly find unity in many of these matters of biblical faith. But, of course, everyone has an opinion about politics, politicians, parties, and platforms. We don’t intend to take political sides in this issue, but that doesn’t mean you’ll agree with everything you read. We ask you to give grace where needed and allow for liberty in opinions. But, of course, our main rule is always to love, even those we consider our political “enemies.”
Many folks look at life as if it’s a big pie cut into many slices. There’s a slice for family, one for career, one for faith and church, another for politics. This is a secular worldview. Someone with a Christian worldview looks at the pie differently. Their faith is not segregated from the rest of life. Their relationship with Christ and connection to his body, the church, is baked into the whole pie. No part of a Christ follower’s life is unaffected by their faith. At baptism, each of us clothed ourselves with Christ. He took control of our lives, including the part that votes, pays taxes, lives under a civil government, and otherwise engages in politics.
We take Jesus and his Good News into government. We shine his light in politics. We overflow his love in civil as well as spiritual issues. As we do, we take with us the manner and attitude of Christ as well. May we do and say nothing on our own, but only what he gives us to say. That takes humility, putting the interests of others, even those we disagree with politically, above our own. We enter the political arena not as warriors but as servants.
At the same time, we must not depend on what at least one minister has called “secular saviors.” No politician, party, or platform can save us. Jesus Christ is the only Savior the world needs. Let’s keep it all in perspective: Our citizenship in Heaven will far outlast any puny kingdom of earth. So, while we bring our faith into politics, let’s be very careful not to bring our politics into our faith.
Our president needs a Savior. So does our Congress, justice system, governors, mayors, and everyone else in all levels of government. Our country needs a king, named Jesus, in every respect. We take him into our schools, courtrooms, city councils, and polling places. We, as Christ followers, take him—or we should be taking him—into every space of our lives, every piece of our pies, as we go. This begins with prayer but doesn’t end there.
Why an issue on the church and politics? Because we live in a political world, one that is desperately looking for a real Savior, a true King. And we are called as Christ’s church to go into that world with his message of hope. May his kingdom come.