Is the Gospel Political?

by Doy Moyer

No… and yes.

First, no.

The gospel is not about parties and political power. It is not a brand of worldly government, for it transcends all governments (see Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 2:44-45). We can be Christians regardless of the political system in which we live. Some are more friendly than others, and we support freedom, but we do not require a specific form of government to be what we are. Even among the first disciples of Jesus, Simon the Zealot and Matthew, the tax collector, would have needed to drop political differences to serve Jesus. As Christians, we submit to governing authorities (so long as we are not required to do what the Lord forbids), we pray for those in positions of leadership, and we want quiet, tranquil lives as we strive to be lights in a dark world (Romans 13:1-7; I Timothy 2:1-4; Matthew 5:14-16). The Lord wants all to be saved, which is more important than who will be the next leader, who will be gone again in a few years. We are first citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Second, yes.

The gospel does speak to matters that will impact government. If individuals in government became Christians, then that would certainly affect their behavior and the way they vote and operate. But the biggest issue here has to do with the fact that Jesus Christ is our King. Over against all worldly dominions, the Kingship of Jesus and His kingdom rule will challenge any government that might harm His people. For a great “commentary” on that, read the book of Revelation. Any political beast of this world will not usurp the King of kings and Lord of lords. When our allegiance is called into question, and it will be, our commitment is always to be the Lord first. That may mean at some point a public denial of the worldly leaders who wish to control even religion. And that could trigger persecutions. But our loyalty to the Lord must be firm and unwavering even as we are tested and tempted to return to the world (see Hebrews -- yes, the whole book).

Christians need not fret over what’s happening in this world. We address it. We identify issues. We try to make an impact on those around us. We seek to win others to Christ. We seek the welfare of where we live. And we trust God to work out the details, for all worldly leaders are ultimately in His hands.

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