by Rodger Trimm
Sentry Magazine, September 2001
"Talk about anything but politics and religion" has proven to be wise instructions for many social gatherings. With some trepidation, I will ignore that advice for this article. I'm indebted to two friends, one old and one new, for expanding the perspective of a southern, white, conservative American. The old friend is a Mexican who preaches in Baja California. The new friend is a member of the congregation where I preach, who happens to be black. The old friend reminded me that Christianity is not American in origin and the new friend that it isn't Republican.
Christianity is, in fact, universal and apolitical. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations ..." (Matthew 28:19). "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God" (Romans 13:1). AII nations would include China, Mexico, and Africa, as well as the USA. Governing authorities would include their governments. Now, intellectually, we know this, right? But viscerally, it's hard to overcome your environment.
The religion of Christ cannot be contained within the confines of any nation. any political party. or any philosophical viewpoint. It is neither conservative nor liberal. Ed Harrell thinks "radical" would be a better fit and that's worth considering. When we allow political patriotism to color our views of Scripture, we distort it just as surely as religious traditions do. The Sadducees were guilty of the former and the Pharisees were guilty of both. Do you think that the country would be better served by politicians from the Religious Right? Do you think that, because they profess religious views similar to ours, they would favor us? If so, think again. The greatest enemies of New Testament disciples were the Jews, who had far more in common with them than the decadent Romans. No politician can afford to support views as radical as the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Am I advocating having nothing to do with government, as David Lipscomb did? No, I'm not, even though I greatly admire him for his wisdom and courage. I am trying to get Christians to rise above nationalism, to understand that the kingdom of Goel is international and that our citizenship in it is far more important and precious than American citizenship. I am advocating setting our affections on tilings above. not on "home and hearth" and Old Glory. I think that preachers who have left this country to preach the gospel in foreign lands have a much better understanding of this. Paul, who "became all things to all men," understood. Christians are aliens, strangers. sojourners on earth. Don't become entangled in the affairs of men. Don't lose your heavenly perspective.
I've seen far too many e-mails and bulletins concentrating on politics, brethren. The most powerful weapon we have against evil isn't the vote; it is the gospel. Preach the word. Every sinner converted is one less enemy and one more friend of truth.