Controversial Political Issues and the Christian

by Jeff Telling · Print Print · Email Email

Last week I was having a conversation with my good friend Dean about the conflicts and divisions we see in the Church over a variety of issues, all of which are controversial. This is the text of his email responding to me. I pray that you find it as eye opening as I did:

Controversial Issues and the Christian

“This commentary is meant simply to encourage the people of God to view all that happens and every issue in life through totally non-judgmental, non-condemning, non-partisan, and non-political eyes.

One Sunday in church, shortly before the 2008 Presidential Election, our Senior Pastor emphasized the importance of praying over our individual voting decisions and then voting, as we felt led by the Spirit. Then, he made a statement that made me want to stand up and shout, “AMEN!!!” at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there were people sitting right in front of me.          (-:  The statement was simply this, “I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I am a Christian!”

What a glorious day it will be when the people of God wake up and realize that, as Evangelical Christians, we are not Democrats or Republicans, Black or White, Conservatives or Liberals, Right or Left, we are Christians (Galatians 3:28). Nor are members of any of these groups any more or less Evangelically Christian than the others. Believe it or not, as Christians we win in some ways and lose in others regardless of who America Chooses as President and where he/she stands on the array of issues we face in this country. Face it; ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL will have views that are consistent with Christian values in some areas and inconsistent in others. There are very good, strong Evangelical Christians voting and serving our country on both sides of any election basically because all of the issues we face are far more complicated than the politicians want us to believe, and we have differing views on how to advance God’s plan in our lives and in this world.

As it relates to this commentary, I believe that the primary goal of politicians is to put every issue and everybody into nice neat little boxes with labels of THEIR choosing, NOT God’s. That way they can manipulate our thinking to suit their biases.

On more than one occasion I’ve asked myself these questions:

  •     Would I champion a law that makes Abortion illegal?
  •     Would I champion a law that makes Sex outside of marriage illegal?
  •     Would I champion a law that makes Adultery illegal?
  •     Would I champion a law that makes Divorce illegal?
  •     Would I champion a law that makes Gluttony or Drunkenness illegal?
  •   Would I champion a law that makes Ignoring the Needs of Others who are starving and dying everyday in this world illegal?
  •    Would I champion a law that makes Lust, Pride, or Arrogance illegal?
  •   Would I champion a law that makes Lying illegal?
  •   Would I champion a law that makes Idolatry, Greed, or Materialism illegal?

If so, what should be the penalty or legal ramifications of breaking such laws?
Whether or not my answers to these questions are, “yes” or “no” is not the issue. Again, we have differing views on how to advance God’s plan in our lives and in this world. The issue is whether or not I am willing to answer them all the same way.

You see, the attitude or behavior addressed in each question is equally wrong (sinful) in the eyes of God’s and each carries the same penalty. Therefore, they should be equally wrong (sinful) in the eyes of God’s people and all carry the same weight. Make no mistake about it, EACH ONE of the behaviors and attitudes listed above is a horrible sin, and there is NO defense for any of them!

My guess is that every single one of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, has been (and in some cases, are still) guilty of one or more of the offenses listed above.

In light of all that I’ve said here, my encouragement is that, as people of God, we stop thinking like the world (especially the politicians), stop pointing fingers, and start loving others (from the homeless thief on the street to the President of the United States) right where they are! After all that’s what God did for us (Rom 5:8-9). I also want to encourage us to take inventory of our own lives, look at the list of questions again, make lists of our own, and then, “Let he who is without sin (or fault) champion the first law”, but be willing to start with OUR sin and treat all other issues with the same consistency as God when it comes to passing laws! And for God’s sake, don’t judge your brother because he has different views than you on how to advance God’s plan in our lives and in this world!

We are called to love God and love people. However, this notion of judging people we don’t know while at the same time “lovingly” praying for them is inconsistent with what it means to love.”

Food for thought:

Are we asking the world to bring their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors regarding these issues into alignment with the will and standards of a God that THEY DO NOT know or believe in, while at the same time we have not managed to do so regarding these same issues for that same God, who WE DO know and believe in?

This was a well thought out and challenging email I got from Dean. What are your thoughts? Has this challenged you? Share with us in the comments.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack October 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Well done Mr. Telling. I have not been guilt free from things mentioned in this article but have learned in time that God is not a Democrat nor is He a Republican….He is God. And I am a Christian. I was made to register as one of the parties, but I vote my conscience and try to align them to godly principles. If there is neither Greek or Jew then neither will I be, left or right, but a believer in Christ and not judge others because if I cast a stone, it would have to be at myself. Well done sir. Thank you and may God richly less your writings here.

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Jeff Telling October 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Jack, and Jeff is fine. Mr. makes me feel even older! The text of this email I received has also had a profound impact on me, and I am blessed each time I revisit it. I have ordered your books on my Kindle and am also blessed by them. Thanks for your passion to make Him known.

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Jack October 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Jeff it is…I am old school somewhat and refer to people as Mr. or Mrs. out of respect but I know that email also impacted me. Our church is praying for a desperately needed revival…of ourselves, our community, our city, our state, our nation, and out to all nations. Thanks for the Kindle orders. I must say that they don’t always format well out of the Kindles for some reason. I am revising them as I speak. Thank you for the orders. I just got notice of a 24 hour week at work, and as an unpaid pastor and bi-vocational, I am not panicking. I just can’t wait to see what God is going to do to glorify His Name in this. I am so excited about your ministry and Josh in a brother in Christ thanks to you. I just can’t wait to tell others about our Redeemer. Thanks friend. I look forward to more of your articles and learning from them sir…no, Jeff! LOL 🙂

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Bill Hope June 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I always say “Jesus wasn’t conservative, Nor was He a liberal–He’s just right” (Side note: I really should make up bumper stickers with that on it and make a million dollars that I could give to my church but but obviously I’ve already let it out so I can’t do that. One of my God given talents isn’t making quick cash!) I don’t think if you’re a party line Democrat or Republican you’re not going to ever align up with what Jesus told us to do…..Bring more people to the saving knowledge of God.

The Church is WAY more important than a political party ever will be. What political party is in power is of minuscule importance compared to what we do for His Kingdom. The reason we’re here still is that we were commissioned by Jesus to make disciples of all nations not to start a political movement. Honestly what does it matter if we get our short term political goals if people are still going to Hell?

I’m not saying don’t vote your conscience or worst yet don’t vote (I have too vivid of memories of my dear Gramps telling us kids that when we turned 18 to vote because of the lucky guys like him who took shrapnel in WWII and the unlucky ones who didn’t come home so we can have that right) but really look look at ourselves and be an example of His Grace.

So we shouldn’t be asking ourselves the questions like “Should I vote to make abortion illegal?” but “How can I show the world that life is a precious gift from God?” or “Should I vote for divorce to be illegal?” or “Should I vote for marriage to be between only a man and a woman?” but “How can I show through my marriage that it’s a holy institution that God created and it’s meant only for a loving heterosexual couple?”

Also if we’re going to preach morality we need to be moral people. If we’re going to go on about the sanctity of marriage we as the Church need to curb our divorce rates. If we’re going to go on about how we need to be sexually pure we need need not to only teach abstinence but actually practice it if we’re in the unmarried state.

And on the material levels if we’re going to complain about how the government spends money on the poor maybe we need to show them how to help the poor the way that Jesus told us to do.

In conclusion we should be in contrast to the world not in conflict with it. We need to be the “faithful remnant” in these last days who show the world the true love of Jesus stripped of all the world’s values that religion has heaped on His commands.

I think that Ronald Reagan got it right when he said we were “a city on a hill” for the world. He was just paraphrasing his Lord and Savior–

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”–Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB)

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Lucy October 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Bill Hope Thumbs up!

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Lucy October 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

My son just sent me a scathing message on facebook saying that there is no way I can call myself a Christian, voting the way that I am. I have looked at the candidates records and looked at what they are legally capable of doing and have prayed upon it. I feel that I have voted the way that Christ would want me to. I sent this article to him in a message. Thank you so much as it is how I feel.

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Travis March 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Christ wouldn’t have wanted you to vote, just as he didn’t vote. Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” John 18:36

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p.Johanna May 7, 2013 at 2:05 am

I attend a private Christian University. For my ministry class I researched Christians that use the slogan Taking Back America to Jesus, something along those lines. On social media I found those that professed being Christians saying the most foul statements and using hateful words.

Ministry is 90% action and 10% words. Christ would talk about love, the impoverished and His Father. He wanted all to know His Father and get close to Him. Christians involved in politics the way they have been make people dislike God and distance themselves from Him.

Just because someone claims to be a Christian does not mean he needs to be followed or be listened to. God and His son are the ones that should be the examples.

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Rev. Nancy Freeman January 17, 2014 at 5:27 am

You are a very nice person, I am sure. Personally, I would rather see myself as spiritual than Christian. I really don’t like labels at all.

I am wondering. Did the voice of God whisper in your ear and tell you what is a sin and what is not a sin? Or did you read another human being’s written words in a book called the Bible?

Did God actually write this book? No. People like you or I took words and beliefs they had and wrote about those beliefs as if God told them personally what was right and wrong.

Every person has his own belief system and that is the way it should be. Nothing is right or wrong to God because He loves his children no matter what we do. Right and wrong is something humans decided on so they could control the rest of us. Then they wrote it in such a way that we could all say, “God says this about that” and take it to the grave. I believe God, Jeshua and Holy Spirit talks to all of us. Some choose to listen and some not. I doubt that each of us will hear the same things because we filter it through our known belief system at the time which changes what we hear to what we want to hear sometimes.

Not one of us on this earth has the right to tell another person he is wrong and he should be more like us because we are Christians. You are right for your belief system as I am right for mine. Doesn’t mean we each don’t always follow what we believe 100% of the time. But, do we expect others to do just that? And when they don’t, we can stand up and say to them, you are not a Christian and you know what happens to people who are not Christian. Glory be.

That is crap. We are ALL God’s children and all equal in His eyes, I hope. He has never actually spoken those words to me but I believe we are all the same. God had only one Son and each of us are a part of that one Son. We are all One with God, however we may perceive Him. And we are one with each other as the One Son.

I like the new Pope, as he states that we are all equal. He is the first Pope I could say that I really liked and it of course is because he is saying things that I agree with. Doesn’t mean he is right or wrong or I am right or wrong. I have no right to try and make you or any other person believe the way I do. I can only give my opinion and maybe it resonates with someone else. Maybe not. I choose to try, at least, not to put others down because they do not believe the way I do. We can accept others even if we think we are not alike. Deep down in our soul, we are the same, and that is the only thing that matters to me.

As all humans, I continue to make mistakes throughout my lifetime. That is all they are, mistakes. Not sins. The word “sin” in Jesus’ language meant “error” or “mistake”. Jeshua says we cannot sin because God made us perfect. The soul is perfect portion of our being, the human self that we made is not perfect and does make mistakes. Does that mean we should be put in jail or killed because oops, we made a mistake. And it’s called a sin and unless I throw myself at God and beg for forgiveness, I cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh folly, give me a break. Our Father makes no distinctions about what we do. As your father loves you no matter what.

I do tend to get carried away, I’m sure I am off the subject by now. Just say what comes to mind and hope Holy Spirit is helping me by speaking through me and maybe because they might be His words and not mine, someone will listen.

Blessings to All and thank you for allowing me to speak my mind here.
Nancy

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Dr Meshack Van Wyk May 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

I love what I read

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Dr Meshack Van Wyk May 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm

I want to subscribe to your newsletter

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