A Political Distraction

brown wooden chairs on blue and brown wooden floor

There is little debate that America has quickly descended into a pit of moral depravity and could rightly be described as a country in which its citizens do what is right in their own eyes. Maybe an even more apt description would be that America has become, in many ways, a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

The decline has been so sharply felt that there has been a renewed vigor among those who hold to more conservative values to try to discover the solution to the problems we face today, which has naturally led to major discussions concerning politics, political parties, and legislation.

While it makes perfect sense for the unbeliever to become enthralled in a political solution because they are unaware of Christ and the truths that Scripture teaches, what is astonishing is the number of professing Christians who seem to have forgotten that we have the solution already.

This emphasis on political solutions is extraordinarily dangerous in the church and, in fact, is an enemy of the church. While there are many believers who mean well in seeking a political solution to the moral decay of our society, it is true that Satan is quite happy to use well-meaning intentions just as he is ill-intentions to accomplish his goals. In other words, Satan is surely hiding in the Trojan horse of the conservative political solution campaign.

First, let’s establish that I am not suggesting political pacifism. Are we to be Christian in our vote? Of course. Should our laws be drawn from biblical principles? They should. Are governments accountable to God? They are. However, never in the history of the church has it been the aim of the church to resolve the issues of sin through politics. Herein lies the primary issue: understanding that the problem we have is a sin problem, not a political problem.

Could Jesus not have changed Roman politics if he desired? Indeed, he could have. Could He have prevented persecution? Indeed, He could have. Yet, when Jesus sent out the disciples in Matthew 28:19–20, the command was not to get involved in Roman politics, but rather, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I command you.”

They were to change the world, not through political means, but by proclaiming the gospel of Christ, calling the sinner to repentance and faith in Christ. They were aiming for true change, for heart change, for eternal change.

Not even one of the writers of the New Testament championed a political movement, and anyone familiar with the era understands that they could have. Instead, they championed the gospel. When they spoke to public officials, their focus was on a change of heart, not on a policy. Consider King Agrippa. Paul, after appealing to Caesar, has the opportunity to speak to Agrippa, and what happens is astonishing. Paul walks him through the Damascus Road experience and presents him with the gospel, and at the end, Agrippa responds, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Paul’s response is equally telling, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains” (Acts 26:29).

Christians were being persecuted, and just like every human society, there were undoubtedly ways that believers could have sought to influence the politicians of the day, especially men like Paul, and yet, he was laser-focused on winning souls to Christ. 

The plea to the Church is to let us stop looking for a political solution to the depravity of the hearts of men, because there will never be one. Many professing Christians have put more effort into winning people to conservative politics than winning people to Christ and in doing so many have championed the cause of conservatism while unintentionally trampling the power of the gospel. Don’t believe it? Consider this statistic from Lifeway Research, “Only 3 in 10 unchurched Americans (29%) say a Christian has ever shared with them one-on-one how a person becomes a Christian.”1https://research.lifeway.com/2021/09/09/christians-dont-share-faith-with-unchurched-friends/

Many profess faith in Christ with their lips only to elevate politics with their life. Many say they are fighting for truth while failing to fight for the souls going to Hell all around them. Young men are building platforms on conservatism, Christian nationalism, and anti-wokeism; all the while, Satan is wreaking havoc on the souls they defeat intellectually in their political crusade. 

Christ’s name and the Bible are often invoked not to plead with the sinner to turn from sin and to God, but to win an argument for conservatism. Shameful! In many ways, we see history repeating itself in principle—Moses has ascended the mountain and God’s people have begun to worship an idol. 

God blessed America, but then, like the Israelites, we turned our back on God and have formed the golden calf of conservative politics. 

We are to be Christian in every sphere of life, including politics; but to be Christian is to rely on Christ, His message, and the Power of the gospel. By all means, please do vote, go to meetings, get involved in school board meetings and town hall talks, and expose the darkness.

However, we must never make it seem as though the power of God is so weak that politics is the only answer. Not only is it not the only answer, but it also isn’t the answer at all.

There is only one solution to the problem our country faces today—the gospel. The gospel is the only answer to the wickedness in the hearts of men. And for those who don’t believe that, then perhaps it is because they are still unregenerate themselves. Or perhaps, which is the preferred case, they simply need to repent, recognizing the ease with which we are distracted, and put their hand back to the plow of the gospel.

What this nation needs is not men at the polls, more conservatives, more Christian nationalists, more laws, more restrictions, but men on their knees, in earnest, praying to almighty God in tears of sorrow. What we need is men with the sword of the Word in their hands and the gospel of the living God on their lips.

Not one thing will change outside of the sovereign will of God and what political movement is more powerful than the answered prayers of faithful saints? What is more powerful than the gospel? What is more powerful than truth proclaimed to a wicked generation so that God is glorified and men are pointed to their need of Him because of their sins? What is more powerful than those who hold to the Bible more dearly than life and who refuse to elevate the ways of man over the ways of God? 

When, dear Christian, when has politics ever had that power? Never. It never has and it never will. Some need to repent for they have taken their eyes off of Christ and some may even need to repent publicly. Christ is enough. The gospel is enough and if we suffer as a result of being faithful to the commission to which we have been given, then so be it. May we be so lucky to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. 

The Christian is already on a campaign and must not be distracted—Christ and Him crucified. Come, dear brothers and sisters, let us leave this worldly dribble behind. Leave the pragmatism behind. Leave the powerless things of the world behind. The King is calling, the orders are issued, and the war for souls is raging. As Hebrews 12:1–3 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

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1 https://research.lifeway.com/2021/09/09/christians-dont-share-faith-with-unchurched-friends/
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Nathaniel Jolly

Nathaniel is the pastor and church planter of Homer Reformed Baptist church in Homer, Alaska. He and his wife moved to Alaska in 2020 to begin church plant work. He is the host of the Truth Be Known podcast, is currently enrolled in the DMin program for expository preaching at The Master’s Seminary, and is working towards ACBC certification.