'When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.' (ESV)
2 Chronicles 7:13-14

2 Chronicles 7:14 has been the theme verse of 2020 since the shut-downs hit the U.S. back in March.

I love this verse and absolutely believe humbling ourselves and praying is what the Church should be doing in this season. However, I haven't seen as much humility as I'd like to. Instead, when I look at the Church, I see a body divided by pride. At the epicenter of this divide in the Church I see politics and opinions.

The state in which I see the Church, specifically the American Church, deeply grieves my soul and has quite literally brought me to the point of tears. Everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks things should go this way or that way, and everyone thinks that anyone who doesn't agree with them is the devil. Meanwhile, no one is listening to anything or anyone that might even hint that they are wrong, no one is looking to scripture for answers, no one is praying, no one is humbling themselves, so nothing is going to change.

My Plea

"Well, uh, Evan, aren't you and this article just another opinion polluting the well?"

You're probably right. My thoughts and opinions might just add more chaos and confusion and create no change whatsoever. I really don't know. All I can say in my defense is that I have been pretty quiet over these past few months. I haven't wanted to be just another voice in the noise creating more confusion. All I can say is that now my spirit is grieved to the point where I can't keep silent anymore.

I don't want this article to simply be me giving my opinion with a bunch of supporting facts, verses, and arguments to convince you to come over to my side and agree with me. This article is simply my plea to the American Church to take politics off of the throne of their heart and place God back into the center of their focus. This article is me begging the Church to show me what She can do when She gives Her all to God instead of needing to be right. I want to see what happens when She fights for the Kingdom of God instead of the kingdom of America.

Opinion vs. God's Will

Your opinion on this upcoming election means nothing.

What does scripture say?

'Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. ' (ESV)
Romans 13:1-7

and

'Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.' (ESV)
1 Peter 2:13-25

So, if all authority is given by God, does it really matter who we vote for or what our opinions are about politics?

Well, I'll be a little less dramatic. Yes, it does matter. Of course. We Christians are His hands and feet and are vital in electing who God chooses to give His authority to. However, I can't help but ask, what if who God chooses isn't who you would choose? Will you be okay with that? I look around and feel that most of the Church wouldn't be and is more concerned with pushing their preference than listening to the heart of God.

Now, don't twist what I'm saying. I'm not saying I have the answer for who God will place in office. I have no idea. For me personally that isn't a concern. I will be at peace with God's decision no matter what. I agree that Christians should listen for God's voice and vote for who he calls them to vote for. I'm on board with voting for biblical principles. (Though I'm not sure strictly following that method will give any clearer of an option in this election specifically...)

My concern, and what I see far too much of, is the Church placing Her hope in changing the world through the political systems of this world rather than through the love and power of Christ. The American Church looks to —and places their hope in— their earthly leader rather than their heavenly King. True change comes through changing the hearts and minds of people, not through changing laws. It is impossible to legislate morality.

The Kingdom of God vs. the Kingdom of America

Honestly I try. I try to come up with something new, some new strategy or analogy to help get my point across or some other perspective lens to look through, but no matter what I do it always comes back to the same question, "What would Jesus do?"

Looking at what Jesus would do and how He would handle each and every situation is the only way I can conceive to find truth and guidance in my life.

I've always heard that the term, "Christian" means, "little Christ" or, "follower of Christ." When I look around, the Church in America doesn't seem to be doing a good job of following Christ. The Church in America seems to be doing a better job of following America.

I digress. So, back to Jesus; what would He do with regards to politics? How would Jesus go about seeing His Father's will done in the world? Would he use the political system to bring change, or would he do something else?

Was Jesus political?

Contrary to what my tone might suggest, Jesus absolutely was political. You can't really usher in the Kingdom of God without being at least a little political. However, this is where a large distinction must me made. A distinction that the Church in America seems to have forgotten. There is a huge difference between the Kingdom of God and kingdoms of earth.

The Jews of Jesus's day expected Him to come and establish an earthly kingdom. They wanted Jesus to rule as an earthly king over Israel. Even His disciples thought the same way and expected Him to take power when He walked into Jerusalem, not go to His death.

While Jesus was on trial with Pilate He said this:

'Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”' (ESV)
John 18:36-37

I should just stop right here. What more can I say that Jesus hasn't already said!? "If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews."

So, we're supposed to be followers of Christ, right? We follow Him and He is our King. Got it. So, if He is our King and His Kingdom is not of this world... Tell me, why is the Church in America fighting so hard for political power in this world?

"You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth." Jesus answered Pilate by saying that he didn't consider Himself an earthly king and that His purpose wasn't to rule on earth but to bring people God's Truth.

Jesus was political, but he didn't seek political power to change the world. He changed the world with Truth.

All authority is given by God and we are to submit to all earthly authority. But, we also serve the King of Heaven whose authority is greater than all earthy powers, and it is through service and submission to God's authority that we will change this world. Our loyalty belongs to God, not a political party or any earthly system. Placing our hope in elected officials to change the world in God's favor (or our favor in many cases) leads to disappointment and is shirking the responsibility we have been given to do the work appointed to us and show God's truth and love to our neighbor.

Where Do You Find Your Freedom?

The reason most people give when they argue for the Church's involvement in politics is to preserve our "freedom".

My thoughts on this topic are big enough for a full article, but here I'll try and make my rebuttal brief.

I have nothing against freedom. Freedom's great! I do have one question though: where does your freedom come from? The origin of freedom means everything. Not all freedom is created equally. Some freedom can be given and taken away arbitrarily. Some freedom is conditional, like if you break a law, you're going to go to jail. However, the best kind of freedom is unconditional and can never be taken away!

True, unconditional freedom that can never be taken away doesn't come from any earthly government. In fact, all freedoms that come from this earth can be rescinded. True freedom comes from Yahweh, God above, and was purchased with the blood of Yeshua!

'Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. '
John 8:34-36

'For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.' (ESV)
Galatians 5:1

If your freedom is a spiritual freedom in Christ, no earthly power can ever take it away from you! I beg that you do not give up your freedom in Christ and submit to the slavery of politics.

The Value of Your Voice

I leave you with this final point and plea.

Your voice is precious and powerful, I beg you to use it well.

We need love and unity, not political partisanship. The Church needs to set its sights on the things of God, not the ways and methods of the world. We need to speak up and speak out for Truth and love amid the chaos of this world. We need to call out the forces of darkness that are driving division and distracting us from God's truth, distracting us from seeing other people as God's children simply because they think differently than us.

Jesus changed the world with a soft voice spoken to the downtrodden and outcasts. He lived counter to the political systems and didn't seek to bring about change through them. He was a threat to the systems of power because His power is greater. His power lives inside of us and we do not need the ways of this world to show His love. By using our voice to love others and speak God's truth we will see this world change and God's Glory shine.

But, if we use our voice to spew hate and lies, seeking to change the world through earthly means, our voice will fall on deaf ears and only stir more chaos and strife.

The Church needs to fight the right fight. We need to fight for the defenseless. We need to fight for the least of these, just as Jesus did. In that fight is where our true power lies.

My plea is that you will use your voice wisely and fight for the heart and souls of people, not politics.

One Last Thing

I will leave you with the song that stirred my spirit and inspired me to write this article, Drop Your Daggers by American Arson. I pray it emboldens you to fight the right fight for God's unity, not political division.

Lyrics:

A house divided will never stand. We built our castle on the sand.  The well is poisoned and it’s time we understand… Politicians polarize; we disagree so we demonize, and we abandon any talk of compromise


Crash through the divide, we are a cannonball. Reclaim what they stole, we need an overhaul. If it’s the end of one of us, then it’s the end of us all


Thoughts of justice left behind, reelection on their minds, any integrity impossible to find. Corporate lobby fuels the greed, exploitation is their creed. They never spare a single thought for you or me


Crash through the divide, we are a cannonball. Reclaim what they stole, we need an overhaul. If it’s the end of one of us, then it’s the end of us all


If you have a voice, you better raise it now


Brother, sister: let’s unite! Drop your daggers, leave the fight! Our real enemy is neither left or right


Crash through the divide, we are a cannonball. Reclaim what they stole, we need an overhaul. If it’s the end of one of us, then it’s the end of us all