Political Involvement

In the time of Paul, “Jesus Christ is our Lord” was a highly political statement. We are often not aware of the political nature of the gospel. The Roman empire reserved the title “Lord” for its emperor, and the term “gospel” was used for official government proclamations. Calling Jesus Lord, Christians expressed that their ultimate loyalty belonged to Jesus Christ. Only Jesus is Lord of all. Only He has sovereign power over all kingdoms (John 19:10-11). Christ’s followers did not think that they had dual citizenship. They were citizens both of Palestine and of God’s all-encompassing kingdom. This kingdom is not founded in this world, but established by God, and it reflects His character of love and justice. We are already citizens, and we must participate in it here and now. Still, we know that it will fully come only in the future.

If we say that “Christ is our Lord,” it means that we cannot ignore politics and society. We are expected to affirm and to submit to the established civil authority (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Titus 3:1). At the same time, we also have to be actively involved in the attempt to stop suffering. We need to speak out on behalf of those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, and neglected.

Our activism should involve advocacy, mediation, and conciliation, but should at all times be non-violent. We are to fully support every initiative that advocates peace, good values, and harmonious relationships. While doing so, we should be careful not to engage in any form of corruption and malpractice.

However, and this is crucial: if we are forced to choose between the conflicting values of the secular government and that of the kingdom of God, we choose God. All in all, Paul advises us well: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).

As Christians, we can be involved in politics but we must be careful in how we approach issues, because we don’t want to bring reproach on the name of the God whom we claim to represent. History has given us too many examples of the name of Christ being sullied by politics. We don’t want to make the same mistake.