by DR. BILL URY
The debate about Christian involvement in government is as old as we are as a faith.Two thousand years of disagreement have left us with about as many different opinions. While I respect the perspectives that say we ought not to get involved in the “world” or that we ought to leave everything to a sovereign God since the world and its kingdoms are fallen, I disagree with them—on two fronts.
THE POWER OF THE ONE INCARNATE CHRIST
If a believer takes seriously the fact that God became a man in order to redeem the world, the only way to bring human need into actual contact with the nature of God was for God to become a man. Christians are to live life expressing the fact that Christ is not a man who became a god but the only begotten Son of God, a divine man. His coming to be like us is God’s promise of love, even for the most rebellious and damaged by sin. If he had to cross the barriers of geography, economy, language, and government to come to us, how is it that our purpose could be any different than his? His nature—his life— is what fills our souls and, it is a missionary nature.
One creative way to engage the world is to participate, not adulate, in one form of incarnating His love and wisdom in a constructive way. I think voting is a way of affirming the hope we have in Christ. As Isaiah said, the government is upon His shoulders.
THE POWER OF ONE IN CHRIST
Holiness of heart and life does not necessitate becoming a hermit. In fact, everywhere in the Bible our heroes are exactly the opposite. In the Old Testament we find these examples of cultural involvement and success:
• Abraham: businessman, farmer, herder
• Isaac, Jacob: farmers, herders;
• Joseph: shepherd, CEO, vice-regent of a country;
• Moses: politician, philosopher, shepherd, jurist, administrator, teacher;
• Bezalel: craftsman, artisan, architect;
• Deborah: judge, warrior;
• David: musician, soldier, poet, king;
• Nehemiah: assistant, servant;
• Daniel: student, administrator, advisor;
God is on the lookout for anyone, anywhere who will follow Him into any context with the absolutely ludicrous, laughable belief that they can make a difference in this chaotic sin-soaked world. I love the fact that the first Christians voted and served as policemen and soldiers, but only if they were not required to worship Caesar. They would die for that political distinction. They knew there was only one Lord. They were called the off-scouring of the world, riff-raff, because they would pick up thrown out babies off the garbage piles of the Roman world and would love them as their own. It is one thing to vote another to actually place oneself in the middle of the fray. Think of the single hearts that have stood against the tide and have changed the course of human history in the political sense alone:
■ Paul the Apostle: Roman citizen and Christian evangelist— within 300 years the entire empire was Christianized;
■ Augustine: Theologian and bishop of the Church—saved a culture from total moral demise by his beliefs;
■ King Alfred: Ruler—truly Christianized England;
■ Martin Luther: Reformer—set a trajectory of Western Culture that placed true value on the individual;
■ John Wesley: Anglican Evangelist—probably saved England from the sort of revolution that decimated France;
■ William Wilberforce: Politician—life long battle against the scourge of slavery which was outlawed soon after his death;
■ J.Wascom Pickett: Bishop—helped Gandhi write the constitution for India which included religious freedom;
■ Mother Teresa: Nun—cast a shadow of love across half a century that no tyrant could expunge.
One of the lies of the enemy is that we don’t really matter. The Incarnation destroys that deception. God has cast a vote for you in the flesh. Our actions on a daily basis either verify or defy that truth. If politics is one way to cast a vote for good, for truth, for justice—yes even in this cockeyed world in which you and I live—then I say informed voting is part of our discipleship. But more, if I want to be like Christ, then maybe through one person totally yielded to the Holy Spirit, my vote can be cast not just on a ballot, but on the battlefield of our culture.