When Polemics and Politics Meet
Every election year in America, evangelicals rush to ask and answer political questions. Many go along the lines of endorsing candidates while others try to be as vague as possible. As Christians, we are admonished to “test everything”. How do we test political statements in the light of Scripture?
First of all, there are some things that the Bible is silent on in the realm of politics. For example, God never inspired any Scriptures about the amount of ethanol in gas or whether or not GMOs should be labeled. To try to practice theological discernment on these things would be a waste of time because the Bible simply does not speak on these things. However, there are things the Bible does speak on. If a theologian were to endorse a candidate that supports abortion, that would definitely bring to question how sound that teacher is. Similarly, if a pastor were to advocate for the redefining of marriage or endorse a politician who does, that would be a reason for concern.
Another time when you should discern what people are saying is when they go as far as to say someone is a Christian just because they like their policies. If a Roman Catholic runs for office and you notice that someone has called him a Christian despite Roman Catholicism being a cult, that is an issue. Similarly, if one candidate is a Mormon and people go as far as to hide what they’ve said about Mormonism in the past, we should be cautioned as to the discernment of these people. To Christianize any candidate that has proven they aren’t Christian by their words or deeds, whether you vote for them or not, is wrong and something that should cause us to be cautioned.
Another place where we must discern someone’s political views is when they hold a theocratic view. Theocrats tend to be given to unsound views of God’s law. Many of them hold to Dominionism–the belief that it is a Christian duty to take control of culture through the seven mountains of education, family, religion, business, entertainment, media, and politics. A lot of them further fall into the ditch of Theonomy, which basically claims that Israel’s Mosaic Civil Law is still binding. These concerns must also be considered.
In discernment, there is a time when one’s political views must be examined and there is a time when they are irrelevant. What someone believes that the legal driving age should be raised to 18 or lowered to 15, that has no bearing on theology and is not something that’d be worth theological discernment. However, when someone endorses a candidate who wants to legalize murder, advocates for that legalized murder themselves, or draws their theology from bad politics to get bad theology, those are all things that need to be discerned against, warned about, and rebuked.
[Contributed by Brandon Hines]