By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

It is past time to get involved

 

March 10, 2021



Should Christians be involved in politics? It’s a trick question, since politics always involves us. However disinterested you are in politics, politics is very interested in you.

If you find that concept aggravating, I’m totally on your side. My preference would be to never give one more thought to anything that happens in Washington or Santa Fe.

The real question is not whether to be involved, but how? I spent a lot of time doing it wrong. And, by “wrong” I mean ineffectively.

When Bible-believing Christians get it in their heads that they should “get involved” it is not uncommon for them to do exactly what I did. They start showing up at local GOP functions, and volunteering wherever there’s a need. They do the envelope stuffing, and the phone calling, and the money giving, on behalf of whichever candidate needs it. Often, they do this while holding their noses because they see that the ones they’re aiding are not at all what they were thinking when they prayed that God would turn the nation to righteousness.


Maybe they need to acquire more power within the system. They run for a position within the county party, like chairman. Great! It’s a nice title but grants no power to change anything. Like me, maybe they get themselves elected to the State Central Committee, which will give them some opportunity to hob-knob with the ones who really wield the power. They’re going to find that none of the powerful give a rat’s nose about what these bumpkins from Quay, who talk about obeying God, think at all.

Seeking to do good, they have become the one Dietrich Bonhoeffer scolded, way back in Nazi Germany. He observed that “working within the system” to change the system, is like a man who boards a northbound train and thinks he’s making progress southward by walking to the caboose.


He was restating a truth that permeates both testaments of the Bible. That is, our Lord has no need for old wineskins. This is fine because they are likewise uninterested in his new wine.

The ruling class in Israel was an old wineskin, salt without savor, and good for nothing, including reform. In calling them to repentance, and reminding them of coming judgment, Jesus was following an honorable line of all the former prophets who rebuked kings to their faces and called down fire on their miserable armies.

I’m not saying that genuine believers, seeking to obey the Lord, should not run for elected office. I wish more of them would. I’m saying that for most of you who wonder what you can do to get “involved” the answer is much less glamorous and more dangerous.


Become a student of the Bible. Speak out what you see written there, including all the parts that impact on our modern arguments. Use whatever voice you have been given to call everyone, each of us, to a better way of thinking, which will most often differ with the talking points of either party. Start a business. Run a charity. He who would lead must become a servant. Leave the dead to elect the dead.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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