Some think that religion and politics shouldn’t mix. But politics and morality are often intertwined—and so we as Christians must adhere to the truth when politics impinge upon Scripture.
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us today as we have this discussion of Christians, politics, and the cross. Sometimes as a pastor, I was told you should stay out of politics. Pastors should have nothing to do with politics.
Well, the answer is, sometimes you can’t stay out of politics if you want to be faithful to the Scriptures. And the reason is that politics oftentimes involves moral issues—issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and other kinds of issues that impinge upon the Bible, and that you and I should be very very clear about. Now we may or may not endorse a particular politician or political party, but the fact is that politics and morality are intertwined, and we can’t separate them.
The question that I want to answer is, when we discuss these issues and have these disagreements, how do we do it? What should our attitude be? Maybe that’s the best way for me to put it. It’s interesting that in the book of Philippians, the apostle Paul says that Jesus came to this Earth and He came in great humility. He humbled Himself. I think it’s possible for us to stand against the culture, to show what we believe, to speak to the culture. And yet we do it with an attitude of humility, not a kind of attitude of judgmentalism; or think that we have all the answers to all the questions. We fight, if we wanna use that terminology; but we do it with a sense of humility, a sense of dependence upon God.
And even in the midst of those disagreements, we still make Jesus look good. Jesus also came sacrificially. The Bible says He was faithful and obedient unto death. We as Christians need to remind ourselves that there are tremendous consequences to being faithful to the word of God—faithful to what we believe.
And those consequences are increasing. For Jesus, obedience meant the actual cross of Christ. For you and for me, it will not mean that kind of a cross. But it could be jail time. It could be the marginalization of our culture. It could be enduring shame for what we believe. We must be willing to sacrifice in order to hold to the truth. Jesus held to the truth, but He did it in a way that was compelling; a way that recognized the fact that He was God in the flesh, speaking to human need. To the best of our ability, we should do that also.
And then, of course, Jesus cared. And in the midst of all of the political wrangling and the disagreements, we must be a caring community. Remember Bonhoeffer? He stood against Hitler, but he also had time to ask this question: who is Jesus Christ for us? For him, it was the Jews. Who is Jesus Christ for you today? Is it a biracial child? Is it a teenager struggling with his sexual identity, who needs someone to listen, someone to care, someone who tries to understand? Is it the neighbor across the street who has experienced loss? Who is Jesus?
So in the midst of our public persona, in the midst of the things that we might write or say, let’s never lose sight of the individual who needs to know that we have a Savior who cares. You know that I like to tell the story of a pilgrim. He was walking through a forest, and the story goes, he was carrying a cross that was very heavy—too heavy, he thought. And he saw a woodsman. And he asked the woodsman, “Would you cut off part of my cross?” And the woodsman did. And then as the story goes—and of course, this was actually a dream—the pilgrim was walking along, and he came across a chasm between two mountains. And he wanted to cross that chasm, and he wanted to use his cross as a bridge. But he discovered that the cross was too short—just the amount that had been cut off.
Now the moral of the story is simply this, my friend: the lighter our cross, the weaker our witness. I encourage you today to take the cross of Jesus Christ. Do it humbly and sacrificially, but let us stand for truth. Let us make sure that we do not overlook those elements of politics that are very very much impinged upon the teaching of the Bible. And let’s march ahead carrying our cross as a badge of honor.
Join us next time as I discuss the question, how should we react if our favorite politician—the one that we think should have won—loses? Thanks so much for joining us, and as for today, go with God.