The Christian's role in the political process
A friend and I have recently been debating the role that Christians should play in the political process, particularly American politics. Both of us see ourselves as committed Christians of an evangelical bent, and both of us affirm classical, orthodox Christianity as embodied by the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. My friend's position, broadly speaking, is that the Christian believer's primary role is to fulfill the Great Commission; as such, he sees a Christian's involvement in trying to pass laws, or "legislate morality," as a less-than-profitable enterprise.
His argument goes something like this: since Christians are called to be on mission with God in expanding God's kingdom into the hearts of all people, and since that can only be done through the individual choice of each person to accept Christ and become his disciple, it is almost a waste of time to attempt to pass a law that would burden a non-Christian with the responsibilities and principles of Christian ethics.
But it is those same Christian ethics, particularly Christ's emphases on his disciples still being in the world, being salt and light, that causes me to reconsider whether abandoning the secular, political process -- particularly when that process is a democratic one.
Certainly, God had no problem with his Chosen People's desire to mix belief with politics. It was God who called judges like Deborah to be his temporal agents; it was God who appointed Samuel to annoint Saul king over Israel, and it was God who put David in Saul's place. In the Mosaic Covenant, at least, God did not mind his faithful getting their hands into the nitty-gritty of politics.
Of course, Christians are not called to follow the Mosaic law, and it has been some time since a prophet of the Lord has gone forth to annoit a ruler over his people (despite what some televangelists might say next year). What, then, is the Christian's role in a democratic republic?
LISTENING TO: Some music