I saw the sign pictured above outside a church the other day. It got me thinking—thinking about how easily Christianity is reduced to a set of political opinions. Sometimes, people allow faith to dictate their political views. But too often, I fear, it’s the other way around: political ideology defines the boundaries of faith. Religion becomes the handmaiden of politics.
No one group is guilty of this. People of all political stripes claim Jesus backs their agendas. I wonder how Jesus would respond to such claims.
We actually don’t have to wonder much because scripture speaks to this. Consider Joshua crossing the Jordan and running into the Messenger of the Lord. Joshua asks, “Are you for us or our enemies?” The Messenger of the Lord answers, “Neither. I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army” (Joshua 5:13-14). In other words, we side with Jesus, not the other way around.
Two brothers arguing over their inheritance ask Jesus to settle their dispute. Jesus says, “Friend, who appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12:14-15). Jesus goes on to warn about the sin of greed. Again, Jesus is right. Every other side is wrong.
Jesus capped off a discourse about division with the words, “Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters” (Luke 11:23). Being with Jesus *is* unity. Being separate from Jesus *is* division. The choice is to gather with Jesus or scatter. Living in a mindset of division, one side against another, is proof we are not with Jesus. If we are not with Him, it matters little what or whom we side with. We are against Him and scattered by definition.
I’m not saying Christians must be apolitical or have no opinions about issues. I certainly have mine 😉 The Lord can also convict us to correct social or cultural sins. No problem there. The problem comes when we conflate faith and political ideology. Jesus isn’t ultimately advancing your political agenda or mine. His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
I’ll be honest: when Christians peddle politics at church, I want Jesus to braid a whip and drive them out like the money changers (John 2:15). Our Father’s house is a house of prayer, not of politics (Matt. 21:13). My prayer is that Jesus braid a whip and drive from our hearts the temptation to politicize the gospel.