Politics and the Kingdom Agenda
You cannot read the Bible and ignore the political realm. The Bible is thick with politics. You have four books (1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles) that deal with the rule and reign of government leaders. Scripture is packed with political concerns including laws, statutes, ordinances, kingdoms, empires, courts, judges, kings, queens, taxes and so much more.
God is active on virtually every page engaging in the political affairs of humanity for both blessing and judgment. You might say that the Bible is a political textbook since God is seen setting up nations, writing constitutions and by-laws. He both establishes governments and dismantles them. He places people in strategic political rolls and removes others from their political perches.
Given this reality, it is unfortunate that God and politics are far too often disconnected from each other as though connecting them too closely is anathema. The failure to properly connect God’s relationship to politics based on His Word has left individuals, political leaders and nations void of the knowledge needed to govern society as the Creator intended.
If you were to come to me with your personal life in shambles and you didn’t know which way to turn, and you said, “Tony Evans, help me,” I would open up my Bible, identify the cause of your personal dilemma, and speak God’s truth about your situation — giving you God’s resolution for whatever it is that you are facing and then ask the Holy Spirit to empower your ability to respond in obedience to God’s Word.
If you were to come to me with your family life in shambles with both you and your spouse seeking a divorce because of chaos in your home, and you said, “Tony Evans, help me,” again I would open up my Bible, identify the cause of your familial dilemma, and present to you God’s solution for whatever it is that you are facing and then ask the Holy Spirit to empower your ability to respond in obedience to God’s Word.
If you were a pastor of a church and you came to me with your deacons or elder board because your church was in shambles, everyone was arguing, and your congregation was confused, and you said, “Tony Evans, help us,” I would open the very same Bible that I used to help the individual and the family, and I would identify the cause for the chaos based on the Word of God, seeking to prescribe biblical solutions for the calamity in your church and then ask the Holy Spirit to empower your ability to respond in obedience to God’s Word.
In other words, Scripture would not only solve the individual and family divisions, but it would also solve the ecclesiastical confusion. This is because Scripture holds the final and authoritative answer on all of life’s concerns. In fact, every question facing us today has two answers: God’s answer and everyone else’s. And when those two differ, everyone else is wrong.
Yet where do we often go for answers as a nation when there is chaos in our country? Where do we turn for solutions when we are experiencing moral, social, and economic decline at a rate that is able to destroy our country before our youngest generation even has a chance to grow up? What do we do when divisions, debt, and our own internal protests across our land threaten what little stability we have left?
What most Christians do, unfortunately, is change books. When it comes to politics and elections, far too many Christians spend more time appealing to family, history and tradition, culture, racial expediency, and personal preference than they do to what the Bible teaches. While most Christians verbally affirm Scripture is good enough for individuals, families, and churches, it seems that somehow it has been deemed insufficient for how we respond to politics and government.
Yet the same book that can restore a person, home, or church is the very same book that can restore and transform our nation. Friend, we don’t need to change books. In fact, it is precisely because we have changed books that the chaos in our country has gotten worse than ever before.
It astounds me that in all of the talk permeating the airwaves, around water coolers, over dinners, and among Christian friends concerning the elections, candidates, parties, and platforms — how little a biblically based theistic worldview seems to enter the equation. God may get dropped in here or there on one issue, or perhaps two. But that is not good enough. Unless God and His revealed Word is the overarching influencer and rationale over how our electoral decisions are made as believers, then we cannot expect God to be the overarching influencer in our nation. Nor can we expect God to pour out His blessings on us as a country when He has been similarly marginalized, and at times even dismissed, from the political equation.
The same Bible that provides guidance and directions for how individuals, families and churches ought to operate also gives clarity on how nations are to function politically.
While all the specific statutes and ordinances in Scripture given to Israel in the Old Testament do not automatically transfer to Gentile nations during this interim period known as the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) the spirit of those laws, that are consistent with the character of God, do transfer since He is unchangeable in His essential nature, being and attributes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). This is especially true since the Old Testament was written for our example today (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6). Therefore, Gentile nations today can appropriately and relevantly apply the examples of divine principles from the Old Testament statutes and ordinances to contemporary political environments.
The greatest political statement in all of Scripture is the declaration of Revelation 19:16 that when Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule, He will come as “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” He will be the visible ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5). However, in the interim, He rules from His heavenly position; He is still sovereign over the kingdoms of this world (Col. 1:16-17). It is for this reason that kingdom-minded churches are to develop Kingdom disciples who promote and advance a Kingdom agenda in the political realm.
The Kingdom agenda is defined as the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life. The glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom is the central theme of Scripture. This means that while there should be the institutional separation between church and state, there must never be the separation between the sacred and the secular or between God and politics. We should as Kingdom citizens be seeking to mirror the governmental pattern of heaven into history through our righteous, political influence.
It’s time for believers to make a radical return to God’s Word as it relates to politics (and every other area for that matter). While we should do so with a respectful attitude, we must equally do so without apology.
Used with permission from Kingdom Politics, published by Moody Publishers.
Tony Evans is senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and founder and president of The Urban Alternative. For more information, visit tonyevans.org.