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Should Christians Avoid Political Power?

Updated: May 17


Good people generally do not seek out power. To most of us, power is something that we want to be constrained and kept as neutral as possible. Because of this, it is understandable why so many Christians prefer to separate themselves from politics. Many of us were raised in nations that stressed the importance of the separation of church and state, and even Christ told us to “render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar.” However, as G.K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, we often believe if we leave things alone, they will stay as they are. But in reality, when we fail to be involved, we leave them to a “torrent of change.

This is especially pertinent in our “progressive” political environment, where that torrent of change is embodied in policies whose sole purpose is uprooting traditional, well-reasoned norms [Chestertonian fences], laws, and even nature itself. When we distance ourselves from political power, we leave a vacuum for others to wield it over us. When good abandons the field, it is that much easier for evil to have its way. Current events, such as laws allowing the “transitioning” of babies at birth, the push to normalize pedophilia, or even just the tolerance of behaviors that previous societies would have seen as pure evil, display the dangers of yielding the field to those who happily wield power for evil.


Plato once noted that the most qualified to hold power are often the ones who do not seek it. This is the sometimes confusing paradox of leadership. By this measure, if someone pursues a position of power, do they not become exactly the kind of person who should not have it? But, like most aphorisms, this is meant to be seen as a dichotomy to be balanced. Power should be seen as an undesirable responsibility that must be handled in the pursuit of creating a desirable ideal. Like an overflowing septic tank, it is not something any leader seeks out, but rather a responsibility he must accept, no matter how much he wishes otherwise.


Of all people, Christians might be uniquely suited to this task. Our dislike for power, our concerns over the corruption power will always bring, our memory of power abused in the past, and, most importantly, our desire to do what is right because we will be judged by the measure with which we judge others, may be precisely the guardrails that can help us judge righteously. Throughout history, God has used His people to carry out His work. Look at the judges in the Old Testament or the apostles in the New Testament. Look at the saints and kings who acted on God’s call to create positive change, push back invaders, and establish a region in which Christianity, and with it all that Christendom brought to the world (science, technology, medicine, human rights, Western civilization in general), could thrive. In every instance, God called his children to act in this world.


In Matthew 25, the parable of the talents, Jesus tells us the importance of utilizing the gifts He has given us. To those who used their abilities wisely, He said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” But, to the one who buried his talent, the Lord took what he had and cast him out. God has created each of us with specific gifts to be used in furthering his Kingdom, both in the hearts of men and in the world he has given us to care for. Let’s be sure we are doing all we can to receive His commendation when all is over.  Power exists, and it always will. It doesn’t go away just because we wish it would. Perhaps it’s time for Christians to recognize the need to exert power for survival’s sake, even if they simultaneously hate that this reality must be attended the way one must attend to an overflowing septic tank. If Christians abandon this responsibility for fear of the stains it may leave on them, then they will be taken over by those who seek power and are willing to do and push anything to have it. If that continues, our children will suffer for our inaction. 

Arthur is a former editor and consultant. Born in India to missionary parents, he spent his early career working in development for NGOs in Asia, Central America, and Africa. Arthur has an educational background in history and psychology, with certifications from the University of Oxford and Leiden in the economics, politics, and ethics of mass migration and comparative theories in terrorism and counterterrorism. He is currently launching CivWest, a company focused on building capital to fund restorative projects and create resilient systems across the Western world.


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Let's make sure we deliniate between Christians and Charaltons.


Biden, Pelosi, Trump, Mike Johnson, and many others are Charlatons not Christians.


These disgusting politicians, along with many others, love to shout "God, God" but then support Sodomy, Abortion, Transgenderism, Torture, Assassination and many other abominations.

All clearly identified in the Bible as Abominations against God.


I don't think people in general, and Americans in particular are informed about the actions of these charlatons.

Actions speak louder than words, and these charlatons calling themselves "Christians" is beyone lauthable, it's sad.

But what even sadder is that people are unable or unwilling to admit to this truth.

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Cag
Cag
Apr 25

Well, either our children will suffer or the God fearing person who runs for office will suffer. Someone will have to pick up their Cross. I think it has to do with understanding and discerning God’s calling on one’s life instead of going through one’s life following one’s passions. Last week I talked to a young sister who cried, yes cried, when she discerned that God wanted her to be a sister beyond all doubt because she always wanted a marry and have a family…..discernment needs to be taught and explored. In my old age by golly I should try it myself! God has different plans for one at different stages of life.

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