2020 will be remembered for many things. One thing it should be remembered for is the Church’s deliberative decision to completely withdraw from civil politics. After years of whoring itself before the throne of temporal leaders and their laws, it’s time for the Church to stop its unnecessary and entirely misplaced groveling in the civil realm.
I’m not suggesting that Christians shouldn’t vote or that individual Christians shouldn’t express their political views. These are perfectly appropriate and acceptable things for Christians to do. What I am suggesting however, is that the Church should not, in any capacity, engage in things political. Doing so is beneath her mission and does nothing for the proclamation of the Gospel.
Why such a strong recommendation for the Church? Because temporal politics will never forgive sins. Politicians will never bring hope. Laws will never make us love. Elections will never create faith. And these are the things of the Church – faith, hope, and love. Moreover, there is no political party or politician that better reflects Christian virtues over the other. There is no Christian way of doing public policy. No matter how strongly you and I feel about the outcome of next week’s election, whoever wins will have no impact on what our Lord has charged His Church to do. In other words, whether it is Biden or Trump, the Church is still the Church. Its mission is and always will be the proclamation of the Gospel – something no party, no politician, no law, and no election can ever affect.
The Church knows this. It knows that Jesus’ mission is infinitely greater than our petty temporal politics. But still, it finds a need to dabble. Still, it sticks its nose in temporal affairs. Still, it is seduced by the temptress known as politics.
But why? Why does the Church feel so compelled to try and win our political debates? Why does it spend so much time and invest so much passion into fleeting leaders and laws that do nothing to save souls? Time and again the Church jumps at the chance to insert its voice into civil politics. But why? Why must Christians be inundated with congregations and pastors, church leaders and the like who routinely proclaim that: “Christians should support ______” or “The Evangelical/Catholic voter cannot vote for_____”.
It’s nothing short of pathetic how many of Christ’s faithful, under the guise of the Church, have come to believe that if only their candidate wins, if only their party sweeps to power, if only the right law is passed or the right justice appointed – then all will be right in our land. But such attitudes are unbecoming of anyone who puts their trust in Jesus. Such attitudes do nothing but cheapen the message of the Gospel.
When the Church engages civil politics – when she takes a stand on political issues – she becomes no different than any secular interest group. She becomes just like every other advocacy organization that clamors for political victories, no matter the ramifications.
The Church should leave politics to politicians. She should leave public advocacy to the electorate. She should leave the writing, passing, and administration of temporal laws to temporal rulers. In no uncertain terms, the Church should withdraw from civil politics.
For the Church isn’t about political outcomes. The Church is about eternal ones. And the former will never affect the latter.