I believe Christians should and must be involved in politics. Below are several reasons why I feel this way.
1) Christians, when rightly informed and motivated, change the character of political debate. They bring the moral standards of God’s kingdom into the civic realm and thereby become agents of His common grace — of His provision for those who believe as well as those who don’t. “Forgiveness of sins is the central message of the gospel" says theologian Wayne Grudem. “That’s the only way people’s hearts are truly transformed.” But that’s the opening of a fuller gospel story. The whole gospel, includes a transformation. God’s grace changes people, and as a result they change everything around them. Families are renewed. Schools are rejuvenated. Businesses reorient their mission and purpose. What’s more, the gospel of Christ, because it changes hearts, changes the course of civil government.
2) God cares about our spiritual lives, but He also cares about food, water, jobs, and housing. When God commands us to love our neighbors, He means to love them holistically. That means we’ll care about laws that protect preborn children. We’ll care about policies that defend marriages and families. If we love our neighbors, we’ll naturally be concerned about the corrupting moral influences that creep into public schools.
3) By expressing concern for political issues Christians reflect the love, justice, and righteousness of God’s kingdom. The Church becomes a compelling presence when Christians — in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces — exhibit a vision that “holds the world accountable to something beyond itself.” Christians understand human nature for what it really is, and that perspective affects the civic conversation. Human politics is based on the premise that society must be changed in order to change people, but Christians understand that it’s the other way around: People must be changed in order to change society. As they enter the public square, God’s people recognize the authority of Christ’s kingdom, they bring its ethical standards into the stream of history, and — through them — Christ’s kingdom breaks the vicious and otherwise irreversible cycles of violence, injustice, and self-interest. As God’s people engage in debate — as they create, shape, and lead public policy — it’s evident that Christ’s kingdom has, in Augustine’s words, equipped them to be the best citizens in the kingdoms of man.
4) We desire to transmit the best America to the next generation. In Seminary I was exposed to the writings of Richard John Neuhaus. Author and theologian Richard John Neuhaus pointed out that atheists obey laws; they vote, pay taxes, and lend a hand to needy neighbors. But good citizenship, Neuhaus says, requires more. Good citizens feel compelled to give a moral account of their country. Good citizens want to recommend their country’s virtues “to citizens of the next generation,” and they want to “transmit that regime to citizens yet unborn.” It is, Neuhaus contends, “those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus that turn out to be the best citizens.” That’s because their loyalty to the political order is qualified by a loyalty to a higher order. Their ultimate allegiance is not to the regime or its founding documents, “but to the City of God and the sacred texts that guide our path toward that end for which we were created.” Such citizens, in Neuhaus’ view, were specifically designed for “dual citizenship.”
5) Christians, as citizens, have a duty to work through civil authority for the advancement of justice and human good. It’s a pervasive responsibility. After all, politics determines whether we’re at war or peace. It affects the nation’s job supply, wealth creation and distribution, and property rights. It determines our freedom to speak, write, and worship. Even the circumstances of family life, often depend on government policy, including the quality and content of public education. As Christians we do good deeds including commending and criticizing policies that affect the poor and powerless. We teach church members to do “good works” in hospitals, schools, and inner-city neighborhoods, so why would we exclude government? Our good works there, as in other spheres, give glory to our Father.
In conclusion, Christians should be involved in politics for five reasons. We should be involved because when properly informed and motivated we change the nature and tone of the debate, God cares about our spiritual lives but He also cares about politics, by caring about politics Christians reflect and show the love and justice of God's kingdom, we desire to transmit the best America to the next generation and finally, we have a duty to work through civil authority for the advancement of justice and human good.