David French wrote a column for the National Review entitled Evangelicals, Our Problem Is Spiritual, Not Political. He decries the choices that the religious right has made in backing the current Republican presidential nominee and how morally bankrupt such backing was. He is certainly correct in his argument, as far as it goes. But I believe it is a serious error for Christian organizations and leaders to involve themselves in backing any political candidates or even becoming involved in politics in the first place. The obvious corruption, both morally and in every other way that is the nature of the political arena should have been the first clue to French or anyone else that the church has no business getting involved in such things. The church’s purpose is something entirely different than politics.
Besides the rather simple fact that the political arena, and government in general, have nothing to do with the mission of Christianity, Jesus was rather clear on what its mission actually was. First, there was the Great Commandment:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)
The church's purpose, which grows out of that first commandment, is the Great Commission:
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
All aspects of the church’s work are to be judged on whether it furthers its actual purpose. Political involvement, attempts to influence the government by working to elect people, pass laws, or whatever else might come to mind is a distraction from what the church is supposed to be doing.
For instance, there is nothing wrong with baseball. I love baseball and I follow the Los Angeles Dodgers closely. But the purpose of the church has nothing to do with building baseball stadiums or hiring pitchers or criticizing the coaches or players. What individual Christians do with baseball is their business. But baseball is not the business of the church, any more than the business of the Dodgers is to tell me what to preach on a Sunday morning. The church, and its so-called leaders, should just stay out of the political realm altogether.