When Christians are jailed, pastors are silenced, and public prayer is deemed offensive, tense emotions are raised on both sides of the cultural front. On one hand, we are taught the Christian principles this nation was founded on still run fervent in our constitutional documents, but on the other hand we are scoffed at when we embrace those very same values. America, once a land friendly to Christianity, has become hostile soil. Seeing the wealth of bitter regard toward Christianity, many of us would ask why this is and how it happened. Being one of the many variables, cultural pacifism among Christians slowly decreases the influence of godly righteousness and allows secular impurity to gradually take root. Many would agree political influence on society is immense, and that Christians have a role to play in political reform, but some would ask where the Bible commands Christians to be politically and culturally active.
We have to look no further than Jesus Himself. As Bryan Fischer, host of Focal Point on AFR Talk, describes, every one of Jesus' encounters with the scribes and Pharisees was a political encounter because they were the politicians of their day. Though they are generally regarded as religious figures, they were also political leaders. Fischer describes:
“Remember, the scribes and Pharisees made laws for the people of Israel that governed every detail of their individual lives: they wrote rules about how far you could walk on the Sabbath (Acts 1:12), what you could eat on the Sabbath, and whether you could eat grain while walking through your neighbor's wheat field (Mark 2:23-27). They could detain you, arrest you (Matthew 26:47-50), imprison you (Acts 5:18), put you on trial (Matthew 26:57-66), punish you (Matthew 26:67-68), hand you over to the Romans (Matthew 27:1-2), etc. Why? Because they were politicians.” Jesus was involved in politics—He was involved in the culture.
John the Baptist, the one sent to “prepare the way for the Lord” (Mark 1:2-3), was beheaded for attempting to speak truth and exposing the sin of a government leader by rebuking Herod the tetrarch for his adulterous affair (Matthew 14:1-12). But John was not the only one of Jesus’ followers to give their life in the name of biblical fidelity. Christ’s apostles were persecuted for being involved culturally, and many died while doing this. James, for example, was killed by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2), and John was exiled to the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). These men are champions for Christ and were not afraid to be involved culturally.
By looking at the biblical government system itself, the apostle Paul in Romans 13 clearly gives an analysis for the proper roles and regulations of government. Paul declares plainly in verse one, “There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Who else would God want involved in politics than His followers?
Furthermore, as apologist Dr. Frank Turek explains, that if we think preaching the gospel is important, then we must also think that politics is important because politics affects our ability to preach the Gospel. He notes that, “Politics affects virtually everything we do. In fact, politics affects our home, our school, our children, our churches, our money, our healthcare, the poor, the unborn…because the laws that we make…are laws that affect us all everyday.” To summarize, he says to preach the gospel (at least effectively) we must have political freedom.
Renowned pastor Franklin Graham said: "Who says we can't be in politics? The gays and lesbians are in politics, I can tell you that. All the anti-God people are in politics. They're there. Why shouldn't the church be there? Who says we can't speak up? Who says our voice can't be heard? Get involved.” He adds, “I'm here to tell you that the only way, the only hope is not a Republican, it's not a Democrat or whoever. The only hope is that this country repents of its sins and turns once again to the God of our fathers and to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ—otherwise, there is no hope."
But with this said, many Christians remain pacifists and wish to stay neutral in the cultural war. One classic protester of this pacifist tendency was Martin Niemöller who was persecuted for his beliefs as he served as a Protestant pastor during the Nazi regime. He openly opposed Adolf Hitler, which eventually landed him in a concentration camp. One of Niemöller’s most memorialized statements comes from this phrase:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
A more recent outspoken advocate for action is former President Ronald Reagan, who said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Christians need to raise their voices in answer to our society's questions. If we don't, the only voices heard will be those that shriek against whatever good may still be left in our society. God told Ezekiel that He considered him a watchman, accountable to show his people their sins (Ezekiel 33:1-9). If he did so and the people continued to sin, Ezekiel would be held blameless for their sin. Yet if he did not speak up, he would be held accountable for the peoples' sins. That is advice we should certainly take upon ourselves.
We have entered a time in our culture where we must make a decision of whether or not we will stand for our values. To be neutral is to be the lukewarm Christian—one who folds to pressure. Jesus rejects such people because they rejected Him (Revelation 3:16). As Christians, we must be involved in the culture—and we are already seeing the repercussions of not. With the continuing societal issues at hand, more hostility is demonstrated against Christianity, and secular views are becoming more predominant. Christians need to be involved in the culture because we need to be answering societal questions, instead of allowing societal agendas to do it for us.
One very simple and tangible way to be a politically active Christian is to follow AFA Action.