Five Terrible myths that American Christians share about politics

I am so amazed how things remain the same.  Brian McLaren and the Mathew 25 Network are branding themselves as a new kind of Christian political activism.  However, they are no different than Focus on the Family and James Dobson.  Yes, the views are different.  One is left leaning the other right leaning.  Both of these groups prey on the naiveté of the Evangelical Christian by selling to them that politics will be the way to make change in our society.

I might be misled, but political action is more of a reaction to movements rather than leadership of them.  The fantasy of creating godly people or a more moral society through our political system does not work unless the hearts of people already have led the way.  Our churches need not be littered with fliers for propositions or with tactics to promote a certain candidate.  Our churches need to be places where people are changed–not government or our politics. Five Terrible myths that American Christians share about politics:

  1. If the right person is elected, our country will be rightSomeone who shares my worldview will not help me in my life a Christian.
  2. People can be changed through the political system: Politically correct language does not make a politically correct heart.
  3. Jesus was political so I should be, too: Jesus would not be using our political system to do his work.  He would transcend it which is what we should do.
  4. Obama or McCain will make a difference in the morality of our nation: They can influence it one way or another, but really this issue is not Obama’s family values versus McCain’s family values it is what the role of government is versus the role of Christian’s in or out of government play.  That’s you and me, by the way.
  5. USA! USA! USA!: Our citizenship, while it is American right now, is really a heavenly citizenship.  We serve a God that comes before our government or even our way of life.  As Christians, we need to be careful to preach Christ and not mix in too much of our culture as being “Christian” when it may not be whatsoever.

The bottom line here is to put into perspective that politics are not the answer.  Let’s not be used be either side and distracted from our global mission to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. What are your thoughts about changing things through politics?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

68 comments

  1. Ryan…The sad is happening with the left Christians as bad or worse. Really, that is the story here–left-wing and right-wing nuts using Christianity. Neither side represents our mission as believers.

  2. Ryan…The sad is happening with the left Christians as bad or worse. Really, that is the story here–left-wing and right-wing nuts using Christianity. Neither side represents our mission as believers.

  3. Ryan…The sad is happening with the left Christians as bad or worse. Really, that is the story here–left-wing and right-wing nuts using Christianity. Neither side represents our mission as believers.

  4. Ryan…The sad is happening with the left Christians as bad or worse. Really, that is the story here–left-wing and right-wing nuts using Christianity. Neither side represents our mission as believers.

  5. Amen, Rich. Very good points. I feel that our involvement is important, but not as a Spiritual issue.

  6. Amen, Rich. Very good points. I feel that our involvement is important, but not as a Spiritual issue.

  7. Amen, Rich. Very good points. I feel that our involvement is important, but not as a Spiritual issue.

  8. Amen, Rich. Very good points. I feel that our involvement is important, but not as a Spiritual issue.

  9. great thoughts
    I would add to #1 – ‘if the wrong leader is elected this country will go to hell in a hand basket’

  10. great thoughts
    I would add to #1 – ‘if the wrong leader is elected this country will go to hell in a hand basket’

  11. great thoughts
    I would add to #1 – ‘if the wrong leader is elected this country will go to hell in a hand basket’

  12. great thoughts
    I would add to #1 – ‘if the wrong leader is elected this country will go to hell in a hand basket’

  13. I agree, Rich. I find myself repelled by those who speak in the name of Christianity, but who communicate reactionary, fear-based political views that they tie to their faith, no matter what those views are. My favorite point of yours is #4…this is the issue that never seems to find a voice in the Christian political conversation. Why are we expecting the country to be The Church?

  14. I agree, Rich. I find myself repelled by those who speak in the name of Christianity, but who communicate reactionary, fear-based political views that they tie to their faith, no matter what those views are. My favorite point of yours is #4…this is the issue that never seems to find a voice in the Christian political conversation. Why are we expecting the country to be The Church?

  15. I agree, Rich. I find myself repelled by those who speak in the name of Christianity, but who communicate reactionary, fear-based political views that they tie to their faith, no matter what those views are. My favorite point of yours is #4…this is the issue that never seems to find a voice in the Christian political conversation. Why are we expecting the country to be The Church?

  16. I agree, Rich. I find myself repelled by those who speak in the name of Christianity, but who communicate reactionary, fear-based political views that they tie to their faith, no matter what those views are. My favorite point of yours is #4…this is the issue that never seems to find a voice in the Christian political conversation. Why are we expecting the country to be The Church?

  17. I like it. I 100% agree. Like you’re reading my mind. Great post.

  18. I like it. I 100% agree. Like you’re reading my mind. Great post.

  19. I like it. I 100% agree. Like you’re reading my mind. Great post.

  20. I like it. I 100% agree. Like you’re reading my mind. Great post.

  21. I would agree with you. This is just an example. This issue is that people think its their way or the highway. My political leanings tend to be more to the left. Really, I find it comical that people condemn me for it. As if your political views dictate how you spend eternity.
    As far as change goes. There has to be dialogue happening between both parties. We need to quit fighting about everything and start making things happen. There is a big difference between arguing about things and changing things.

    Also as far as point 5 goes. Im sure you would agree that really our citizenship is one of the world. I think it is important that we realize while this is not our eternal resting place it is where we have been placed. Jesus did not pray “Lord let your will be done in heaven when we get there” but he prayed “Lord let your will be dont on this earth as it is in heaven”

    As followers of Jesus it is our job to be the kingdom of God here on earth in our contexts for however long we are here.

  22. I would agree with you. This is just an example. This issue is that people think its their way or the highway. My political leanings tend to be more to the left. Really, I find it comical that people condemn me for it. As if your political views dictate how you spend eternity.
    As far as change goes. There has to be dialogue happening between both parties. We need to quit fighting about everything and start making things happen. There is a big difference between arguing about things and changing things.

    Also as far as point 5 goes. Im sure you would agree that really our citizenship is one of the world. I think it is important that we realize while this is not our eternal resting place it is where we have been placed. Jesus did not pray “Lord let your will be done in heaven when we get there” but he prayed “Lord let your will be dont on this earth as it is in heaven”

    As followers of Jesus it is our job to be the kingdom of God here on earth in our contexts for however long we are here.

  23. I would agree with you. This is just an example. This issue is that people think its their way or the highway. My political leanings tend to be more to the left. Really, I find it comical that people condemn me for it. As if your political views dictate how you spend eternity.
    As far as change goes. There has to be dialogue happening between both parties. We need to quit fighting about everything and start making things happen. There is a big difference between arguing about things and changing things.

    Also as far as point 5 goes. Im sure you would agree that really our citizenship is one of the world. I think it is important that we realize while this is not our eternal resting place it is where we have been placed. Jesus did not pray “Lord let your will be done in heaven when we get there” but he prayed “Lord let your will be dont on this earth as it is in heaven”

    As followers of Jesus it is our job to be the kingdom of God here on earth in our contexts for however long we are here.

  24. I would agree with you. This is just an example. This issue is that people think its their way or the highway. My political leanings tend to be more to the left. Really, I find it comical that people condemn me for it. As if your political views dictate how you spend eternity.
    As far as change goes. There has to be dialogue happening between both parties. We need to quit fighting about everything and start making things happen. There is a big difference between arguing about things and changing things.

    Also as far as point 5 goes. Im sure you would agree that really our citizenship is one of the world. I think it is important that we realize while this is not our eternal resting place it is where we have been placed. Jesus did not pray “Lord let your will be done in heaven when we get there” but he prayed “Lord let your will be dont on this earth as it is in heaven”

    As followers of Jesus it is our job to be the kingdom of God here on earth in our contexts for however long we are here.

  25. Nice post, I wish more people could think that clearly. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus changing the hearts of individual people, he didn’t discuss Roman or Jewish politics.
    We would do much better to model ourselves after the early christians in Rome. Live the Way regardless of the local politics and people will gravitiate toward us. On the other hand, it is actually possible that God may want the American Church to live as a persucuted minority for awhile 😮

    The sooner we can have people like James Dobson give up on being in charge of how America lives the better. We are not in charge….the Kingdom of God is still spiritual not temporal. One day that will change…..but not because of anything we do.

  26. Nice post, I wish more people could think that clearly. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus changing the hearts of individual people, he didn’t discuss Roman or Jewish politics.
    We would do much better to model ourselves after the early christians in Rome. Live the Way regardless of the local politics and people will gravitiate toward us. On the other hand, it is actually possible that God may want the American Church to live as a persucuted minority for awhile 😮

    The sooner we can have people like James Dobson give up on being in charge of how America lives the better. We are not in charge….the Kingdom of God is still spiritual not temporal. One day that will change…..but not because of anything we do.

  27. Nice post, I wish more people could think that clearly. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus changing the hearts of individual people, he didn’t discuss Roman or Jewish politics.
    We would do much better to model ourselves after the early christians in Rome. Live the Way regardless of the local politics and people will gravitiate toward us. On the other hand, it is actually possible that God may want the American Church to live as a persucuted minority for awhile 😮

    The sooner we can have people like James Dobson give up on being in charge of how America lives the better. We are not in charge….the Kingdom of God is still spiritual not temporal. One day that will change…..but not because of anything we do.

  28. Nice post, I wish more people could think that clearly. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus changing the hearts of individual people, he didn’t discuss Roman or Jewish politics.
    We would do much better to model ourselves after the early christians in Rome. Live the Way regardless of the local politics and people will gravitiate toward us. On the other hand, it is actually possible that God may want the American Church to live as a persucuted minority for awhile 😮

    The sooner we can have people like James Dobson give up on being in charge of how America lives the better. We are not in charge….the Kingdom of God is still spiritual not temporal. One day that will change…..but not because of anything we do.

  29. Chad,
    Now we are getting it from a left-leaning agenda, too. Dobson has company in McLaren! Let’s not be fooled by either extreme.

    RK

  30. Chad,
    Now we are getting it from a left-leaning agenda, too. Dobson has company in McLaren! Let’s not be fooled by either extreme.

    RK

  31. Chad,
    Now we are getting it from a left-leaning agenda, too. Dobson has company in McLaren! Let’s not be fooled by either extreme.

    RK

  32. Chad,
    Now we are getting it from a left-leaning agenda, too. Dobson has company in McLaren! Let’s not be fooled by either extreme.

    RK

  33. Frederic Bastiat wrote a great book in the mid-1800’s called “The Law”. In it he described what happens to a society when the law becomes “perverted” – that is when it is used to advantage one group/agenda/interest over another.
    What has happened in our society is that the church has allowed government to crowd out the altruistic functions and services the church has traditionally provided. Instead we have groups pining for their share of the governmental pie and Christians take the easy way out by choosing an agenda to get on board with instead of taking their rightful place as heirs to the Kingdom of God and becoming ambassadors for His agenda.

    I’ll stop ranting now. Good post Rich!

  34. Frederic Bastiat wrote a great book in the mid-1800’s called “The Law”. In it he described what happens to a society when the law becomes “perverted” – that is when it is used to advantage one group/agenda/interest over another.
    What has happened in our society is that the church has allowed government to crowd out the altruistic functions and services the church has traditionally provided. Instead we have groups pining for their share of the governmental pie and Christians take the easy way out by choosing an agenda to get on board with instead of taking their rightful place as heirs to the Kingdom of God and becoming ambassadors for His agenda.

    I’ll stop ranting now. Good post Rich!

  35. Frederic Bastiat wrote a great book in the mid-1800’s called “The Law”. In it he described what happens to a society when the law becomes “perverted” – that is when it is used to advantage one group/agenda/interest over another.
    What has happened in our society is that the church has allowed government to crowd out the altruistic functions and services the church has traditionally provided. Instead we have groups pining for their share of the governmental pie and Christians take the easy way out by choosing an agenda to get on board with instead of taking their rightful place as heirs to the Kingdom of God and becoming ambassadors for His agenda.

    I’ll stop ranting now. Good post Rich!

  36. Frederic Bastiat wrote a great book in the mid-1800’s called “The Law”. In it he described what happens to a society when the law becomes “perverted” – that is when it is used to advantage one group/agenda/interest over another.
    What has happened in our society is that the church has allowed government to crowd out the altruistic functions and services the church has traditionally provided. Instead we have groups pining for their share of the governmental pie and Christians take the easy way out by choosing an agenda to get on board with instead of taking their rightful place as heirs to the Kingdom of God and becoming ambassadors for His agenda.

    I’ll stop ranting now. Good post Rich!

  37. #3 seems to be more your opinion than fact. Christians have debated what Jesus’ ministry was like for a long time. It very well could have been transcendent, but I don’t know that everyone would agree to that. I’m not saying I disagree, just seems like a difficult thing to call a fact.

  38. #3 seems to be more your opinion than fact. Christians have debated what Jesus’ ministry was like for a long time. It very well could have been transcendent, but I don’t know that everyone would agree to that. I’m not saying I disagree, just seems like a difficult thing to call a fact.

  39. #3 seems to be more your opinion than fact. Christians have debated what Jesus’ ministry was like for a long time. It very well could have been transcendent, but I don’t know that everyone would agree to that. I’m not saying I disagree, just seems like a difficult thing to call a fact.

  40. #3 seems to be more your opinion than fact. Christians have debated what Jesus’ ministry was like for a long time. It very well could have been transcendent, but I don’t know that everyone would agree to that. I’m not saying I disagree, just seems like a difficult thing to call a fact.

  41. Clearly, the pattern of Jesus was not political. Here are some reasons beyond being a simple gut opinion–in fact being the most biblically reinforced point of the 3. In my opinion, of course.
    – Jesus had political zealots that followed him, but never allowed their agenda to be his agenda
    – Jesus spoke not against the government, but religious leaders as a Rabbi himself
    – Matters of state, policy or government were never part of his solution, except when referring to the heaven.
    – When Jesus addressed social issues, it was to the people, not the King or governing authorities
    – The idea of a political Messiah was a misunderstanding of many who followed him, shown by their dismissal of him
    – While there was a political wake from the life of Jesus, his agenda never was stated as a political agenda.

    You can say that people have differing views of this, but the difference would be that there is no judgement or place called heaven. So, those with a very non-Evangelical and liberal theology would ascribe to that conistently. Mixing our work and worship with a political agenda is dangerous and certainly not that way Jesus modeled. He modeled the ability to be with tax collectors and the zealots. He indeed transcended that governmental structures as solutions with the offer of a personal faith that really works whether in Communist China or Christianized regions of Africa or in capitalistic America.

    If our faith is stuck inside our politics, we should question what we are really living for. Or, is this all there is? I think it is clear Jesus taught there is more that transcends this life. So, our faith should transcend our politics.

  42. Clearly, the pattern of Jesus was not political. Here are some reasons beyond being a simple gut opinion–in fact being the most biblically reinforced point of the 3. In my opinion, of course.
    – Jesus had political zealots that followed him, but never allowed their agenda to be his agenda
    – Jesus spoke not against the government, but religious leaders as a Rabbi himself
    – Matters of state, policy or government were never part of his solution, except when referring to the heaven.
    – When Jesus addressed social issues, it was to the people, not the King or governing authorities
    – The idea of a political Messiah was a misunderstanding of many who followed him, shown by their dismissal of him
    – While there was a political wake from the life of Jesus, his agenda never was stated as a political agenda.

    You can say that people have differing views of this, but the difference would be that there is no judgement or place called heaven. So, those with a very non-Evangelical and liberal theology would ascribe to that conistently. Mixing our work and worship with a political agenda is dangerous and certainly not that way Jesus modeled. He modeled the ability to be with tax collectors and the zealots. He indeed transcended that governmental structures as solutions with the offer of a personal faith that really works whether in Communist China or Christianized regions of Africa or in capitalistic America.

    If our faith is stuck inside our politics, we should question what we are really living for. Or, is this all there is? I think it is clear Jesus taught there is more that transcends this life. So, our faith should transcend our politics.

  43. Clearly, the pattern of Jesus was not political. Here are some reasons beyond being a simple gut opinion–in fact being the most biblically reinforced point of the 3. In my opinion, of course.
    – Jesus had political zealots that followed him, but never allowed their agenda to be his agenda
    – Jesus spoke not against the government, but religious leaders as a Rabbi himself
    – Matters of state, policy or government were never part of his solution, except when referring to the heaven.
    – When Jesus addressed social issues, it was to the people, not the King or governing authorities
    – The idea of a political Messiah was a misunderstanding of many who followed him, shown by their dismissal of him
    – While there was a political wake from the life of Jesus, his agenda never was stated as a political agenda.

    You can say that people have differing views of this, but the difference would be that there is no judgement or place called heaven. So, those with a very non-Evangelical and liberal theology would ascribe to that conistently. Mixing our work and worship with a political agenda is dangerous and certainly not that way Jesus modeled. He modeled the ability to be with tax collectors and the zealots. He indeed transcended that governmental structures as solutions with the offer of a personal faith that really works whether in Communist China or Christianized regions of Africa or in capitalistic America.

    If our faith is stuck inside our politics, we should question what we are really living for. Or, is this all there is? I think it is clear Jesus taught there is more that transcends this life. So, our faith should transcend our politics.

  44. Clearly, the pattern of Jesus was not political. Here are some reasons beyond being a simple gut opinion–in fact being the most biblically reinforced point of the 3. In my opinion, of course.
    – Jesus had political zealots that followed him, but never allowed their agenda to be his agenda
    – Jesus spoke not against the government, but religious leaders as a Rabbi himself
    – Matters of state, policy or government were never part of his solution, except when referring to the heaven.
    – When Jesus addressed social issues, it was to the people, not the King or governing authorities
    – The idea of a political Messiah was a misunderstanding of many who followed him, shown by their dismissal of him
    – While there was a political wake from the life of Jesus, his agenda never was stated as a political agenda.

    You can say that people have differing views of this, but the difference would be that there is no judgement or place called heaven. So, those with a very non-Evangelical and liberal theology would ascribe to that conistently. Mixing our work and worship with a political agenda is dangerous and certainly not that way Jesus modeled. He modeled the ability to be with tax collectors and the zealots. He indeed transcended that governmental structures as solutions with the offer of a personal faith that really works whether in Communist China or Christianized regions of Africa or in capitalistic America.

    If our faith is stuck inside our politics, we should question what we are really living for. Or, is this all there is? I think it is clear Jesus taught there is more that transcends this life. So, our faith should transcend our politics.

  45. Good stuff. It’s pretty exciting to see it all play out.
    #3…He would transcend it.

    Double True!

  46. Good stuff. It’s pretty exciting to see it all play out.
    #3…He would transcend it.

    Double True!

  47. Good stuff. It’s pretty exciting to see it all play out.
    #3…He would transcend it.

    Double True!

  48. Good stuff. It’s pretty exciting to see it all play out.
    #3…He would transcend it.

    Double True!

  49. I wonder. If Jesus and I were walking on the shore on election day and someone asked him how he would vote… would he send me fishing to find two ballots stuffed inside the fish?
    It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s an interesting thought.

  50. I wonder. If Jesus and I were walking on the shore on election day and someone asked him how he would vote… would he send me fishing to find two ballots stuffed inside the fish?
    It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s an interesting thought.

  51. I wonder. If Jesus and I were walking on the shore on election day and someone asked him how he would vote… would he send me fishing to find two ballots stuffed inside the fish?
    It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s an interesting thought.

  52. I wonder. If Jesus and I were walking on the shore on election day and someone asked him how he would vote… would he send me fishing to find two ballots stuffed inside the fish?
    It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s an interesting thought.

  53. hhhmmmmmm…….
    Two things (or more) then I will go away. Politics can not change people’s heart. I agree with this assessment. Politcs are merely a reflection of where people’s hearts are. That being said, I do firmly believe that we as Christians should be “political” in the sense that we examine issues and the candidates that stand for these issues through the grid of our Christianity. So should people vote clearly on the basis of whether some is pro-life or not? No, but this issue (and others like it) speak to the character of a person who stands for them if you ask me. I could go on and on I suppose. I have to be honest though when I say, and I say this in all honesty, while I don’t believe “the right” and it’s political positions will change people’s hearts, I find the politics of the left downright frightening, completely out of whack with the reality of human nature, and ultimately destructive to society. Like I said, I am just being honest. That is how I feel. I feel as though we have freewill, so people should vote in a way that reflects what they believe to be rig

    All that being said, all I can do is my part to change the hearts of the individuals I come in contact with, and hope that one day it will help to create a city, state, country, and world that is more Christlike.

  54. hhhmmmmmm…….
    Two things (or more) then I will go away. Politics can not change people’s heart. I agree with this assessment. Politcs are merely a reflection of where people’s hearts are. That being said, I do firmly believe that we as Christians should be “political” in the sense that we examine issues and the candidates that stand for these issues through the grid of our Christianity. So should people vote clearly on the basis of whether some is pro-life or not? No, but this issue (and others like it) speak to the character of a person who stands for them if you ask me. I could go on and on I suppose. I have to be honest though when I say, and I say this in all honesty, while I don’t believe “the right” and it’s political positions will change people’s hearts, I find the politics of the left downright frightening, completely out of whack with the reality of human nature, and ultimately destructive to society. Like I said, I am just being honest. That is how I feel. I feel as though we have freewill, so people should vote in a way that reflects what they believe to be rig

    All that being said, all I can do is my part to change the hearts of the individuals I come in contact with, and hope that one day it will help to create a city, state, country, and world that is more Christlike.

  55. hhhmmmmmm…….
    Two things (or more) then I will go away. Politics can not change people’s heart. I agree with this assessment. Politcs are merely a reflection of where people’s hearts are. That being said, I do firmly believe that we as Christians should be “political” in the sense that we examine issues and the candidates that stand for these issues through the grid of our Christianity. So should people vote clearly on the basis of whether some is pro-life or not? No, but this issue (and others like it) speak to the character of a person who stands for them if you ask me. I could go on and on I suppose. I have to be honest though when I say, and I say this in all honesty, while I don’t believe “the right” and it’s political positions will change people’s hearts, I find the politics of the left downright frightening, completely out of whack with the reality of human nature, and ultimately destructive to society. Like I said, I am just being honest. That is how I feel. I feel as though we have freewill, so people should vote in a way that reflects what they believe to be rig

    All that being said, all I can do is my part to change the hearts of the individuals I come in contact with, and hope that one day it will help to create a city, state, country, and world that is more Christlike.

  56. hhhmmmmmm…….
    Two things (or more) then I will go away. Politics can not change people’s heart. I agree with this assessment. Politcs are merely a reflection of where people’s hearts are. That being said, I do firmly believe that we as Christians should be “political” in the sense that we examine issues and the candidates that stand for these issues through the grid of our Christianity. So should people vote clearly on the basis of whether some is pro-life or not? No, but this issue (and others like it) speak to the character of a person who stands for them if you ask me. I could go on and on I suppose. I have to be honest though when I say, and I say this in all honesty, while I don’t believe “the right” and it’s political positions will change people’s hearts, I find the politics of the left downright frightening, completely out of whack with the reality of human nature, and ultimately destructive to society. Like I said, I am just being honest. That is how I feel. I feel as though we have freewill, so people should vote in a way that reflects what they believe to be rig

    All that being said, all I can do is my part to change the hearts of the individuals I come in contact with, and hope that one day it will help to create a city, state, country, and world that is more Christlike.

  57. Again Rich…I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I’m just saying there are plenty of other views that has plenty of Biblical backing as to how Jesus ran his ministry.

  58. Again Rich…I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I’m just saying there are plenty of other views that has plenty of Biblical backing as to how Jesus ran his ministry.

  59. Again Rich…I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I’m just saying there are plenty of other views that has plenty of Biblical backing as to how Jesus ran his ministry.

  60. Again Rich…I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I’m just saying there are plenty of other views that has plenty of Biblical backing as to how Jesus ran his ministry.

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