Church and Politics
Politics, Politicians, and Political Platforms
Plano Bible Chapel is a nonpartisan, local church of Jesus Christ with the mission of leading all people to a life-changing, ever-growing relationship with Him (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:7-8; Colossians 2:6-7). As a church, we will not endorse or oppose individual candidates, political parties, or political platforms.* We are called, however, as the Body of Christ in the world to speak biblical truth to cultural and moral issues even when these issues arise in a political context. Therefore, we will not remain silent on moral, theological, or biblical issues (Jeremiah 22:3; Micah 6:8). In addressing these issues, however, we want to be known more for who we worship (Exodus 20:3-6; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Hosea 13:4; Isaiah 43:11, 45:20-22; Acts 2:32-36; Romans 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 4:5-6) and what we believe (John 14:6; Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; Titus 2:1, 6-8) rather than what we’re against or with whom we disagree. Most of all, as followers of Jesus Christ and as His Body, we want to be known by our love for Jesus, our love for one another, and Christ-like love for those who oppose Him so that everyone will know we are His disciples (Matthew 5:43-48; 22:37-40; John 13:35,15:12-17).
As the church of Jesus Christ, our allegiance belongs to Him and His Kingdom alone (Matthew 5:3-10; Luke 6:20-23; John 18:36). Therefore, we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness rather than the kingdoms of the world or its treasures (Matthew 4:8-10; 6:33). The Scriptures articulate that Christians are dual citizens – citizens of Heaven (John 17:16; Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20) and of earthly nations. At the same time, Believers are ambassadors of Christ here on earth representing the Kingdom of Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:20). Belonging to His Eternal Kingdom takes precedence over any worldly, temporal kingdoms. We are thankful for the freedoms of our country and the sacrifices many have made and continue to make for them but our allegiance lies first and foremost with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
In Joshua 5:13–15, there is a very interesting encounter between Joshua and a Commander of the LORD’s army. Joshua initially perceived this man as a mighty warrior standing before him with a sword drawn, ready for battle. Joshua asked, whose side are you on? “Are you for us or for our enemies?” The warrior replied, “Neither.” As soon as the Commander identified Himself, Joshua bowed before Him acknowledging His superiority. The command to remove his sandals (v. 15) would have convinced Joshua that this was the same God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5). His response, “I come as commander of the LORD’s army,” put everything in proper perspective: God is sovereign and doesn’t take sides. It is never a question whether God is on our side but whether we are on God’s side.
During the earthly life of Jesus, everybody wanted Him to take their side (rabbis, scribes, chief priests), to endorse their party (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Herodians, Zealots, Romans, etc), or support their platform. But He refused. Various factions at that time were fueled by a common assumption: power and resources were to be leveraged for the benefit of the powerful and resourced. Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan for worldly political power (Matthew 4:8-11) and refused to get involved in earthly power struggles (Matthew 22:15-22). Throughout His teaching ministry on earth, Jesus contrasted the way of the world with the way of God’s Kingdom (Matthew 5-7). He was the King who came to reverse the order of things as a humble servant (Matthew 20:25-28, 23:11-12; Mark 10:42-45; Philippians 2:5-11). The Kingdom of God, according to Jesus, is not about power, positions, platforms, or authority, but about serving the Lord and others in sacrificial love.
The first generation of Christians following the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus refused to leverage any privilege or political power for themselves. Instead, they lived selfless lives in Jesus’ name having been empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to share the Gospel, be witnesses of Christ’s resurrection, and live for the benefit of others. They gave up the old way of power and they embraced the Law of Christ: love (John 13:34; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Galatians 5:14, 6:1-2). They obeyed the greatest command of scripture and the most frequently repeated command of Jesus Christ: to love God wholeheartedly and one’s neighbor sacrificially (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:17-18; Matt. 22:36–40; Luke 6:32-36, 10:27; John 13:34–35; 15:12; 1 John 3:23; 4:7-11). The disciples of Jesus and the early church denied themselves, took up the cross of Jesus, and followed Him (Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-36; 9:33-35; Luke 9:23-27). As a result, no one on earth could stop their Spirit-empowered work in Jesus’ name (Matthew 16:13-19; Acts 1:8, 4:19-20, 5:29-32, 17:5-7).
Throughout history, however, when the church has used the tools, tactics, and strategies of this world (knowledge, privilege, and power), it ends up looking like and living like the world (Colossians 2:8-10). Whenever the church demands its way and seeks power, it loses its effectiveness as salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Whenever a church chooses sides and seeks power, it is likely to be viewed as just another group of people living for and defending itself without love (Revelation 2:1-5).
As people of the Kingdom of Heaven, our purpose on this Earth is to live according to God’s will and our mission is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ until He returns (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:2-5). Jesus taught that we are to live in a different way for a different kingdom (Matthew 5:3-16), stand up for truth and justice (Jeremiah 22:3; Micah 6:8; Galatians 2:10), pray for all leaders and those in authority (1 Timothy 1:2-4), honor all people – including leaders (1 Peter 2:17), be unified (John 17:21-23), build up others in love (1 Corinthians 8:1; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11), and be ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20). We are ministers of the Gospel, good soldiers of Christ Jesus who share in His suffering without getting entangled in the temporal concerns of this world that would distract us from our purpose or our mission (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Plano Bible Chapel holds the position that in the cultural, civic context of the United States, no political parties, platforms, or organizations fully represent the values of the Kingdom of God. As the body of Christ here on earth, we will prayerfully and graciously address moral, theological, or biblical issues in the church, our local community, and our country. However, as a church representing our Savior, we will not support any particular party, platform, or politician because our total devotion is to the Kingdom of Heaven, and our soon coming King, Jesus (Revelation 22:12-13).