The unusual rancor which has characterized the 2016 presidential election has caused as much division within the church as anywhere else. How should Christians respond to the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? What would Jesus do?
Pastor John MacArthur has a comprehensive answer, and it’s likely to upset just about everyone. A month out from the presidential election, MacArthur has repackaged a sermon series from 1985 called “The Christian and Government,” excerpting it on his daily Grace to You radio ministry. Every believer should consider what MacArthur has to say.
Pointing to Jesus Christ and the first century church, along with numerous Old Testament examples, MacArthur builds a case for Christian ambivalence toward politics. Believers should influence the culture with the Word, not through protest or revolution, MacArthur states.
Among the evidence MacArthur cites for his thesis, the most compelling may be the life of Jesus. To paraphrase MacArthur, Christ was born into a world where literal slavery was the norm. The world of that time was characterized by dictatorial monarchy and widespread injustice. Christ’s Jewish contemporaries expected their messiah to arrive as a political savior. The Roman authorities worried that Christ might incite rebellion. But Christ had no interest in politics — none. He left no admonition to protest, to rally, or to focus attention on earthly kingdoms. He told his followers to spread the gospel and love one another, to live peaceable lives which honored Him.
MacArthur does not say to refrain from voting or divorce ourselves fully from politics. He merely points out that God remains sovereign regardless of election returns or legislation. Our struggle as Christians is not with the governments of this world.