When we look at the political scene it is getting harder to know who to support and sometimes Christians suggest one issue that must dominate our choice but can any one issue really give deal with the breadth of Biblical Teaching? It seems to me that we need to look at the full extent of the what the scriptures teach before we make our decisions.
A God of Justice: One passage that helps us to see the complex issues facing us is Isaiah 58, the Lord says,
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Is 58:6–12).
The Lord when he addresses his people talks about justice instead of empty religion. Our politicians often talk about how they appreciate Christian values but the question is do they implement them. this passage gives us something of the heart of God for the poor and needy. I want to address some issues from this perspective.
God is pro-life, after all he created life but this not only applies to abortion but also to the way we treat the elderly, the sick and the poor.
The issue of abortion is one of critical importance, God is opposed to the mas slaughter of the unborn which has come to typify our culture. The killing of the unborn is a serious crime in the eyes of God. As Christians we should do all that we can not only to oppose abortion but to provide alternatives to it. so that the child can be born and raised in a positive environment. We need to continue to campaign against this horrible crime but always with love in our hearts, so that we can show those that have had abortions the love and forgiveness of God.
The elderly are becoming more and more vulnerable to abuse and the suggestion of the use of euthanasia comes up regularly, the elderly should be cared for with dignity until they die a natural death. this argument also applies to those who have various long-term illnesses. We must be vigilant to oppose euthanasia and maintain at all times the value of life. We must not allow murder to be legalized under the name of mercy killing .
The sick should be cared for and people should not be in fear of going to a doctor because of the expense that would involve, we are to care for all who are weak and vulnerable in our society.
Poverty is areal issue throughout the world and there is no way that we can justify economic policies that keep the poor, poor so that the rich can get richer. In ancient Israel the year of Jubilee was observed and this was a time when wealth was redistributed. The ideas that are behind so much capitalistic thinking are foreign to the bible and spring from The Enlightenment, Adam Smith for instance encouraged greed, he has influenced our culture for the worse in the west and many of our recent leaders have embraced his thinking ( we even have his portrait on £20 notes in the UK). as Christians we need to think in creative ways about how the poor can be helped both by the State and other organizations ( in the UK Christians Against Poverty, are showing what Christians can do).
But our concern for the poor must also affect our foreign policy, we need to look at the question of why do we provide aid to other countries, is it as so often in the present to serve our own national purposes or does it reflect the love and justice of God? We need to continue to supply food aid and other aid but not with strings attached that make developing countries dependent upon our own nation.
Another issue is that we should be looking after God’s creation, The Lord in giving the cultural mandate in Genesis !:28
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
is not telling us that we can use the earth for our own selfish aims but rather we are the stewards of this world. We need to have a concern for the earth and this will be reflected in a commitment to do all that we can to minimize pollution and its effects on our climate. Conservation of our worlds resources is not an optional extra for Christians. This is God’s earth and we must treat it well.
When we look at these issues we can get confused because our political process leads us to believe that we have to make choices about the issues and isolate just one issue but especially when it comes to elections we have to evaluate the many issues facing the nation using God-given principles. Normally I believe that one issue politics leads us away from the diversity of God’s concern for his world. we need to dig out the truth of God’s word and apply all that it says to our political stance.
We also need to seek more integrity in the political world, truth seems to get trampled under convenience, sadly in political debate mud-slinging is common instead of a truthful debate of the issues.
We are watching the Western world deteriorate because it has left the Biblical standards, we truly are a post-christian society and it is our responsibility to see the truth of the word of God applied to our national life. Obviously we will want to see the church evangelizing but we must not stop there, we need to embrace a Christian worldview which acknowledges the Lordship of Christ over all things.