How can you navigate politics and government as a Christian? In what ways should your faith influence your political engagement?
Watch the video above, which is part of Southeastern Seminary’s “Check It Out” series on YouTube, or read a transcript below.
Religion and politics cannot be separated.
I’ve written on a number of different things. I always write from a Christian perspective as a theologian but usually write on issues at the intersection of theology and culture.
When it comes to politics, you have a number of different reactions or responses among Americans. You have some Americans who are done with it; it can be such an ugly arena, and they’ve just pulled out of it and don’t want to talk about it, certainly not in public. You’ve got other Americans who are very excited about it and are ready to talk about it in public and Tweet about it constantly. And I think you have some people who are unsure what to make of it. It’s a little bit of a mixed bag.
The purpose of government — and of politics, which is related to that — is to bring justice to the various individuals under its purview. That’s why it exists. And politics relates to government because politics is the art and science of trying to persuade other citizens or other political leaders about what justice is for various individuals or communities within a nation.
So there were several moments in life when I began to recognize the importance of the political realm. The most important was probably in the late 90s when I moved to the former Soviet Union…. I was fascinated how this false ideology, Marxism… [affected people]. It was there in Russia that I began to realize how significantly the public square is affected by religions and ideologies. Religion and politics cannot be separated. It was during those years that I decided that if the Lord ever gave me the opportunity to, I would write about politics from a Christian perspective.
So I just started making an outline of what this book would look like. I talked to a couple of different publishers who were interested in it. And I had so much fun writing this book. It’s a series of 27 letters to a hypothetical college student who has just become a Christian and I encourage him not to take the path of his secular, progressive professors but also to avoid the secular brand of conservatism to allow his Christianity to retain primacy.
So for the reader who is interested in reading this book, Letters to an American Christian, I want you to enjoy the book. There are short chapters; you don’t have to read them in order, really. I would read it with a mug of coffee in hand… and enjoy it, and read it prayerfully.