For the past several months I’ve heard two recurring themes from critics of my show: “You’re too political and unloving, Christians shouldn’t argue about politics,” and “You’re not fair and balanced, you’re close-minded and too biased against liberals.”
Perhaps many Christians believe these things because they don’t understand politics is really an exercise of theology applied—one way we love our neighbors as ourselves. Our political and social policies should grow out of our theology, not vice versa. We are not to reverse engineer our theology based upon our political and social agendas. Our faith is foundational to everything else. For Christians, theology creates and shapes our approach to politics; for non-Christians, politics creates and shapes their approach to theology—or at least their worldview.
A Christian becomes too political when their politics is no longer rooted in their theology, when their faith becomes merely peripheral and unnecessary to their political agenda, rather than the one thing that is fundamental and essential.
How we vote to spend our tax dollars, what economic and social policies we hope to advance through votes for particular candidates, and what domestic and foreign policies we hope our government advances—these things are the applications of the values rooted in our Christian worldview.
Just as how I choose to invest my time and treasure is the best expression of whether I’m living out my Christian values, so too what the government spends money on and what policy preferences it pursues is the best expression of our true American values.
The best way for me to love my neighbor is through those things I choose to do personally. The second best way is through votes for candidates who support policies that I believe will promote the common good. Thus, I am political because I am loving, and I am loving because I am Christian. Therefore, I should argue—albeit in a God-glorifying manner—about politics.
Perhaps many Christians don’t know how to argue without getting angry—though there are times when anger is morally justified. The two things that we should be willing to argue about are theology and politics. This isn’t about getting mad or letting your emotions get out of control. In fact, when we lose our cool and merely emote, we’re not arguing very well and we actually become less persuasive rather than more so. It usually escalates into a test of whose emotional intensity is strongest, rather than the strength of the arguments themselves.