Christians Engaging Politics

 I’ve really enjoyed the healthy discussions (here and in private) my blog post on Carl Trueman’s book, Republocrat, provoked.  And now, lest you think I advocate an anabaptistic “let alone” position towards politics, I’ll quote a few statements of Trueman advocating careful political engagement. 

“When it comes to listening to the news, Christians should be eclectic in their approach and not depend merely on those pundits who simply confirm their view of the world while self-evidently use terminology, logic, and standard rules of evidence and argumentation in sloppy, tendentious, and sometimes frankly dishonest ways, such as Mr. Beck and his ‘welfare means totalitarianism’ claims” (p. 57).

“We are called to be good citizens in this world, and in a democratic society, that involves having as many well-thought-out and informed opinions on the things that really matter as time allows.  It is incumbent on us not to surround ourselves with things that confirm our prejudices but to seek to listen to a variety of viewpoints.  …The purpose is to become more informed and to have better-grounded and better-argued opinions.  But that can happen only when watching the news becomes more than just having our gut convictions continually confirmed” (p. 58).

“Let us be Greek apologists once more [he’s referring to early Christians such as Justin Martyr], and show the civil powers that we can be the best and most informed and thoughtful citizens there are, not those who stock-in-trade are clichés, slander, and lunatic conspiracy theories” (p. 59).

“Christians in particular need to set good examples of civic engagement; and that requires that we take our civic duties seriously, and spend time thinking through complex issues in a way that allows us to act in an informed and intelligent manner” (p. 83).

“…We, as Christians and as citizens [should be] able to engage both politics and the political process in such a way that we are aware of the problems, limitations, and realistic expectations of what they can deliver” (p. 98).

“We also need to acknowledge that the world is a lot more complicated than the pundits of Fox News (or MSNBC) tell us.  We must never engage in the kind of inappropriate behavior of those who carry around pictures of our appointed leaders as criminals, or who scream mindless abuse at those with whom they disagree. …We need to read and watch more widely, be as critical of our own favorite pundits and narratives as we are of those cherished by our opponents, and seek to be good stewards of the world and of the opportunities therein that God has given to us” (p. 109).

I appreciate these words; this theme runs throughout the book, as you can tell from the quotes.  You really need to read this book!

shane lems

3 thoughts on “Christians Engaging Politics”

  1. I just finished reading this post, and also your prior post on this topic. Interesting points of view; the comments are also informative. Thanks for bringing this up for discussion.

    No single political party or nation has a monopoly on Christianity. At least we shouldn’t allow them to, anyway! Keep up the good work on this blog. You always make me think.


    1. Thanks, Jason (and CW, of course) – we too are thankful for the discussions. And amen on the monopoly thing.



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