The election season is a dangerous time for Christians, but not because candidates are threatening our faith—quite the opposite. Some are promising to protect Christianity. The empty tomb clearly demonstrates we are in no need of their empty promises.
As politicians, particularly those who do not understand the Christian faith, attempt to pander to Christian voters, they subtly and unknowingly tempt us to once again trade our Savior in for 30 pieces of silver. They promise solutions to all of our cultural problems. They guarantee a renewed sense of cultural power. Many are now pledging a secure cultural presence.
These strongmen are going to keep Christianity safe from an increasingly hostile American culture and U.S. government. But who said Christianity needed that? From its very beginning, Christianity has been a subversive faith—working underground and spreading in the midst of persecution.
Christ was crucified by an antagonistic government at the behest of an angry culture, but that was the means through which God brought the ultimate victory. Jesus’ tiny band of followers, emboldened by His resurrection and empowered by His Spirit, unblinkingly stood toe-to-toe with those same forces and rested in the victory Christ has already promised and secured.
The Roman Empire wanted to wipe Christianity off the face of the Earth. Emperor after emperor, caesar after caesar threw the followers of Jesus into jail and to the lions. But as their blood spilled out across the dusty ground, 10 more stepped into their place, picked up the cross of Christ and carried it a step or two further. Each life and death demonstrating the futility of Rome’s attempts to stop the movement.
The Church continued to spread. Across the roads of Europe. Through the plains of Africa. Into the forests of Asia. Over the oceans to Australia and the Americas. Rome was relegated to the history books, while Christianity marched on.
Kings and queens, dictators and tyrants, presidents and prime ministers have all sought to stop the mountain-moving mustard seed of the Christian faith. Communists have sought to conquer it. Consumerists have tried to co-opt it. They have all failed.
Christianity has withstood assaults from hostile governments since Pontius Pilate and King Herod, it needs no political candidate to protect it from being weakened.
Christ’s Kingdom is everlasting. Our King is undefeated. He conquered death and hell, I do not have to wonder how He will be able to handle the American government, regardless of who is elected. If, as Jesus promised, the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, His followers do not need to chase after politicians promising protection and power.
Any candidate who believes they need to use the government to help Christianity, does not understand either the role of government or the power within Christianity. The Church does not need the government to protect it. Rather, all the Church should want from the government is for it to get out of the Church’s way.
Faith that needs protection and support from the government or a politician is a weakened, corrupted faith that cannot last. The very acceptance of the promise of strength unleashes a cancer within Christianity, sapping it of all its power and perverting it beyond recognition.
Just to be clear, this is not a call to vote apart from Christian principles, but rather vote more specifically through them. Judge candidates by their commitment to Christian values in their personal lives and public policy, not in promises to serve as the protector of our faith.
A Christ that is perpetually guarded and secured by the government is one that stays in the tomb. But thankfully, that is not the Christ of Christianity.
Guards and seals could not keep Him in the grave. He rose in power in spite of the government, not because of it. Those who have been granted that same resurrection power should immediately reject any politician’s offer to keep Christianity strong.
We don’t need it. In Christ, we never have and we never will.