I remember a pastor making jokes from the pulpit about Christians who were democrats. According to him being a republican was akin to being a Christian. I laughed nervously as the congregation nodded in agreement. But this just didn’t sit right with me. How could man, being finite and flawed suppose that the will of God was fully represented by either side of the political spectrum?
The idea that we can fit the God of the universe into our political system is counter to the very nature of God. Isaiah 55:8-9 summarizes the transcendence of God, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts” Therefore, it seems unlikely, that a group of individuals, both regenerate and unregenerate, could set aside the sinful desires of man to craft a political party that perfectly represents the will of God. A party that is so intrinsically godly, if one were to deny it, they would be misaligned with God himself.
I have heard it declared that one could not be a Christian and vote for Biden, conversely, others have declared one could not possibly be a Christian and vote for Trump. Both concepts are in error. Although we may have a bias of who does it best, a quick review of history reveals that neither political party has perfectly aligned itself with God’s will. Even now democrats cry out for justice while ignoring that of the unborn child, while republicans espouse a moral high ground and the commander in chief has a history of extreme moral deficiency. Is not every sin seen as missing the mark of God’s standard in all areas? Do we dare to ask God if He is Republican or Democrat knowing that neither party perfectly meets His standard?
Scripture reminds us that God stands above the battle of political parties; his allegiance is based on his identity alone. In Joshua Chapter 5:13-15, the Israelites had crossed the river Jordan and were gearing up for the battle of their lives. While surveying Jericho, Joshua came across a man with his sword drawn and he asked, “Are you on our side or allied with our enemies?” Naturally, he wants to know if this armed warrior was for or against him, yet the answer Joshua was given is not exactly what one would expect.
Instead of clearly defining His allegiance the armed man revealed his identity; “Truly I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” Your translation may read- “No, Neither- I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” To get a better understanding of the warrior’s response we have to truly understand the identity of this commander. Joshua was surprisingly confronting God himself, more specifically, scholars believe Joshua experienced a Christophany or a sighting of the pre-incarnate Christ. (For more on this topic see https://bible.org/article/captain-lord%E2%80%99s-army-joshua-513-15) Joshua acts accordingly, by bowing in reverence and seeking the Master’s will.
God was teaching Joshua to alter his perspective by removing himself from the center. Joshua was in error because he asked the man to identify himself in relation to Joshua’s cause- friend or foe. Christ reinforced humility in Joshua by telling him to remove his shoes and declaring the place where they stood to be Holy Ground. (Joshua 5:15)
Much like Joshua we tend to approach God, seeking to make him fit our political leanings. However, we are simply to seek out His will based on his transcendent identity. God wants to us to apply this same christocentric approach to all things as we realign ourselves to the will of God and the cause of the Kingdom.
As a point of clarification, the Lord was not affirming neutrality, it is clear that he sought the benefit of Israel. Immediately following this exchange we find that God outlined the battle plans that would grant the Israelite’s victory. (Joshua 6: 1-5) Rather God is reinforcing his preeminence, transcendence, and authority over the battle before us. He reminds Joshua that His allegiance is not a matter of, for or against, Joshua’s command.
For a believer who is seeking to be Christlike, our will should more often than not, align with that of Father. However, we know ourselves well enough to agree that we do not always get this part right. How then, can we possibly suggest that republicans or democrats always get it right?
I am not saying that one cannot or should not support a particular political party. As believers, God has called us to take part in our civic duties. (Mark 12:17, Romans 13:1) However, I want to caution us all not to become haughty in declaring God’s stance on his behalf. We should approach the polarization of politics with humility, understanding that God is not a registered republican or democrat. He favors neither donkeys or elephants. Instead, he is the great I, AM. When we encounter Him, we too must bow in reverence and seek the Master’s will.
For a more thorough review of politics and Christianity see, How a Christian Should Vote by Dr. Tony Evans.