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Political Allegiance

By Andy Engdahl

As we enter another election year, the question arises: What should my involvement be as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian? Members of our faith community have taken a number of different approaches to this question. On the one hand, some believe that we should have no involvement with any political activities and they do not vote in elections. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are very active in partisan politics and even run for political office themselves. Does the Bible have anything to say about this?
     
This short article cannot begin to do justice to this question, but here are a few thoughts: My first and absolute allegiance is to a Kingdom that is not of this world (John 18:36). We live in the midst of a Great Controversy between good and evil that manifests itself in governments and politics, but ultimately God is in control.
     
All humans are created and loved by God (John 3:16). We are ALL created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). We are created equal (Gal. 3:28). God has established civil government (Rom 13:1). I should submit to civil government (Rom 13:1-7) but I must obey God first (Acts 5:29). As a citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom on this earth we have been called to stand for justice (Micah 6:8), care for the poor, the widows, the oppressed, and the strangers in our land (Ex. 22:21; Isa 58:6; Matt. 25:31-46). We are to be good stewards of the environment (Rev 11:18). We are to be peacemakers and overcome evil with good (Luke 6:27-31; Rom 12:14-21). Last but not least, we have been called to make disciples of all people, not to make them Republicans or Democrats (Matt 28:19).
     
As the son of a history and political science teacher, I must confess that I have an interest in politics and public policy. I have been known to watch the Sunday morning political TV programs and to listen to political talk radio. I also recognize that I need to keep politics in its proper place. How much time do I spend on politics compared to time spent witnessing for Christ? What am I passionate about? Is it easier for me to witness for a political cause than it is for Christ? It has been shown that radio and television were powerful tools used in Rwanda and Bosnia to turn friends and neighbors into killers willing to take the lives of their friends. A constant bombardment of “us” verses “them” changed peoples’ lives in devastating ways. What do I spend my time listening to? By beholding, we become changed.           

As a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, it is my privilege to bring others to Jesus. Is there a chance that my political views could offend someone and diminish my witness? This year I want to get my priorities right. I am passionate about Jesus. I want to support and uphold the principles of His Kingdom. It is my greatest joy to campaign for Him!