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Political Differences and Christian Unity

Nov 8, 2020

How far should believers go in maintaining fellowship?

When there are serious differences on serious issues, how much should Christians attempt to strive for unity? Let me preface this question by saying that each day I look for any connections or correlations between what I find in the morning news and what I read in my daily Bible study.

It is quite obvious what the big headline today is: most of the media is proclaiming – prematurely and therefore quite inaccurately – a Biden win in America. And sadly in the social media I notice some who claim to be Christians who are cheering this on. They seem to love Biden as much as they hate Trump.

My morning reading included Romans 14 which is about divisions between weak and strong brethren. Specifically, it is about those who eat meat and those who do not. While Paul sides with the former – the strong believers – he informs his audience that it does not really matter what they eat. He urges as his core principle that they do not judge one another but love each other instead.

OK, that is good as far as it goes in this rather limited context. Meat-eating is not too serious nor sinful (although in v. 23 Paul says that whatever does not come from faith is sin). But what about in those areas where it is more serious and sinful? Then how does Christian fellowship work out?

All true Christians should know that things such as abortion and homosexuality are clearly sinful. If those claiming to be Christians are deeply involved in either, they need to repent and turn from their sin. Only then can Christian unity occur, and fellowship be restored.

But what happens when a believer may not so much be involved in doing those things, but fully supports those who do? If politicians like Biden and Harris and political parties like the Democrats fully support these things – and so many other things that clearly go against biblical values – can Christians in good conscience support them?

And what should Christians who do not support such politicians and parties do with these other believers? Do the principles found in Romans 14 apply here (don’t judge each other but just love one another)? Or are there other biblical truths that we need to bring into the equation?

There certainly are. Christian fellowship and unity are vital, but so too is Christian truth. When bad behaviour or bad beliefs are being allowed to go unchecked, Scripture makes it clear that this needs to be called out, and if need be, fellowship may need to be broken. But see more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/07/11/church-visitors-versus-church-members/

So how does the concerned Christian proceed here? It is harder if the ones promoting ungodly and unrighteous parties and policies are family members or close friends. The aim should be to keep relationships going while also seeking to reach out to the loved ones in the hopes of bringing them around.

As to “friends” on the social media, we have less need to hang on to everyone. If they are pushing all the beliefs and values that you oppose as a biblical Christian, you do not necessarily need to hang on to them. There is a place for letting some of these folks go if it seems clear that they are unlikely to change.

Deception

But one more thing can be mentioned here. If all this was just about somewhat differing political views and valid disagreements on some opinions about politics, that would be one thing. But the Christian cannot ignore the truth that something more sinister might be at work here. There is also the possibility of satanic deception.

It seems that with so much moral and spiritual darkness descending upon the West, and with so many unwelcome political outcomes of late – at least in the eyes of the conservative Christian – that we may well have far more than mere political differences taking place.

The Christian believes that there is such a thing as deception, and that there is a deceiver. When you get large numbers of folks who claim to be Christians actually supporting and championing things which the Scriptures clearly call sinful, then you know we have some real problems. I speak about deception here, offering numerous passages on the topic: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/03/13/on-deception/

Let me offer just a few of the verses I featured there. As to deception and the end times, Jesus had much to say about this, as in Matthew 24:

Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.
Matthew 24:10-12 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Matthew 24:23-25 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.

And Paul often warned about deception as well, eg:

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
2 Timothy 3:13 While evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

If much of what we see happening today is indeed a case of diabolical deception, then a few more things can be said. Perhaps these are indeed the end times. Who knows? But a characteristic of when Christ returns is that of widescale deception, unbelief, lawlessness and the like.

It also can be said that such deception may be part of how God is operating as he separates the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats. When clearly unbiblical and ungodly beliefs and practices are embraced by people claiming to be believers, that is one way to see some much-needed sifting come about.

Am I saying that anyone claiming to be a Christian who supports political parties like the Democrats is into deception and worse? No. Some of these folks may be simply confused, or not very aware of either their own faith or what parties like this believe and are running with. Some may need basic education in biblical and political realities.

But still, when you have so many who say they are Christians wildly cheering on what might be a Biden win, you have to ask some hard questions. Satanic deception is certainly part of the explanation here. Sure, many of these folks may well be Christians in name only – they are not actually sons and daughters of the living God.

But some are. Maybe they are new Christians or poorly taught Christians. They need prayer. We need to try to reach out to them. We can hope they come to understand biblical truth more fully. And if and when possible, we can seek to maintain fellowship with them.

These are serious matters, and we dare not take them lightly. If we have a group of believers who basically can see no difference between political parties which are pro-death and anti-Biblical marriage and family – to name just two key issues – and those which are not, we are in a really bad place.

In sum, I may have raised more questions here than I have answered. But these are very serious issues indeed, and at the very least, biblical Christians need to prayerfully and carefully think about how best to proceed. Christian unity matters. But so too does biblical truth.

Let me leave you with a few concluding quotes along those lines:

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” Martin Luther

“To pursue union at the expense of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Charles Spurgeon

“Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.” J. C. Ryle

May God give us all much grace and wisdom as we seek to work through these difficult issues in these difficult days.

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20 Responses to Political Differences and Christian Unity

  • Such a clearly worded and firmly grounded statement of truth for times such as these. Thanks Bill. Press on. Your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

  • Many thanks indeed John.

  • Deception is rife among believers as well as in the secular world. Sometimes I just despair at what I see written by people professing to be true believers justifying such things as abortion, one comment I read from a ”pastor” claimed that an embryo is not a life. Really sad. Thank you for always presenting the truth of God’s Word.

  • I recall the words of John Howard in conceding an election to Bob Hawke in the 1980s, “The things that unite us are more important than the things that divide us.”

  • I feel the start of the slide is being unwilling to believe the early chapters of Genesis – that God created the world in six 24-hour days, exactly as recorded. Once a few verses/chapters have been dismissed, it seems easier to dismiss others that don’t quite fit with modern (secular, unGodly) thinking. The end of this is to support, or at least not deplore, the legal slaughter of the youngest and most vulnerable humans. If Jesus does not return soon and there is enough future to look back on our age, abortion will be the big black dirty mark that stains our generations. Future generations will shake their heads and ask ‘What were they thinking?’ And as for Christians supporting those who rabidly promote abortion … tragic.

  • Thanks for this article Bill. I have very close friends who are absolutely solid Christians who have devoted their lives to ministry and helping others, generous and caring. They think I’m the deluded one. One made the comment on Facebook that she is “embarrassed and ashamed” of Christians like me. Still we stand firm and brace for the gloating and ridicule which will no doubt come. I pray that any protests will be peaceful in the real sense of the word not as we have seen in recent times. Bless you.

  • One sadness is the Australian P.M. celebrating Biden as President.

  • “It is harder if the ones promoting ungodly and unrighteous parties and policies are family members or close friends.” too often we see this with homosexuality and transsexuality. christians that are fully against it UNTIL a family member usually son, daughter or parent or close friend comes out as gay or trans and then these christians discover that Jesus is cool with it. You are no christian is friends and family mean more to you than Jesus.

    Corrina there is a cartoon called the descent of the modernist https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4d/Descent_of_the_Modernists%2C_E._J._Pace%2C_Christian_Cartoons%2C_1922.png/1045px-Descent_of_the_Modernists%2C_E._J._Pace%2C_Christian_Cartoons%2C_1922.png
    It starts at the top with christianity but once you take one step you find it easier to take another till at the bottom is atheism. Once you make just ONE compromise you are on the stairway and you will just keep going. not all will reach the bottom but but the journey has started. even in the secular arena one could see such a descent you start with a republic and start your decline down the stair one compromise at a time till you have some form to totalitarianism. as human we keep thinking one little compromise doesn’t matter BUT they add up. just like bricks one doesn’t really seem to matter but your keep laying them and you end up with a wall.

  • Paul Wilson – that cartoon is sad but true. The bible is either infallible or it is not. If it is not, it is of limited worth because the human mind becomes the ultimate authority in what is to be accepted as truth and what can be disregarded. That is slippery ground indeed.

  • This is the time when there will be a separation of believers from dyed in the wool christians. Blindness is rampant and the enemy uses nice words to deceive. Biden is all talk and no action. Peace is a virtue but has a price. In this world there will be no real peace till the Prince of Peace returns.

  • Dear Bill,

    Thank you for the article.

    We have to believe more than ever now, even though things look very bleak indeed, that God’s will will triumph in the end because He can’t want this satanic evil and confusion to continue. Christians must pray more fervently than ever before.

  • In 1860 Republican Abraham Lincoln spoke out against slavery. The Democrats North and South were pro slavery. Abraham Lincoln won the election.

  • Thank you Bill,
    I believe that, like our education system here in the US, the Church has done a poor job of inculcating their congregants, from young to elderly, with solid biblical teachings that provide that unalterable foundation.
    I ‘feel’ sometimes that a lot of those folks calling themselves Christian, believe so because they attend a community ‘church’, have become members, have their kids enrolled in Sunday classes, etc. They have the signs, symbols, and badges, but not the heart towards God.

    While the individual is ultimately responsible for their relationship with The Father, I do firmly believe that our Churches our doing an injustice to the diligent instruction of those placed in their care.

    I’ll continue to pray for those who embrace those political parties in opposition to Biblical views as you always encourage us to do, but it does seem to be endless with the faulty Church structure (and educational systems) in place.

    “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.
    Be our strength every morning, our salvation in times of distress.”
    Isaiah 33:2

    Respectfully’
    Ron Adams

  • It is interesting in that just prior to reading this article I had just finished posting are letter to Scott Morrison informing him of my total disappointment in him in regards to stating that Biden is are great friend of Australia. To be honest I have to question whether or not Morrison has been using the church to gain the Christian vote, because unlike Tony Abbot he has come over as are very lukewarm and excuse me for saying this are wimpy Christian. The total opposite to Trump who was never seen as raising his arms up in worship to our Lord in are church building as Morrison has repeating done for public show. I was also annoyed when it was Jeff Kennett who spoke out in righteous anger for what Daniel Andrews had been doing to those living in Victoria, yet not a word from Scott Morrison until after Jeff lost it on the media and the next day Daniel Andrews reduced the restrictions. That same day Morrison gets on the media and praises everyone for being good little children and to now go out and enjoy your freedom (more or less like that). It was almost like he was acknowledging that Daniel Andrews did are good job protecting the people. It actually sickened me to hear him lolly talk. Whilst everyone in Victoria were in lock down Daniel Andrews already had the Chinese working on the rail project and also went ahead and signed another contract with them whilst the Morrison Government is slowly putting legislation together to stop these deals. Then to add insult to injury one of Scott Morrison’s close official colleagues (can’t think of his name) was addressed by media about what was happening with the Chinese deal with Andrews, he said “that’s Daniel Andrews business, not ours” with an attitude like “not my problem”. I feel so sad to say this but are the Liberals any better than the Labor party? Has Scott Morrison been deceiving the Christians in order to get their support and vote? The word that comes to me is “I wished that you were either hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm I spew you out of my mouth”. Honest Bill I really believe we need to be praying for strong moral leadership right now, because as I see it, we have none, and who knows maybe what we are seeing right now is are separation of the sheep from the goats.

  • It looks like Joe Biden has won the election but not legally. There have been no violent riots so that is good but Trump and the Republicans are not going to let all the voting fraud go unchallenged.
    Sid Roth has two prophets trying to explain things, see the 28 min video at
    https://sidroth.org/new-prophetic-update-on-election-this-is-major/?src=eappeal110520&utm_campaign=eappeal&utm_medium=email&utm_source=luminate
    In other words, I believe Trump will win in the end but we need to keep praying that truth and justice will prevail.

  • big problem Ron is either the kids grow up in the church so are assumed to be christian, unfortunately so many sunday schools have become about silly songs, drawing pictures, nice little bible stories (almost disneyfied) and useless information (who was the first redhead in the bible) that kids learn nothing, or people assume they are christian cause they go to church (what is the line going to church doesn’t make you a christian anymore than going to the garage makes you a car)[and don’t even get me started on people whose child ‘came to christ’ as a toddler and thus they no longer felt the need to educate him about christ] OR I am a christian as was my father as was his father ad infinitum as if christianity can be passed in the DNA. Some spend more time passing on ethnic heritage than they do religion. they can be for instance a Christian of Scottish heritage yet be able to tell you FAR more about Scotland than Christ.

  • I think in most countries there is just ONE party with a few exceptions thrown in (for appearances.

    I said once both parties are taking us to hell in a hand basket the only disagreement is when we arrive.

  • This is so sad. God gave Joe Biden privilege, power and a sound understanding of His law, yet he has abused these gifts and facilitates abortion.

  • The battle lines are being very clearly drawn. You CANNOT be a christian if you vote for the parties of death in your respective countries. If you vote for Joes Biden in the US, you are a FAKE Christian. Likewise, if you vote greens or labour, in Australia, you are a fake christian, and so on. It never used to be that black and white, but times have changed and are changing very quickly!

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