Fifth, political engagement often turns the church's mission field into the enemy. Political campaigns make this abundantly clear. Fueled by a righteous cause, each side wages war with the carnal weapons of this age, and each side demonizes the other, employing the sharpest (and sometimes the nastiest) rhetoric. That's not the mandate for the church. Instead, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (ESV). Those people out there may be the worst of sinners-you know, activist types-but such were some of you. And yet, God washed you, sanctified you, and justified you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The world may be the enemy of God, as you once were (Ephesians 2:1-3), but they need to be reconciled to God, as you have been (Ephesians 2:4-10). The world is our mission field.

It's not that it's wrong for a Christian to be involved in the political process. Christians in democratic countries have the opportunity to vote, and there are a number of God-fearing Christians throughout the world whom God has chosen to have political careers. But it is wrong for churches and pastors to lose sight of Christ's mandate in Matthew 28:18-20 and stray from the full-time work of making disciples. That's a mandate and a mission that John MacArthur, along with many other faithful pastors, takes very seriously.

For more information on the subject of Christians and politics, you might consider picking up a copy of Why Government Can't Save You, by John MacArthur.

Original publication date: June 22, 2009