How to Let Political Disagreements Damage Your Church in 4 Easy Steps


In fact, here are 4 easy steps Christians can take to make this terrible scenario a reality:

Step 1: Ignore the difference between “straight line” problems and “jagged line” problems

A key first step is to ignore the difference between ‘straight line’ political / social / ethical issues and ‘irregular line’ political / social / ethical issues.

Christian theologians Jonathan Leeman and Andrew Naselli explain the difference between the two:

For a straight line question, there is a straight line between a biblical text and its political application. For example, the Bible explicitly teaches that murder is sin; abortion is a form of murder, so we must oppose abortion. It’s a straight line. Therefore [a church should] initiate the church discipline process with a member who [calls themselves a Christian and] pleads for abortion …[1]

They continue:

But for a question of an irregular line, there is a multi-step process from a biblical or theological principle to a political position. [2]

They conclude:

Most political issues are not straight line issues. Most are jagged line problems. Think of everything from trade policy and healthcare reform to monetary policy and carbon dioxide emission caps. These are important, and Christians should rely on Bible principles when they think about them. But the path from the biblical text to the application of policies is not straightforward. It’s complex. On such matters, none of us should claim to have “the” Christian position, as if we were apostles revealing true doctrine once and for all. ‘[3]

In other words, step 1 assumes that the Bible gives clear positions on the political issues of our time, just as it teaches us about salvation, judgment, and the Second Coming. This assumes that Jesus and the apostles gave direct orders on climate change and immigration policy, tax benefits, and public education.

If we assume that all political issues are ultimately “straightforward” issues, we will be taking the first step towards polarizing and fracturing our churches.

Step 2: Assume Your “Irregular Line” Political Beliefs Are “Straight Line” Issues

This step is too easy. Suppose there is a direct line between your political point of view and the Word of God.

Suppose the Bible directly supports your political party, your perspective on immigration, taxes, and vaccine passports. Ignore any evidence to the contrary, that perhaps the Bible’s point of view on these matters is not as clear as you assume.

Step 3: Condemn those who disagree with your political beliefs (irregular line) as non-Christians

If your political views are taken directly from the Bible, then any Christian who does not agree with your policy is disobeying God Himself. So, vote for [insert your political viewpoint] is not a “questionable issue” (Rom 14), a question of Christian freedom, an issue on which Christians can disagree while honoring God. To disagree with your take on immigration / climate change / vaccine passports is akin to heresy, and Christians who do should be treated as such.

Step 4: Break fellowship with those who hold different political beliefs

The last step is to break fellowship with such people. After all, you wouldn’t have Christian fellowship with someone who calls himself a Christian, but denies that Jesus rose physically from the dead. So why be in fellowship with someone who does not agree with your clear view of politics?

So this is it : 4 easy steps to damage your church with political disagreement.

(Okay, enough sarcasm).

It is easy to go down this road if we are not careful.

In today’s culture, churches and Christians face a real and current threat to Christian unity when it comes to politics. As our society becomes more and more polarized – rejecting and even hating those with opposing views – this attitude can seep into our churches, with devastating effects on our fellowship and our witness to the rest of the world.

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