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I personally know a number of politicians who are committed Christians, and who work very diligently to express their faith through their political efforts. On the other hand, there are politicians who claim to be very religious, but who only use religion as a means of furthering their political ambitions.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a Democrat presidential candidate who is trying to work with the faith community to promote her presidential campaign. Warren, much like Hillary Clinton before her, had her religious upbringing in a progressive Methodist church. And, in fact, she says that her very motivation for being in politics is that it gives her an opportunity to live out her Christian faith. She particularly points to Matthew 25:40 as a passage that expresses her beliefs concerning her political involvement. This verse says: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (associating “the least of these” with those who find themselves down and out). Warren interprets this passage to, first of all, mean that God indwells each and every human being, and that it is the worldly works we do to help those whom God indwells – particularly the “down and out” – that is the road to heaven.
Well, besides that being a horrible interpretation of the passage in general, it particularly misses what the Bible actually says about salvation – that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Her progressive version of Christianity is really nothing more than an effort to express a naturalistic worldview using Christian vocabulary. Based on her naturalistic worldview beliefs, her view of religion is focused completely on trying to accomplish political results in this temporal world. In fact, she views her political activity as a means of accomplishing salvation – for herself as well as those she helps. As such, she has no qualms about using her religion to further her political agenda.
In fact, to help move her cause forward, she has created an Interfaith Advisory Council. The goal of this council is to “answer the call for social, racial, and economic justice.” In her view, these are the things that please God and that will move him to allow people into heaven. It is 100% a “works” approach to salvation, and does not address the biblical view of salvation in any respect.
Her Interfaith Advisory Council consists of fourteen Christians, one Jewish rabbi, and one Zen Buddhist leader. All of the people she has chosen agree completely with her belief that social, racial, and economic justice are the core of religious faith. Based on her theology, a person does not even have to be a Christian to please God – just as long as they help people achieve the social justice goals she is promoting. Warren further claims that in the near future she will announce the endorsement of an additional 100 religious leaders.
Sadly, Elizabeth Warren, along with all of those who agree with her theology, are wrong – and are far from God. In the Christian faith, good works are the result of a life changed by entering into a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. They are not the means of salvation.
So, let’s answer the initial question: Can we mix politics and religion? And the answer is: Of course we can. In fact, it is impossible not to. A person’s worldview beliefs will be expressed in every part of life – including politics. It is not a matter of whether or not they mix, it is a matter of understanding the truth about religious faith. It is not the mixing of religion and politics that is at issue, but the religious beliefs being expressed. Warren’s progressive theology is not biblical theology and does not bring her, or those she is trying to help, closer to God. And until she and those like her grasp this concept, they will remain separated from God.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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