Home > John's Blogs, Politics > The Limits of Politics

The Limits of Politics

I love politics.  I constantly read political books, autobiographies, blogs and news.  I used to talk about politics all the time.  But there’s limits to what can be accomplished.  John Ortberg wrote this article for Christianity Today, and since it’s an election year, I thought it was worth a link and a comment.

We as Christians sometimes view the political process as the way to bring about God’s plan.  But Ortberg makes a very good point:

Imagine that we elected all the right people to all the right offices. President, Congress, governors, right down to the school board, city council members, and dog catcher (which, by the way, does anyone still get to vote for?) Let’s imagine that all of these ideal office holders instituted all the right policies. Every piece of legislation—from zoning laws, to tax codes, to immigration policy, to crime bills—is just exactly the way you know it ought to be.

Would that usher in perfection?

Would the hearts of the parents be turned toward their children?
Would all marriages be models of faithful love?
Would greed and pride be legislated out of existence?
Would assistant pastors find senior pastors to be models of harmony and delight?
Would human beings now at last be able to master our impulses around sexuality, and anger, and narcissism?
Would you finally become the woman or man you know you ought to be?

In the words of theologian Macaulay Culkin: “I don’t think so.” Because no human system has the ability to change the human heart.

Exactly right.  God changes hearts, not the political process.  So, even though it’s an election year, let’s keep something in mind: No matter who wins or loses, it’s not the end of the world.  I have a job to do despite whether the election goes my way or not.  I am here to bring the message of God’s good news to the world.

McCain and Obama will just have to get out of the way or get on board with God’s plan!

  1. brianmcl
    June 10, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Great comments by Ortberg. He is absolutely correct. I think this is why the redemptive mandate trumps all other mandates for the church. We should strive to influence and make changes through politics, that is fine and good, but our only ultimate hope lies in redemption through Christ.

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