You may have seen this meme in various forms. Spurgeon isn’t talking politics specifically here, but he applies this principle consistently when he does venture into preaching on the political involvement of Christians.
Someone has asked: “Is politics dirty, then? Shall the Christian completely abstain? Stay out? Is there no hope?”
Well, yes and no. The conclusion Spurgeon comes to in the quotes below is that it is unusual to find a Christian politician, even in a nation with a state-church such as England, who will stand for the Gospel without compromise. The truth is that we can’t ever look to politics as a savior. If we do, we will always be disappointed. Salvation comes from personal regeneration. Then we should evangelize our family. Then we should work to build strong churches. Finally, the culture will be transformed and politics will follow. Our slogans should be, “No King but Jesus” and “Politics fourth!”
How do we apply this to the current election? Many Christians are going to support Donald Trump because it is “the only way of stopping Joe Biden” and “If we lose the Supreme Court, we lose our liberty for the next generation or more” and so on. Well no, we lost our liberty when we lost our salt and hid our light under a bushel. We lost our liberty when we lost our families. We lost our liberty the moment the church began preaching a compromised Gospel.
This isn’t an admonition to stay out of politics. On the contrary, it is a strong warning not to trust politics to be the answer. Even so, choosing the lesser of two evils when a third or fourth choice is the best representative of the Gospel in public life shows a idolatry of the political system. We must be more prepared to lose with the Truth — or the closest imperfect human representative of the Truth — than we are to “win” with the gross compromise of first principles. It is only in standing for Truth as “Athanasius against the world” that we win in the long run.
Finally, I submit that we lose because many Christians have a pessimistic long term view. “The world is getting worse and worse. Why polish the brass on a sinking ship. And the only course is to run up our debts until the Antichrist takes over the world.” We have greater faith in Zeitgeist than in sound biblical hermeneutics.
The good news is we will win, but not in an instant. If we have faith in a mighty, conquering God, He will in time will put all things under His feet, not only when He returns, but progressively as His people obey His Word.
What follows are some excepts from Spurgeon’s sermons:
But there were senators, there were forums of political discussion, there were the places where the representatives of the people make the laws, was there no room for Christ there?
Alas! my brethren, none, and to this day there is very little room for Christ in parliaments. How seldom is religion recognised by politicians!
Of course a State-religion, if it will consent to be a poor, tame, powerless thing, a lion with its teeth all drawn, its mane all shaven off, and its claws all trimmed — yes, that may be recognised; but the true Christ and they that follow him and dare to obey his laws in an evil generation, what room is there for such?
Christ and his gospel—oh! this is sectarianism, and is scarcely worthy of the notice of contempt. Who pleads for Jesus in the senate? Is not his religion, under the name of sectarianism, the great terror of all parties? Who quotes his golden rule as a direction for prime ministers, or preaches Christ-like forgiveness as a rule for national policy? One or two will give him a good word, but if it be put to the vote whether the Lord Jesus should be obeyed or no, it will be many a day before the ayes have it. Parties, policies, place-hunters, and pleasure-seekers exclude the Representative of Heaven from a place among representatives of Earth.
To what then do we look? We answer, we believe that national peace, and the security of our great cities, can only be guaranteed for a long future, by the recognition of the religion of Jesus Christ, and the wider spread of its principles.