Theology is the basis of politics for Christians. Think of it this way, if there is a God (Ex 3:14) and He has revealed Himself definitively in the world (Ro 1:18-32), and if this God has a standard (De 5:6-21) that He intends to enforce (Heb 9:27) then all human conduct ought to be informed by that standard. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for the Christian to understand his or her theology before venturing into the political arena.
Take, for instance, the question of same-sex marriage. Christians are opposed to it, but of course, when we take a stance against it, we are challenged with, "why?" Many Christians might rightly point to God's prohibition of homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22, where God refers to it as an "abomination." However, what of the counter-argument that Leviticus also forbids the eating of certain foods or the blending of garments etc. Do we need to take the stance that the Old Testament Law is binding to say that same-sex marriage is wrong? Many Christians do not know how to answer such objections.
Politics, Meet Your Maker:
Same-sex marriage will provide a case study for applying principles from the discipline of Biblical Theology. Which handles the Bible from a Redemptive-Historical Approach, that is, it looks at the progression of divine revelation and thought throughout the development of the Biblical Story. When we hunt through the Bible, seeking out a proof-text and base our whole system of thinking on this practice, we will develop a flat understanding of God's Word. Let’s take it in two steps:
1. Take the Bible as a whole. The Biblical sexual ethic is present in more places than Leviticus. It begins in Genesis 2 when God creates man and woman and builds the marriage covenant between one man and one woman into the created order itself. This design for marriage predates the Law of Moses. That is, before the Hebrew people were called out of Egypt and handed a society at Sinai, God instituted his intentional design for human sexuality.
2. Understand that revelation is progressive. God did not give us a completed Bible at the beginning of creation. It pleased Him to reveal things to us progressively throughout history. Christians may not be under Mosaic Law anymore (Ro 6:14; Heb 8:13), but the moral and ethical aspects of the Law have been taken up in various places throughout the New Testament. Romans 1:24-25, Revelation 21:8, and Hebrews 13:4 all contain warnings against sexual immorality (there are numerous more verses throughout the NT). Romans specifically calls out homosexuality.
Furthermore, Jesus Himself, when asked His thoughts on divorce, appealed to Genesis 2 and the created order. He, therefore, is endorsing the OT understanding of marriage and sexuality depicted there. Peter, John, Paul, James, Jude, and the author of Hebrews all condemn sexual immorality using terminology rooted in the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint (LXX).
I hope our case study helped demonstrate the importance of theology impacting your political views. While there are doubtless many ways to apply a biblical ethic to your politics, this toolset will help you develop that baseline biblical ethic. If your foundation is flawed, then everything else you believe will also be flawed. In the case of our study above we can conclude that moral opposition to same-sex marriage must continue as it is contrary to the design of God built into the world itself. We must also remember that we have not been sent to challenge sexual preferences so much as we have been sent to point people to Jesus Christ, the loving Savior of humankind (Matt 28:18-20).
We must look at the Bible as a whole and realize that morality, while good, is not the ultimate purpose of creation: God’s glory is. If we only seek to correct moral error and do not point people to Christ, we have done nothing of value. Romans does not end with condemnation of sinful behavior but goes on, declaring that justification from God is found by faith, through grace. If we are moral crusaders and not evangelists, then we have failed.
JP is a contributor at webasicbible.com as well as numerous other Christian sites. JP holds a BS in Biblical and Theological Studies from Liberty University. He and his wife currently live in Utah.