Is Christians in Politics linked to a particular denomination?
We are an all-denomination organisation and encourage Christians from across the church body to engage in politics. We partner and put on events with churches of every denomination and recognise the contribution to public life from Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans and many others.
Christians in Politics advocates positive engagement in politics. What is meant by ‘positive engagement’?
Christian engagement in politics in the UK has often been characterised by adopting a 'protest position' around a specific issue. Protest is legitimate and important, and there is a strong prophetic tradition in the bible and Church history of speaking out against unrighteousness and injustice. However, it is only one part of a broader call to engage. In order to speak and act effectively across a broad spectrum, it is also necessary to articulate a positive vision of society. This involves communicating a clear picture of what is good and beneficial for our communities and nation as well as speaking out against what is harmful.
This kind of positive engagement is a powerful way of conveying a gospel of hope in the 'public square'. It also ensures that, when we do recognise a need to oppose on certain issues, our views will be taken seriously.
Do you campaign on a specific political issue?
We have to recognise that Christians do not always agree on issues of doctrine and policy. Few would disagree that a concern for the poor and for family life are key biblical emphases. However, whether we should respond by reducing the tax burden to encourage philanthropy or by raising taxes to fund social welfare payments is not quite so clear! We are seeking to encourage Christians of all denominations and political opinions to become more extensively engaged in political life. We actively encourage individuals and groups to prayerfully take a view on the issues of the day, in line with their biblically informed convictions.
I don’t know much about politics. Where can I start to learn more?
A good place to start is to watch the news each day, or read a newspaper, and start to become familiar with the current topics of debate. When you come across an issue that particularly interests you, try to find out more about it and read different opinions about it, so you learn what the real points of contention are and what different political parties think about it. As you do this you will develop your own opinions. Watching Question Time on a Thursday night can be another good way to learn about the different perspectives as they have a panel of people from across the board talking and debating on current issues.
There are also a few good websites and blogs you might want to follow. Here at Christians in Politics we have loads of articles and resources that are regularly being added to that can help you to start exploring political issues. Another great blog that explores current affairs is God and Politics.
You can even go along to debates or speakers events in parliament on issues you may be particularly interested in. The parliament website will have information on what’s coming up.
Shouldn't Christians focus on spiritual matters and stay out of politics?
No. Politics is a spiritual matter! The gospel message is relevant to every area of our lives, including our political life. When we bring Godly wisdom to political debate with an attitude of humility and confidence, society is blessed as a result. And when we communicate Christ in the 'public square', the good news is preached in words and action.
I’m not a Christian. Is it really a good thing for more Christians to get involved in politics, when all they seem to do is protest about issues such as gay marriage?
Christian engagement in politics is good for society in a number of ways. They have a broad outlook on life which is a positive vision for society. Christians believe in justice and their faith motivates them to work for the good of the community and to stand up for the voiceless and the oppressed. Christian engagement in politics is not just about ‘moral’ issues or ‘hot topics’ such as gay marriage but is a wider commitment to help all of society.
Albert Einstein encapsulated the social good that Christians can provide in society when he commented on the Church’s stand against Nazism. He said that “Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had a special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced now to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”
Do you encourage people to join a political party?
We live in a democracy with democratically elected parties. While these parties are far from perfect, when we look around the world we see that our present situation requires us to give thanks for the ways we have been blessed. The parties are not only democratically elected but also open to Christian input and therefore offer the best vehicle to influence government. As a result, while recognising that the main political parties have many flaws, Christians in Politics also recognises that it is by working through these parties that realistic and tangible change can be made.
We encourage people to think about which party resonates most with them and to join it.
How can I join a party when I don’t agree with everything it stands for?
That you don’t agree with everything a party stands for should come as no surprise. Indeed, you probably don’t agree with everything your spouse or church or work colleagues think. Even the most committed members of a party don’t agree with everything the party stands for.
Sometimes you just have to live in the tension, pick a horse and get on it to work for the common good.
The other more obvious point is that if there are policies that we disagree with in a certain party, then how will those policies be changed unless people like us get involved in making the arguments? Your voice is heard much more clearly when you whisper from a place of relationship, rather than rant from a distance.
Do you encourage Christians to be involved in lobbying or protesting?
Yes of course, but we don’t want them to stop there. That’s all many people do – shouting from the outside. We want people to get involved on the inside too: to build positive relationships that can make a real and lasting difference.
One thing MPs often tell us is that they are far more likely to listen to a Christian voice that is from a position of relationship than one that is shouted from the side-lines.
What does the Bible say about political engagement?
A lot. Click here to see a run through of every book of the Bible and what it says about politics.
Do you work with other Christian organisations in the political field?
Yes, we have positive working relationships with many Christian organisations and join with them to promote the work of Christian engagement in public life. One example is the Show Up campaign, which is a joint campaign with the Evangelical Alliance and a number of other organisations which was launched in the run up to the 2015 General Election and continues beyond it. The ethos of the campaign is that decisions are made by those who 'show up' and is about Christians participating not just commentating when it comes to politics.
To see some of our other partner organisations, visit our Partners page.
How can I keep in touch with what is going on at Christians in Politics?
Join our mailing list and we will keep you in the loop with upcoming events and news regarding our work.