Applied Theology

by James T. Bartsch

"Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4

When Political Differences Exist Between Christians

Romans 14:1-15:7

Introduction: I have noticed during the last eighteen months that two issues in particular have driven wedges between Christians. The first issue was COVID and how one reacts to it. The other issue was the 2020 election and how one reacted to the opposing presidential candidates. Both of these issues have divided churches and families. I am confident this has made the Devil jubilant. He has been in the business of dividing people away from one another and away from God since the dawn of human history. And I am equally confident this makes the Lord Jesus sad. After all, He is the one who said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). This article does not seek to deal with Christians and COVID. It does restrict itself to Christians who find themselves in opposing camps in the political arena.

My wife and I have long had a habit of reading a chapter a day from the Bible. The other day we found our selves in the 14th chapter of Romans. It suddenly dawned on me that this passage has great relevance for sincere Christians who have differing political views. The issues back in the first century church dealt with whether or not Gentile Christians should follow Jewish dietary laws or not. Feelings were strong on both sides.  Those differences do not particularly trouble most of us Gentiles today. But strong opinions on how Christians should deal with the politcal options certainly do.

The following is an attempt to distill principles from Paul's discussion with the Roman Christians and apply them to today's Christians here in America (and elsewhere, I imagine) in the political arena. I personally hope to put Paul's inspired admonitions into practice. I would encourage readers to do the same.

  1. Both should accept one another without passing judgment on one another’s political opinions. Rom. 14:1

  2. Neither should regard the other with contempt. Rom. 14:3

  3. Neither should judge the other, for God has accepted him. Rom. 14:3

  4. Neither has the right to judge the servant of another, who is Christ. Rom. 14:4

  5. Individual Christians will inevitably have differing political views. Rom. 14:5

  6. Each Christian must be fully convinced in his own mind. Rom. 14:5

  7. He who votes one way votes for the Lord and gives thanks to Him. Rom. 14:6

  8. He who votes the other way votes for the Lord and gives thanks to Him. Rom. 14:6

  9. Why should either side judge his brother or regard his brother with contempt? Rom. 14:10

  10. We will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Rom. 14:10

  11. So each of us will give account to God. Rom. 14:12

  12. Let not what is good for you be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not voting conservative or progressive, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom. 14:16-17

  13. So then, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Rom. 14:19

  14. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of politics. Rom. 14:20

  15. The faith which you have (to vote either way), have as your own conviction before God. Happy is the man who does not condemn himself in what he approves. Rom. 14:22

  16. Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Rom. 15:7

(Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.)

Posted June 19, 2021
Updated June 26, 2021