Have you ever said something that you know is 100 percent true and still had someone respond by saying, “Well, that’s just your opinion”? If so, welcome to just about any political or religious debate in the United States in 2023.
But how should you respond when the world tries to tell you that the “true truth” you believe and defend is just an opinion? How should you respond when the policy positions you are advocating for aren’t just pulled out of thin air but are grounded in God’s Word?
You could always start with the classic, “Well, friend, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. And what I am sharing isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact.”
But we need more than that. We need Christians who have the confidence to keep pressing their political and policy positions in the public square, whatever they might be called or however they might be dismissed. Why? Because those Christians know that those positions aren’t just personal opinions — they are beliefs based in and built from God’s Word, the final standard of truth itself.
But let’s pause for a moment. What I am considering here assumes that Christians know that their political views shouldn’t just be their personal opinions and that they have done the necessary biblical work to ensure that their positions are aligned with the truth of God’s Word. So, have you done that? If not, now is the time to start!
In Well Versed: Biblical Answers To Today’s Tough Issues, James Garlow explains,
“The purpose of this book is to equip you to have biblical answers to the tough issues of today, to make certain you are well versed with verses and principles from Scripture. But you may ask yourself, Why should anyone listen to me? Fair question. In the following pages, we will discuss the biblical approach and answers to many vexing questions of our time. To the believer, this makes perfect sense, because we are convinced of the truth and total reliability of the Bible. While the Bible does not speak to every particular situation—and that is important to acknowledge here—it does give us the necessary moral framework and general principles to apply to every situation.”
Garlow makes a few very good points here that build to the overall argument I am making — which is that Christians, if they built out their political beliefs correctly, can have confidence that they aren’t just opinions but scriptural positions.
First, look at how Garlow unapologetically aims to equip Christians with verses and principles from Scripture. This must be the Christian’s starting point and final standard for all of our political commitments. Second, see how Garlow emboldens the Christian to have confidence that the world can be persuaded. I think he is right to express this hope, though it is an uphill task. Third, note how he rightly views the comprehensive nature of Biblical political considerations; he argues that it “gives us the necessary moral framework and general principles to apply to every situation.”
Now, when we begin to build our political convictions out from the Bible, it’s important that we handle the Biblical text correctly. This is often a question of interpretation, or what’s known as “hermeneutics.” Garlow explains,
“When you interpret what the Bible says, some people may say, But that’s just your interpretation of the Bible! Not so. What is important is to (1) let the Bible speak for itself; (2) see how early followers of Christ understood it; and (3) follow how it has been understood through the centuries.”
Let’s consider a very important and hotly debated issue today: Marriage.
What do you think marriage is? That’s actually the wrong question. Instead, ask: What does the Bible say marriage is? That’s where we must start.
The Bible tells us that marriage is only ever between a man and a woman. We first see this in Genesis 1:27-28 and Genesis 2:21-25, which unequivocally say that God made man and woman for each other. Marriage must have one man and one woman — or it isn’t marriage. Yes, our culture has “re-defined” it legally, but it can’t change the true essence of what it is. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 19:4-6:
“‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’”
When we add other passages from the Bible such as Genesis 19, Romans 1, and 1 Corinthians 6, we get a very clear picture that not only is marriage between a man and a woman, but homosexuality, and the entire LGBT agenda, is sinful. So, as Christians, we must adopt this biblically-backed political view and own it as our own in our discipleship with Christ. We follow in His footsteps. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how loudly the culture screams, “Love is love,” or how aggressively the LGBT movement plasters Pride flags across our cities every June, or even that the Supreme Court legalized “same-sex marriage.” We can’t just “change our opinion on marriage” in order to be more “politically correct” — because we don’t just have an “opinion,” we have a conviction.
Garlow concludes his encouragement on settling our convictions on God’s Word like so:
“God’s Word is ‘sharper than any two-edged sword’ and will cut through unbelieving arguments. God did it with many of us—perhaps even with you—and by His grace and love, He will do it with them.
Yes, we believe the Bible is the Word of God and the standard of faith and life. If this is not true, then all we have are the arbitrary whims and opinions of our own imagination or those imposed upon us. Life is reduced to the adage ‘might makes right.’ This is the cruel and vicious Darwinian ethic of survival of the fittest. And that is why we must be well versed.”
He’s right. Because the Bible is true, our political positions aren’t just mere opinions, subject to any arbitrary whim of culture or a change of mind. No, they are built on the solid rock that doesn’t change or shift like sinking sands — God’s Word. And on that rock, we must stand, or we will be swept away.
Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.
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