I sometimes hear people say that “politics is the solution” to problems citizens face in the United States and other nations. Three questions come to mind whenever I hear that statement.
- What is politics?
- What is the problem that needs to be solved?
- Is politics the solution to that problem?
Another comment I’ve heard recently is that the last two years have been the most contentious political years in American history. Is that true?
Now that the 2022 mid-term elections are history (mostly), do you think politics is the solution? Let’s take a look.
What Is Politics?
I knew a little about politics as a child and teenager hearing my parents talk about it. I remember when Dwight D. Eisenhower ran for President in 1952 and 1956. I remember watching the political debates between Vice-President Richard Nixon and Senator John F. Kenndy. I was a sophomore in high school when President Kennedy was assassinated. That deeply affected every young person I knew. However, I still didn’t know a lot about politics.
I came face to face with politics in January 1968. That’s when I began covering politics and political campaigns as a journalist. It was definitely an interesting year to cover politics. Talk about contentious. President Johnson announced he would not run for re-election, so former Vice-President Richard Nixon ran as the Republican nominee and incumbent Vice-President Hubert Humphrey ran as the Democrat nominee. Former Alabama Governor George Wallace was the nominee for the American Independent Party. Whoever won the election in November 1968 would have a lot on their plates. Here are some of the contentious issues facing the nominees on the campaign trail.
- The very unpopular war in Vietnam (e.g. Tet Offensive on January 20, 1968)
- North Korea’s capture of the USS Pueblo on January 23, 1968
- President Johnson announced he would not run for re-election on March 31, 1968
- Vice-President Hubert Humphrey announced he would run on the Democrat ticket even though it was too late for him to run in the primaries .. Humphrey had to count on delegate support at the political convention in the summer of 1968
- The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968
- Hundreds of students at Columbia University in New York protested the Vietnam War by occupying several buildings on the Columbia campus beginning on April 23, 1968. After several days, university officials called in the police to break up the demonstration. Hundreds of students were beaten and arrested.
- Students protested in many countries. May 6th became known as “Bloody Monday” as police arrested and beat hundreds of students in Paris, France. Millions of workers in France refused to go to work in solidarity with the students. That led President Charles de Gaulle to dissolve the government, call for immediate elections, and threaten military intervention.
- The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (JFK’s younger brother) in Los Angeles on June 5th after winning the California Democratic primary for President.
- Soviet armed forces invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968
- Thousands of students and anti-war activists protested the Democratic National Convention the week of August 26, 1968. Chicago mayor Richard Daley called out police to quell the demonstrations and hundreds of protestors were injured and arrested.
This is a short list, but it demonstrates the political landscape my first year as a full-time journalist. If we look at what has happened in national and world politics prior to 1968, we’ll see a continuous series of contentious issues going back thousands of years.
What is the problem that needs to be solved?
What did you hear politicians say in answer to that question in the last election? Here’s some of what I heard political candidates say this year (in no particular order) —
- Violent Crime
- Non-Violent Crimes
- No Cash Bail
- No Bail Laws
- Abortion Rights
- Global Warming
- Democracy on the Ballot
- Open Border
- Student Debt Bailout
- Election Integrity
- Gun Control
- Second Amendment
- War in Ukraine
- Foreign Policy
- National Security
- Freedom of Speech
- First Amendment
- Civil Rights
- Race Relations
- Size of Government
- Covid-19 and Vaccines
- Transgender Rights
- Gender Identity
- Women’s Rights
- Supreme Court Appointments
As I look at that list, I’m reminded of many of the issues voters were considering in 1968. Even though we are 54 years from that time, so much of what citizens and politicians are dealing with now are the same as then. Someone has said – “the more things change, the more things stay the same.” Even though many of the political leaders I covered in 1968 are no longer alive, the issues that concern citizens are basically the same.
Is politics the solution?
The short answer is ‘no,’ but it needs some context. Political rule (governance) can solve some problems for a brief time. The real challenge is solving all of the problems for a long time. That won’t happen until Jesus Christ returns to earth. Here’s why I say that.
The real problem facing the human race is sin. Sin. SIN. Short word with a long history. If you have read the Bible, you are probably aware of where sin began — in the Garden of Eden. God created man, male and female, for several great reasons:
Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28
Great start in the Garden of Eden! No problems, just massive opportunities. However, something happened that changed everything.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ‘Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Genesis 3:1-7
Genesis 2:25 says that the man and woman “were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” The next verses, Genesis 3:1-10, tell us that the man and woman became ashamed and afraid, and tried to hide themselves from God.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. Genesis 3:8-10
This is where we see things go from “very good” to “very bad” in a matter of just a few minutes. Read the rest of Genesis 3 and you’ll see that this happened:
- Separation – Adam and his wife hid themselves from God .. God called them out for their sin.
- Curse and Command – God cursed the serpent and promised a Savior .. God changed the woman’s position in life because of her sin .. God cursed the earth because of Adam’s sin, which would make Adam’s work painful and difficult. God also followed up on His earlier command — “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Adam died spiritually and eventually died physically.
- Removal and Refusal – God removed Adam and his wife from the Garden and refused to let them or any human beings enter it “lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22b).
That failure on the part of humanity’s first parents led to all of the problems we face today. Here’s a short list from Romans 1 and Galatians 5.
- vile passions
- sexual immorality
- full of envy
- haters of God
- inventors of evil things
- disobedient to parents
- outbursts of wrath
- selfish ambitions
That’s not a complete list, but it covers most of voters’ concerns pretty well. Look at what political candidates and voters listed as problems this year, then look at the list of sins in the Bible. They match up pretty well, don’t you think?
What Will Solve The Problem?
If politics and elections won’t solve the problem of sin, what will? Someone has said that governments can’t legislate morality, so either we’re doomed or we need to look elsewhere for help.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
Remember the Savior God promised in the Garden of Eden? That Savior is Jesus Christ. Why would God’s salvation appear to the entire human race? Because of His love, grace, and mercy.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:1-5
How do people appropriate this to their lives?
So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Acts 16:31
… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
That’s just the beginning of solving the problem. While believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and being saved will answer most of your problems, it doesn’t answer all the problems of the world. Why? Because most people in the world are not saved. After almost two-thousand years of Christianity, the world is still in deep trouble. People have continued to rebel against God for 20 centuries and have reaped the sad results of their rebellion. There must be something else needed to solve the world’s many problems — and there is!
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:31-32
That’s the short version. Here’s the longer —
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head weremany crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. Revelation 19:11 – 20:3
The beginning of the real solution to the world’s problems starts when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, returns to earth to reign and rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. However, notice that I said “the beginning of the real solution.” Even though Jesus rules the earth for a thousand years from His throne in Jerusalem, that’s not the end of the problem. In fact, the rule of God’s Son from earth reveals the depth of the problem.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:7-15
That’s when the world’s problems will be solved. Even with the Son of God ruling on earth for a thousand years, people will still have a sinful desire to disobey God. As soon as the powerful angel Satan is loosed from prison, he will deceive the nations and gather a great army of people to go to war with Christ. However, God will send a great fire from Heaven to devour the armies of the world. Christ will then judge the dead, small and great, and will cast anyone not found written in the Book of Life “into the lake of fire.”
Politics is a fact of our earth-based existence, but it is not the long-term solution to the problem of sin. God uses earthly governments to accomplish His will, even those who hate and despise Him. That’s why the Bible tells Christians – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). Why should we do that if politics is not the answer to the problem?
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Good reason, don’t you think?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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