Jesus is reported as having said that his kingdom was "no part of this world", and further of assuring Pontius Pilate that his followers posed no risk to the secular authorities. Given that, should Christians be involved in politics?

My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source. John 18:36. NWT


6 Answers 6


Christians throughout history have differing interpretations of how the faithful should approach civil governments. I would point you toward a seminal work addressing this topic called Christ and Culture by H. R. Niebuhr.

One position (Christ against culture), advocated by those like Mennonites, argues for total withdraw from the political sphere. Another position (Christ of Culture) sees politics as interwoven in salvation history and essential for Christian life.

Niebuhr goes on to list three other interpretations. Each, I would argue, are biblically viable and have strong places in the history of doctrine.

So, this is certainly an important question. And Christians of all traditions will answer it very differently. It is also a Biblical question. And Christians of all traditions will interpret the Bible differently as well.

As you study and make up your mind, please remember this is far from a clear-cut issue. Some of the answers already posted strike me as approaching an unhealthy, black-and-white dogmatism.

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! This is a good first answer, and it'd be even better if you were able to find online references (links) to back up the references you already have. That said, I hope you stick around! :) Oct 12, 2012 at 4:58

The charges being brought against Jesus was that he was "King of the Jews", meaning that he claimed earthly authority over the Jews. The charges, therefore, were charges against the authority of Rome.

You can see this more clearly if you read the full passage (using your source translation):

John 18:33 (NWT)

So Pilate entered into the governor’s palace again and called Jesus and said to Him: "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus answered: "Is it of your own originality that you say this, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate answered: "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you up to me. What did you do?" Jesus answered: "My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source." Therefore Pilate said to him: "Well, then, are you a king?" Jesus answered: "You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice." Pilate said to him: "What is truth?"

And after saying this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them: "I find no fault in Him."

When Jesus said this, he wasn't saying that his kingdom was not currently populating the Earth, but rather that he is bringing about a spiritual kingdom. He was, essentially, denying an earthly rulership that the Jews were accusing him of. He was not saying that his people should avoid politics or that they should not become rulers through appropriate means.

Therefore, there's nothing from this passage that suggests we should stay out of politics.


For one, Catholic Priest are bound by canon law not to participate in politics.

They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defence of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.


I have heard, from a Jehovah's Witness, that they are not able to participate in politics either.

However, it seems to me that the laity, has a duty to his neighbor to participate in politics. To seek political office if necessary for the purpose of upholding the common good.

Politics should not become an occasion of sin, as it often does through graft and sexual impropriety. Seeking political office doesn't need to be about ambition, as it often is. Running for office doesn't need to be about smearing your opponent, but it often is.

So in essence, most of politics is dirty, that's what Jesus refers to quite often as 'the world'. That is 'the world' that you're supposed to hate. But, we have a duty to build up the kingdom on earth as much as possible, we have a duty to protect and defend the babies in the womb, children in poverty, drug abusers etc.. and very occasionally, laws need to be passed, or more often repealed, for us to carry out our mission as Christians.


Depending on what you mean by "involved in politics" - perhaps.

Certainly if you look at the history of both Israel and the early church you will see many examples of those "in politics" who were also redeemed (Paul writes that the household of Caesar greets those to whom he is writing in Philippians).

Likewise, Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king, and Daniel had a high rank in Babylon.

It is interesting to note that neither Daniel nor Nehemiah seemed to have aspired to a political rank, however.

Also see the Ethiopian Eunuch and Cornelius (a centurion of the Italian cohort - high enough in military ranking to have at least some political influence).

  • Is the "household of Caesar" actually involved in politics? I'd imagine it would refer to servants in the house.
    – TRiG
    Sep 6, 2011 at 16:11
  • @TRiG - it's unclear as to the specifics... but the possibility remains.
    – warren
    Sep 6, 2011 at 20:06

In addition to post of October 2012 referencing Daniel 2:44, you wanted further scriptural proof to the question, "should Christians be involved in politics". The Bible clearly states that the god of this system of things is Satan the Devil and he has blinded minds so the truth about God and His Christ cannot shine through (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Cor. 10:20, Eph. 2:2). Jesus Christ referred to Satan as being "the ruler of the world" (John 14:30). 1 John 5:19 says: The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one. Satan tempted Jesus by offering him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth if he would just do an act of worship to him. (Luke 4:5-7). Revelation 13:1,2 reveals that Satan gives "Power, throne and great authority" to the global political system of rulership. Christians do not have a duty to build up the Kingdom of God on earth by using Satan's political systems. They have a duty to support the laws of God's Kingdom. They must obey God as ruler rather than men. (Acts 5:20). Of course, that puts true Christians in the position of being hated and persecuted just like Jesus when he was on earth, because "they are no part of the world." John 15:17-21.

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    These are good references to make a case, but a little organization and better tying back to the original question would help. Welcome to C.SE, btw! Jul 10, 2013 at 15:02

Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite;

All the kingdoms of the world are standing in opposition to Gods kingdom and will be brought to ruin. A Christian should take no part in the politics of the world. Any Christian organization that is involved with politics is a false religion.

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    Welcome to the site. Is this a doctrinal position held by a denomination, group, or organization, or a personal interpretation? I ask not because I disagree, but because the site has guidelines against strictly personal interpretations because we tend to end up with a mess of conflicting opinions. As such, references to supporting documentation are encouraged. If you could add it it would go a long way to improving this answer. Also, you may want to check out the FAQ Oct 12, 2012 at 1:58

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