What Modern Christians Can Learn from Early Church Leader Tertullian About How to Balance Faith and Politics

The words “pulpit” and “politics” sound cringey in the same sentence. Mingling the two too closely can lead to disastrous twistings of the Gospel message and take the focus off of Christ.

But is there any capacity in which politics and the pulpit can and should have a relationship?

We talked recently about International Media Ministries’ Heritage Project — an eight-part docu-drama series on North African Christians who had a profound influence in the early Church. One story focuses on Tertullian, a theologian and lawyer in the first and second century in North Africa under Roman rule.

Denise Godwin with IMM explains, “He helped confront society with injustices that were going on in their time period…. He was challenging Roman society, as someone who was trained in the law, to think about…logic and what their laws were actually saying and doing to people that they were claiming were under a republic in Rome.”

Tertullian used his legal training and faith foundation to challenge how Rome treated Christians and other vulnerable people groups. He also challenged fellow believers to stay true to biblical values rather than bend to the whims of a corrupt society.

Faith in politics. Politics in faith. For Tertullian, the mingling of the two meant confronting evil in society, and at the same time, calling Christians to God’s truth above society.

“We chose Tertullian because he was the one who framed out the importance of human life and concepts like the Trinity and not giving in to the pressures that society is putting on Christians at any given time…. God’s truth had to be the foremost thing in people’s lives more than any societal pressure.”

IMM will premiere The Heritage Project soon. Pastors will be one of the first groups they show the series to, and Tertullian’s life could provide interesting discussion for Church leaders today.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh