The president of the nation's largest Protestant denomination dismissed the idea that politics was too "dirty" for Christians and instead urged believers to be involved in the political process.
Dr. Frank Page, president of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), discussed politics and American society during an interview with Donald E. Wildmon, the founder and chairman of the American Family Association, in a video made available online Tuesday.
Wildmon recalled growing up being taught that politics was "dirty" and that, as a Christian, he should stay out of it. The prominent pro-family leader then asked Page what he thought about Christian engagement in the political sphere.
"I believe Christians should be involved in the [political] process – not only because of our spiritual obligation but because as active participants in a democracy we are required to be participants," Page responded without hesitation. "You cannot complain and you cannot whine about things if you're not part of the process."
He also recalled how Christians are called to be the "salt and light" in the world, and that through political involvement believers can make an impact on the culture for Christ.
In particular, Page urged Christians to vote this November for the next U.S. president whether their favorite candidate is on the ballot or not.
"Unfortunately, you've got a lot of foggy notions out there that electing the right person is going to change everything," Page observed, according to OneNewsNow, the website of the American Family News Network (AFN). "The reality is we're in a system of checks and balances, and not one person can do everything."
He warned against the thinking of not voting in the presidential election because of problems perceived in the three major presidential contenders.
"There is no perfect candidate; you must vote – and particularly this fall," Page urged. "Whoever the next president is going to be is most likely going to appoint at least two Supreme Court justices."
In addition to politics, Wildmon also asked Page if he felt society has changed the definition of God from the biblical definition that "God is love" (I John 4:8) to "love is God."
The SBC president agreed with Wildmon that society has increasingly reduced God to an emotion or feeling instead of as a reality – a trend that he called "dangerous" and "inaccurate."
"[I]t is also an attempt to make everything palatable, everything acceptable," Page noted, "and just say we got to be loving towards everyone. So I see that as part of an overall strategy that says we can't be judgmental about anything."
But the love of God can be compared to the love of a father who, because he loves his child, will discipline the child, Page pointed out.
"God's love is manifested in many ways," Page explained. "Our world may define it as they want to define it as tolerance, accept everything, love everybody regardless – and we should love everybody regardless – but it doesn't mean we can't say 'thus saith the Lord,'" he argued.
The SBC president was at the AFA headquarters in Mississippi on March 18 for the interview. Other topics he spoke about were the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and homeschooling.