If Jesus was eligible to vote in the UK at the upcoming election, what would He do? From our recent survey of evangelical Christians only 5% thought He would avoid political matters altogether, but just 12% thought He would vote for a particular party – that leaves the large majority of our respondents unsure exactly what that involvement would look like.

Three quarters thought He would protest against corruption and He would befriend politicians of all parties, although that leaves nearly a quarter who seemingly thought there were some politicians He wouldn’t befriend. The truth is that there are no easy answers for what being a follower of Jesus means as we consider how we engage in politics. 

What we do know is that God cares about our world, and we are called to play a part. Colossians 1:20 says God is reconciling all things to Himself – things in Heaven and on earth and while we wait for His kingdom to fully come, our actions on earth today can be part of demonstrating His goodness and His glory throughout the world. 


What we found out

  1. Evangelicals care about politics.
  2. Evangelicals think faithfully about politics.
  3. Evangelicals engage in politics in many different ways.

It’s great to know and is backed up by our findings that evangelical Christians care about politics. We see this through the very high engagement anticipated with the coming election (more than 90% intend to vote), their participation beyond voting and the range of issues they are passionate about. 

It is also clear that evangelical Christians think faithfully about politics. It’s not just a practical response to issues around them but are clearly motivated by what they believe. 

Thirdly, there is great diversity in how evangelicals engage in politics. There is no monolithic evangelical vote; the spread of support for different parties is not dissimilar to that of the general public.

The evangelicals we surveyed would be more likely to vote for parties that protected free speech in the workplace, opposed assisted suicide, reduced the time limit for abortion, supported safe and legal routes for asylum, backed religious freedom in trade deals and increased the minimum wage. This is not a portfolio of policy preferences that neatly map onto any party platform. Issues of poverty and inequality rank top of the list, and policies that support the most vulnerable are the biggest factor influencing how evangelicals vote.

What is the challenge and how can we approach it?

Our task, always but perhaps particularly ahead of an election, is to take politics seriously but to also understand that it is never the final answer. Politics affects many areas of our lives, and we should seek to apply scripture faithfully to our contemporary challenges. While we will often agree with other evangelicals on the principles we are pursuing, we may disagree over particular policies. Where we may share broad positions on policies, we may differ over the priority we give to them. Following Jesus is not dependent on party politics, but where we do engage in party politics, we should ensure it is Him we are following.

"Following Jesus is not dependent on party politics, but where we do engage in party politics, we should ensure it is Him we are following."

Alongside commitment to political engagement there is deep distrust and hesitation about contemporary politics in the UK. For most evangelicals, neither party leaders nor local candidates provide a strong motivation to vote a particular way. A quarter of respondents are undecided about how to vote, and more than 30% are either floating voters or will vote tactically. 

And yet despite this hesitation, 93% want to see more Christians engaged in politics and standing for election. While not always hopeful about the future of the country, evangelicals have hope as to what can be achieved through politics. The coming election provides an opportunity for evangelical Christians to demonstrate their commitment to their communities and wider society. In turn, candidates seeking election and politicians seeking to lead the country are provided with an opportunity to see the depth and breadth of the church’s response to the challenges and opportunities that are before us.

These are three things churches can do to help their congregation think faithfully about politics:

  1. We should pray for our leaders, and for the elections where they are chosen.
  2. We should be informed about the issues at stake and what Christian principles might have to say.
  3. We should engage with our representatives and build relationships — churches are a prime place for MPs to hear the concerns of the community they are seeking to represent.

At the Evangelical Alliance we are passionate about amplifying the voice of the church in political spaces and are regularly in conversation with local MPs and in parliament across the nations. We are regularly producing guidance and support on the ground and in the form of resources to support evangelicals and Christian leaders.

How evangelicals can engage beyond the general election?

TFAP what should churches do

Elections are an opportunity to influence how our nation is run, but the time leading up to and immediately following an election are also a time when our attention is more attuned to political matters. Maybe we get frustrated with how politicians appeal for our support, or how the media covers the election campaign, nonetheless, it is a chance for us to think about how politics affects us all and how we can contribute to the life of our country. 

Churches are not to become party political actors – not least because charity law would place their status in jeopardy. Moreover, as our research illustrates, Christians support a diverse range of parties for myriad reasons. Churches must not be co-opted into becoming rallying points for political agendas or partisan purposes, nor should they only be willing to engage with elected MPs if they are from a particular party. Our research shows that this doesn’t happen in the UK – more than 9 out of 10 said that there was no hint of support for parties or politicians from their church, and fewer than 2% said there was explicit encouragement to support certain candidates or parties. 

We must also recognise the place of faith in informing how we engage in politics. Politics cannot be completely shut out of our churches. To separate our faith from politics, would be to remove something that is central to our lives and identity from the decisions that impact our families, communities and nations.

If we are to see evangelicals engage better with politics, churches praying regularly for their elected representatives is a great place to start and a practice that should stretch far beyond election periods.

To invite an Evangelical Alliance speaker to your church to explore the findings of our research or to learn more about how to faithfully engage in the election do get in touch at: advocacy@​eauk.​org

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Evangelicals and politics

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