John Newton, once the master of a slave ship, later converted to Christ and became one of the world's most beloved pastors, was an abolitionist and composer of the hymn 'amazing grace. Though he was outspoken about the slave trade and lived to see its complete demise in England, he also warned parishioners not to be overzealous for advancing their political agenda, as it was largely unproductive debate with others without any real power to change things - making a lot of noise when they could better use their time for more important things. He believed political wrangling was mostly unprofitable to others and harmful to ourselves as it had the tendency to make people bitter and unnecessarily divisive, bringing disrepute to the gospel. He personally witnessed the hardness that controversy brought upon people, which often misled people to overlook sin as the root problem in the world and the only cure for it, Jesus Christ. Here are some related quotes:
“It is well both for ministers and private Christians to have as little to do with politics as possible.”
Newton wrote the following to a pastor friend:
"My dear Sir, my prayer to God for you is, that he may induce you to employ the talents he has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil, and to engage those who love and fear him, instead of losing time in political speculation, for which very few of them are tolerably competent, to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that, if it may be, wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged. This, I think, is the true patriotism, the best, if not the only way, in which persons in private life may serve their country."
To another pastor he wrote:
"I am or would be of no sect or party, civil or religious; but a lover of mankind. It is my part to mourn over sin, and the misery which sin causes, to be humbled for my own sins especially, to pray for peace, and to preach the gospel. Other things I leave to those who have more leisure and ability, and I leave the whole to him who does all things well!."
“Our Lord’s kingdom is not of this world; and most of his people may do their country much more essential service by pleading for it in prayer, than by finding fault with things which they have no power to alter. A nation’s safety lies more in the prayers of its people than in the fleets of its navy."
“From poison and politics, good Lord deliver me. I think a political spirit as hurtful to the life of God in the soul as poison is to the bodily frame.