Christianity and Politics – Far from Right

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Christianity and Politics – Far from Right

25 November 2009 Hits:4864

In the book Unchristian, David Kinnaman states:

Many outsiders … believe Christians have a right (even an obligation) to pursue political involvement, but they disagree with our methods and our attitudes.  They say we seem to be pursuing an agenda that benefits only ourselves; they assert that we expect too much out of politics; they question whether we are motivated by our economic status rather than faith perspectives when we support conservative politics; they claim we act and say things in an unchristian manner; they wonder whether Jesus would use political power as we do; and they are concerned that we overpower the voices of other groups.”

There is no doubt that the church is often seen as politically conservative.  That is, if you’re a real Christian you’ll vote for and support the Right rather than the Left. Christians get blindsided when they think the Right can do no wrong.  The truth is that sometimes the Right is right and sometimes the Right is wrong.  Sometimes the Left is right and sometimes the Left is wrong.

The church is also seen as politically negative – we are always anti.  We are anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-euthanasia and so on.  But we are often perceived as being “anti from a distance” without compassionately listening to people’s stories or engaging with them.

The solution to these perceptions is learning to engage in the right ways.  We need to Think, Act and Pray (TAP).

Kinnaman also believes “Christians should be known as engaged, informed, and on the leading edge, offering a sophisticated response to issues.”  I would agree. We are not called to Christianize our country – we cannot legislate faith.  Faith has to be a choice of the heart.  We are called to evangelize not Christianize!  The problem exists that sometimes our attitudes and opinions only serve to drive a wedge between us and people who God loves and Jesus died for.

The Bible calls us to act mercifully and respectfully in what we say and how we say it, especially towards those whose opinion differs from our own.  Consider James 2:12-13; Romans 14:1, 1 Corinthians 10:33, Gal 5:22-23, Col 3:12; and 1 Peter 3:15).

I believe it is vital to have a separation between church and state.  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (see John 18:36 and Matthew 22:21).  Throughout history, whenever church and state have meddled with each other, the outcome has never been good.

Lastly, the church is called to pray for all those in authority in a nation, instead of complaining about and criticizing them (1 Timothy 2:1-4; Exodus 22:28).  A good rule to live by is “If you can see it, it’s not the enemy” (Ephesians 6:12). Our leaders are not the enemy, they are men and women who invariably work hard and make great sacrifices because they love their country.  Make a choice to make their job easier rather than a burden.

 

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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5 replies on “Christianity and Politics – Far from Right”

pandersays:

Amen, well said. Bless you for sharing your thoughts.

Peter Ksays:

Dear Rob

As christians we are supposed to be Influencers, meaning we participate in discussion and articulate our point of view. Simply stating a problem or critisising a politician or someone of an opposing view point does nothing to add credibility.

We simply become the noisy mignoins that clamour for attention, if the world doesn’t have a concept of sin or rightousness how can we then role our eyes and huff at their ineptitude.

As God did, when he brought the Israelites out of 400 years of slavery, had to physically demonstrate his goodness to a nation who had no concept of his love, we as Christians need to demonstrate Gods love, not in critisism but in tangible actions.

Being accountable to God and those around us gives us the right to demonstrate and imagine a society all sides want to belong to.

God Bless
Pete 😀

enjoygamesays:

I am not sure I agree with your comment about this article, but I agree with everything else you just said. Maybe we are not so far apart in our doctrinal views…Peace and Grace

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Marc Gammonsays:

Hi all,

I agree that there must be separation of church and state, however…
surely when Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world…” he was not saying “… so I’m going home, ‘cos I don’t belong here”.

Rather, he went on to teach us to pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth…”.

So, surely he was saying “My kingdom is not like the kingdoms of this world – enforced by swards, fighting to prevent my arrest” while at the same time he was asserting by his very life and ministry that there is a new and better kingdom, and a better social order and a new way to live (indeed to structure a society) that God wants us to work for and prey for. That, by definition requires an engagement with the political.

History is littered with examples of where good people did not engage adequately with political evil – Nazi Germany and Aparthid South Africa being recent examples.

John Edwardssays:

We ought to be able to give honour where honour is due, even if it’s not on our side of politics. But it should be possible for the Christian Church to publicly advocate the need for repentance without being unmerciful about it. And it should be possible for the Church to exemplify generosity without labelling it as a “social injustice” if a citizen wants to retain the freedom to decide where and how much of his own resources he gives. Being merciful shouldn’t require us to be in virtual public denial about the word “sin”. Neither should being socially generous require us to advocate some socialist, redistributionist policy that weakens the universal value of private property rights. The Church’s past unmercifulness needn’t be overcompensated for by now becoming licentious. Jesus was more gracious than anyone ever was – but neither did He avoid terms like “repent” and “go and sin no more”. He’s our example!

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