Christianity and Politics – Far from Right
25 November 2009 Hits:4791
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.