I thought there was a "Should Christians be involved in politics?" thread - but I can't seem to find it. So If you are engaged in that thread, and this is better fit there, I apologize for creating the new thread, but I don't know where else to put this.
Should We Pull Back from Politics?
October 24, 2013|7:27 am
Don't call it a pullback; we've been here for years.
The recent profile in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a generational change in terms of the way evangelicals approach cultural and political engagement: toward a gospel-centered approach that doesn't back down on issues of importance, but sees our ultimate mission as one that applies the blood of Christ to the questions of the day.
The headline, as is often the case with headlines, is awfully misleading. I am not calling, at all, for a "pullback" from politics or engagement.
If anything, I'm calling for more engagement in the worlds of politics, culture, art, labor and so on. It's just that this is a different sort of engagement. It's not a matter of pullback, but of priority.
The gospel means we must point to the sin-and call it that-but it means we don't stop there. We speak with a northern Galilean accent that says, even to those who hate us, there's good news for those who repent and believe.
That means we speak and we vote and we mobilize. Onward Christian soldiers. But we don't do so as gloomy pessimists, continually wringing our hands or crying conspiracy. And we don't do it as naïve utopians, believing we can organize our way back to Mayberry. We do it as those who weep for those around us who are being sifted by the darkness. We do it as those who are cheerily marching to Zion, knowing that whatever the short-term setbacks, we are on the winning side of history.
We teach our people that their vote for President of the United States is crucially important. They'll be held accountable at Judgment for whomever they hand the Romans 13 sword to. But we teach them that their vote on the membership of their churches is even more important. A church that loses the gospel is a losing church, no matter how many political victories it wins. A church that is right on public convictions but wrong on the gospel is a powerless church, no matter how powerful it seems.
That means modeling a Christian political engagement that doesn't start or end with politics alone. It starts and ends with the gospel and the kingdom of God. Those who oppose our convictions will hate us. Those who want to use our church voting lists as their political organizing tools won't understand us. So be it. Kingdom first.
Pullback? No. Unless, that is, we mean pulling back to the ministry of Jesus-who addressed everything, body and soul, public and private, political and personal, but who did so with the cross in his vision at every point. That's what the church has done in every era.
We want to see our so-called enemies out-voted when they're doing harmful things, unelected from office when they're hurting the common good. But we don't stop there. We want to see them transformed by the blood of Christ. We don't only want to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching As to War." We also want to sing "Just As I Am, Without One Plea, But That Thy Blood Was Shed for Me."