A Resting Place

"It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Jesus Not Political

Ben Proctor has written a response to my last post that sums up very well the position that Jesus (and therefore the church) are not primarily to be political, and there are some excellent observations of the current state of Christians and politics in America. He's agreed to let me share that response with you in full. I'll interact with it later today. Here's what he wrote:


This is a subject I have spend a lot of time studying and thinking about. I don't have the answers, but I've gone through this struggle and come out with some interresting ideas. I hope you find them helpful.

Why did the angry mob seek to kill Jesus? Didn't the working Jewish people like Jesus, so that they put palms on the street and greeted him as king a week before? I think it's because of Jesus' refusal to be a political saviour, and the Jews wanted a king who would liberate them from Rome.

The separation of church and state is not for the protection of the state, although secularists would have you believe that. It is to keep the state out of the church, so that the church would be free from the clutches of political power (political power is inherently corrupt). The founding fathers understood that there is no way by law you can force a man to moral. By giving the maximum freedom to the church, you maximimize a positive influence on society. That is why the supreme court protected the right of high-school kids to hold prayer meetings in school, for example.

America was not founded on Christian principles. Many people say that it was, and that's because they don't understand the political philosophy behind the declaration and the constitution. Jefferson was much more of a humanist than a Christian. It was, however, founded to protect Christian principles as maintained by the church. The Christian leaders entering politics these days are turning to the state to do what the church has failed. If you want an example, look at the prohibition. Conservative politicians asked a panel of Christain leaders to come up with biblical justification for a ban on drinking. That's where the ridiculous wine/grape juice argument comes from. When the church tries to fix its failures politically, they often make the problem worse. The violence and huge increase in organized crime is the legacy of that law. Plus all those blind farmers!

However, I am pro-life and pro-marraige. I think that the laws a country holds do effect the poeple's view of morality. Abortion is a good example. Before Roe v. Wade, society held a basically negative view of abortion. One of the arguements given by the pro-choice lawyers was that because abortion was not favored in the public eye, if it were legalized it would be a rare procedure given only to women that truly needed it. That's not what happened--the legalization of abortion actually altered the way society viewed it from a moral perspective. This is the real crime--the lie protected by law of society that abortion is OK. The number of abortions skyrocketed since Roe v. Wade, as did the number of women pushed into therapy by the emotional trauma of abortion. Here's where I think the church still makes a mistake on the issue--we hammer on the political wrongness of abortion, and place secondary importance on the spiritual damage. Shouldn't the church be a place where a woman suffering from abortion trauma can find love, acceptance, and the healing truth of Christ? If we overturn Roe v. Wade--and I think we should--we have to do it for the right reasons or it will become another prohibition.

You are concerned about the battle between the Christian right and left. I think it is one in the same with the battle between liberal and conservative political philosophies. Essentailly, I think the American church has become infused with politics, to the point where we are at odds with each other based on political ideals instead of one body in Jesus Christ. For example, take one of Bush's speaches, when he said:
"This idea of America is the hope of all mankind. That hope drew millions to this harbor. That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it."

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" is from the Gospel of John, however, President Bush means light of America while the bible means the light of Jesus Christ. Liberal Christians criticized it, such as Jim Wallis and Desmond Tutu, saying that Bush changed the meaning of scripture to fit his political agenda. Conservative Christians supported it, such as Falwell and the Southern Baptist Convention, saying that Bush is on a mission. Isn't that backwards? Aren't conservatives supposed to be against changing the meaning of scripture, and aren't liberals supposed to tolerate that kind of thing? Our Christian leaders are becoming more partisan every year and it scares me.

The only hope we have of becoming a truly Christian nation is if people turn to God. Right now, we are more a nation of Pharisees, IMHO. We should look to the examples of South Korea and the Philipines, that to change a country for God, you have to start with the apprehension of individuals by Jesus, not politics. We forget about America's oldest prejudice, distain for Catholics, while we start to creep towards the poisonous mix of religion and politics that brought down the Catholic empire. I think of Matthew 22:21, give to Caesar what is Caesar's. The coin bears the image of Caecar, but we are made in God's image, we bear the image of God. We shouldn't give what belongs to God to the USA, or any other political entity or philosophy. Patriotism is enough of an idol as it is.

I'm sure you can find more biblical examples. I have lots more thoughts, but i have to do some work now...let me know what you think.




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