A book I just finished reading is Wayward Christian Soldiers, Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity by Charles Marsh.
It is similar to another book I read last year: The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church by Gregory A. Boyd.
I highly recommend both books. Both authors articulate the issues way better than I can…
It increasingly disturbs me to see Christianity intermingled or confused with politics and/or nationalism. Too many believers seem to have confused the Cross and the flag.
I have an agnostic friend (who is also a former Christian believer) and when I told her about one of these books she was shocked. She said that she thought all Christians were power hungry and wanted to gain political control. I’ve also heard stories about people who were considering the Christian faith, but reluctant to believe because they thought it meant they’d have to become a Republican!
When we are viewed by many as power hungry and linked with politics, something has gone desperately wrong. This is the antitheses of the Christian faith.
The precepts of Christianity and the precepts of politics are at odds with each other. Christianity is about humility and submission, while politics are about pride and power. Politics and power corrupt. Mixing it with Christianity only leads to trouble. The pages of history clearly bear this out.
Don’t get me wrong – all citizens, Christian or otherwise, should vote and express their views. I have the names and numbers of my government representatives on my fridge, and I call to express my views on legislation. We, as believers, should have concern about society and justice. But it seems like too many Christians have lost their focus and forgotten the big picture of the Gospel.
When Jesus was on earth, the disciples kept thinking Jesus was going to overthrow Rome and set up an immediate earthly kingdom. The Jews were tired of being under the yoke of Roman authority. Jewish nationalism could run high. Jesus had to keep telling them (over and over again) that this was not what it was all about. Jesus came for a different purpose. Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. Jesus even told Pontius Pilate not to worry about political overthrow because His kingdom was not of this world.
It seems to me that some Christians today have fallen under the same mis-understanding as the disciples. “Let’s take America back!” But Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not to take over the nation or government. All the moral legislation or patriotic Christian rallies in the world can not transform a heart corrupted by sin. Only Jesus Christ can do that.
When Jesus was on earth He was out among the people… teaching them, healing them, filled with compassion for them, modeling humble service, and preparing to die. He was not concerned with political clout, or trying to gain more influence in Rome. As Christians, we are commanded to imitate our Savior and follow in His footsteps.
Again, I am not advocating that Christians should completely isolate themselves from politics. We should be participators in society, but we should not be manipulators of society! We should be known as humble servants, and not as people on a power trip.
We need to remember that “the kingdom of God will not arrive on Air Force One.” We will not see peace on earth and a theocratic society until the future Millennial Kingdom when Jesus reigns over the earth. As believers we should strive for kingdom values, and share the Gospel so that it can transform lives, but we can not bring in the Millennium. Only Jesus can do that in the future, when this age comes to a close through prophesied end time events.
Thanks for listening. And I highly recommend both books (although my eschatological views are a bit different than both authors). Anyone local who wants to borrow the book by Boyd, just let me know. The Marsh book is in the local public library system. Although I still have it checked out. : )