I read this tonight and found it quite interesting:
“Those who call for a Christian assault on the worlds of politcis and economics often make it clear… that the aim of the attack is to seize the levers of power and take control. We have seen many such successful revolutions, and we know that in most cases what has happened is simply that the oppressor and the oppressed have exchanged roles… The throne is unshaken, on there is a different person occupying it. How is the throne itself to be shaken?… Only by the power of the gospel itself, announced in word and embodied in deed… The victory of the Church over the demonic power which was embodied in the Roman imperial system was not won by seizing the levers of power: it was won when the victims knelt down in the Colosseum and prayed in the name of Jesus for the Emperor.”
These are thought provoking comments that bear on a number of issues regarding the church in culture, including American politics, the concept of “culture war” and how to engage in divisive moral issues like abortion and gay marriage, and all sorts of other things.
The primary role of the Church is not to endorse, campaign, and elect the right candidates with the right views. These things are not unimportant, but I think many in the Church overemphasize them. Frankly I’m not sure that churches should endorse candidates.
I do believe that churches can certainly speak to moral issues – abortion comes to mind first – in a prophetic way. But speaking in a prophetic way is, it seems to me by definition, to speak of them biblically. And I think it’s hard to speak in a biblically consistent and helpful manner in the kind of cynical, ad hominem manner and tone that is so common in (post)modern politics.
The role of the church (and the role of individual Christians) is primarily to serve as a beacon of the gospel message. And sometimes our dalliances in politics (and the allure of the power, money, and influence that go with it) causes us to be distracted and to throw up roadblocks to the message. The gospel itself is a stumbling block, so we ought to strive not to create additional stumbling blocks for people.
I don’t claim to have the answers here because these are sometimes muddy waters. But it’s worth considering. What do you think?