Monday, July 04, 2005

Local Church Involvement in Politics, Part Two

Having just laid out two contrasting models for local church involvement in politics, let's proceed to an ever-so-brief critique of each, assessing their strengths and weaknesses. We're using everyone's favorite intellectual 2x4 here, the generalization, but only of necessity.

Position One: Limited Involvement
Strengths: 1) This model helps to avoid embittering Christians over the non-essentials. Sure, one might prefer one's fellow member believe thus-and-so on economic policy or support enviromental causes more (or less), but at the end of the day, the mature Christian may well conclude that such matters pale in comparison to doctrinal unity on the essentials. Much that could divide and poison can thus be nipped in the bud by this position.
2) This model pushes churches toward their focus: the Bible. In this model, the church is consciously oriented around the simple toss-and-catch game of preaching and hearing, hearing and responding. Christians in churches preaching weekly the Scripture will grow in, not surprisingly, their knowledge of Scripture. Christians in churches preaching politics will grow in, not surprisingly, their knowledge of politics. Something seems right about the first when one seeks the mind of Christ and Paul, to name two, in educating Christians. Striving "only to know Christ and Him crucified" wrote the apostle.

Weaknesses: 1) Less intellectual congregations may know less of how to respond to current political happenings. This could be devastating in an age when secularism gains and directs strength at undermining and attacking Christianity and its worldview. It's pretty easy to defend this point, actually. Just think of how much cultural ground is lost (and happily so) by Christians who naively write off political engagement. Pastors, it could be said, can and should do much, even by just a few words, to teach their congregations. Aren't they to be the leaders of the flock?
2) Congregations may be less apt to divide over the secondaries, but aren't they just postponing the inevitable? Sooner or later, a line is drawn. Either political affiliation and voting choices reflect one's understanding of God and the Bible or they don't. Biblical Christians know they must, insofar as politics reflect worldview issues (don't worry, they always will). So one can subscribe to the LI model, and think oneself safe from silly issues, but sooner or later, those issues cease to be silly and involve crucial questions like abortion and gay marriage. Whence, then, do we fly? To unity or division?


Post a Comment

<< Home