Politics

Political Preaching

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Every year in January pulpits across America come alive with political preaching. Some churches emphasize the importance (as they see it) of social justice in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Other churches decry the injustice (as they see it) of legalized abortion. At opposite ends of the political spectrum, both sorts of churches seem to agree that they have a right—and perhaps a duty—to address certain kinds of political issues.

Political involvement on the part of churches is not the same thing as political involvement on the part of individual Christians. Granted, Christians have their primary citizenship in the Kingdom of God, and that citizenship relativizes all earthly loyalties. Nevertheless, Christians also remain citizens of the nations that they inhabit. They may, and sometimes should, choose to become involved in the political process. They may campaign, vote, and even hold office without necessarily violating their commitment to Christ and His Kingdom. As they have opportunity to participate in shaping the politics of their nations, they may help to advance a relative and proximate degree of righteousness.

Churches, however, find themselves in a different situation. A church that is rightly ordered will rely upon the explicit teachings of the New Testament in order to define its mission and ministry. While this insistence upon the New Testament may sound suspiciously Dispensationalist to some, it is not. Covenant Theologians find the church in the Old Testament, but they also recognize that the present form and order of the church commences with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

A search of the New Testament yields no indication at all that churches ought to be involved in the political process. On the contrary, the New Testament sees churches as spiritual entities whose ministries focus upon spiritual concerns. Consequently, political preaching and campaigning constitute a distraction from the most important affairs of the church, a renunciation of the church’s commission, and a betrayal of its privileged position in Christ Jesus. Political preaching per se has no place at all in the church of Jesus Christ. Read more about Political Preaching

Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Growing Animosity of the Rest of the World Toward America

As an American who grew up believing that the United States of America was the beacon of freedom in the world and that people all over the world envied our democracy and liberty, I could never understand why other countries would want to attack us. As a teenager, it was the Russkies and Chicoms that threatened us with their totalitarian aspirations. Today the threat comes primarily from terrorists, but hatred for our country seems to seethe from every corner of the globe. For many Americans, including me, this seems inconceivable. What motivated people all around the world to celebrate when the Twin Towers came down on 9/11? Why did so many dance in the streets and celebrate the worst attack on American soil in half a century?

In his book, Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Roots of Global Rage (IVP, 2004), Meic Pearse tries to help Americans understand the “roots of global rage” against Western democracy. In the introduction he views American tolerance, which many of us consider to be one of the cornerstones of our liberties, from another side. In this passage he is not referring to tolerance as moral relativism, but tolerance as the principles of freedom of religion, speech, press, etc.

The currency of the term tolerance has recently become badly debased. Where it used to mean the respecting of real, hard differences, it has come to mean instead a dogmatic abdication of truth-claims and a moralistic adherence to moral relativism—departure from either of which is stigmatized as intolerance. (p. 12)

Read more about Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Growing Animosity of the Rest of the World Toward America

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