Over the past few years there has been an alarming trend. It’s something that I’ve noticed since the mid-80s, but it has been becoming less subtle and more strident as the years have progressed. For the next few moments I’d like to discuss something that will, in all likelihood, alienate at least a few readers and perhaps will even cause some anger.
I’m not sharing these thoughts lightly, and in fact this is an article that I have started to write several times over the past couple of years and each time dissuaded myself from doing so since it will certainly be a contrarian viewpoint, at least among my circle of pastors, friends, and acquaintances.
The theme, simply stated, is this: have we allowed politics to trump faith?
I recognize the question has a double meaning, and that’s not completely by accident but is not specifically the topic although it may be an example.
It seems as though throughout western culture, and particularly in the United States of America, there has been a move towards people of faith becoming increasingly polarizing in their political statements. It’s not just the statement of a political view, but the statements – on either side of the issues – seem to be attempting to outdo one another in their imprecations of those who may have a differing viewpoint.
How is it that people of faith are becoming more known for their political statements and alienating political viewpoints than they are for their relationship with Jesus Christ?
Every few years a series of political figures sashay across debate stages, all proclaiming to be people of high moral character and often naming the name of Christ. Inevitably one will rise above the others and then various religious leaders and high-profile faith voices will begin to offer their support for the respective candidate, claiming that they have discussed religious and biblical topics with this individual and they are convinced that this is a person of great faith. We’ve witnessed various groups coming together for prayer over these political figures, espousing their candidacy from pulpit and pen, from news interviews to political rally stages – and all the while ignoring the often enormous evidence that this is a person who has lived their life (and continues to do so) far outside of the teachings of Jesus. Often these individuals will mock the very things that people of faith hold dear while attempting to somehow still appeal to them for their vote. And all too often various people groups will ignore their faith, ignore the principles and precepts of Scripture, ignore the teachings of Jesus, ignore their own moral convictions, and they will pragmatically vote for the “lesser of two evils.” They will justify their choice by claiming that they didn’t vote “for” this candidate but rather really voted “against” the other.
And then the politicization of faith really begins because they now attempt to defend their choice by appealing to faith tradition, ancient church fathers, or even pulling Scripture out of context to assuage the concerns of their constituents and congregations by telling them that what they did was morally pleasing to God and was spiritually palatable.
And now these religious and faith leaders are suddenly known more for their political affiliations and viewpoints than they are for naming the name of Christ and holding out hope for a lost world.
I know that by this point some of you are pushing back strongly against my topic and are forming defenses in your mind to justify such a set of circumstances and actions. I get it. It’s human nature to assume that we are right and any viewpoint contrary to our own is incorrect.
But if you will stick with me for another moment, I’d like to invite you to consider a Scriptural application with me and see what we might learn from it.
In Jesus’ day there were several cultural issues that we would have significant problems with today. In fact, some of these issues have been the point of discussion and even ridicule by those outside of Christendom, ostensibly pointing to the acceptance of these problems by Christ, the Apostles, and early church leaders.
I won’t go into all of the various Roman cultural practices that would be contrary to the teaching of Christ, but one seems to come to the front more often than some of the others, so I’ll use it as our example.
Consider the issue of slavery in the New Testament.
Now we’re not talking about Old-Testament-Ten-Commandments-Moses-on-Mount-Sinai here, this is New Testament time-of-Christ stuff.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Mark Conn