No straight lines from the Bible to politics

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Leave it to politics to bring out the best/worst in us. I’ll never forget the time I intimated casually in one of my CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) magazine columns that Jimmy Carter might have been a better President in terms of true red-letter Christian values than Ronald Reagan and you would have thought I’d lost the faith and was suggesting people come over to Satan. Cards and letters streamed in (this was before the Internet) and I couldn’t help but think of all the articles I had put out up to that point, painstakingly trying to connect faith to life, and not a peep from anyone. What is it about politics that can boil our blood so quickly? I’m sure you’ve heard it said that if you want to get into a bitter argument, bring up religion or politics.

Yet political solutions are so limited. Biblical solutions are widespread and eternal. We can agree on one and disagree on the other, and get along just fine. The things we scream about make so little difference in the long run, and especially in the kingdom of God. You cannot vote in the kingdom of God anyway. Is there a “Christian” agenda politically we can all agree on? I don’t think so. That’s why a strong sign of our unity in Christ is our ability to be all over the map, politically, but be in full agreement when it comes to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Any Christian leader who advocates one political candidate or agenda as “Christian” over another that is decidedly not, is misguided. There are brothers and sisters on both sides of the Senate floor. The national prayer breakfast showcases that every year. This is good. This is not advocating confusion, it is merely indicating that politics always deals in compromise, and will not solve the basic issues of human existence. Only God can do that. Therefore, we can disagree over whether everyone has a right to own a gun while agreeing on the sanctity of human life, and the fact that everyone is made in the image of God.

And here at the Catch, disagreement is bound to happen. This, of course, is one of the things that makes America great. I would be far more concerned if all Christians ended up in one political camp than if we disagree politically. That we disagree and still love each other, and agree on the core truths of the faith, is healthy. Churches should hold their own debates over politics, with all sides represented, instead of issuing a voters’ guide that spells out the “Christian” or “biblical” vote. There just are no straight lines from the Bible to politics.

The only straight line in the Bible is the one that goes to love.

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6 Responses to No straight lines from the Bible to politics

  1. Kathleen says:

    I agree w/ you about Jimmy. He and his wife have been working w/ Habitat for Humanity for years. Jimmy Carter truly does practice what he preaches!

  2. David Morgereth says:

    Let us heed the words of Dave Mason

    There ain’t no good guy
    There ain’t no bad guy
    There’s only you and me and we just disagree

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    A good Catch Pastor John and I’ll admit the thought of leaving the Catch until this political season is over has ran crossed my mind.. Very simply becauz I’m sure you’ll agree we have different points of view on Politics, yet the love of Christ does unties us…

    PS that was one of the many things I used to luv about a fellow Christian discussion board (C-board) member sharing ‘talks’ with a nice & kind Christian brother, who just happen to be a Mormon – He used to often ‘say’ on the C-board he was so proud of his Latter Day Saint, (LSD) or Mormon faith becauz he was told & promised the LSD Church doesn’t politicize their faith and he was raised in a Baptist Church, which often does! Every thing was cool until California (oh he lives in CA) passed the gay marriage and he found out the CA LSD community had spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to defeat that bill which I believe is now law..(?) I lost contact w/ brother Daniel, a little bit after that, because the C-board site more or less dried up and lost a ton of members becauz Facebook was evolving, yet still pray for him and his loved ones… 🙂

  4. Thanks for the wise words, John. Unfortunately, in many Evangelical churches today (my own, sadly), if a person holds political views that don’t align with the stereotypical “Evangelical” voting bloc – even if they are based on that person’s interpretation of the scriptures – they are either refuted or silenced (or, as often happens, the person chooses to stay “in the closet,” to borrow a phrase). I, for one, love to discuss politics with brothers and sisters with whom I disagree, so long as I can count on Christian love and respect guiding the dialogue. Alas, most Evangelicals with whom I have even timidly brought up my political ideas cannot even go that far.

  5. DB says:

    The back cover of “The Politics of God: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It” (2005) by Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine (http://www.sojo.net)
    has this quote from Bono:

    Bono: “The Left mocks the Right, the Right knows it’s right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try and understand each other’s point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.”

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