We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

restaurant-hands-people-coffee-1

Conservatives and Liberals in the Same Kingdom

Jesus did not allow the world to set the terms for what he did. For instance, he called Matthew, a tax collector, as well as Simon, a zealot, to be his disciples. Tax collectors were on the farthest right wing of Jewish politics, zealots on the farthest left. In fact, zealots despised tax collectors even more than they despised the Romans, sometimes even assassinating them.

Yet Matthew and Simon spent three years together while following Jesus. In the accounts of Gospels, we never find a word about their different political opinions. Indeed, we never read a word about what Jesus thought about their radically different kingdom-of-the-world views.

This silence suggests that they had something in common that dwarfed their individual political differences. To be sure, Jesus’ life and teachings would undoubtedly transform the trust both had in their political views if they would allow it. At the very least, the tax collector would no longer cheat his clients—as they often did—and the zealot would no longer kill. Yet Jesus invited them to follow him as they were, prior to their transformation, and their widely divergent political views were never a point of contention.

What are we to make, then, of the fact that the church is largely divided along political lines? While Jesus never sided with any of the limited and divisive kingdom-of-the-world options of his day, the church today, by and large, swallows them hook, line, and sinker. Indeed, in some circles, whether conservative or liberal, taking particular public stands on social, ethical, and political issues, and siding with particular political or social ideologies, is the litmus test of one’s orthodoxy.

When this happens, it is evidence that the church is co-opted by the world. It means that we have lost our distinctive kingdom-of-God vision and abandoned our mission. It tells the world that we’ve allowed the world to define us, set our agenda, and define the terms of our engagement with it.

We must once again seek wisdom from above (James 3:17), the wisdom Jesus consistently displayed that will help us discern a unique kingdom-of-God approach to issues that will empower our moving beyond the stalemates and tit-for-tat conflicts that characterize the kingdom of the world.

We must embrace the simplicity of the kingdom of God. We must remember, if ever we were taught, the simple principle that the kingdom of God looks like Jesus and that our sole task as kingdom people is to mimic the love he revealed on Calvary. We have to a large degree gone AWOL on the kingdom of God, allowing it to be reduced to a religious version of the world. The world supplies the options, and in direct contradiction to Jesus’ example, we think it’s our job to pronounce which one God thinks is right.

But Jesus calls us and empowers us to follow his example by taking the more difficult, less obvious, much slower, and more painful road—the Calvary road. It is the road of self-sacrificial love. This changes everything, for both conservatives and for liberals.

—Adapted from The Myth of a Christian Nation, pages 62-65

Photo via VisualHunt

Related Reading

A Brief Theology of Sin

We were created for unbroken, loving fellowship with God. We see this in the creation story. As we share in this unbroken, trusting fellowship with God, we participate in the very love that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share throughout eternity. We also read in the creation story that sin ruptured this fellowship and sidetracked…

Tags: , ,
Topics:

Loving Enemies in the Day of ISIS

The following excerpt from Myth of a Christian Religion discusses Jesus’ command to “turn the other cheek.” Whatever our response to the persecution of Christians in the world, we must take this passage seriously. While this excerpt does not tell us exactly how to respond, it can be used to shape our attitude and stance…

The Longing of Advent

The Advent season is a time of anticipating the coming of God, in Christ, a time of turning our imagination toward the revelation of God’s love for us. This after all is the deepest longing of our heart, and our natural longings always point us to something real. We grow hungry only because there’s such…

A Kingdom Not of This World

Bruxy Cavey spoke at Woodland Hills Church back in May as a part of the Tapestry series, and this is a little snippet of his sermon. It’s a wonderful description of the Anabaptist approach to politics. Take a look!

The All-or-Nothing of Kingdom Living

Nothing is more central to the kingdom of God than agreeing with God about every person’s unsurpassable worth and reflecting this in how we act toward them. Nothing is more important that living in Christlike love for all people at all times. In fact, compared to love, nothing else really matters in the kingdom. In…

Jesus was Not a [Socialist]

Article by Dan Kent Our political climate right now exhausts me. The fracturing. The bullying. The ideological mobs. I feel like I’m surrounded by a hundred Towers of Babel babbling at me all day long, pummeling me with endless propaganda and page-after-page of facts. “Look at the facts!” they implore. They want me in their…