Focus on Church, Not State

April 11, 2006

Here are a couple of columns that help point out the importance of Christians maintaining a focus on changing people spiritually. These authors argue that the lure of politics and power are pulling Christians away from this focus.

First is the Gary Wills column from The New York Times. He begins by arguing:

There is no such thing as a "Christian politics." If it is a politics, it cannot be Christian. Jesus told Pilate: "My reign is not of this present order. If my reign were of this present order, my supporters would have fought against my being turned over to the Jews. But my reign is not here" (John 18:36). Jesus brought no political message or program.
Wills goes on to critique both Republicans and Democrats that attempt to claim Jesus is on their side. He rightly argues that such attempts to politicize Jesus dilute His real teachings and purpose. Here are a couple more comments in this great column:

Jesus should not be recruited as a campaign aide. To trivialize the mystery of Jesus is not to serve the Gospels.

The Gospels are scary, dark and demanding. It is not surprising that people want to tame them, dilute them, make them into generic encouragements to be loving and peaceful and fair. If that is all they are, then we may as well make Socrates our redeemer.

... The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.
Amen! It is a great column that every Christians should thoughtfully read and consider. Another good piece out is an interview with Kevin Phillips, author of the new book American Theocracy.

Hopefully these and other pieces will continue to spark dialogue about these important issues. And, more importantly, hopefully more Christians will refocus their efforts on what really matters.

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