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A Cup of Grace

Election Response

Posted by Kevin Schutte on

A response to last nights election:Christians are political but don’t have a country or a party.

...should make any real Christian note vote for...

In the days and weeks leading up to the Presidential election, social media was teeming with rhetoric on how Christians should vote. Above I excerpted one comment that represents a commonly proclaimed formula by Evangelicals. The formula posits that voting for a particular candidate, who has a  particular policy position, eliminates or verifies you as being a “real Christian.” That formula is false. The biblical worldview offers that the main problem in life is sin and the only solution to sin is the grace of God. A humanist worldview offers that the main problem in life is something other than sin and the solution to that problem is something other than God’s grace. In our political process Christians often succumb to a humanist worldview by finding solutions to the world's problems in identifying with a political party or candidate who they believe supports an issue or two that will bring about what society needs. In some cases, Christians support a party or candidate to achieve power or control in a society so they can then dictate to that society what they believe to be God's will. Both views - politics offering what the world needs or the pursuit of power and control- are contrary to the ways of Christ.

 

The deep political polarization which demonizes one political party or anoints another party as “more Christian” is, politely stated, not consistent with a biblical worldview.  The corpus of scripture has enough truth claims that any party can pick-off a few and then claim to be Christian. For example, standing against abortion is consistent with the biblical text that all of humanity is created in the image of God. Another example, caring for the alien/foreigner/immigrant is equally consistent with the biblical text that all of humanity is created in the image of God.  Both find consistency with a biblical worldview but are not consistently  represented in our political parties. Faithfulness to the biblical text can not be found fully incorporated into either party. As Christians we are not first citizens of America, we are citizens of God’s Kingdom. We do not identify as Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians, we identify as members of the Body of Christ. Our guide is not a man made constitution and our founding Father is not buried in a tomb we can go visit. We are called to embody the sermon on the mountain not constitutional amendments. Being a “real Christian” can’t be found in how we vote, but only as we are justified,by God's grace, working through faith and binding us to Christ. So that we can never claim our salvation is based on something we have done or our moral fitness.  I can't identify a "real Christian" connected to Christ based on voting actions. The idea that how we support another human being, party, or issue as the basis for determining who is a  "real Christians" is false.

To be political is to be a church

The Greek word from which we get the adjective political is polis. A polis is a structured social community and is often translated “city.” To be political is to put forth ways of how a community should be structured, how decisions are made, what tasks need to be assigned for the common good, and how power is to be distributed. The church is a polis, in that it is a structured social community of divine origin and mandate. The church demonstrates our politics when we put forth ways of being a community that are consistent with the biblical worldview. We stand as a called out community in God’s Kingdom working to demonstrate, in how we live, act and treat others, what the world will ultimately become when the reign of God's Kingdom is completely realized. This is what we mean when we pray, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Our political actions follow the will of God as manifest in Christ. We are called to love our enemies, to care for the least and marginalized in our society, to embrace every tribe and tongue, and divest ourselves of the pursuit of power. We become the City (polis) on a hill that displays the light of Christ’s KIngdom as we do what the Lord requires of us, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  This is our politics. This is our call to political action. At times seeking justice, care for the poor, and defense of the week  will move us to work with one party and at times it will call us to reject that same party. We seek first the mandate of God's Kingdom to love our neighbor - regardless of ethnicity, religious affiliation, color, economic status, physical attributes or gender- and trust that God’s politics will exceed the politics of man.

Today we see a nation that is divided. It is a reminder to all of us of how our American political system works- the one with the most votes doesn’t “win.” But the politics of man is not the politics of the church. We stand united, under Christ, as we work together bring about justice and demonstrate the hope of a new way of life under the Lordship of the risen Christ. Our politics echos that of the prophet, “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!  This morning we recite, all hail the power of Jesus name!

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