a little and a lot

Monday, October 23, 2006

*Question of the Day*

I may regret asking this, as I am not prone to political discussions. But I have been thinking and conversing a lot about this question lately due to recent events surrounding me:

Do you think the Church has a responsibility to take a united stand in politics?

I'm curious about the variety of opinions. (No arguing please!)


Anonymous said...

well, yes. The church has a responsibility to stand up for the Bible. Take abortion and homosexual marriage for example, that's all over politics. I think the church would be wrong not to take a stance here. Why wouldn't they back candidates who stand for the same issues? -Kim
(sorry I don't have a blogger account or I'd post it) :)

Larissa Smith said...

I have to say no. The church, as in the body of believers, should firmly hold to the Bible and what it teaches. However, the commands that we hold to in the Word are commands for believers, not the entire world. We are going to have a hard time convincing the world of how Jesus' love through us is different than anything they have ever known if we wag our fingers in their faces. I'm not saying we compromise our beliefs, but neither do we brandish them as weapons.

That said, I think Christians can and should support political movements that they feel convicted to believe, such as to protect unborn children, as long as it is based on the Bible and the teachings of Christ, not our own preferences or fears. If people of faith and love do not try to make a difference, who will? There's just a difference between trying to influence for positive changes or the rights of the weak and taking up arms against "sinners". We are supposed to battle to win them, not to defeat them.

Julie said...

I have to say no. And too many Christians think it is the government's responsibility to make sure that morality is present and abortion is illegal and education is improved and that the poor are taken better care of. There is no government that will care about all those things. I think Christians and the church need to take more action in their communities instead of waiting for the government to do everything for them, to make sure that their beliefs are pushed through, or expecting the government to align with all their beliefs. Aint gonna happen.

Jesse, there is a GREAT book called God's Politics (with the subtitle "why the right gets it wrong and the left doesn't get it). I think Harding Grad library has a copy. GREAT read.

Julie said...

I just came across this quote in our church planting lab notebook.

"The calling of the church in every culture is to be mission. That is, the work of the church is not to be an agent or servant of the culture. The church's business is not to maintain freedom or to promote wealth or to help a political party or to serve as the moral guide to the culture. The church's mission is to be the presence of the kingdom...The church's mission is to show the world what it looks like when a community of people live under the reign of God."
It's a quote from a book by Webber. If you want the full reference let me know.

Chad Billy-Steve Pknicholson said...

Julie is a nerd. What's with all these books, nerd?

Tesney said...

I don't know how I feel about this issue...I'm conflicted...and too tired to think about it enough to take a side. I used to be very pro-church-taking-a-stand, till I disagreed with the church. Actually, yes, I do have an opinion. Because what if you have someone who doesn't agree with the church's political stance? Doesn't that send a "we only take our type" message? I think I'm against it. I do think the church has a responsibility to take a stand against evil, but there's evil in all politics these days, regardless of the party, right?

angie c said...

I second God's Politics. Great, great book. We just had this discussion in Reach group last Sunday on church and state. Wish you could have been there. Very interesting. I'm avoiding the question, can you tell? ? ?

Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

umm its too late to think so deeply on my newly acquired home internet connection. Ill come back later. what do YOU THINK??

Jesse Faris said...

You got me, Ash...I've been trying to be icognito. Well, here's what I think:

I think that there are two sides to a coin. Each issue has a moral choice that we deal with personally. (Will *I* get an abortion? Will *I* participate in a homosexual marriage? Etc.) But I believe that the political nature of an issue shouldn't be decided by the Bible Belt's moral standards. My husband occasionally points out to me (when I'm being judgemental) that people that do not know Jesus should not be expected to act like they do.

How did Jesus treat people that did not know the Lord? How did Jesus treat politics? Was he the moral crusader in the governement--was that how he chose to spend his time on earth?

I agree with Julie and her quote about the church having a responsibility, perhaps not to taking a political stand but to being a presence of the Kingdom of God in her community. (The Church = The Bride of Christ = She?)

Great point, Tesney, about the message we send to unbelievers in our midst.

And I want to add that I think humans deserve to be treated as humans. With rights. And free will. Isn't that how God treats us? If someone wants to make a poor moral decision, don't you believe they mght make that choice whether it was legal or not?

What's that saying? "Hate the sin, love the sinner?"

Just some thoughts...

Heather said...

I usually avoid the political discussions, but this one interests me. I second the "free will" comment, Jesse. Don't we as Christians have free will? You don't become a believer by force (at least you shouldn't.) Our responsibility is to go into the world and love everyone (sinners, believers, everyone) and work as hard as we can to bring them to Christ. If that can happen, then the politics and the issues will take care of themselves. I do believe it is the responsibility of our churces to preach and teach right from wrong from the pulpit, in classes, in small groups, on the street, etc... Sometimes those issues coincide with political issues (gay marriage, abortion, etc.), but I don't think we should be told which political party to choose, how to vote in an upcoming election, and so on. After all, does anyone know of a political party or better yet a politician who doesn't have fault?
Let's teach Jesus and the Bible, the only perfection out there. Anyway, those are just my thoughts. I'm open-minded to a lof of viewpoints on this one. It's a toughy!

Brooke said...

I just sent a long comment on yours and it disappeared. Our prior conversations will have to suffice, I suppose!

mundiejc said...

Good topic Jesse. Sorry I'm a little late.

The church should absolutely be involved in moral issues of our time. The problem occurs when the church tries to use the government to further their agenda. We don't live in a Christian nation. We never have. The USA was actually founded on principles that are against what the bible says (Read romans 13) but that's beside the point.

I've chosen to abstain from voting because it too easily becomes idolotry. God uses the governments for his purposes, but we are to try to show Christ to the world. We just shouldn't force Christ on them. It doesn't change hearts... it just hardens them.

So whether its Jim Wallis trying to make our government a socialist eutopia or Jerry Falwell trying to ban gay marriage, they are both doing Christ a disservice. Governments are part of the fallen principalities and powers that are at work against Christ. They cannot operate in a christian way.

We need to be active in showing the love of Christ to people by not supporting war, abortion, mistreatment of the poor, greed, selfishness, anything that goes against Christ.

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