Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"The great secular idol of modernity," or "Keep your politics out of our morality"

From a very helpful article on Christians and politics by Doug Wilson:

James Davison Hunter has this to say about contemporary Christian political involvement.

"These qualifications notwithstanding, the reality is that politics is the tactic of choice for many Christians as they think about changing the world . . . It is not an exaggeration to say that the dominant public witness of the Christian churches in America since the early 1980s has been a political witness" (To Change the World, p. 12).

Yeah, but. An important qualification has to be added to this. Before offering that addition, however, let me say that I acknowledge that there are evangelical Christians out there who are political wonks and junkies in a way that is not spiritually healthy. That said (in order to demonstrate that I am as even-handed and as balanced as can be), let me proceed to add my qualification.

Think about this for a moment. The "most dominant public witness" of Christians has been political. Assuming this to be so (and I believe it is), there are different
reasons why it might be so. One reason could be that Christians are the ones with the problem. They have politics on the brain. They rush to the mechanisms of the state (which were modestly hiding in a distant village), in order to advance their public faith with the politics of coercion. In other words, these Christians have lost faith in Jesus their Savior, and are trying to use the political process as a sort of savior's-little-helper.

Another option, and one that I consider far more likely, is this. The political state in our day is swollen and overgrown, and has gotten into everything. Politics, the great secular idol of modernity, has virtually filled up every public space. This means that it is not possible to go into any public space in order to have a public witness of any kind without it resulting in some kind of political confrontation.

To this extent, to blame public Christians for being "too political" is like blaming Noah's ark for being "too wet."

Read the entire article HERE.

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