There is a heated debate going on in the evangelical church – are we diluting the gospel by linking it with political activism? I personally think that there are extremes to be avoided, those of isolationism (we should not try to redeem culture), and Dominionism (trying to usher in God’s kingdom on this earth via politics).
In a series of two articles (listed below) at Out of Ur, pastor Gregory Boyd discusses how he began to preach about the dangers of co-mingling the gospel and conservative politics (I’d say that goes for liberal politics as well). Over 1000 people left his church (20%) after this series. He actually wrote a book on the topic entitled The Myth of a Christian Nation.
Of course, I think our nation was a combination of Christian and secular values, forged into a free, principled whole. What do you think?
Here’s an excerpt from Kingdom Confusion: Is the quest for political power destroying the church?
Among other things, I was asked to hand out leaflets, to draw attention to various political events, and to have our church members sign petitions, make pledges, and so on. Increasingly, some in our church grew irate because of my refusal (supported by the church board) to have the church participate in these activities.
In April of 2004, as the religious buzz was escalating, I felt it necessary to preach a series of sermons that would provide a biblical explanation for why our church should not join the rising chorus of right-wing political activity. I also decided this would be a good opportunity to expose the danger of associating the Christian faith too closely with any political point of view, whether conservative or liberal. The series was entitled, “The Cross and the Sword."
The response surprised me….
I do not argue that those political positions are either wrong or right. Nor do I argue that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. While people whose faith has been politicized may well interpret me along such lines, I assure you that this is not what I’m saying. The issue is far more fundamental than how we should vote or participate in government. Rather, I want to challenge the assumption that finding the right political path has anything to do with advancing the kingdom of God.
Here’s an excerpt from Kingdom Confusion 2: The danger of believing in a Christian America
Consequently, many Christians who take their faith seriously see themselves as the religious guardians of a Christian homeland. America, they believe, is a holy city “set on a hill,” and the church’s job is to keep it shining.
The negative reaction to my sermons made it clear that this foundational myth is alive and well in the evangelical community — and not just in its fundamentalist fringes.
Instead of living out the radically countercultural mandate of the kingdom of God, this myth has inclined us to Christianize many pagan aspects of our culture. Instead of providing the culture with a radically alternative way of life, we largely present it with a religious version of what it already is. The myth clouds our vision of God’s distinctly beautiful kingdom and thereby undermines our motivation to live as set-apart (holy) disciples of this kingdom.