Church - Hijacked?
"What perhaps I did not fully realize was
the extent to which partisanship in the culture had infiltrated the church, and
thus the extent to which political ideologies were increasingly affecting the
ways Christian sisters and brothers perceived their ability to work together
across party lines - not just on political issues, but within the church itself.
It turned out to be a very small step indeed from being able to tell
parishioners that voting for a particular candidate was a sin to excluding those
who might embrace political positions different than our own. ...
"I've noticed over the course of my
tenure that more and more people are choosing to separate personal morality from
social justice, influenced by partisan political extremes to believe that the
gospel is about one and not the other.
I have personally witnessed this growth of
partisan political influence in the church, which has created an unholy alliance
of political ideology and biblical theology. A sound biblical theology must be
the determining factor for our political ideology and not vice versa. Jesus is
neither a Republican nor a Democrat, conservative nor liberal. Jesus refused to
sell out to the religious and political systems of his day. He stood in
prophetic tension with both, and we as his followers must learn to do the same.
Political powers have long sought to harness
the church's influence for partisan advantage. Christians dare not let the terse
partisan spirit hijack the inclusive message and mission of Jesus for the world
that God loves. Difficult as it may seem in this heated political environment,
Christians are called to be actively engaged in the political systems of the
world without becoming one with them. ...
We need Christians involved in the political
process. But we must not equate a political party's platform as representative
of the Kingdom's purpose on earth. Nor should we demonize those who disagree
with out political positions. Legislation, though important, cannot create
change and transformation in the human heart. ...
Sadly, there have also been times when the
church has allowed itself more to mirror its culture than to transform it. A man
one said that a culture in decline is often evidence of a church that has
already failed in its job of bearing witness to that alternative way of life -
no long serving as 'salt and light.' When this happens, the church becomes too
much life the culture for those outside to tell any relevant difference between
itself and the church. Why both heeding our words when we have been
by Mike Slaughter and Charles E. Gutenson, Abington Press, 2012, xv, xviii, 28,
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