September 01, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
Yesterday, I posted my article about the Rise of the Christian Left in a Christian forum I periodically visit. I partially did it because I wanted to see how traditional Christians responded to such a notion, and partially because I'm becoming more vocal about my desire to see an increased separation between Christian affairs and government affairs.

So, the conversation on the thread started going, and some folks got clearly angry and offended at the notion that the "Christian Right" might be an unholy union of politics, commerce, and religion. I went as far as to state, "I think that the mix of christianity and politics by the church is adultery."

My main position is that I think that the church is trying to use government as a tool to bring about the Kingdom. By making the laws of the land align with biblical laws, there's some sort of expectation that things will be better for everybody. But in fact, the arguments for doing so tend to point to a desire for things to simply be better for believers.

One fellow said:

What you are not addressing is the fact that the unsaved are making laws that adversely affect the saved. If christians just bow out of the political process, you give non-christians carte blanche to pass whatever laws they wish, just like they are trying to do now. Complacency is never a good thing.

Did you catch the "adversely affect the saved" bit?

So I responded:

I think you're suggesting that Christians "defend their rights," as though somehow anything that God has called us to is some kind of national right. You seem to be arguing for comfort, and for the continued environment where Christians can be fat and lazy and do nothing. Yet in Paul's time of persecution, there's clearly no instruction or even desire in Paul that the world be more convenient for Christians.

I think that Christians in the west have it easy, and it's such a blessing. But since when are Christians supposed to fight to defend our right to maintain our convenience? Why aren't more Christians fighting to defend the weak and the poor in our communities?

And then a fellow left-thinking believer in the conversation stated the following, which really rung true for me:

[re: What you are not addressing is the fact that the unsaved are making laws that adversely affect the saved.]

At the risk of sounding flippant: so what? From a Biblical, spiritual perspective, so what? I agree with Jovial, so many Christians try to defend their "rights," as if we're entitled to certain comforts. "Rights," however, are never spoken of in the Bible. The concept of rights is entirely man-made.

Paul and Silas were taken before the Roman government and flogged. Now, in Rome, it was illegal for the government to flog a Roman citizen. Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They had a legal right NOT to be flogged. But how did they respond? They said nothing. They allowed themselves to be flogged and thrown in jail. As a result, the prison guard and his entire family were saved. It seems like the Christian American cultural response to Paul's situation would have been yelling and screaming and saying, "You can't flog me, I'm a citizen, you don't have the RIGHT!" But as a result, we miss out on seeing that guard and his family saved. I've read many articles wherein a Christian is faced with a legal injustice, and their response is to squawk and sue and ::cringes:: picket. Picket. Who is ever shown the love of Christ by a picket sign?!

It's like we're the Israelites again. When Jesus came to Earth, the Israelites expected him to take over the government and rule as king, in a literal, political sense. That's why so many didn't believe. Instead of a political ruler, they only [got] a humble servant. We should take our cue from Christ, not from those Israelites. Jesus didn't even try to change the government, he just ministered - first to his disciples, and then to the lost.

Absolutely brilliant. I had never considered that connection before.
np category: religion


Luke said:
The more I spend time with you the more I begin to align with this view of yours Josh. I just had an epiphiny:

God granted us the RIGHT to be crucified. The RIGHT to die for his name. The RIGHT to suffer for his namesake. And the RIGHT to be uncomfortable and downtrodden by the world because of HIM.

By mutual exclusion then, God did not grant us the RIGHT to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from harm, et al.

I'm not saying we should go and fight for our rights to die, that will come inevitably, but I agree that we as Christians should shut our mouths more often that not about our so-called rights, and start simply ministering as we're called to do: both to believers for discipleship, and to unbelievers as a testimony of God's grace.

How do you like them apples!?

September 02, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I knew you'd come around, man. :)

That's fantastic -- I'm so glad that you're seeing what I'm seeing on this. Sucks that you're not coming camping with us this weekend. It'd be cool to chat more about this in person more.

September 02, 2006

Luke said:
Ha ha! Yeah, I'm bummed that we can't go with. The fam's sick (minus me for now ::fingers crossed::) and Adam/Lisa are in town announcing their engagement to the family.

BTW I just got into audioblogging and posted a freshie on the very topic above. Hope you enjoy it with your newfound speeeeeeeed!

September 03, 2006

betmo said:
well said on all counts.
September 07, 2006

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