Thoughts of John

What is on my mind.

A Biblical Perspective on How to Approach Politcs

    Conclusion, Part. 5

The future we await is life eternal in the presence of the living God in a transformed world that again fully reflects the goodness and beauty intended by the Creator.
    We have failed miserably at faithfully fulfilling the creation mandate given to us in the Garden of Eden. We have created civilizations of great beauty and considerable justice, but they are pervasively marked with tears and injustice. Mercifully, the Creator who is the Redeemer intends, at the second coming, to remove the pervasive evil in our mixed efforts at building civilizations. God plans to take the glory of the nations into the new city (Rev. 21:26). The story that starts in a garden ends in a city with God reweaving the tangled strands that we have wrought in vain, transforming our feeble efforts into glorious cultures that sing the Creator’s praise.
    That understanding of the future shapes faithful Christian political life now in numerous ways. First, that understanding of the future, just like the biblical understanding of creation and persons, underlines the importance of the material world. It is so good that the Creator intends to restore it to wholeness.
    Second, there is clear continuity between history, the present, and the coming kingdom. To be sure, the sin that will persist until Christ’s return is evidence of the discontinuity that exists as well. We cannot create
perfect societies now. But if God plans to purge the glory of the nations of all evil and take it up into the New Jerusalem, then there is a connection between our imperfect work now to create just, beautiful civilizations and the perfection we await.
    Third, the knowledge that persons are designed for a future that far transcends the socioeconomic goods that any human government can provide this side of the coming kingdom dramatically relativizes all politics. A good life now of material abundance, justice, and freedom is important. But we are made for far more—for more than even the best human politics can ever deliver. Therefore politicians must make humble claims. They should promise only limited goods. Christians will reject political claims to offer more as idolatrous. And when faithful Christians have political power, they will only claim to offer modest, albeit significant, results. Knowing that persons are made to live forever in the presence of the living God, they know that government at its best can only offer a modest portion of what persons need to enjoy the good life.
    Fourth, because we know the whole story line, including the final chapter, we know where history is going. We know that God wants more justice, peace, and societal wholeness now because we know that wholeness will be complete at Christ’s return. And the vision of that future justice provides a powerful norm to judge the broken societies in which we live.
    Knowing where history is going and knowing the one who promises to write the final chapter, Christians have hope. To the extent that we truly believe the promise of Christ’s coming victory, the Christian story can produce powerful political movements for justice, peace, life, and freedom.
    Sometimes, of course, we will fail. Sin remains alive and powerful. Sometimes, for a generation or more, injustice, war, totalitarianism, and social evil of all kinds may advance rather than retreat. Even then, the assurance of Christ’s final victory provides hope that sustains our persistent, faithful struggle for justice even when the political tide is sweeping in the other direction.
    Knowing the Resurrected One, knowing that He will return, we also know that crusading evil can succeed only for a time. The decisive victory has already been won. Even when faithfulness involves martyrdom, even then we know who holds the future. Because He lives, we can face even the most terrifying tomorrows. Because one day the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord who will reign forever and ever.

Discipleship Journal, Issue 165, Ron Sider

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May 11, 2008 - Posted by | Christian, Christianity, conservative, culture, Democrat, Discipleship Journal, John McCain, Republican, Theology, Uncategorized, vote

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