(Disclaimer: I used this picture to the left because it was one of the oddest things I’ve seen today. I didn’t know Santa was the poster-child for breaking down barriers. Ha!)
I have posted this response on politics from John Hendryx before, even recently, but feel a need to post it yet again. I am unabashedly conservative and have convictions that I believe this is what’s right for the country. However, with the level of political division in this country at a heightened point, and with what I’m hearing about fellow conservative Christians attacking other Christians for their leanings toward Obama, I figured it was time to get this out there again.
Might I remind all of us as believers that during this political season, neither the McCain/Palin ticket nor the Obama/Biden ticket is our hope of bringing peace to this Earth. That is what Christ has already come to do on our behalf, not by becoming a political hero, but by giving up His life in our place to give us hope for eternity. That is where our primary affections should lie, the eternal kingdom of God, not in one temporal political party or the other.
I’m saddened to hear that some members at our church are attacking other believers for their particular political leanings. This needs to stop as it defies the kind of unity Paul commanded of the churches he wrote to. Politics is not our hope, only Christ and His kingdom is. Conservatism does not = Christianity. I do believe it fits more in line with a Christian worldview, but in no way believe it is the hope of the world. Only the Gospel is. Here is Hendryx’s response to a question posed to him:
“10. What is your opinion of the evangelical interest in politics and the identification of many Christians with the Republican party?
While I believe we should be engaged in our civic duty to vote and be engaged, it appears to me that many evangelicals have gone beyond the call of duty and have bought into dominion theology. Some of us seem to hold the false belief that if we just changed the laws and made the US political system based on the Bible then all would be well while not considering the changing of hearts. My response to this is that the problem is not just OUT THERE, it is with us. If we lived like we believed the gospel ourselves, then God would use us to change the culture. While I can agree that civil law can be used to restrain evil, we often bludgeon our secular opponents with it as if they could somehow be saved through obedience to it. I believe the first table of the law cannot be legislated. Persons must be persuaded into the Kingdom by human instruments casting seed with the Spirit germinating it, so to speak, but not by the sword or by coercive legal measures. Contrary to my evangelical and Theonomist brethren, I do not believe that the civil magistrate has the authority to judge heresy. A little known historical fact is that the Presbyterian Church wisely invoked semper reformanda and removed chapter 23(?) on the Civil Magistrate from the Westminster Confession in the early 1700s. A move for which I am thankful. Instead, we are to take up our cross and persuade as Jesus did, through meekness, suffering, joy, helping the poor and loving others above ourselves.
I have no problem with Christians personally identifying themselves with a party, but I will emphasize that politics is not the solution to our problems by any stretch of the imagination. There is entirely too much emphasis placed on it, as if God’s plan could somehow be thwarted. We should vote and do what we can to eradicate injustice, poverty and to actively find ways to be involved in mercy ministries. This might mean entering politics on a local level or just merely spending time with hurting people. But if the Republicans don’t get elected next term it isn’t the end of the world. Maybe a little discomfort will begin to burn off the dross in our churches. We must remember that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. If God wills that we should live in Babylon, we must serve the it with excellence, influencing it by being good stewards of the calling God has given each one of us. Though some may be tempted when things get real bad, we should never take up arms to further our political agenda.
I have lived in a communist country for 10 years and, I can tell you with certainty, that the gospel is not chained because of a political system. On the contrary, communism has been a key factor in raising interest in Christianity in that country on a massive scale for the first time in their 5000-year history. It seems that Christians have become so addicted to comfort here that there is very little awareness of how people are living in the rest of the world. But we Americans are of very little account in the big scheme of things.”