Monday, December 7, 2009

Politics and the Kingdom of God

In my last post I talked about how authority works in the Kingdom of God. Today I'm going to talk about how that teaching applies to politics.

In the prior post I compared political power and authority with power and authority in God's Kingdom and I showed that there are some incredible differences. The basis for political power is force, which is used to coerce people. The basis for power in God's Kingdom is love, which is used to transform people.

If we can grasp this truth then we will realize that the Kingdom of God cannot be brought about by political means. Even if our political agenda is holy and righteous and pure and good, it can never take the place of God's own love. And no political agenda can take the place of our obligation to love others.

When Jesus came into the world He gave up His power. He allowed Himself to be killed so that we could be healed. In the same way we are asked to give up power, to lay down our agendas and love people so that they too can know the love of God and be healed.

We have two options. We can choose to follow Jesus or we can choose to pursue power. When Christians make the latter choice, several unfortunate consequences inevitably follow.

First and foremost, the message of Jesus gets obscured. The Kingdom of God is central to Jesus' teachings. If we replace God's Kingdom with a political message we lose the heart and soul of the good news that Jesus preached. The Kingdom of God isn't a nation or a system of government or a party platform. God's Kingdom is altogether different. When we let a political entity take the place of God's Kingdom, we end up with a kingdom that's not all that different from the oppressive kingdoms of the world.

As a result it becomes harder to share the message of Jesus. The message of Jesus becomes associated with a political message. Anyone who opposes the political message will usually feel some antagonism toward Jesus as well.

Of course, it isn't just outsiders who will be repelled by the political message of the church. Often times fellow Christians will find themselves at odds with "Christian" political views. This can result in groups of Christians splitting off and forming their own church. More often than not, the new church will have its own political agenda, which only makes the problem worse.

Before I finish let me just say that I don't think its wrong for Christians to be involved with politics. I just want to stress the point that God's kingdom is not a political kingdom. God's Kingdom is one of love and humility rather than political power. It is important that we remember that.

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