In a recent post at the Resurgence by Justin Holcomb we find yet another example that a robust theology is not falling for political partisanship. The questions are good ones:
How should Christians think about and interact with the political realm? Should Christians see any value in politics?
Holcomb meanders to Augustine and Chuck Colson and NT Wright then Augustine and Calvin and then also James Davison Hunter. Conservative evangelicalism, in the 80s, fell for partisan politics and aligned itself with the Republicans. The principal spokespersons were Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, James Kennedy and eventually James Dobson, who eclipsed them all in influence. Among evangelicals no one represents this trend than Wayne Grudem. But I’m seeing less partisanship among the young and restless Reformed, though perhaps I’m mistaken. (Is that accurate? That is, “less partisanship”?)
But Holcomb gets this right — too much commitment and too much withdrawal result in failed discipleship.
Neither an overly pessimistic nor an overly optimistic view of politics serves Christians well. Those who act as though politics are the primary way God has determined to bring about the kingdom of God will inevitably downplay the significance of the church as God’s agent through which the Spirit works in the world. On the other hand, those who avoid all political or cultural involvement as inherently evil will miss or downplay the social and cultural ramifications of the gospel of Jesus.
That is, identification with a political party is no more Christian than de-politicizing the gospel.
So I propose a Third Way: the Christian’s primary “politic” is a church that follows Jesus as King, that votes its conscience not on the basis of a political ideology but on the basis of the gospel, and that strives to influence society through the church. That is, it’s politic is not the eschatological hope of the federal government but in the one who is King over all.