Small on Gospel, Big on Politics

Ted Gossard:

My point is simple: Christians are to live and die for nothing less than the good news found in God’s grace and kingdom come in King Jesus, realized and lived out through both the sacramental and common life of the church. Within and from and through that is our answer to the problems of society: the problem of abortion, helping the poor, racism, stopping the slave trade, etc. Our answer is unique, grounded in Jesus Christ and the gospel.

Our mouth belies what is in our hearts. When all we can talk about is what is going on in American politics and what we think the answer is, and even how Christians ought to vote, we need to wonder, I need to wonder. One person, who I’ve admired for some time, and by whose ministry I’ve been blessed has all but lost their voice with me, because of their strong words which cannot be mistaken as to how Christians in their tradition and I imagine elsewhere ought to vote.

Our problem in significant part is that our gospel is too small. It is not the gospel found in the Bible. To really understand that gospel, we can’t just read the passages in which euaggelion is used, translated gospel, or good news. We need to read from Genesis through Revelation, to see the entire story and scope in that context. And how God’s answer to the human dilemma, and ultimately to everything is found in Jesus and begun in the church albeit ever so humbly, yet ever so real through the good news in him.

Instead the gospel is relegated to one’s personal relationship with God through Christ, or it’s made to fit into the agenda of a nation-state, specifically a political party. And surely other ways as well. It’s not pretty, because in all of that the world sees something other than Jesus. The world doesn’t need to see us at all, nor our ideas about how it ought to be run politically. Instead it needs to see Jesus. In doing so, it can begin to see the unique politic found only in and through him, begun now in the community of the church, hopefully impacting the politics of the world for good, but never as part of “the state.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.