Let’s agree with a general observation: evangelicals churches tend toward Republican politics while the mainline churches tend toward Democrat politics. I see three problems with this widespread reality in the American church, and I’m sure you can add to this brief discussion of other problems:
What impacts of politicizing the church do you encounter?
First, by politicizing a local church that same local church dramatically decreases its chance of gospeling, teaching, and fellowshipping with those of the other political persuasion. It is a fact that Republicans can feel alienated or offended in a mainline church just as Democrats can feel alienated or offended in an evangelical church. Our churches tend to breathe a political persuasion. [I’m proud of our church, Church of the Redeemer (@CofRedeemer), on this score.]
That’s OK, you might say. On church growth principles a given political persuasion in a church increases the likelihood of building a larger church around that partisan orientation. Or, you might say, by separating we reach all even if it is not in one church fellowship. Thus, by splitting over politics we reach more. Which leads to the second problem:
Second, by politicizing into separate and separable local churches we impede unity in Christ and fellowship with one another, and the longer we impede unity and fellowship the more we built separate cultures that, over time, will be more difficult to find the unity we genuinely have in Christ. Jesus prayed that we might be one, and that’s not a Platonic, romantic, dreamy unity: unity means unity.
Pope Francis recently met with the Old Catholics and one of the realizations was that time apart has created substantially different cultures. The longer apart, the harder it is to find genuine unity.
Third, by politicizing a local church the gospel that transcends politics and nation and ethnicity becomes a reduced gospel that forms into a culture that blocks the fullness of the gospel itself. The gospel is flexible and expansive but it becomes inflexible and diminished when it becomes locked into a culture.
Over to you…