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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Economic recovery and the Church: The bigger picture
Topic: Political and economic

I'm beginning to see a picture that is bigger than the one I set forth eight and a half years ago in my Warning Against Idolatry. 

It is clear now that we have walked off the edge of the cliff economically, just as I predicted in 2000, and are now falling.

It is also clear that we have an activist President who wants to do some pretty radical things politically about the economic crash.  It is also obvious, for reasons I've explained in earlier blog posts, that for reasons of justice the President should be allowed to do many of the radical things he is attampting.

However, the bigger picture is this: The government's best efforts will not solve our economic collapse.  The government's best efforts will not prevent massive homelessness and privation.  Social unrest and violence will occur.  The only solution to the problem is found in the Church, the Body of Christ, which brings God's power to earth.

The government will do its best, but ultimately God must provide, through His Church.  It will be the Church thatshows sacrificial love and demonstrates the solution.

The problem is that the Church will not be able to do this in its present, divided state.  I'm not talking now about denominational divisions, or about the need for oranizational mergers.  I'm talking about divisiveness in the Church.  I'm talking about partisanship--the habits of building our own personal or organizational following by attacking someone else and of building the loyalty of our followers by preaching fear of identified human enemies.  This  is expected in the world.  It should not be found in the Church.

If we want to see the solution to our current problems developed by the Church, we need to abandon these traditional methods of building a loyal following and work together.  We are, as Paul reminded us several times, followers of Christ, not of human leaders.  Our loyalty is to be to Him.

I am now going to suggest something quite radical.  Our abandonment of the traditional divisive methods must be complete.  We must not limit ourselves to merely not seeking to demonize other Christians as often.  Instead, we must cease to demonize any human--Christian or unbeliever--in order to build our following.  This includes political leaders.  It also includes militant unbelievers and radical followers of other faiths who lash out against Christ, or against Christians, in their ignorance.  We must consistently resist the urge to make these humans (for whom Christ died!) into the enemy.  Though they attack, we must not.  Christ has called us to live differently, trusting Him.  This is the only way to unity in the Church, and hence the only solution to our current problems.

One application of this involves the political focus of this blog:  I've heard many of my Christian friends demonizing the President.  They tell each other he is leading us into disaster, and urge me to join them in fighting against him.  Because of his political and economic ideas, he is to them the enemy. But he is also our duly elected national leader.  If the Church is to find the unity necessary to provide the solution to our national problem, it needs to get behind the President.  As I have written on this blog before, we need to support him.  We need to support him, not demonize him and wast effort and create division fighting him as if he were the enemy.  He is not the enemy, and if the Church were to solidly get behind him, first in prayer and then in action (remember that he is calling for volunteer action on a large scale!), he could be a large part of the solution.  But it won't happen while we are putting so much effort into fighting him!    

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 10:38 PM EDT

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