Politics and Evangelicalism
This month’s topic at RespectfulConversation.com ventures into the potentially hazardous territory of Evangelicalism and politics. As Kyle Roberts writes, “There are no quick and easy answers to the questions of political involvement.” The complexities of Christian involvement in politics stir up conflict in many quarters, and the writers don’t steer clear of these difficulties.
Some writers support robust political involvement, others defend a deepened sense of participation in God’s kingdom, rather than an earthly one. It becomes apparent that not all writers share the same concerns, and even where similar issues are addressed, perspectives range from conservative to liberal. Perhaps surprisingly, however, a thread of commonality runs through the majority of the posts. These writers exhibit a shared and profound sense that, as Amy Black describes it, “The problem is not political engagement in and of itself; the problem is that many Christians fail to demonstrate Christ-like character as they engage in politics.”
Evangelicalism’s political strength, these writers suggest, is its continual call to integrity, to reflecting the character of God in all that we do and say. In other words, our political involvement – whatever form it takes – must be grounded first and foremost in our faithful obedience and commitment to a loving God. Any hope of discerning how to wisely engage political controversies will begin here. Black describes the challenge this way:
At their worst, Christian political movements become triumphalist and power-seeking; their leaders are arrogant, contentious, and condescending. At their best, however, Christian political movements can offer a powerful witness of Christ’s upside-down kingdom, modeling humility, grace, and repentance in the public square.
TCF envisions a church in which Christians – regardless of their political stance – can offer this powerful witness. We’re grateful to this month’s contributors for modeling such a charitable conversation.