In America right now we’re suffering through another political season which is full bore, and will mercifully end not soon enough. Of course it is the season for “political junkies.” Here we have two major parties with their platforms and presidential candidates, the challenger along with the incumbent. And people are engaged, in one way or another, I reluctantly so, and others in a quite partisan way.
While I do have some political views when it comes to what I would call worldly politics, or politics of this world, which by the way I don’t hold on to too tightly I would hope, I want to be partisan only to the new world order which Jesus brought.
In Jesus’ coming there was brought in no less than a new world order: the kingdom of God. Actually it was already present in Israel, and was fulfilled albeit in unexpected ways by Jesus, though ways which were anticipated in the old covenant.
This is a world order that is not from this world, but is for this world. Some want to insist it’s not of the world, that it has nothing to say directly about the issues of this world. Nothing could be further from the truth.
And yet this new world order is not played in terms of this world. There can’t be an actual political party set up representative, or sent from this world order. What is already set in place and is meant to play out its role on the world stage is the church itself. In the church we find Jesus’ kingdom, or a kingdom rule and order. Of course Jesus is Lord and King, and we in Jesus are his subjects, servants, and even part of his royal family as brothers and sisters.
This new world order than, is to be seen in the church as a witness, both in its life as church, and in its service and testimony to the world. Israel was to be a light from God to the nations (Isaiah). Now the church is fulfilling that role, consisting of all Jews and Gentiles, the two-fold biblical division of all humanity, united together in Jesus the Messiah. The church then, through Jesus, should show the way to the nations as to how to live. Of course all can enter into this new world order only through faith in Jesus. And only when Jesus returns will this new order take over the world. Now it is lived out in terms of Jesus death and resurrection, both in receiving the benefits of that, and then living that out in this life.
Therefore, while I think the upcoming election has its importance, and that we Christians should be engaged up to a point, I question the validity of our partisanship either as Democratic, Republican or some other category, since our only one true partisanship ought to be in terms of God’s grace and kingdom come in Jesus.
That is why, while I’ll pay some serious attention to what is going on prior to the election and try to vote, I won’t be holding my breath until the outcome. The major political fact and factor in this world for me is the kingdom of God in Jesus seen and played out in the church. Hopefully our witness can be a light, instead of often having become part of the problem in the world, entering into the world’s darkness. In Jesus we are that light, a light shown forth in love, community as church, good works, and humble words sharing this good news of the one true hope in Jesus that this world has. Together in him for the world.
I thank Scot McKnight, N.T. Wright, John Howard Yoder and Allan Bevere for helping me see this truth from scripture. I will be reviewing Allan Bevere’s important book, The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World, soon.