politics in the pulpit

The gospel of God’s grace and kingdom come in Jesus has both direct and indirect implications for every aspect of life, including political life. I refer to politics here in terms of the order of societies and what goes into that. Whatever one’s political persuasion might be for example in the United States, that does not equate to the kingdom of God come in Jesus. That kingdom is not from this world though it is certainly for it.

There is no doubt that there happens to be some incidental overlap in details though never in quality. It is not that God’s hand in some provisional sense can’t be on nations and states for good as well as for judgment. But there remains only one holy nation, the church of the Lord Jesus the Messiah. So that there is one politic, agenda and platform we should buy fully into: that of God’s kingdom come and present now in Jesus in the church. A king with subjects destined to take over the world. That reign already present by the Spirit, but not yet reaching its fulfillment to take place when Jesus returns and heaven and earth becomes one in him in the final judgment and the new creation.

Does that mean we shouldn’t have political views now in terms of the politics of this world? Or that we should never speak out on political issues from the pulpit? I don’t think so. But we must hold up everything to the light of God’s kingdom come in Jesus, the reality present now in him and the vision that casts for the future. But with the realization that governments cannot live out the agenda of God’s kingdom in Jesus now. So that our expectations for them should never be that they can. Where that is to be lived out is in the church, the new or renewed Israel, the light of the world in and through Jesus. A light for the nations indeed, even now. By which they can seek to do better as well as be judged when they do badly.

What in part I’m trying to say, the main point is that we need to beware of seeing politics in terms of left, right, center, or whatever possible position in this world- as something we are to push, even in the pulpit (and unwisely alienate people sold out on one side or the other in the process). We need instead to press home the need for people, for all of us in light of God’s kingdom come in Jesus to repent of other agendas and receive that good news. And live accordingly even in this world as well as for it in and through Jesus.

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