Following Jesus for His cause, or co-opting Him for ours

Mar 8, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Christopher Lewis, Ministry Musings

by Rev. Christopher Lewis

A Christian in Nazi Germany had a lot to say to American Christians today.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer, who ended up being killed by the Nazis before World War II was over, spoke about the politics of Jesus. Here’s what he wrote:

“The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels was neither a middle-class conservative nor a political radical. He did not join the Sadduccees or the Zealots. Jesus instead paved the way for a creative alternative to these two positions. His way placed God’s concerns at the center of His activity, and it rejected man-made rules which encouraged religiosity but did not free people from their sin, hopelessness, and social rejection.”nothing is impossible

Personally, I think he makes a point that Republicans, Democrats and independents (as well as members of all those smaller third-parties out there) would do well to listen to. So many Christians in the land of my birth have completely lost sight of what it’s all about. It’s not about co-opting Jesus for either the right or the left; it’s about following Jesus from wherever we are.

The main political parties in America have in many cases become so polarized that they tend to act as mere caricatures of what they used to be about. Nowadays many on both sides seem obsessed with proving the other side wrong and doing whatever they can do to undo the others’ successes or failures.

What would happen if we found a middle ground by actually following Jesus instead of pride? Because ultimately politics has become a game of pride for many, with people on both sides more obsessed with proving that they are “right” and the other “wrong” than with finding answers that actually contribute to the good and well being of the people.

What if Christian Democrats and Christian Republicans would sit down and seek “a creative alternative to these two positions?” Would they find that maybe in seeking answers together they might actually get something worthwhile done?

I find many of my fellow Christians most embarrassing when they start talking about politics because so many of them speak with anger rather than love, and pride rather than humility. What would happen if Christians would lay down their pride as the Bible calls them to and mutually seek helpful answers rather than posting hateful memes on Facebook and trying to out “debate” one another.

Until we stop seeing each other as opponents and start to see one another as common sojourners on a journey who need to seek workable answers together, even in the midst of our disagreements as to the best way to get there, we will simply continue to polarize America and to drag our testimony as “Christians” through the very mud that we keep throwing at one another.

By God’s grace, may we seek out a politic of love rather that one of pride and anger. And may we do so by seeking to follow the way of Christ together. In so doing, perhaps Christians can being to reclaim their place as an example that others will want to follow.

You can find many other such articles by Christopher right here at KRL.

Christopher Lewis is an ongoing contributor to our Helping Hands section, and lives with his wife Karen in Glasgow, Scotland where he speaks at various churches and events.


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