Kingdom-Minded Civic Engagement

Yesterday I posted a review of A New Evangelical Manifesto.  Although I didn’t spend much time with the issue, I alluded to a criticism that many of the proposed ways forward for American evangelicalism smacked of the same problems that have us where we are today.  That is, much of the American church has allowed itself to nestle into bed with one or the other dominant political ideologies of our day.

We’ve become, in many ways, a civil religion, a church that tends to promote the trappings of the state rather than standing outside the state.  The result is a compromise of our prophetic voice.  We can be ruled by our political systems (and we often are) while we lose our ability to speak for the better way of the Kingdom.  (For more on this, it’s worth picking up Michael J. Gorman‘s Reading Revelation Responsibly, which I also reviewed in several posts in 2011.)

At any rate, I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s review with a couple of pieces from Greg Boyd’s blog.  In response to some pointed questions on major social issues, he articulates, in my opinion, a way of addressing convoluted political topics in a way that allows us to remain faithful to the one ideology that matters: Jesus Christ.

First, there is this from his response to the question of abortion:

The unique Kingdom approach to abortion doesn’t focus on figuring out the “right” political solution, getting “the right” candidates into office or getting the “right” bills passed. As with everything else about the Kingdom, it rather focuses on manifesting the self-sacrificial love of God towards women with unwanted pregnancies and towards their unborn children.

This post was followed up by another focused on Kingdom solutions to “unambiguous evils,” like slavery.  From Boyd:

When confronting unambiguous evil, its appropriate to use whatever influence you have to influence government, so long as it does not violate our calling as followers of Jesus. But our focus, and our confidence, must not reside here. It ought to rather reside in that unique kingdom power that is unleashed when the people of God imitate their Lord by being willing to enter into solidarity with oppressed brothers and sisters and to bleed on their behalf.

The Kingdom is neither Republican nor Democrat.  It’s not even American.  It’s time we start thinking and acting out of our allegiance to our Kingdom homeland.

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