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The Church - Hijacked?

"What perhaps I did not fully realize was the extent to which partisanship in the culture had infiltrated the church, and thus the extent to which political ideologies were increasingly affecting the ways Christian sisters and brothers perceived their ability to work together across party lines - not just on political issues, but within the church itself. It turned out to be a very small step indeed from being able to tell parishioners that voting for a particular candidate was a sin to excluding those who might embrace political positions different than our own. ...

"I've noticed over the course of my tenure that more and more people are choosing to separate personal morality from social justice, influenced by partisan political extremes to believe that the gospel is about one and not the other.

I have personally witnessed this growth of partisan political influence in the church, which has created an unholy alliance of political ideology and biblical theology. A sound biblical theology must be the determining factor for our political ideology and not vice versa. Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, conservative nor liberal. Jesus refused to sell out to the religious and political systems of his day. He stood in prophetic tension with both, and we as his followers must learn to do the same.

Political powers have long sought to harness the church's influence for partisan advantage. Christians dare not let the terse partisan spirit hijack the inclusive message and mission of Jesus for the world that God loves. Difficult as it may seem in this heated political environment, Christians are called to be actively engaged in the political systems of the world without becoming one with them. ...

We need Christians involved in the political process. But we must not equate a political party's platform as representative of the Kingdom's purpose on earth. Nor should we demonize those who disagree with out political positions. Legislation, though important, cannot create change and transformation in the human heart. ...

Sadly, there have also been times when the church has allowed itself more to mirror its culture than to transform it. A man one said that a culture in decline is often evidence of a church that has already failed in its job of bearing witness to that alternative way of life - no long serving as 'salt and light.' When this happens, the church becomes too much life the culture for those outside to tell any relevant difference between itself and the church. Why both heeding our words when we have been co-opted?"

Hijacked by Mike Slaughter and Charles E. Gutenson, Abington Press, 2012, xv, xviii, 28, 128.


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