I hope that my international readers will be patient with me here. The recent USA election was a disappointment for me, and then to my surprise the Holy Spirit took me to the woodshed over my reaction and attitude. Actually I hadn’t really been listening, though I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the Iraq War. I had pretty much compartmentalized my political views, then rationalized, justified, and sanctified them all.
It all started when I read a post by Carl of Revival Blog on the election. Then today I found the following article by Dr. Ben Witherington of Asbury Theological Seminary, addressing a number of important issues for Evangelicals to consider in the midst of the political process- “Evangelicals in A Post-Haggard, Post-Rumsfeld World”. I found the following quote especially poignant:
My take on all of this is that it is too early to tell, and certainly to early to say that Evangelical political clout is on the wane. But here are some thoughts for reflection. Firstly, the alliance between Evangelicals and the hard line conservatives in the Republican party has made it difficult for many Evangelicals to see the difference in our time between being a Christian and being an American, and in particular being a certain kind of an American, namely a Republican. The problem is that this reflects a certain kind of mental ghettoizing of the Gospel, a blunting of its prophetic voice on issues ranging from war to poverty, and sometimes this even comes with the not so subtle suggestion that to be un-American (defined as being opposed to certain key Republican credo items) is to be un-Christian. But Christianity must and does transcend any particular cultural expression of itself, otherwise we have the cultural captivity of the Gospel which leads to a form of idolatry. It is one thing to sing “my country tis of Thee”, its another thing to have a bunker mentality which makes our countries ills hard to define and our flaws even harder to critique and correct.
While I don’t agree with everything that Dr. Ben has to say in the article, I certainly can’t say at this point that I disagree. The Lord is throwing a lot of stuff at me right now, and I have a lot of changes to make. Dr. Witherington followed up that article with another good one today: “The God-Gap Narrows”.