In the last eight years evangelicals have been blasted as being beholden to the Republican Party. Some of that criticism has been fair, some has not. I find it curious that for some younger evangelicals and those who align themselves with the emergent church in an effort to “find balance” that the pendulum has swung the other way.
The Matthew 25 Network is an example. Proclaiming to be a “community of Christians from diverse paths gathering in response to the words and acts of Christ. We humbly seek to love and care for all our neighbors.” That sounds great right? I want to be in such a community (I am. It’s called the Church). The thing is… it is just a political action committee. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with PACs, or Christians participating or donating to PACs, I just promoted SarahPAC right here a couple of days ago.
What bothers me is that they say why they formed was “in response to the words and acts of Christ.” They were created mainly to help President Obama get elected and they were appealing to those who share their view of what the Kingdom of God is all about (that will have to be for another post). Tony Campolo is famous for declaring, “God is not a Republican or a Democrat!” Amen. I totally agree. Dr. Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Church once said regarding the return of Christ that when he returns “He hasn’t come back to take sides, but to take over.”
While God isn’t a Republican or a Democrat, listening to some within the emergent movement it would seem that He votes Democrat. Kevin DeYoung, in Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) notes:
American Christianity has at times sounded a lot like the platform of the GOP. Emergent leaders need to be careful they do not make the same mistake in the opposite direction. Emergent Christians shouldn’t position themselves as the neutral middle ground when their concerns read like the talking points of the Democratic National Committee: racism, environmental degradation, militarism, corporate greed, poverty, Third World debt, overpopulation, consumerism, AIDS, and imperialism.
I’m a Republican. I think you don’t have to read very long to figure that out. I’m also a conservative. I’ll make no bones about that. I am also a follower of Christ, I also desire to act in response to “the words and acts of Christ.” That is largely why I’m in ministry full-time working with high-risk children and youth. It is why I am pro-life. It is why I do care about and for the poor. But according to this group I am not because I don’t see their issues in the same way (Government involvement in these issues). DeYoung does a great job illustrating the problem I have with this group and those like it.
The emergent church, like Protestant liberalism before it, is quite certain about God’s politics yet equally uncertain about God’s theology. I’m just the opposite. I don’t claim to have the divine word on minimum wage increases, activist judges, or global warming. Don’t get me wrong – I have opinions on these subjects and hope these opinions are well informed and perhaps even right. But I am much more certain about God’s view on the atonement than I am about His view on CEO salaries.
Back in September I sent an e-mail to the director of a local Christian-based political organization. In their voters guide I noticed ratings on subjects like immigration, taxes, funding AIDS research and the like. I was critical because candidates were given higher ratings the more inline they were with the GOP position. I exhorted this man to consider that there isn’t a definitive biblical position on these issues.
What does Jesus have to say about illegal immigration? Nothing. The Old Testament had much to say about sojourners within the land, but the Bible is also clear about obeying governing authorities. Which is why you have believers on all sides of that issue. The same with war. The same with taxes, etc. I have opinions on those subjects and others, but I’m also not going to pretend I am absolutely sure on God’s view of those issues.
So is it an inconsistent response to the “words and acts of Christ” to sponsor a Compassion child, mentor an at-risk child, reach out to the homeless, and yet feel like government doesn’t need a greater role (or any role at all)? I don’t think so.