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.

20 comments
  1. I see your point, Shane. I don't really have a problem with Christians who are partisan Democrats or Republicans as long as they remain respectful and don't lose sight of where their allegiances should ultimately be.

    I just get annoyed when people who tend to be more moderate get pigeonholed because of a candidate he or she supported in a particular election or an issue he or she feels particularly passionate about happens to align with the platform of a certain political party.

  2. Don't forget: Jesus, a fellow who hung around with myriad men, said not one whit about gay people either.

    The Matthew 25 network is interesting in that it appears to me they're trying to make the pendulum swing over a little too hard. They have probably for far too long seen many Republicans (unlike yourself) who try to make a direct connection between Jesus and the Republican Party. I wouldn't take it too personally.

  3. No, but he did speak of sexual immorality (from a broad Greek word that encompasses homosexuality along with many other sexual sins), and Scripture speaks of homosexuality. We shouldn't consider just the “red letters” as worthy of following.

    I am sympathetic to their criticism, and I don't take it personally. I think their interpretation of some of Jesus' words (not necessarily on that website, but some of their founders beliefs) are flawed, especially how they view the Sermon on the Mount.

  4. nonsense. Shane you're a partisan Republican, through and through. Admit it. And you have a beef with a group of Christians who want to swing things back toward a more Biblical understanding of Christian's responses to our problems today.

    Would that you spent as much time sharing the good news of Jesus Christ as you do spreading Republicanism.

  5. Hey I am a Republican I believe I said as much, and I can be partisan when it comes to my principles.

    A more Biblical understanding? Sure if you pervert it.

    Also, while I blog a lot on politics here, it isn't my sole focus. Also you don't have one iota of a clue what my offline life is all about.

  6. Your thoughts Shane are reminiscent of mine in my more idealistic years. Maybe it is just cynicism setting in as I advance into seniority (yikes – I'll be 60 in May) but after almost 30 years of membership I can no longer say that I am a member of the GOP or that other party.. color me Independent.. but I am rooting for you young compassionate conservatives!

  7. Not quite ready to give up on GOP, but I am a Christian first and conservative 2nd… Republican 3rd.

    I have to say I am much more interested in supporting individual candidates than the party as a whole. I guess I feel that if I pull out I lose any voice within the party (caucuses, party platform, etc.). Some good news on the horizon I think with RNC chair election… now on the 6th ballot. Mike Duncan, the current one is out!

  8. I totally agree with your thoughts.. we can be compassionate and love and care for our neighbors – but Government doesn't need to be involved with these issues. Christ taught us to give and care for one another, but he did not teach us that we should take our neighbor's money in order to do that.

  9. Shane, great post. I was painfully torn in this election. I find issues of Biblical significance on which both parties have positions I find to be righteous in some cases, and untenable in others. It is difficult as a believer, for me anyway, to find a way to vote that doesn't just make me want to stop eating for a week. I appreciate the order in which you line up your loyalties, following Christ first, then conservative principles, then the Republican party. Ministries in which you engage outside of all of that lend credibility to your positions, and I appreciate what you're doing. I find your posts to be well researched and void of the cynicism and harshly rigid criticism that so often happens when folks blog on political and cultural issues (just one of many reasons that though I remain engaged politically and am fairly well read on political issues – a poli sci major, nonetheless – I avoid the issue on my own blog – I can't intelligently articulate my positions without offending needlessly). I so appreciate folks like yourself who can tackle the issues intelligently yet graciously. Keep at it.

  10. I think it could be argued that conservative political policies allow for more of the real “community ” that the Matthew 25 Network “says” it wants. If people had more cash in thier pocket they would feel more inclined to give and volunteer thier time. The connection point for community to happen is face to face; whether it is compassion ministries or street evangelism. No government need apply.

  11. Good heavens, what a muddle your mind is…… OK, first you have a very negative sounding “what bothers me” about a group which you then say “were created mainly to help President Obama get elected.” But you say your goals (acting on the words of Christ) are the same as theirs, then you support Palin and tout your Republicanism. It is very clear that your point, your attitude, your message is: “it bothers me that these guys tout Christ then work for Obama, because I'm for Christ and Republicans….they are wrong, they bother me.” That's just stupid. Second point about your blog: while complaining that Matthew 25 Network is just a PAC, you claim that you belong to a group with similar stated goals: “it's called the Church” —– but you never mention the leader of the Church (the Pope), or the leader of the Church (whoever is now in charge in Salt Lake City), or your local Amish Bishops, and you keep talking about Evangelicals (and Christians, for that matter) like they are Protestant……. so what is this thing you call “The Church”?? Are you somehow thinking that The Church is all of the believers in Christ? Fat chance!! You guys haven't kept it together for 1800 or 1900 years! Third issue with your blog: although the pornographic, filthy connection between the Evangelical Protestant Christians and the Republican Party (very much a prostitution situation) is hopefully winding down as the Republicans/Conservatives lose their grip, I have finally gotten so fed up with so-called, self-proclaimed “Christians” who think they should have a voice in politics that I am lashing out every time someone like you even coughs…… I'm sick and tired of “moral Christians” who spend months gay-bashing, but don't see anything wrong with remarriage after divorce (the first is never really mentioned by Christ, the other is clearly condemned by Him), and I am even more sick and tired of “political Christians” who bash laws passed by our elected leaders, despite a very clear admonition against it (Romans 13). I'm sick and tired of YOUR ILK. Well, that's about it, for now. Thanks for listening!!!!!

  12. Good heavens… how about when you make comments about my mental coherence you actually have the guts to use your real name.

    It is clear you didn't read the post, but instead jumped to conclusions in order to launch your diatribe.

    First – it doesn't bother me that they tout Obama, just be honest about it. The emergent church which is what this post is about… claims neutrality. It isn't neutral. I've never said and never will say that God is with Republicans.

    Second – you also don't have a grasp on ecclessiology so quit trying to debate theology with me. Anyone versed in that would understand that big “C” Church is referring to the universal body of Christ, those who profess Jesus Christ. It isn't referring to a denomination or individual congregation.

    Third – It is called free speech. Evangelicals until just recently haven't been welcome in the Democratic Party. I do not question the faith of Christians who are part of the Democratic Party. I may disagree with them on certain issues, but that is politics – not faith. Actually most evangelicals I know who did vote for Obama are pro-life and are currently not happy with his promotion of FOCA and elimination of the Mexico City Policy.

    Regarding remarriage after divorce – I don't approve of it except in the cases where Jesus says its allowed, and you obviously need to read Matthew 5; 19 and 1 Corinithians 7 to see that there are circumstances where it can be permitted. Though never ideal. Most churches I know work hard at premarital counseling, marriage mentoring, etc. to try to drive down the level of divorce. We aren't batting an eye at it. If you think we are you're exposure to evangelical churches are pretty limited. We however also do demonstrate grace to those who have sinned. What would have us do with somebody who has divorced and remarried? Make them divorce? In many churches those folks can not be leaders because they do not meet with the biblical qualifications for leadership. Again you show you have limited exposure.

    What do you mean by “bash our laws”? We may criticize, but we obey. That is what Romans 13 is talking about. It doesn't say we can't criticize laws we feel are unjust.

    I find it laughable that you come and ream me out when you look at my post above. My tone and language even when I disagree is respectful. Yours is not.

    Basically you just came over here and demonstrated the intolerance that you accuse me of.

  13. Shane thanks for stopping by my blog. I find this particular issue very important in how the Christian community speaks out about politics, that is probably obvious from my blog LOL…I do believe we as followers of Christ should be the salt and the light. In doing so we also need to speak against evil. I also believe that more government removes Christ from our society and devalues human life.

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