How can I make sense of politics as a Christian? Christ and the State

So far the Rev has established that politics is complicated. Yet what comes before politics for a Christian is an attitude and dedication to Christ first with the knowledge that the world as we know it has a date with destiny, it’s temporary nature is soon to give way to the eternal Kingdom of God, the old made new, the New Heavens and New Earth being established, the climax of the final redemptive and restorative act of God, the Lord on his throne where every knee shall bow to Him and recognise him as the True King. The Rev can go on…. and on…. and on…. ad nauseum.

The Christian’s first attitude is towards a collective, global, united people of God serving Christ in the world. Being respectful, peaceable and honourable in the world, this also goes for God’s people’s attitude toward the state. Paul has established this in principle in Romans 13: 1-7.

The issue we have is how that translates to our day. The UK is not controlled by a tyrannical despot unlike the Roman context which Paul engaged in. How the UK functions politically is very different, namely in the right to vote, something far removed from Paul’s own personal experience. Paul exhorts the church to respect and honour the authorities. But what happens when, in a democratic scenario, the opportunity arises for change to take place through a general election? How are we supposed to understand our Christ centred duty in selecting a fallen candidate in a temporal system which is in essence a system not dedicated to honouring God?

Well, it depends. What is the role of the church in the political (temporal) sphere? Does the Church have a role in politics at all? Sadly, we have to leave the comfort of the Bible, the story of God and his relationship with the world, the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus and wander into the world of banal systematic theology which is responsible, together with human pride and self-aggrandisement, for creating all the problems that exist in the modern day Church. But that’s another topic.

There are a number of articles on line that attempt to explain how the Church may relate to the political sphere. One in particular explains the possible relationship that can exist between the Church and the State. It comes with a health warning and an educational requirement to have studied the English Language to PhD level and it’s also American. It does mean that one can therefore generalise about what approach the Church should take in relationship to the State and does not give enough context to the temporariness of life nor is there much mention of Jesus. Such is systematic theology.

When you’ve read that article, then we can talk about who to vote for?

P.S. There’s also a fun quiz that goes with the article which will tell you what camp you fall into.

To be continued….

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The Reverend Disaffected
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