Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Politics as religion

Today at CQOD, appeared this quotation - relevant both to the review of Amazing Grace below, and to our desultory conversation about Christian political involvement [e.g. below].

Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury, and many other evangelicals, have been leaders in social reform, but it was not their religion. Their efforts succeeded because they put first things first, and believed firmly in the Word of God, in the conversion of the individual, in prayer, and in using spiritual means for spiritual work. G. T. Manley, Christian Unity, 1945
The only ultimate commitment we have is to God Almighty. All others give way to that. None may conflict with that. Every other aspect of life is determined - insofar as we can discern His will - by that commitment. His will isn't obvious with respect many things - and those are the things orthodox Christians seem to dispute with the greatest vehemence. But there should be no dispute about whether Christians should be involved in politics. Many issues that arise in politics - like abortion, or gay marriage, or participation in the military - are issues both of personal Christian behavior and also broader political questions. Christians will disagree on the implications of our faith both personally and politically, but withdrawing from political involvement should not be an option.
I was heavily influenced in my views on this subject by Charles Colson's 1989 book Kingdoms in Conflict.
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