Is Christian Faith Political?

As another election year ramps up in the US, some will insist that faith and politics are separate issues.  But…

“When the early church claimed Jesus to be the Son of God, the imperialists touted Caesar as son of the gods.  When the early church refused to fight the wars of Caesar, the pawns of Caesar realized the political insult that the Jesus-followers posed.  And so on into our day, in which the politics of Jesus will challenge numerous facets, commitments, and practices of every human system of government of which I am aware.  ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a consummate political statement.  To claim Jesus as Lord of Lords and King of Kings is to claim Jesus as the ultimate authority in every realm of life, politics not excluded.”  (Lee C. Camp, Who Is My Enemy?: Questions American Christians Must Face about Islam – and Themselves, 36.

And if you still think you can separate your Christian faith from politics then ask yourself why all the fuss in Thessalonica…

“But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: ‘These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house.  They are all defying Caesar’s decree saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.  When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.”  (Acts 17.6-8, NIV 2011, italics mine.)

If you’re asking me…  I say that any Christian who thinks their faith and politics are separate issues has not only misunderstood the historic Christian confession that Jesus is Lord and Messiah (cf. Acts 2.36) but also has yet to allow Jesus to be Lord over all of their life.

2 responses to “Is Christian Faith Political?

  1. Much has to do with the definition of politics, of course. I think that our Christian faith is a threat to politicians and many political viewpoints. I think that we are called to a prophetic role… outside the formal political system itself. That view alone is threatening to many whose lives depend on politics.

    We speak out on political issues, but align ourselves with none but the King and His followers. We seek not to govern, but to serve.

    • In his book, Camp raises the issue of what do we mean by politics. Of course, he takes the view (which you and I would agree with) that Christianity is meant to be an alternative politic to the world given that politics, in the classic sense, is concerned with the “ordering and arrangement of human community” and that the gospel Jesus preached and lived certainly had this concern in mind – albeit, in a vastly different means than that of our world (see p. 29-31).

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