Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oct. 17, 2006: One Lord, One Faith, One Party?

We have a great little magazine provided at our church each week. The Christian Standard is always packed with excellent, thought-provoking articles pertaining to issues of Christianity and the local church. I am always surprised about how few people at our church pick up and read this excellent publication. Reading it frequently gets me all fired up about our role as Christians in the local congregation, community, country, and world. The issues usually address the tough issues that a church faces, from discipline to worship wars and everything in between. The issue from last week was titled One Lord, One Faith, One Party? and deals with an issue in many congregations (or among Christians) that I find particularly irksome: the assumption that Christian=Republican, and vice versa, period.

Darrel Rowland's article asks: "Is the Church Getting Too Involved in Politics?" Rowland says, "I feel strongly about the danger to the church from political entanglement, especially when we develop uncompromising litmus tests in areas of opinion." (You can read the whole article through the link above.) Below are a couple of paragraphs that I'd love to be printed in church bulletins:

How welcome in your church are those who oppose the war in Iraq? What about Democrats? How about people who believe feeding the poor and caring for the sick are at least as scriptural as opposing abortion and gay marriage?
Thomas Campbell [the "founder" of the Restoration Movement churches] fled the burdensome denominational world that labeled him part of the Old Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church. Are we replacing that with the Republican Anti-Gay Rights Lower Taxes Christian Church, "a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear" (Acts 15:10)?
Shall we change the old song to say, "And they'll know we are Christians by our...right-wing politics?"

Rowland doesn't advocate one party over another is this article. His point is that Christians should be called to a higher standard than either the Democratic or Republican platform. He closes by saying, "I hope we always remember that while new laws and prohibitions may direct behavior from the outside in, the power of Jesus Christ will transform people from the inside out." Good stuff.

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