After thinking for a week or so about Maria’s post, I finally got around to posting a reply on her blog. Here are some thoughts that I included in my comment on Maria’s blog.
The church exists in order to point to the glory of God and work of Christ by living out the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, the American church does not exist in an ideal situation because for centuries, we have failed to live out and embody this mission as radically as the scriptures demonstrate and teach. Because of this, we have a muddled situation where the role of the church and the role of government aren’t clear, creating a situation where the church is reliant on the government to fulfill tasks that the church should have done, and the church has been relegated to a secondary role in society.
It seems that when the church throughout the scriptures and history actually takes its primary calling seriously, the world changes. We arguably have secondary “clean up” goals due to our failure to follow our primary mission, but I don’t think we should set any of those secondary goals as the standard or as an acceptable part of our primary mission.
I am still trying to figure out my position on this issue. It’s such a huge issue that I find it difficult to offer a holistic paradigm that can really respond to or satisfy all the questions and demands that arise from being a Christian in a secular democracy. If you don’t want to read through all the prior discussion, here are some questions that summarize some of the dialogue…
- Is there a tension between being a Christian and being an American?
- How does the primary role of the church fit with the goals of the American government?
- What role does the church play in working for social justice?
- How much, if at all, should the church be involved and engaged in politics?
- Is there a difference between the role of ‘the Church’ and that of individual Christians?
In light of that, I’d love to hear any responses, push-backs, criticisms, etc. that you might have. Let me know what you think!