Disengagement from politics?

May 17, 2010

Chuck Colson is an major figure in evangelicalism. He has been particularly influential in the so called “culture wars”. This article from Christianity Today is a review of James Davison Hunter’s  recent book “Change the World”. In full disclosure, I have not read this book but I thought that Colson’s comments were very interesting in light of my own thoughts on the relationship between Christians and politics.  Hunter’s book apparently juxtaposes “faithful presence and efforts at cultural change”. In other words, that Christians should seek to change the culture by being faithful members of the church and not by political efforts. Colson is critical of this for the following reason,

My question is: What is the alternative? I ask this knowing that what Hunter is describing has been conscientiously advanced over the years by many Christians, most notably the Anabaptist traditions.

But I think that there is a third way between the Anabaptist tradition (which emphasizes the idea that Christians should have no part of governmental concerns) and the full out “Christian Right” tradition.

I have made the case that Christians should be active in the political process. We should vote, run for office, and etc. But I have also made the case that this is a short term solution to a problem that relates to beliefs and world views. As long as the general population does not share our Christian sensibilities on ethics, morals and etc, laws will never solve anything for long. Even if pro-life legislation was passed today, if the US continues to secularlize these pro-life laws would be ignored, protested and ultimately overturned. This is why I think the best way to change culture is to fulfill the Great Commission.

“Cult” is the source of culture. The gods we worship define the culture we live in. Politics reflect the beliefs of the population, but laws do not form the beliefs of the population.

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