Thursday, November 28, 2013

You say in The Church for the World that Christian public witness has gone awry in the United States. How so?

The main problem is that Christian presence in public life tends to be triumphalistic. The purpose of Christian witness is to point to Jesus and the reign of God he embodies, but a triumphal presence actually contradicts Jesus’ way of being in the world as depicted in the Gospels.

The triumphal character of Christian witness has contributed a good deal to how polarized our society and churches have become. Christians so thoroughly disagree about war, sexuality, ecological care, immigration and other issues that we wind up on opposing sides of the political spectrum. This is cause for great concern, because partisan politics ends up defining what is Christian; it shapes the way we think and speak about public issues.

It is possible, though, for Christians to take a stand on specific social and political matters without binding the church to partisan politics. We have biblical and theological resources to help us reframe issues and offer something new—a third way.

Read it all.

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