Liberals and Conservatives In The Kingdom Of God

At the end of the third chapter of book The Myth of a Christian Nation Gregory Boyd writes briefly about how the American church is divided on political lines.  “While Jesus never sided with any of the limited and divisive kingdom-of-the-world options routinely set before him, the church today, by and large swallows them hook, line, and sinker. In some circles, whether conservative or liberal, taking particular public stands on social, ethical, and political issues, and siding with particular political or social ideologies, is the litmus test of one’s orthodoxy. In many quarters, individuals and groups with different opinions about which version of the kingdom of the world is best don’t have friendly fireside chats. If they communicate at all, it’s shouting across picket lines.”

You don’t have to a conservative or a liberal in order to follow Jesus, people of both political persuasions can respond to the love and grace of God offered freely and without restraint in and through Jesus Christ. I am a liberal and I don’t apologize for being one, but I worship each Sunday alongside conservatives. I am grateful for knowing conservatives who are sincere Jesus followers. I don’t have to agree with everything my fellow Christians do and I don’t ask that they share my opinions, but I do hope that we could talk openly about these issues without causing a rift in our fellowship.

Both liberals and conservatives can live in the Kingdom of God. Both groups can trust in the Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus doesn’t favor either side. He calls both equally. Boyd makes the point that in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus called both a tax collector and a zealot and that these two could be seen as examples of the extreme right and left wing. “To compare them to, say, Ralph Nader and Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t come close.” Another comparison that would be apt is that John Piper and Rob Bell, Chuck Colson and Tony Campolo, and Rick Warren and John Shelby Spong are Christians. They may from different spots on the political spectrum, but each of them wants to follow Jesus and form they life around the gospel. Of course, you probably know which authors I favor, but I will agree that each of them are Christians.

My point is you don’t have to fall on a certain spot on the political spectrum in order to be a Christian. Our foremost anchor needs to be our relationship with Jesus. We should let the teachings, actions, and spirit of Jesus informs how we act and worship God in our life.

Boyd writes, “We have largely forsaken the difficult challenge of living out the Kingdom of God. We have forgotten, if ever we were taught, the simple principle that the Kingdom of God looks like Jesus and that our task as Kingdom people is to mimic the love he revealed on Calvary. We have to a large degree gone AWOL on the Kingdom of God, allowing it to be reduced to a religious version of the world. The world supplies the options, and in direct contradiction to Jesus’ example, we think it’s our job to pronounce which one God thinks is right. Our central job is not to solve the world’s problems. Our job is to draw our life from Christ and manifest that life to others.”

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