David Rogers said:
Rob said: “Christians have the obligation in a democratic republic to ‘speak to’ their governments – something that Paul and the apostles simply did not have the ability to do.”
I agree that this is a key point in this discussion. I can see how the comparative opportunity we have to influence culture and society plays in, to some degree, with our corresponding responsibility to do so. From my experience, for example, the stance of evangelicals in Spain toward political involvement is generally very different from that of evangelicals in the U.S. Being a tiny minority, they do not carry a lot of weight in the world of political lobbying. Also, in Spain, the main “voice” speaking out on moral issues is the Catholic church, and it cuts against the grain, so to speak, for evangelicals in Spain to align themselves with the Catholic church, even on moral issues.
That being said, I have participated at one time in a March for Life sponsored by a wide cross-section of evangelicals in Spain. And, evangelicals have been very active in lobbying for freedom of religion and non-discrimination for religious minorities (the issues that have affected them most directly, having been discriminated against historically).
All in all, though, I think that pure biblical Christianity thrives better as a minority position in society than as a majority, or near majority.
Certainly, though, we should not isolate ourselves, and remain detached from the plight of the downtrodden and needy in society. As I argue in my post here (http://www.sbcimpact.net/2010/03/15/chr ... f-culture/
), we must faithfully carry out the role of servants in the midst of culture, not separate from culture, or against culture.
Though I do not follow him on open theology, nor on some of the more extreme statements (regarding pacifism, abortion, etc.) toward the end of the book, Greg Boyd, in “The Myth of a Christian Nation,” has some interesting points about influencing from below as opposed to influencing from the corridors of power. From a purely secular, human standpoint, this is counterintuitive. But, I believe the gospel itself is essentially counterintuitive. And, the influence of the gospel works more like leaven than like a sledgehammer.
Also, to a large extent, at the root of this question, lies eschatology. If our ultimate hope were in this world, I believe we would have a greater responsibility to be politically active and intentionally transformationist in our approach to culture. But, history has taught us that, when we as Christians have jumped the gun in trying to impose our values on individuals and entities that have not yet submitted voluntarily to the Lordship of Christ, the results have usually been disastrous, and counterproductive to the advance of the Kingdom of God.
# December 4th 2010 at 12:27 pm