Saturday, February 02, 2013

No Time For Peace

Peter Leithart wrote a recent post entitled, "Not Peace, But a Sword", which is helpful in seeing the aim of current political movements and desired cultural shiftings from Obama and his supporters.

I did take issue with something in the post, so my following response is about that.  I reccommend you read his post first, so as to be fair to him, rather than read him in light of what I'm about to say.

I feel like he dances on the line of equating the GOP with the church, or at least an arm of the church. When he invokes the "not peace but a sword" language, I can't help but think that Jesus was speaking about the coming division that would flow out of the Gospel, not political battles about marriage.  Not to mention the division that came was a natural result of their belief, not something they sought after.

I'm not saying Christians should abandon all political fronts, especially abortion. But I think going at it with the mindset of "With my dividing sword in hand, I'm gonna be like Jesus" is a misuse of biblical mandate and imagery as well as a confusion about the effect the Gospel and Christians can and should have on culture.  We are to be known for our love (Matt 22:36-40), compassion (James 1:27), and mercy (Luke 6:35-36). Not our political muscle, and especially not divisiveness.  Hebrews 12:14 calls us to strive for peace with everyone, but I guess only until the political battle calls for the unsheathing of our swords. The author even says he doesn't think now is the time for peace. 

Again, I'm not saying Christians and Republicans should abandon their principals and beliefs, giving over to the condescending and high handed pressure of Obama and his supporters.  One obvious and natural out working of our faith is that we stand for and against certain things. But don't invoke Christ's imagery of division resulting from his death, resurrection, and subsequent spreading of the Gospel as your political call to arms.  Too often Christians blur the line between political identity and our identity in Christ, and this feels like one of those times.