Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Ivory Cubicle | A Guide for Christian Political Discourse

Well, in the wake of the election this week, I’ve noticed that political discourse coming from conservatives has been a little bit less than ideal. As Christians, we are commanded to let our conversation be full of grace, seasoned with salt, that we may know how we ought to respond to each person (Col 4:6). So this week, I wanted to put forward a few ways in which I believe Christian conservatives can strive to ensure that their speech is full of grace.

1). Speak respectfully of our nation’s leaders. President Obama has been duly elected by the American people to govern our country. He has been established in a place of authority by God, and he deserves our respect. The “Nobama” and “Obummer” slogans aren’t terribly clever anyways and actually referring to our president as “President Obama” instead of just simply “Obama” could go a long way towards lending credibility to conservatives.

2). Engage in charitable, robust discussion. Scripture tells us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against spiritual principalities and authorities (Eph 6:12). We are commanded to share God’s love with people, and that involves treating them in a charitable, respectful manner. Remember first and foremost that you are dealing with children of God who bear his divine image.

On the flip side, Scripture also tells us to demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5). There are some pernicious ideas out there and they are damaging our country. If we are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ, then we need to have knowledge of the arguments surrounding the issues. Have you actually taken the time to listen carefully to liberal arguments? Constructive engagement is going to require rolling up your sleeves and getting into the details of a person’s political theory, not just sitting back and seeing who can shout the loudest.

3). Don’t freak out. No, the end of the world is not at hand, the Mayans weren’t counting down to Obama’s second term, and the U.K. is still floating off the coast of Europe despite their socialized healthcare. The United States has been in some pretty dire straits before and we’ve managed to pull through. We’ve worked through racial tensions, foreign and civil wars, demagogues, collapsed economies and the sexual revolution. It’s going to require a lot of work, but it’s not time to move to another country. Besides, where are you going to go? Canada?

4). Submit to governing authorities. This is perhaps the most important point. I would like to say that I was shocked to hear people talking about assassination immediately after the election results came in, but unfortunately, I’ve been running in conservative circles long enough to know that such rhetoric is commonplace. But it is still absolutely unacceptable. Scripture calls us to submit to the governing authorities, and that included Roman emperors such as Nero. If Paul called the church to submit to a ruler who used Christians as human torches and threw them to the lions for sport, then we can definitely put up with someone who has sincere, albeit misguided, intentions for the public good.

Posted by Nick Barden

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