Thursday, August 14, 2008

Christianity and Politics

This post is not a mini-diatribe about the problem of contemporary Christians -- especially evangelicals -- jumping on the bandwagon of electoral politics. There is plenty of fodder for a good old fashioned snarky tirade against this problem, but that is not what I want to write about.

What I want to write about is the political nature of Christianity itself, or better, I want to say that Christianity is itself a politics. Jesus said no less just before he ascended into heaven, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."

One of the most frustrating distortions in contemporary evangelical Christianity is the idea that Christ died so we can go to heaven. Christ didn't die so I can go to heaven. Christ died to conquer sin, death and the devil with the result that he would be King over all things.

(To head off comments. I do believe that if I die before Jesus returns, I will go to heaven. I am not denying heaven. I am denying it as final destination or final goal.)

When Jesus ascended he went to be at the right hand of God. The ubiquitous use of Psalm 110:1 to describe the ministry of Jesus ought to settle this:

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

This is a kingly Psalm. Jesus is the Lord who sits at the right hand of the Lord (that is enthronement language) and Jesus is sitting there until all his enemies (all who stand against his reign) are turned into his footstool.

Christianity is political. It is its own politics. A Christian is one who swears allegience to King Jesus. Part of what this means is that worship -- proper Christian worship in the divine liturgy -- is a political act.

7 comments:

Micah+ said...

Good stuff, Pete+

NJ said...

Pete,
Can I have your email address? I would like to ask you a couple questions about your page and some other info... didn't see it on the site though...

Nate

jrobertlancaster said...

Sounds like you have been reading some Hauerwas.

Peter said...

No, not Hauerwas, I have been pondering Neo-Calvinism and Post millenialism.

Hauerwas moves from this starting point to anabaptism; I move to Constantinianism.

The Scylding said...

I was thinking NT Wright, but even if I'm wrong, you are still right.

jrobertlancaster said...

Have you read any Milbank by chance? Or maybe Cavanaugh?

The reason I said Hauerwas is he has an article called "Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War" where he makes the argument that the Eucharist is the political act of Christians.

Regardless of who you have been pondering I like your thoughts on the issue.

Peter and Anna Milner said...

I am not sure that Hauerwas would say that he moves towards anabaptism. Lots of his followers would, and they teach at Duke with him ( which is where I went to div school) but, Hauerwas attends an Episcopal Church, and has done so for three eyars. His argument for "peace" comes straight out of the Prayer Book of the 16th century. "Thank you Lord for feeding me with the body and blood of...send us out now in your peace."