Is it possible that simply asking the question, "What if Jesus ran for public office?" actually does the Gospel more harm than good?
To the contrary, that’s a useful way of exposing their real opinion of Jesus.
By simply asking this question, I suggest you've inadvertently obscured the fullness of Jesus' good news. For instance, you downplay the physical needs of this world saying they are largely backloaded…
I didn’t say the physical needs of the world are backloaded. The physical needs are perennial.
…and awaiting fulfillment in the eschaton.
How does it obscure the gospel to state an incontrovertible fact of Biblical eschatology? Is everyone healed in the church age? No. Is everyone immortal in the church age? No. Does everyone have all his physical needs met during the church age? No.
However, Jesus' redemption of our souls is similarly backloaded in that we continue to struggle against the flesh and long for our deliverance. Paul uses the same sort of language to describe the groanings of a split soul as he does to describe all of creation as if in childbirth. Our justification and sealing by the Spirit are the promise of God to fully redeem us in the next life. Meanwhile, we wrestle in the fires of sanctification, sometimes in triumph, other times in defeat. How then is your claim that Jesus prioritized the saving of souls (implied in the phrase "you can only participate in the new Eden if you first come to Christ") an accurate representation of the fullness of his message?
Since you apparently admit that the ultimate satisfaction of both our physical and spiritual needs is backloaded, how is my representation inaccurate? You comparison extends my representation rather than refutes my representation.
You turn to statistics to make your point, saying Jesus healed only a small fraction of those alive at the time who were sick. And yet, is it not also true that at the conclusion of his ministry he had only amassed 120 devoted followers? This too is a tiny fraction of the overall population of souls in need of salvation.
Since you admit that my original statement was true, how does your introducionof another true statement negate the truth of my statement? Do two rights make a wrong?
As a Calvinist, one must at least believe in the possibility that Jesus could have elected all the people of the world during his lifetime, and yet chose not to, just as he chose not to heal all those with disease.
How is that relevant to the point of my post? It wasn’t a priority for him to save everyone or heal everyone. Therefore…what?
I hope you see value in my question.
Actually, I don’t.
I believe that by forcing Jesus into the American political peg-hole, you have had to round off certain portions of his Gospel in order to make him fit our context.
You have a problem following the argument. I was responding to many Catholics and some evangelicals on their own terms. Those who voted for Obama. Those who say Christians should vote for Democrats.
If you object, then you ought to direct your objection to them as well. But I don’t see you doing that.
No doubt he is pro-family values and pro-life, but he preached the redemption of the whole world - the physical as well as the spiritual - none of which is ultimately fulfilled until the Eschaton.
Once again, how does that refute the point of the post?
To prioritize spiritual redemption over physical redemption is, in my opinion, a form of gnosticism rather than orthodoxy.
Let’s see. I made the factual observation that Jesus didn’t heal everyone. I made the factual observation that Jesus didn’t enrich everyone. I made the factual observation that Jesus didn’t preach about carbon emissions, &c.
Is it “gnostic” to note the actual content of his message? Is it “gnostic” to note what he did or didn’t say?
As an example, it ignores the numerous calls in Scripture (both Old and New Testaments) to care for and protect the "widows and orphans," a group particularly vulnerable to social injustice in the ancient world.
Actually, I don’t see where the Bible says anything about “social injustice.” The Bible does have lots to say about “injustice” and “injustice,” so why do we need the adjective?
“Social justice” has become a code word for a liberal social agenda. What’s wrong with plain old “justice.”
Faithfully analogizing from these clear prescriptions must at least include some effort and concern to protect and care for the oppressed and vulnerable groups of our society and throughout the world.
Which misses the point of my post.
Thus, I suggest the pursuit of justice for the oppressed, the healing of disease, ecological stewardship, AND the conversion of souls are all priorities of the overall mission of God to undo the curse as he leads us through the process of the New Exodus, which will culminate one day in the ultimate Promised Land of the New Heavens and the New Earth.
i) I’m all for medical science–as well as medical missionaries. However, that’s not going to reverse the curse. Only the return of Christ will make us immortal and disease-free.
ii) As a practical matter, I don’t know how you propose to pursue global justice for the oppressed. Through the UN Commission on Human Rights? Through the International Court of Justice? Through wars of liberation?
iii) “Ecological stewardship” sounds like a euphemism for global warmists et al. What did you have in mind, exactly?
Perhaps the shortcoming is in our two-party system which forces the either-or mentality upon us. I believe that when Christians choose and then advocate political sides (whether liberal or conservative) in our American system we see Jesus' message co-opted, leaving the "other half" of the country with the perception that the Church is little more than a political advocacy group (think: irrelevant).
i) On the one hand you complain about “gnosticism.” On the other hand you complain about political activism. Seems schizophrenic.
ii) If the “other half” of the country has a misimpression of the Church, that’s a teaching moment. An opportunity to educate the “other half.”
iii) Why shouldn’t we take sides? If, say, one party supports abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia while the other party defends innocent life, why shouldn’t we take sides?
If one party supports honoring your father and mother, while the other party supports honoring “two mommies,” why shouldn’t we take sides?
If one party supports freedom of Christian expression while the other party supports laws to criminalize Christian expression as hate-speech, why shouldn’t we take sides?