Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Is politics the kingdom of darkness?

I wasn't planning to do another pre-election post, but here goes. Yesterday, JMac outlined his position:

He has a very clear position. He has straightforward reasons for his position. I agree with some of what he says. I disagree with some of what he says. 

I've seen some highly polarized reactions to his position. I've read sycophants who hang on his every word. I've read detractors who say it's a "sad day of compromise…hardcore faithlessness." 

Both extremes are absurd. And it reflects the irrational polarization we've seen throughout the campaign cycle, where you must be totally for someone or totally against them. Now, there are people who merit that absolute dichotomy, but JMac is hardly one of them. 

i) At least to judge by this clip, JMac takes an Anabaptist view of politics. There's the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Politics belongs to the kingdom of darkness. There's no connection between politics and the kingdom of God. Politics is earthly and temporal. What happens in America has no relationship to the kingdom of God. Our elections don't help or hurt the cause. 

I consider that highly artificial. Perhaps he's shadowboxing with the liberal postmillennialism and social gospel of Rauschenbusch. The notion that social activism will usher in the kingdom of God.

It's true that God doesn't set his watch by world history. Rather, world history is set by God's watch. 

However, there's an obvious sense in which politics or world history intersect with the kingdom of God. If, say, public school children are brainwashed in atheism, if Christianity is demonized in the classroom, then that's a setback for the kingdom of God inasmuch as you will have fewer Christians. 

Likewise, the Master's College and the Master's Seminary is threatened by the secular progressives in California. If a Christian curriculum becomes hate speech, that's a setback for the kingdom of God.  

By the same token, if authorities begin to revoke Christian custody of their children because they raise biological boys as boys and biological girls as girls, that will be a setback for the kingdom of God. The freedom to raise your kids in the Christian faith is hardly irrelevant to the progress or fortunes of God's kingdom on earth. 

It doesn't mean God's plan for the world has been derailed. In a sense, the kingdom of God is right on schedule. But we need to avoid confusing belief in God's sovereignty with que sera sera fatalism.

It's true that America will go the way of other superpowers. But during their heyday, superpowers exert tremendous international influence. And they can help or hinder the dissemination of the Gospel. 

JMac also talked about how Democrats systematically weaken police. But there are two related problems with that characterization:

i) To the contrary, Democrats are creating a police state. They need ever more expansive and intrusive enforcement agencies to impose their social policies on the nation.

ii) Apropos (i), law enforcement becomes the vanguard for secular progressive social policies. Indeed, JMac fails to notice the tension between his uncritical support for police and his criticism of social policies that punish those who do good while protecting those who do evil. 

Finally, he said America is under God's judgment. I hear that a lot. Maybe it's true. But the appeal is circular. You could argue it either way. Is secularization a result of divine judgment? Or is divine judgment a result of secularization? What would be the evidence that distinguishes one from the other? 

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