I have often had discussions about politics. With Americans, with students at public university and in Christian higher education, with oil field workers and landscape workers, with Christians and Muslims and Budhists. I find that in every situation I have had to shut my mouth and listen to their viewpoints. It is way too easy to stereotype and even easier to generalize.
I have been called liberal, conservative, and some of the different insults in between. My viewpoints have changed over my short life thus far. I find myself more and more cautious about foreign intervention, government control (and yes Conservatives are controlling as well), and other contraptions that give the government more power. Some might call my views a mix of fiscal libertarian and social conservative ideas. Others might recognize the fact that I am a theocrat of some form that is quite unlike the theocracy of Louis Riel.
I’m also a seminary student and so I have to be careful when aligning myself with political parties. My duty is to preach Christ and His Word, and since He is Lord, He calls all men to repent and believe: conservatives, liberals, and revolutionaries.
I find the above TS Eliot quote interesting. He says: “But the Church cannot be, in any political sense, either conservative or liberal, or revolutionary. Conservatism is too often conservation of the wrong things: liberalism a relaxation of discipline; revolution a denial of the permanent things.” Truly, unless we can wholeheartedly agree with Eliot here we will have a difficult time finding our way towards a Christian society. The fact is, I can’t align myself with many forms of conservatism in North America, neither liberalism, nor revolutionarism.
I want a society that is increasingly shaped by the cross and the resurrection. I believe that when the gospel is declared from the pulpit, lives start to change. I have seen them change. And when lives start to change (including those of politicians), then you get a change in society. Yes, on this side of heaven, it will always be a Christianity under the cross. It must advance through conflict and repentance and forgiveness of sins as we journey towards the peace of the cross. But Jesus is Lord, and He calls all men and women to Himself.
Of course, if Jesus is Lord, our private and public lives must reflect that He is Lord. That means if I were to be a politician, His Word must be the ultimate test of good policy. I might be a member of the Conservative party, and I am seeking to bring it under His Lordship. But I also want to see every other party come under the Lordship of Christ as they are saved from their sins. The gospel speaks to all political factions. It is the only hope for peace.