01 June 2010

Politicizing the Gospel (Glossary)


Politicizing the Gospel

This phrase denotes the tendency among those who have tied and/or equated the Kingdom of God with power and success. The Prosperity Gospel only differs in that it defines success in terms of individual attainment and well-being. Sacralists who have embraced a political gospel tend to view the question in terms of society, cultural norms, legislation and certainly in terms of both domestic and political power.

Wisdom means that we try and examine things with honesty and integrity and in a non-partisan and non-factional way. We're determined as much as is possible to set aside pre-commitments to tradition, denomination, and cultural bias. This is by no means easy. It's a process that we have to keep working on. I believe this is the renewing of our minds and a key part of our sanctification. Pre-commitments, allegiances, and pre-suppositions will cloud our judgment and shape our thoughts and if we're determined to be Biblical in our understanding we have to be willing to set these things aside and surrender our minds and hearts to the teaching of God's Word.

This is going to lead to an embrace of nuance and a willingness to acknowledge that some thinkers though contrary to you, might have some things right.

What will seem at times like compromise, ambiguity or equivocation will in fact represent a degree of humility in admitting that some of these issues are more complicated than we can even grasp. Sometimes context and motive come into play and force our thinking to be broader and less pointed.

When the gospel is wedded to politics all these things go out the window. Truth isn't the paramount concern anymore. All that matters is to win. You must have a specific agenda. Nuance doesn't help the cause. Granting anything to another camp gives them fuel, an audience and harms your ability to dominate. If the truth calls for you to take a position that straddles factions or demands a new paradigm, it must be rejected. The politicized Gospel is a rejection of wisdom and the embrace of a strategy to win.

The only information you seek is that which is useful. The only information you give to your followers is that which serves the agenda.

This is true not just with those who have tied the gospel to a political cause. It can prove equally so with those tied in with denominational power.

Politicizing the gospel is dangerous because it leads the sheep astray. They become focused on different things and for a different purpose. It re-shapes your ethics. If you're primary goal is to win, then admitting something is wrong or that someone from your faction (past or present) is wrong will invite defeat. So deliberately or perhaps subconsciously you excuse the wrong and re-cast it so that it is right.

 

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