I thought I’d heard it all. Put a couple of these down in the record books. . . .
- On Veterans’ Day, a church in Pennsylvania sang the national anthem in the regular Sunday church assembly. Then they paraded military veterans in front of the church to have them tell military service stories.
- A “church lady” (apparently otherwise rational, not the old SNL kind) carries a handgun in her purse, as a matter of habit, and isn’t even slightly embarrassed about it.
- This woman’s husband actually placed a target in his front yard with the sign “You are now in open range.” (Wanna bet he thinks the “Great Commission” applies missiologically to everyone, for all time? Wanna subsequently guess how he would reconcile his stark threats to shoot trespassers with his belief that everyone else is going to hell?)
All pretty solidly “Republican” things to do, those. In response, the relatively involved, moderate-Democrat Christian who told me about this asked, “Will we have to start bringing voter registration cards for validation at church, before we’ll be allowed in?” What a great question! I, too, have sensed the palpable, divisive effects of political stances’ being articulated within the church.
Allow for a moment — as I allow always — that politics has no place in the church gathering, and that U.S. political parties are exceptionally conceptually divisive.
Can you see that the man who (in his hyper-NRA enthusiasm) threatens to shoot all passersby in the name of the right to own a gun, has become imbalanced in the name of political conservativism? I’d go further and say his political affiliation has run amok, to the point of potentially dividing the Body of Christ. (In other words, he’s a righto wacko.)
Hear now a different voice — one from the distant past. In 1889, David Lipscomb wrote, “Human government had its origin in the rejection of the authority of God.” I think Lipscomb spoke prophetically. Not miraculously so, but he spoke for God.
There are those who might think Lipscomb was too focused on the slippery slope — i.e., on what happens when the worst governmental extents become realities — and not enough on God’s ability to use a human government. But think again. Think about the Christian people you know and love who are on the other side of the political fence from you. How annoyed, how incredulous are you with them for not seeing politics the way you do? Nothing may rightly divide believers. Not gender, not ethnic background, and not political party (to re-appropriate Galatians 3:28).
This is not about a lack of trust in God, Who can obviously use, or not use, human government as He pleases; it’s about not pitting allegiance to one political system against another. Christian siblings, we must not let rightist (or any other political) agendas destroy the unity that the Spirit of Deity created.
For another post on the topic of patriotism in church gatherings, see here.