This is a post I wrote as a comment in a thread in Good Reads of an excellent book review by Natalie Vellacott…which I totally agreed with…of the book by Dinesh D’Souza called Hillary’s America:
Christianity is the most radical thing in all of human experience. At age 18, I became a Christian. Before then I was about as worldly as a person could be. I was way ahead of my peers in debauchery and self-centered pursuits. Jesus Christ changed me into a new person…with news goals and an elevated purpose for living.
The cross of Calvary is as radical as it gets. God taking upon Himself the penalty for our sins took everyone by surprise.
The cross is more radical than the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato, more radical than the Protestant Reformation, the American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, or the defeat of fascism and tyranny in WWII.
How could anything be more radical than being raised from the dead? The validation of Jesus Christ the Son of God…through God the Father raising Him from the dead…is the apex… the pinnacle…the epitome of being radical.
The radical achievement of being resurrected to life after the grave…puts into context the words of Jesus: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mk. 8:36-37).
What does this have to do with Natalie’s book review, politics, and the viewpoint that Christianity appears to be losing the cultural battle to secularism in America and elsewhere? The answer is…everything.
Christian foreign missionaries tell us what is the correct political persuasion for Christians.
The best political approach in every third-world country is to have a base of support at the bottom of a society to provide stability and security…and at the same time prevent the accumulation of wealth concentrated at the very top that robs (hence the term “robber barons” in the late 1800’s in America) the society as a whole of the resources it needs to function.
As Natalie has described in her books…part of the challenge to overcome in presenting the gospel message to homeless children on the streets in the Philippines…is the economic poverty and lack of stability and security that would allow those who accept the message to be able to escape the streets and step forward into their new Christian lives.
It is easy to see here that Satan has some people, some countries, and some cultures by the throat…and as Christian foreign missionaries trying to take the gospel message of salvation out to the world…according to the Great Commission…the stark reality is that in some cases… more is needed. Abject poverty in these third-world economies makes Christian evangelism an uphill struggle…a roadblock that needs fixing concurrently with sharing the gospel.
This part of the challenge in my opinion is not conservative or liberal. Where it splits off into conservative or liberal as political terminology…is the varied approaches that people suggest and advocate as solutions.
The underlying question this thread raises…through Natalie’s excellent book review…is what is the best form of government to provide the best platform for Christian evangelism…in initially winning people to Christ…and then having a society and a culture that enables (at least does not absolutely prevent) new Christian converts from stepping into their callings and realizing their God-scripted destinies.
In my first post in this thread…number above…I said that I am a moderate Democrat…living in Southern California in the United States. I did this to present upfront my bias and presuppositions.
I think that foreign missionary experience is telling us that the best platforms in societies for sharing the gospel message are those cultures that do not have widespread poverty at the bottom, do not encourage wealth disparity at the top, and have a large middle class…where the opportunity for advancement is open to everyone within the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
This is the sweet spot where a God-composed journey of faith can rise above worldly conventional thinking according to God’s higher ways and thinking.
This is why I said in my post above that I would not have read this book Hillary’s America (I probably will now) or watched the movie…because on its face it is too polarizing.
I think the best form of government…politics…is at the center…taking good solutions from right of center and good solutions from left of center.
I wish I could take more space…as I am trying to be as brief as I can.
One last thought. I briefly described above the radical nature of Christianity. But in nature we see God using in innumerable examples what is termed “the Goldilocks zone.”
We find this in the position of our earth in our solar system…not too hot or not too cold…in its distance away from the sun.
There is a term that refers to innumerable conditions within our bodies…homeostasis. Our body temperature is not too hot or too cold. The same for blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, and a host of other incredibly balanced things in our bodies that are a compelling argument for intelligent design…all needed concurrently and in an integrated coordination to sustain our functioning bodies.
I think that homeostasis…the Goldilocks zone of not too hot or not too cold…is the correct approach to politics…for Christians.
A fundamental feature of the biblical narrative stories of faith is the displacement of our ways with God’s higher ways…for the best of reasons. As Abraham walks towards Canaan the Promised Land…God is displacing whatever normal life Abraham might otherwise have lived…with a new life-script that Abraham would never have dreamed up in his wildest imagination.
This same pattern occurs throughout the Old and new Testaments in a wide range of political conditions. It is apparent from this that the callings of God are not limited by anything that is happening in the politics of the “outside world.”
The calling and ministry of Jesus occurs in the most adverse environment…resulting in His rejection and crucifixion.
My point in this post is simply that in our political calculus…Christians should factor in what provides for the greatest degree of stability and opportunity for the most people…to produce and sustain the best environment for the sharing of the gospel.
The Bible tells us that this world will pass away. We should try to fix it and maintain it according to “occupy till I come” (Lk. 19:13)…but this must have salvation for others as our primary mission. This is the radical, socially reforming part of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that is paramount.
Apologies again for the lengthy post.