Only the Gospel

We can go to the executive branch. We can go to the legislative branch. We can go to the judicial branch. We can put whatever kind of Supreme Court justices we want to put in place. But at the end of the day legislation doesn’t change hearts … only the gospel does.” – Eric Mason

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Ivory Tower Political Theology

“Much recent political theology, however, is conducted in the rarefied idiom that is second nature to academic theologians who have never been engaged in any political struggle more serious than annual departmental budget battles.” -Peter Leithart, 1 and 2 Kings

What ‘Incarnational’ Ministry Is

“We follow Jesus not simply by promoting what he says but by embracing his way of doing things— his modus operandi. We choose self-denial and, if necessary, suffering, all for love’s sake. A single word that describes Jesus’ modus operandi is incarnation. He let go of his glory, rights, privileges, and freedoms as the eternal Son in order to join us fully in our human condition and to serve us there. But he did so without taking on our values. In other words, he always took his orders from outside the world he had entered. And for that reason he never quite fit in and in the end suffered death at the hands of those he came to serve. When Jesus tells us to follow him he means for us to follow this same pattern. We fully enter the world as its friends while taking our orders from outside. If that means we suffer, then so be it.” -Charles Drew

The Idol of Our Own Conscience

“Do you see the problem? Christians are, or appear to be, religiously self-serving when it comes to their engagement with public life. We can make such an idol of the freedom of our own conscience that we become blind to the fact that freedom of every conscience is a Christian principle worth fighting for. One need not be a religious relativist to acknowledge this. The Jesus who claimed he was the only way to the Father never forced anyone to believe him. He has no place in his kingdom for coerced disciples, but says instead, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28). In a day when so many angrily assert their rights, Christians have a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate a totally different mindset, the mindset of a statesman— one that firmly defends the non-Christian’s right to believe as he or she does.” -Charles Drew

How Politics Turns Idolatrous

“There is nothing idolatrous about political activism or about advancing skilled politicians whom you feel will push things in a good direction. The idolatry arises when we begin to think that things will be so much better if “we can just get this law enacted,” or “we can just get this person into office and that person out of office,” or “we can just mandate this book for the history curriculum and that book for biology.” Certainly leaders and policies make some difference— Proverbs speaks of the blessings and curses of good and bad leaders— but not as much as we sometimes think, given our sprawling polity and selfish hearts. How easily (and unfairly) we tend to blame elected officials for the social ills of our time, as if greed, family problems, uneven pay scales, failures in education, and inner-city violence were simply the government’s fault. Those in office bear responsibility and their decisions affect our lives to some degree, but such scapegoating, which appears with a vengeance during election years, reflects an unrealistic and idolatrous reliance upon the machinery of government. We often grow to hate certain administrations and figures because we once loved them too much. Just think of the astonishing political reversals in the 2010 midterm elections.” -Charles Drew

Cultural Observation: Pick Your Poison

““Pick your poison” a friend of mine says regarding the idols available to us. Some of us may feel free from the worship of money. But what about other obsessions: celebrity mongering (a recent survey indicated that a distressingly high percentage of teenage girls would rather be “the personal assistant to a famous singer or movie star” than a U. S. Senator or the president of a great university), or sexual addiction (pornography seems to be as much a problem for the church as it is for the rest of the culture). We pour money and energy into sports, into body image, into professional success, and into the acquisition of power. We grow angry at anyone or anything that threatens our freedom to spend as we please or to express ourselves as we please because we have become worshipers of unbridled freedom.” -Charles Drew