Thursday, June 04, 2015

Frank Turek on Jesus and Politics

"Who were the Pharisees? They were not just the religious leaders but also the political leaders of Israel! You mean Jesus was involved in politics? Yes! Paul was too. He addressed the political leaders of his day and even used the privileges of his Roman citizenship to protect himself and advance the Gospel.

But didn’t Jesus say, 'Give unto Caesar.' Yes. So what? We all ought to pay taxes. But that doesn’t mean we ought not get involved in politics. In our country, you can not only elect 'Caesar,' you can be 'Caesar!'

Jesus told us to be 'salt' and 'light,' and he didn’t say be salt and light in everything but politics. Christians are to be salt and light in everything they do, be it in their church, in their business, in their school, or in their government." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Frank Turek, Jesus, Christians and Politics: Why They Go Together, Nov. 1. 2010.


dgfisch said...

Sorry Chad, but there is too much tinge of the sordid in politics today that let's me accept Frank's premise. All the maneuverings of modern politics (statist mindset, coercion, dirty deals in the backroom, you know, the stuff Jesus encountered from the Pharisees and Saducees) makes this connection of the Christian life and politics difficult.

Jesus was apolitical in His approach. He did not desire to be a king, or even to be considered a king (Jn. 6: 15). The popular conception of the Messiah had taken on political overtones, even ideas that caused the powers that be to use political measures to alleviate the problem. Caiaphas' solution in Jn. 11: 50 (it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.)only had the goal of preserving the political status quo with himself in high honored position. Jesus could use this political assessment on His own terms. The peace that Jesus gives is "not as the world gives" (John 14: 27). Jesus is so far above the world of politics. I often refer to politics as "the frantic dance of sincere people to achieve the temporary solution."

I agree with the notion that the Christian is to be the ideal citizen of the community/state/province/country in which (s)he happens to live. Jesus does this too, as He advises us to "render unto Caesar." This is perhaps the improved politics of a committed Christian seeking the benefit of his neighbor. Today, politics bungle at doing this in following utopian dreams. Our best efforts is to work at the neighborhood level. Let Jesus save the world in His own way; I'll take on the neighbor in my less than perfect way.

Chad said...

Hello dgfisch,

Thank you for the thoughtful comment! I greatly appreciate it. One of the reasons we post these types of comments is to encourage Christians to think about and discuss these important issues.

I certainly agree that "Jesus is so far above the world of politics," but do you believe Christians should be involved in politics at all? From your comment, I'm not sure.

Finally, you can hear Dr. Turek explain his views in more detail here.


dgfisch said...

I think I understand Frank's point: who wants North Korea? I can see the need for politics, but the politics must be improved. Government needs to be responsible to the citizenry. John the Baptist didn't abolish the military but asked that actions of intimidation for personal gain be eliminated. How much will the process respond to the Christian community? When the concept of the separation of Church and State (good idea: each has its specific role which complements as longer as each performs its role) is used to reduce the Church's voice (bad idea: State can be the only one to impact society; the Church deals with its own clientele), we are dealing with bad politics.

I personally would not seek office, but would prefer a politician who has a sensitivity for my viewpoint. Of course, I would love a Christian in office. But there seems to be a phobia of such a thing. Lee Strobel made this point in his novel. Also there are two aspects of political office that makes for Christian introspection, 1) legacy, and 2) power. For a Christian in office, the legacy to leave behind should be based on his faith, but that is to be balanced with concerns for the non-Christian. And power ... The best power is that used to help the powerless. But the temptations of having it. Have any nightmare scenarios?

Yes, a Christian should be concerned about politics, and even be involved with politics. But keep our goals praise-worthy. Politics is not an anagram for panacea.

A pleasant day to you.