Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Church and Politics

Interesting article in Christianity Today by Richard Mouw, President of Fuller, in relation to C. F. H. Henry's view of the church and politics. Here's an excerpt:

[Henry believed that the] church is obliged to "declare the criteria by which nations will ultimately be judged, and the divine standards to which man [sic] and society must conform if civilization is to endure." What the Bible actually says about such matters should "belong legitimately to pulpit proclamation." Evangelicals, he urged, needed to do a more effective job of "enunciating theological and moral principles that bear upon public life."

This did not mean for Henry that the church should get into endorsing specific solutions. A constant theme in his writings was that the church as such has neither the competence nor the authority to address political or economic specifics. He would usually add, though—probably with the memory of Nazi Germany in mind—that there may be "emergency situations" in which the church would have clear mandate from God to address specific evils. But in the normal course of things, the church should leave it up to individuals to take a very general mandate to think and act Christianly in the public arena.
I actually am quite sympathetic to what Henry and now Mouw are thinking here. I don't consider myself as stupid at economics and politics as some think I am, but I never have offered my hunches as positions all Christians or the church should endorse. They are my hunches and musings as an individual Christian. I would be very hesitant of suggesting that the church should support a particular candidate or a particular piece of legislation.

Shouldn't we all?

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