Sunday 19 May 2019
There is talk about starting a new "Christian" (or "Christian values") political party in New Zealand. The party might be a good idea, but if it's really a "social conservative" party, don't call it "Christian".
Audrey Young writes:
The issues that would galvanise the party are the three big social issues before Parliament at present and likely to be so in election year as well: making abortions easier to get, legalising euthanasia, and legalising recreational cannabis.
None of those issues are specifically Christian. None of them are mentioned directly in the New Testament. I even think Christians can be for some version of all of them (though it makes sense to me that most Christians would oppose the first two at least). Therefore "social conservative" is a much more accurate label than "Christian" for a party focused on opposing those changes.
A truly Christian party's key issues would include reminding the voting public that we all sinners against God, in need of repentance and forgiveness that comes through Jesus. The party would proclaim to voters "how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God" and warn against storing up treasures on earth instead of heaven. It would insist on policies that support "the least of these". It would find a way to denounce universally popular sins such as greed, gluttony and heterosexual extra-marital sex, and advocate policies that reduce their harm, while visibly observing Paul's dictum "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?" A Christian party would follow Jesus' warning against "those who for a show make lengthy prayers" and downplay their own piety. It would put extraordinary emphasis on honouring the name of Christ by avoiding any sort of lies, corruption or scandal. Its members would show love for their enemies and not retaliate when attacked. If they fail in public, they would confess and repent in public.
That sounds pretty difficult, but it's what Jesus deserves from any party that claims his name.
I'm all for Christians being involved in politics and applying their Christian worldview to politics, if they can succeed without making moral compromises. But it's incredibly important that any Christian who publicly connects Christ with politics takes into account how that will shape unbelievers' view of Christianity. If they lead people to believe that Christianity is about being socially conservative and avoiding certain hot-button sins, with the gospel nowhere in sight, then they point people towards Hell and betray Jesus and his message.