Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Political Jesus(NEW AUTHOR)

    Today's post may be somewhat controversial (thus the reason it has taken me three days to think through it all), but I think it is a very important concept for Christians to grasp. I've spent the last few days trying to calm my anger at a statement a speaker I heard on Sunday said. Since his statement reflects very well the very point of my post today, I'm going to begin with his statements.

    In attempt to combat Christians listening to rock music, this particular speaker went so far as to guarantee that there would not be drums in heaven, or any of that "chaos", and that maybe God would give rock artists a harp when they got to heaven. It would probably be insulting to any cultures (for example, African) who use drums extensively in their worship music to be told with no Biblical backing that their instruments will be left out of heaven in favor of the ones I'm comfortable with. Not only this statement ludicrous because of the demonization of an inanimate object, namely drums, that can be used for good or bad, but because the "chaos" seems to exist in most accounts of heaven in Scripture. It will be the most beautiful, organized, harmonious chaos the universe has ever known. It will be billions of people, standing around the throne of the Lamb, singing with different voices, playing different instruments, with all the chaos blending into one beautiful song of praise to Jesus Christ. I think it very likely that every instrument will be included in this song of praise, particularly those in Ps. 150 (yes, even the "loud, clashing cymbals").

    Yet this statement points to one of the more innocent looking, yet dangerous lies the American church has fallen prey to. You may have guessed from the title, but the idea I am attacking today is that of Jesus as simply a proponent of whichever culture, race, political idea, or particular argument which I happen to be a part of or defending.

    We see it clearly in that comment. This particular speaker pictured heaven, and praise to God, as simply an extension of how he worshiped the best. He enjoyed worship with pianos and soft instruments, so he concluded that God likes that best too. He didn't like rock music, or a hard beat, so he concluded that God must not like it either. His error then came from his attempt to make his own opinion God's opinion, and change it from a personal preference to an all-encompassing religious principle.

    So I can sum up this particular problem with one sentence. We must not conform Jesus into the image which we are most comfortable with, because we will be left with simply a mere shell of the beauty, holiness, and majesty of God that reflects my own personal (possibly even unBiblical) bias and opinions. (Okay, yes, that was a really long one sentence, probably a run-on, but still!) We see this problem every two years when election time rolls around. Each party (Republicans particularly, but Democrats too) attempt to present their candidate as the "Christian candidate" in attempt to get more and more votes, essentially turning their party into the "Christian party", while obviously implying that the other party must be the "Dark Side".

    Are there religious questions in politics? Absolutely! Abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, all these can and are religious questions. So, as Christians, we should answer them with the light and insight of Scripture. That's not what I'm arguing against. What I am instead arguing against is our attempts (ignorantly or otherwise) to portray one group as "God's side" (in my circles, Republicans) and the other side as, well, obviously the other side.

    Don't get me wrong! I am a conservative, borderline between libertarian and Republican. If there was a Constitutional party (there might be, I don't know. I can't vote yet.), I would probably fit somewhere in there. I'm not protesting political activism or conservative/liberal views. I'm simply attacking a certain habit, whether liberals or conservatives use it.

    We've done the same with America as a nation. We have made America a "Christian nation". What is a Christian nation anyway? Does America have soul? Did America ask Jesus to come in and save it from its sins and repent? Okay, I get that many of our founders were Christian. Many of our foundational principles of freedom are pillared on the Bible. But it doesn't make the whole nation Christian, and thus superior!

    From the NT onward, we don't see God taking a certain country's side. We don't see him favoring one country more than another. And I'm going to break a very sad truth to some of y'all. Jesus wasn't white, and He doesn't love America any more than he does Sudan, Thailand, or Turkmenistan. We are not God's favored race because we put "In God we trust" on all our coins or "one nation under God" in our pledge. Republicans are not God's favored candidates because they are anti-abortion. All Democrats are not unbelievers because their party may represent pro-abortion ideas.

    It's very hard to put what I'm trying to say into writing, so this may take a little while! Jesus is not a flag to be waved to rally all Christians to my political side or personal opinion. Jesus, although sovereignly involved in all events on earth, is working to make His will come to pass, not mine. And although we should make all our decisions coincide with His Word and the leading of His Spirit, I should be moving myself to His cause, not He to mine.

    When we make Jesus the rallying cry to protest music styles I don't like in churches, Jesus is simply a footnote on a page of my own personal opinions and agendas. I'm using this example since it is freshest in my mind, but there are others.

    This speaker also made a similar mistake that touches the same topic. In attacking the instruments that he, in his culture, was not comfortable with, he attacked every other culture that does use those instruments for good. For example, drums and an emphasized beat are a huge part of African cultural music. As someone who loves Africa, it's almost insulting to hear someone say that in heaven, Africans will give up the instruments that are their cultural heritage in favor of the instruments that are a part of my cultural heritage. Yeah, 'cause God likes American culture better, right? No! Wrong! We have once again made the same mistake of making God an American God, one who likes American music and culture, and made our mental concept of heaven a giant American church, where we will sing American songs to American tunes with American instruments.

    My point is this. Do not, do NOT, force God into an image or box of your own making. Do not use God to force a personal preference or cultural norm of the rest of humanity. Let the Spirit lead them. God is the God of the world, not of America, and His children are just as beloved in the Democrat party as in the Republican party; in Sudan just as much as in Texas; and our cultural pianos and organs are no more well loved by God than an Indian flute or an African drum. God is not a national God. He's a personal God. He wants a relationship, not just with Republicans or Democrats, not just with Americans or Chinese, not just with rock musicians or with traditional musicians, but with the world. And we are to communicate that love to those people, yes, those people who we disagree with and find unlovable or hard to accept. Yeah, those people.


  1. A great post, and a great point you are making.
    We are not citizen's of this earth, but citizen's of Heaven.
    God does not love a country, a culture or a nation, God loves individual people. And no one is better than anyone else in His eyes.
    I have grown up with a lot of Europian culture is so much better than other cultures-stuff too. I mean, Europe was God's chosen continent. That's where Jesus lived...
    Nope, He never came to Europe, and He never went to US either. He lived His whole life, as a human, in a little corner of Palestina, or Israel. And I bet He heard a lot of drum music and cymbals growing up. Nothing quite like what we consider holy music today in the Western culture.
    Thank you again for your post and the remainder that God loves people, all the people!

    1. Your comment reminded me of Heb. 11:13-16. Thanks for the encouragement!

      "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
      14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
      15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.
      16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

  2. Great post! I suppose some could find it controversial, but I find it truthful. God (Jesus) always seemed to do the opposite of what people thought was acceptable and appropriate. My ideas are more than likely not His. And I am intentionally seeking His will and way.

    Thank you so much for sharing with #ThursdayTheologyBlogs, and for sharing the hop!

  3. May God Bless the Whole Universe...No Exceptions! :)

    I enjoyed reading this post! Thank you for sharing! :)