How to Let Political Disagreements Damage Your Church in 4 Easy Steps

10 September 2020

3 MINS

Our society is increasingly polarised.

We’re less likely to hold favourable opinions of those who disagree with our political views. We’re less likely to develop deep friendships with people who vote the other way.

Instead, we’re more likely to avoid people with political differences. We’re more likely to be suspicious of them. We’re more likely to write them off as ‘uneducated’ or ‘irrational’. Whether it’s the workmate who’s pro Liberal (or pro Greens); the fellow soccer mum who’s pro-Thunberg (or a climate sceptic); or the neighbour who’s pro Trump (or pro BLM).

We’re getting better at divisiveness, and worse at unity. And it’s fracturing our society.

Sadly, our churches are not immune from this polarisation. We’re always in danger of bringing the world into our church (rather than letting the gospel impact our world). But in this cultural moment, it’s easier than ever to tear our churches apart over differing political views.

In fact, here are 4 easy steps Christians can do to make this awful scenario a reality:

Step 1: Ignore the Difference Between ‘Straight Line’ Issues and ‘Jagged Line’ Issues

A key first step is to ignore the difference between ‘straight line’ political/social/ethical issues and ‘jagged line’ political/social/ethical issues.

Christian theologians Jonathan Leeman and Andrew Naselli explain the difference between the two:

For a straight-line issue, there is a straight line between a biblical text and its policy application. For instance, the Bible explicitly teaches that murder is sinful; abortion is a form of murder, so we should oppose abortion. That’s a straight line. Accordingly [a church should] initiate the church-discipline process with a member who [calls themselves a Christian and] is advocating for abortion…

They continue:

But for a jagged line issue, there is a multi-step process from a biblical or theological principle to a political position.

They conclude:

Most political issues are not straight-line issues. Most are jagged-line issues. Think of everything from trade policy to healthcare reform to monetary policy to carbon dioxide emission caps. These are important, and Christians should bring biblical principles to bear when thinking about them. But the path from biblical text to policy application is not simple. It is complex. For such issues, none of us should presume to possess “the” Christian position, as if we were apostles revealing true doctrine once and for all time.’

In other words, step 1 is assuming that the Bible gives clear positions on the political issues of our day just like it teaches us about salvation, judgement, and the second coming. It’s assuming Jesus and the apostles gave direct commands on climate change policy and immigration, tax benefit and public schooling.

If we assume that all political issues are ultimately ‘straight line’ issues, we’ll be taking the first step toward polarising and fracturing our churches.

Step 2: Assume Your ‘Jagged Line’ Political Convictions Are ‘Straight Line’ Issues

This step is all too easy. Assume there’s a direct line between your political viewpoint and the Word of God.

Assume that the Bible directly supports your political party, your view on immigration, tax, and social welfare. Ignore any evidence to the contrary, that perhaps the Bible’s take on these issues isn’t as clear cut as you assume.

Step 3: Condemn Those Who Disagree With Your (Jagged Line) Political Convictions As Unchristian

If your political views are directly from the Bible, then any Christian who disagrees with your politics is disobeying God Himself. Thus, voting for [insert your political viewpoint] is not a ‘disputable matter’ (Rom 14), a matter of Christian freedom, a matter that Christians can disagree over and still honour God. Disagreeing with your view of immigration/climate change/welfare is akin to heresy, and Christians who do so should be treated as such.

Step 4: Break Fellowship With Those Who Hold to Differing Jagged line Political Convictions

The final step is to break fellowship with such people. After all, you wouldn’t have Christian fellowship with someone that calls themselves Christian, but denies that Jesus rose physically from the dead. In which case, why have fellowship with someone who disagrees with your clear cut view of politics?

So there you have it: 4 easy steps to damaging your church through political disagreement.

(Ok, enough sarcasm).

It’s easy to head down this road if we’re not careful.

In today’s culture, churches and Christians face a real and present threat to Christian unity when it comes to politics. As our society becomes ever more polarised — dismissing, nay hating those who hold opposing views — this attitude can seep into our churches, with devastating effects on our fellowship, and our witness to the wider world.

___

Originally published at AkosBalogh.com
Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash.

SHARE >

We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and big-tech censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate today.

DONATE

Leave A Comment

Recent Articles

  • 27 September 2022

    7 MINS

    Not knowing the future need not worry us, because God does. In this piece, I want to discuss both theological and pastoral aspects as to how we believers are to live in the light of the God that we serve. Our God is an infinite, [...]

    READ MORE
  • 27 September 2022

    2.9 MINS

    Surely offence and insult are in the eye of the beholder! Gender identity is a protected trait in Tasmania. This means it is illegal to discriminate against someone because they identify differently from their biological sex. And incredibly, it is illegal to offend or insult [...]

    READ MORE
  • 26 September 2022

    5.6 MINS

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. We invite you to join us for the 31 days of Prayer and Fasting in October 2022. Today, we see an immense need for spiritual renewal in our nation. Psalm 27 [...]

    READ MORE
  • 26 September 2022

    4.2 MINS

    A feminist admits that the Sexual Revolution, far from liberating women, has reduced their safety and rights. Laughter roared through the back of the truck. Half my army platoon and I were riding in a Unimog on our way to a training exercise. And the [...]

    READ MORE
  • 26 September 2022

    5.2 MINS

    Some of the greatest and most stirring words of Scripture are found in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. A doxology is an expression of praise to God. There are many doxologies found in the Bible. Consider a few famous ones. In 1 Timothy 1:17 we [...]

    READ MORE
  • 24 September 2022

    5.5 MINS

    Queen Elizabeth II is a wonderful role model for strong and steady leadership. Her life bears lessons for all parents, who must lead their families. If you are like me, you will have been staggered by how many people loved the Queen. I have always [...]

    READ MORE
  • 23 September 2022

    2.4 MINS

    Queen Elizabeth II's funeral was a mesmerising spectacle, a display of worldly wealth and power, but also a bold proclamation of the saving Gospel of Jesus, the truth which endures beyond death. Millions around the world tuned in on Monday to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. The [...]

    READ MORE