You might read the title and think this will be a controversial post. It is not intended to be controversial, just a summary of “Politics in the Life of a Church”, a livestream event featuring Jonathan Leeman. The event was hosted by Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle, and if you have time to view all three sessions, they will be posted here in the coming days.
The event is broken up into three sessions, and lasts about three hours. The entire presentation is worth three hours of your time. I’ll start with a summary of each session, then three good observations and three negative observations.
The First Session was titled, “How Can Christians Make A Political Impact?” Leeman began this session by saying, “Too often we let our Americanism determine what the Bible says when we need to let the Bible determine what it means to be a good citizen.” He also said that we need to stop thinking about making a political impact in terms of winning and losing. Then, he gave four points, no poem, about how Christians can make a political impact.
- Repent of your sin and put your trust in Jesus
- Put your primary hopes and political hopes in the church
- We must learn to be before we do.
- Let the state do its job and let the church do its job.
The second session was more personal. It was titled “How Can I Love My Neighbor Who Has Different political Views?” Leeman began this session by acknowledging the difficulty of this statement. The thesis of this session revolved around what Leeman termed as straight line Biblical political issues and jagged line Biblical political issues. For example, abortion is a straight line Biblical-political issues. the Bible clearly says “Thou shalt not kill”. A straight line can be drawn from my political view to Biblical truth. What tactics should we take to stand against abortion? That’s a jagged line Biblical political truth in that the Bible does not clearly state which tactics we should take. That was the most obvious example of the straight line vs. jagged line concept. What does this have to do with loving our neighbors? I’m going to have a very difficult time coming to the Lord’s table with my neighbor who votes against my straight line Biblical political views. Leeman even went so far as to say, “I find it hard to believe someone could be a Christian and vote for a pro choice candidate.” There is, however, room for fellowship when we disagree on the jagged line Biblical political issues.
The third session was an extended question and answer. The livestream audience was invited to text in their questions. If you don’t watch any of the other two sessions, go watch this one, and you’ll get a sense of the difficulty of this topic.
What was good about this presentation?
- Leeman consistently pointed to King Jesus. Any presentation that does not begin and end with Jesus is not worth our time.
- Leeman was very thoughtful in his responses. He was not glib or arrogant, but you could tell he has done some deep thinking on the subject matter.
- Leeman was bold. He did not shy away from stating difficult Biblical truth. It’s not popular to say, “I can’t see how you can be a Christian and vote for a pro choice candidate,” but Leeman said so twice and did not hedge his bets or apologize.
What was lacking in this presentation?
- I wish there had been more scripture. Leeman referenced scripture, but not enough, in my opinion.
- I would have liked a longer presentation with more than one speaker. I don’t know how difficult this would have been to pull off, but I would have liked more speakers.
- I don’t have a third point here except to say, surely they could have given away a book or two to a lucky viewer, me.
We can and we must be politically involved while keeping our eyes on Jesus. We cannot abdicate political involvement to quasi Christian surrogates. We see where that has landed us. In the next three months, we should work to glorify God, love our neighbor, all while making a political impact. It can be done.
Oh, and has anyone ever noticed how much Jonathan Leeman looks like fellow voices writer Mike Bergman?