Monday, July 07, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Love of neighbor for the sake of loving God is a profound political philosophy that strikes a balance between the disobedience of political disengagement and the idolatry of politics as our main priority. As evangelical Christians we must engage in political action, not because we believe the conceit that politics is ultimate, but because we must obey our Redeemer when He commands us to love our neighbor"

R. Albert Mohler Jr. , Culture Shift, p. 4


Ted M. Gossard said...

I guess I know what Mohler would mean by political engagement. Different Anabaptist views would differ with him, of course. Some are very much engaged while others do not vote. This is their prerogative, based on what they believe God calls us to be and do in Jesus. At this point I probably stand somewhere under there, but in a more activist sense.

But his point of loving neighbor by such engagement is a good one. It does get wearisome though, because I think the limits of what real good either party can do is great, though the harm they both do can be and is at times very great, in my opinion-notwithstanding those who are trying to serve as good puboic servants and among those- Christians.

Love for neighbor has to be fleshed out in the way Jesus proscribes for us as light and salt here and now. I don't think either the religious right or left is the way to go in this. A sweeping general statement, to be sure, and each must make up their own mind, but once you get caught up in political activism, it takes on a life all its own and surely is consuming.

Ted M. Gossard said...

puboic = public, of course!

Wish I'd proofread more!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Well, I hope I'm not a hit and run artist. My prejudice probably shows through my thinking at times, and I'm sure I don't always sufficiently hear well in doing that!

But I appreciate your take, ESI, and all your sharing on your blog. Often quite helpful, even if some of it is beyond me.

mark said...

Context of my simple mind:
"Love of neighbor for the sake of loving God is a profound political philosophy"

seems to be a very general comment with a sense about it, that the gospel frees us in every sphere of life to be fully involved.

love == do uplifting things to people that their role in God's plan for them is fulfilled with greater emphasis, drawing closer or moving further away.

political engagement == actions
from protest/advocacy to law/policy making.

does anyone feel up to the challenge of describe in more detail application mapping loving action and political engagement?

how do we love at the law/policy level without direct and immediate conflict with church/state issues?

would the dignity and composure, transparency and calm of Huckabee during the pres. primaries be a good example of how christians should be involved for the exposure of the gospel in our relationships, not necessarily definitive authority?

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks for sharing your point of view. I know the Anabaptist would likely take a different approach on the matter of political engagement. Mohler's point is that love for our neighbor should lead us toward responsible political involvement, especially in a free nation.

I truly don't think either party has the corner on what's right but the emphasis here is on the motivation for political involvement. Like you, I am often troubled by political discussions that loosely equate Conservative agenda with proper application biblical truth.

Every Square Inch said...


I really liked manner by which Huckabee conducted his campaign.

Back to your questions -

I'd define love as acting in a person's best interest - it is at least a big dimension of love. I don't know how it specifically maps to action in the political realm and I'm not the poster boy for political engagement, but I see Mohler's statement as providing the logical basis for Christians to engage politically, whether as voters, protestors or candidates.

With regard to conflict of church/state, I'm not sure that applies to individual Christians. We don't want the government imposing its will on the church...nor do we want the church legislating matters related to governance of the nation...but Christians, like every other citizen have a right to participate in the political realm.

L.L. Barkat said...

Just a little aside...

I really enjoyed reading about your work over at Mark's place. Nice video too!

Every Square Inch said...

LL, thanks! I'm blessed to have the opportunity to work on the Gospel Translations project