By Graham Glover –
It’s sad, but true.
Conservative Christians, a group I consider myself to be a part of, have come to love politics more than theology. Recently, their political euphoria is utterly palpable. Theology? Eh, who cares about that…
Talk to most conservative Christians these days and they are much more likely to engage you in a conversation about politics over one of theology. They’ll have points, counterpoints, data, and illustrations to make their political arguments, but will recoil in seconds when you try to dive deep into theology. Disagree with them on politics, and you have committed an unpardonable sin. Disagree on theology, and they’ll find ways to make amends.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with loving politics. I wish people would love it more than most do! Nor is there anything wrong with being a conservative (although I’m increasingly unsure what that means anymore). My purpose here isn’t to rebuke the love of conservative politics. Rather, I’m taking to task those conservative Christians that spend almost all their time and energy talking about politics. You know the ones: those faithful adherents that love politics with every fiber of their being and look to political victories as the sign of conservatism’s success. They are the ones that think we make America great again (because for reasons still unknown to me, America stopped being great at some point) by winning elections and passing laws. In short, politics has become their means of evangelism. The ballot box is where they think nations are saved.
While this may be politically expedient, it’s theologically flawed. In the short-term, it may marginally advance conservative politics. In the long-term, it will do nothing for Christian theology.
Part of me understands why conservative Christians believe the election of Donald Trump and the Republicans was preferable to a victory by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. But I’m completely dumbfounded by the political euphoria of these same conservative Christians in recent weeks. That the Vice-President spoke at the National Right to Life March and that the President nominated a principled conservative to the Supreme Court does not mean conservatism, either political or theological, is now somehow victorious, or even on the rise. Remember, Trump is hardly a conservative on trade, foreign policy, marriage, and an innumerable number of personal characteristics. Just because his administration offers hope to a few conservative causes, doesn’t mean conservative Christians should be doing backflips. Lest we forget, we worship the Lord and not Caesar. We find hope in eternal things, not in the things of this world.
So why the growing love of politics among conservative Christians? Why the incessant shouts for joy? Do conservative Christians really think their apparent political successes last November are somehow going to be the impetus to change things? Will a new law, or a new interpretation of a law, really change our nation’s heart? For a group that at least on paper proclaims to be about advancing the kingdom of God, there sure is a lot of talk about advancing the kingdom of man.
Conservative Christians should beware. For our love of politics over theology puts us on the verge of losing credibility about the One we say we represent. Conservative Christianity should never be about politics. It should be about Christ. About who He is, what He has done, what He will do, and how He and He alone can change the hearts of people and ultimately, nations.
Conservative Christians should always love theology over politics. And oh yeah, the same goes for Liberals too!