The Australian Federal Election is coming up soon. There has been much talk about the policies of Labor, the Coalition and the Greens. But how should Christians understand their roles in Australian politics? Back in April this year, there was a theological conference at Wheaton in the USA on this issue. One of the speakers was Tim Gombis. In his blog he posted some of his thoughts (on 8th April 2013) Here are a few excerpts.
I think that contemporary evangelicals—especially those who imagine America is or ever was a “Christian nation”—should give sustained attention to the character of God’s people in exile.
This notion has received little attention in evangelical discussions of politics. I suspect that’s because it runs counter to desires to influence policy, control the levers of power, and determine the course of national history.
American evangelicals would do well to consider how Israel’s exile shaped Paul’s conception of the church—his vision of a weak and vulnerable wandering people among the nations. We feel that we’re losing power, influence, access, our former position of political leverage and cultural dominance. We grow worrisome, anxious, nervous about the sort of future our churches will face and the conditions our children will encounter. I’ll just suggest to you that this might be a strategic moment for us to embrace our identity as God’s wandering people among the nations. It just may be that this emerging moment of cultural weakness is God’s gift to his church. What if it’s an opportunity for the God revealed in the crucified Jesus to press his people into the shape of the cross? What if the Lord of the church is grieved when we strive for power and agitate to control the course of history? Do we risk being blind to Paul’s vision for the polis of Jesus because we’re overcome by cultural resentment fueled by memories of former days when our opinions held sway?
I think Tim Gombis has given us something to ponder as we reflect on our own Christian witness in the upcoming Australian Federal Election.