We have likely exhausted A Secular Faith so I will make a final post that returns to the theme of my first. I am concerned that Christian involvement in politics distracts believers from their true and ultimate home. When we become so concerned about moral decline or social disorder in the United States that American Christians are known more for being “conservative” politically than for the religious practices that define them as believers, then we have identified ourselves more as citizens than as aliens and exiles of this world.
This may sound too otherworldly for some and a betrayal of a Reformed world and life view, though I rarely seen the worldviewists interact with St. Peter’s counsel on the Christian’s immigrant status during this period of redemptive history. To keep this concern from becoming merely otherworldly Christians could throw much more energy into the politics of their churches than into the affairs of the United States. It is not as if the church has no need for reform.
In fact, I find it at least ironic if not worse that at the same time as the rise of the Religious Right, Protestant faith and practice in the United States has worsened dramatically. Before Ronald Reagan evangelicals used to care about inerrancy. Now the doctrine of Scripture is barely talked about. Conservatives Protestants used to know something about reverence in worship but during their affair with the residents of the White House they have given the world a form of worship that exhibits no fear of blasphemy (now, we only define idolatry as having a second helping of pie after dinner). And to make matters even worse, the Protestant doctrine of justification is in serious disarray when twenty-fine years ago conservative evangelicals knew the difference between the Council of Trent and justification by faith alone.
Of course, it would be poor social science to suggest that the politiciztion of evangelicalism is responsible for these religious woes. But it would be equally naive to think that the zeal for Christian politics in secular affairs is unrelated to the indifference for Christian faith and practice in the realm of the church.
If Christians really want to have an impact on this world, they may have to worry a lot more about the world to come.