Theology and Politics
Marion D. Aldridge
We are living in a time when politicians are trying to be theologians, and theologians are attempting to be politicians. It’s not working out very well.
Over the years, I’ve resisted the temptation to post my political inclinations on Facebook or my blogs. I’ve been a happy American, blessed beyond reason under both Democratic and Republican Presidents.
My specific concern this week is when people speak, as if they knew what they are talking about, in areas where they don’t know what they are talking about. For instance, the Bible.
I know little to nothing about economic theory or geological formations. Neither is a field in which I have expertise. So, I offer no opinions.
The Bible is a Big Book. It says a lot of things. If you study the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and take a course in systematic theology, and another in ethics, you will discover quite a long and complicated history about how people of faith should live in the secular world. Here are a few of my summary thoughts about matters of faith, as they relate to the law:
1) Jesus was clear when he said to let Caesar have what belongs to Caesar, and let God be in charge of the God-stuff.
2) Paul was a follower of Jesus, willing to go to jail for disobeying laws. In fact, when he named his top three motivators, the law did not make the list. He said the Big Three are Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of those is love.
3) The Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and Paul all point us to higher ground: “What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
The law is not to be our moral compass. Legalism is a methodology for defending, instead of fixing, a broken compass.
These are principles even a politician can use as an ethical guide.