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The Jesus Candidate – Again

7:23 AM Good Sunday morning, one and all. The verdict is in, I see. Rick Santorum is the Jesus candidate. Once again, we’ve managed to feed our self-fulfilling prophecies and assuage our self-doubts. Pat on the back! Oh, I wonder what Perry is thinking. After all, he’s a real evangelical Protestant. So far he hasn’t spoken out, but the bottom is clearly out of the boat.

I wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

It matters little to me that some Magisterium in Texas has anointed Santorum or that the evangelical subculture prizes conformity above all else. Allegiance to any human institution or political party is not faith. It is misplaced faith.

Let’s stay focused on the King.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, Why Four Gospels?, and Will You Join the Cause of Global Missions?)

Crowning the Jesus Candidate for President

NPR ran a story today that caught my eye: Evangelical Leaders Struggle to Crown a Candidate. Apparently Republican leaders are trying to come up with a “Jesus” candidate for president. It seems that few things are as important to the Religious Right as getting their man in place politically. Now, of course society needs good leaders making policy and directing our affairs. But as believers, we can never be sure “our” candidate is also God’s. Continue reading Crowning the Jesus Candidate for President

Dave Black – Thoughts on Election 2012

Dave Black has posted an essay at Dave Black Online, giving some of his thoughts on the 2012 election in the United States. He begins:

Most of you are aware of my conviction that there is no distinctively “Christian” position on political issues. In this light, it seems to me that in principle there is no inconsistency in being a Christian and voting for a non-Christian (or a Mormon) for political office. (I’m not saying I would do this, only that I see no inconsistency in acting this way.) As I pointed out in my book Christian Archy, followers of Jesus aren’t called to get (overly) involved in political causes or disputes.

Read his entire essay at Dave Black Online.

On American Exceptionalism and the Gospel

From Dave Black Online:

10:35 AM Arthur Sido needs help. He writes:

They are hawking a “God Bless America” T-shirt (to the exclusion of other nations I assume). How exactly is buying and wearing this particular T-shirt going to honor God? If someone living in Iran wears a “God Bless Iran” T-shirt, is he also honoring God? What about “God Bless Liechtenstein”?

As I think about this issue I have concluded that the one thing that might keep us from successfully insourcing missions, the one thing we have not learned from the past, is the danger of American exceptionalism. When evangelicals moved from cultural obscurity to become a major force in U.S. politics in the 1970s, along with this change came a pressure for conformity to the Religious Right. Calls to “Take America Back!” became ubiquitous. This rhetoric reflected a deep-seated theology of triumphalism — the Army of God marches forward to take over the federal judiciary, overturn laws deemed inimical to Christianity, support Israel, etc. Obviously this agenda is incompatible with a Great Commission mindset and with the Jesus who tells us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. Jesus had strong words for the moralists of His day, the religious leaders who saw the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and paid no attention to the plank in their own. Evangelicalism, it seems to me, has lost its capacity to stand against what Paul called “the principalities and powers of this world.” As I argued in my book Christian Archy (p. 16):

It seems that our steel is fatality flawed after all. It is only faith in Jesus Christ, the Originator and Finalizer of faith, that we have any possibility of salvation. In reality, the Gospel is the only source of personal, familial, and societal renewal. What matters, then, is not that we lose ourselves in futile political or social agitation. What matters is that we recognize in the incarnation of Christ, and in his death and resurrection, that God was intervening in the course of human history to give us not only eternal life but an abundant life every day. There is now only one response we can give — calling all men and women into a relationship with God through this same Jesus.

In short, the purpose of the church is to be God’s missionary people in the world. To put country above the Gospel is a gross error. Such thinking is a sin against the truth.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)

Religious Sanction for Political Actions

From Dave Black Online:

8:23 AM I see Newt is officially in the race. I notice, too, that he is eager to gain the backing of the Religious Right, despite his multiple marriages. More and more of the “clergy” will no doubt find it advantageous to lend him their support. In American politics it has become popular to be a Christian and to cast a religious coloring over one’s political ambitions. One day perhaps, religion will no longer play a major role in U.S. elections, but that day has not yet arrived. Popular campaigns for public office will continue to glorify their causes with religious sanctions, and this means that God’s people, the only “holy nation” that exists today, must maintain a guard against any symbiosis of church and state


(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)

On Vernard Eller

7:57 AM As the year draws to  a close, I encourage you to read Michael Westmoreland-White’s excellent piece called Taking the Passed Torch: Theologians Who Died 2000-2010 As Challenge for Those Who Tarry. This is biblioblogging at its very best.

Update: For 2007 Michael notes the following death:

Vernard Eller (1927-2007). American theologian, pacifist, Christian anarchist, and minister in the Church of the Brethren.  A major interpreter of Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth, the Blumhardts and Jacques Ellul, Eller had a folksy way of speaking and writing that led some to underestimate the seriousness of his theological writing.  He was a major critic of much feminist theology, especially the use of feminine imagery for God, which Eller believed led to a lapse into Canaanite fertility religion.  He was also a strong critic of materialism and nationalism in Christian churches, advocating for simplicity, reducing possessions, radical sharing of wealth, and critical of sacramental views of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (which he believed would rob them of their ethical content).

I call this to your attention for the simple reason that the writings of Eller are practically unknown today in evangelical circles. For what it’s worth, I have tried to popularize his thinking (and that of Jacques Ellul) in my book Christian Archy.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)