Borrowing from the World - and Losing the Centrality of the Gospel

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smhbbag

Puritan Board Senior
I am a lurker on a lot of message boards, and I've just noticed something that, on the surface, seems a little off.

On other boards, in sections with titles like "The Soap Box," and other such areas for supposedly serious discussion and debate, politics dominates the landscape.

These forums often include outspoken, vocal Christians. Yet, the bulk of their activity is aimed at politics as well. Now, I am the last person that would ever diminish the importance of establishing proper roles for civil magistrates, but how much have we borrowed from the world in this area?

I'm not speaking about borrowing worldly political schemes, though that happens, but more that we elevate its importance, even in our dialogue with unbelievers.

Simply put, the question: What in this world really irks you? What do you just want to rant and scream about sometimes?

Or, another way, asking myself, "What would I discuss with (insert crazed evil political figure here) if I had the chance?" or "Where has this person gone wrong?" My answer ought to be the gospel. Sadly, many times it is not.

Sure, the political climate reveals a lot about the sin in this world, but I'm afraid that we are losing the centrality of the gospel in our thinking.

How can we combat this thought process? What other areas do we elevate over the gospel, in our actions?

My only thought is to watch less t.v. and read the Bible more, as that is always a good solution to anything. News broadcasts, op-ed shows, radio talk shows, all revolve almost entirely about national or local politics. Such great exposure over time seems to raise its importance to me very subtly. When I think of certain figures, my first thought is their specific wicked ideas or policies, and not their darkness in sin.

I'm not quite sure what I'm getting at, but anyone with comments to further clarify the issue is welcome to do so :lol:
 
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smhbbag

Puritan Board Senior
Neither, and I'm questioning the prevalence of the latter.

My basic thought is that because political topics saturate our news, op-eds, and radio shows, we are subtly getting our priorities out of balance. For instance, I might think about the biggest problems in our world today - and I come up with some political problem and answer, rather than seeing the rejection of the gospel and the need for evangelism.

This impacts our dialogue and answers when we encounter an unbelieving world. They believe in primarily political solutions to every problem, and we submit to that assumption, in our actions at least. In practice, we think and act as if enacting proper political solutions will have more impact than the spread of the gospel. This means our biggest frustrations with the world will be with liberalism, general stupidity, or some other political thought, when our first 'frustration' or problem we see, should be the lack of faith.

Strong political rantings often replace a desire to evangelize, and that is a problem. But the root of that problem is in our capitulation to a worldly perspective that sees the gospel as of minor importance.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jeremy, I'm with you on this one. The thread I started recently on worldview in the public schools was started because I was thinking of the incredible Biblical upbringing my parents and church gave me. My entire worldview was shaped by the Scriptures. Yet I, too, still struggle with the influence of the world and politics and materialism and everything on my thinking.

I was quietly rebuked by the Spirit of God last week when the mother of one of my piano students began to talk of what God was teaching her in the book of Proverbs. When I was a teen, my pastor encouraged me to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Though I never read through it completely in one month, over the course of my teen years, I read it many, many times. It shaped my thinking. In the Proverbs we find God's worldview. It is what should shape our thinking.

I am challenged by my student's mother, and I, too, will begin reading Proverbs again, one chapter for every day of the month, and read it to my children. There is where we will find God's perspective on things.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
The gospel has massive political overtones. Jesus is the world's True Lord (Romans 1:3-4) and Caesar is not. The early church didn't go to the lions for some airy-fairy quiet time faith. Their crimes were political (and of course, theological).

Now you hit on something deeper that I wonder if you picked up on: How much of our political categories are borrowed from the world, in particular modernity? I have in mind liberal democratic republicanism over against Christendom.

Most of history didn't comparmentalize faith and politics like we do. That's essentially an Enlightenment (read anti-Christian) construct. It's okay to talk about politics. It is even better to show how the gospel disorients and decenters modern politics. It is best of all when conservative republicans are the targets.
 
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