The Bible tames the heart of the Christian caught up in a particular day, place, and political and cultural landscape. It reminds him, “Oh, that’s right. I’m supposed to think like that.” It helps him to remember that he is more Christian than Republican/Democrat/American/millennial/white/black/Asian/European.
In fact, let me put it this way: I should not look exactly like any of my culture’s extra-Biblical platforms. If I don’t disagree with my political movement on any matter, there’s probably a problem. Ditto with my favorite TV show, non-Christian author, or non-Christian talk show host.
The family I am most ultimately a part of is the one Christ’s blood brought me into. Winston Churchhill and Abraham Lincoln may be my folk heroes, but neither is my Father. Or my Lawgiver.
The Bible calls me back to who is. It reminds me that the category I am now most finally defined by does not mirror exactly any political, social, or philosophical subgroup my day and place has to offer. I am now a citizen of a city on a hill that doesn’t look exactly like any of this darkened world’s flashlights.
Let me demonstrate.
This law from God for Israel might sound like it fits well with one American political ideology:
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:9-10).
And this instruction from the Apostke Paul to a pastor might sound like it fits the opposing one:
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever
(1 Timothy 5:8).
This might sound like the battle cry of one type of 2016-American movement:
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’ The Lord God has sworn by his holiness that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks (Amos 4:1-2).
And this might resemble the signal of an opposing one:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval (Romans 13:1-3).
And the reason for this is that God’s Kingdom isn’t perfectly congruous with any earthly one. Which is good, because it means our Prince is better than any earthly one.
Listen, I can’t and won’t agree with everything that makes up American political conservatism, because American political conservatism isn’t the exact same thing as the Kingdom and Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same goes for my favorite talk show host, editorialist, and TED Talk (if I had one). And for you, whatever political or social movement or platform you have found most persuasive will almost certainly not line up with the Bible exactly. So simply go back, regularly, to the source of your new identity to get recalibrated. You’ll do the world the most good when you approach its causes and candidates with Biblically skeptical eyes; the kind that belong to wise serpents who moonlight as harmless doves.
If you’ve trusted in Jesus Christ, I exhort you to examine whether you spend far more time watching or listening to or reading an extra-Biblical source for guidance on political, social, emotional, or interpersonal issues than you do your Father and His Word. Because the Bible is wonderful in how it reminds us who we really are. And who our King really is.
I know that I know that the Word of God is the only thing that can tame a heart as fickle as mine. It reminds me to kiss the Son. For the rest I’ll reserve a polite handshake.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.