“Conservative religious people involved in kingdom-of-the-world thinking often believe that their enemies are the liberals, the gay activist, the ACLU, the pro-choice advocates, the evolutionist, and so on. On the opposite side, liberal religious people often think that their enemies are the fundamentalists, the gay bashers, the Christian coalition, the anti-Habel abortionist, and so on. Demonizing one’s enemies is part of the tit for tat game of Babylon but only by doing so can we justify our animosity, if not violence, toward them. What we have here are two different religious versions of the kingdom of the world going at each other. If we were thinking along the lines of the Kingdom of God, however, we would realize that none of the people are whom the kingdom of God citizens are called to fight against. Rather, they are people whom the Kingdom of God citizens are called to fight for.” 48 Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd
This brings up an interesting point. This is the curse of Christianity‘s history. It might seem minor to change one word, but it is so fundamental. In the first century, the apostles cared for the pagans that happened to be in power rather than trying to win them to the Kingdom of God. Paul spent the last years of his saved life going after them. When they were before Roman politicians, they sought to fight for their soul, they tried to share Christ with them. They had the correct theology inside of politics and outside of politics. This is what Greg Boyd is challenging in this quote. He is challenging the attitude people have towards those on the other side as merely political enemies instead of souls in need of Christ. Those who seek the political influence that the kingdom of the world offers have bad theology when they do this. They have a truncated theology in how they view their fellow man in the political realm. They get all power hungry when they realize that the government offers them potentially unlimited power over other people’s lives. Another way to put it is they have the correct geology, doctrine and theories about truth, but their application or practice of the theology is off.
Let’s say, for example, Theo is one of those liberals that they talk about. Mark happens to be sitting on the bus next to this guy, and they start talking. Mark is a conservative Christian that tries to be open to sharing his faith with those God puts in his path. Eventually, they begin to start talking politics in theology on a deeper level. It becomes clear they are dramatically opposed. Mark does not call his buddy Terry down at the police station and tell him to meet him at the next bus stop so that Theo can be arrested and fined for his bad beliefs. No, he tries to persuade him in that moment. Eventually, Mark has shared the gospel and shared his views on how to live the Christian life and eventually, they part ways.
If we cannot persuade them by reasoning with them directly, then we must wipe the dust off our feet and leave room for God to do the work. Milton Friedman, a famous economist, is known for saying that oftentimes, moral laws are passed in order to force people to do what they were not really persuaded to do based on reason or persuasion. Whether you are Arminian or Calvinist we can both agree that we cannot change any non-believers' minds or hearts about moral issues. Arminians believe that people’s free choice/will is keeping them from believing while a Calvinist says God is not reaching out to them in power to overcome their sinful rebellion, thus God is the reason. So why do we think it will be effective to send people to force others to abide by a law that they are hostile towards and thus unable to obey in their sinful nature (Romans 8:7-8) The acts they are doing consensual (partaking in drugs, sex outside of marriage, porn, other forms of immoral acts) so they are free to partake in these acts. Instead we think that the role of the government is to regulate people’s morality when it comes to how they freely choose to pursue their own version of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness when that is not the role of the government, and that’s not the role of the police. The government’s role is to fight off nonconsensual acts of aggression (theft, battery, rape, abortion).
As Christians, we have been called to love our neighbor as oneself. This includes neighbors that appear to be in the wrong, thinking lies. We love them as we love ourselves. We love ourselves and tell ourselves the truth, but they have their own path to walk. God is in control and can’t help them come to their senses. We must reject the offer to have power over people’s lives like Jesus did when the devil came and offered him justice (There is a whole book written on the subject of paralleling Jesus’ temptation with our temptation to grab political power called a third temptation) Ultimately, that power is temporary, it is not real, it is like holding a beach ball underwater, the minute you let up, they are back to their old ways. The law of Christ calls us to help one another with our burdens, not be another burden.
I want to end this article with a passage in the Bible on love, first Wednesday and 13. Think of how you can love your neighbor in this way. As you said to Peter, put the sword down, stop cutting their ears off. Think of this passage whether it sounds like politics or persuasively loving one another.
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish