Wearing the wrong brands

Published 11:27 pm Friday, November 8, 2013

By Rev. Dr. Chris Surber

Today the church has more politics than praise. I fear we’ve become a common political demographic, rather than a countercultural movement representing a Kingdom not of this world.

For the last few decades, biblically conservative Christians have been co-opted by the Republican Party under the banner of “Take America Back for God.”

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What have we gotten out of the bargain? Nothing. We have our own political party, our own brand, but America is less “for God” than ever before. There are more abortions, more murders, more corruption and more crime.

Liberal Christian churches have been no less co-opted. On a platform of reform, justice and social progress, the Democrats garner the votes of the kinds of Christians who fought for labor equality and women’s voting rights a century ago.

Are we a more just society? No. In fact, increasing indebtedness as a nation is enslaving our children economically before they are even born.

Jesus is not politically liberal or conservative. The way of Jesus is a third thing, a new and living way. Jesus calls us out of the world, not to make a better version of it.

When Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” (Mark 12:17 KJV) that was His point. It wasn’t a God-and-country rally cry. He was saying “Check the civic box. Give the state its taxes, but give God what is His.”

What is God’s? If you are a follower of Jesus, it’s your entire life, your primary allegiance, the affections of your heart. And separating our affections from this corrupt world is the only way to find real, inner, lasting, deep freedom and peace.

We don’t need more earthly power. We are not called to wield social or political influence in the name of God. Look where that has gotten us.

Is it really fitting for a Christian to become contemptibly emotionally engaged in political concerns?

What did Jesus say about the cares of this world? “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19 KJV)

Our joy should be to glorify the King of Heaven, not to make kings in this world.

We are more concerned with who gets elected temporarily in November than who finds their way to Christ for eternity at any time of the year.

That’s a terrible way for a Christian to live — having sold his new birthright of peace as a citizen of the eternal kingdom for a bowl of porridge in this world, even as we watch it fading away.

I love this country. I’ve got the Marine Corps tattoo to prove it. But I love Jesus more. Much more. So much more that while I was always willing to die for my country once, I’m willing to die to self in His service every day.

The church has established its brand with self-serving politicians seeking re-election and in the process has all but silenced her prophetic voice in the land.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not wearing political brands any longer. Don’t call me conservative or liberal. Call me follower of Jesus. Nothing more.

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at www.chrissurber.com.