NEXT STEPS for Three Village Church

There are a number of ways you can start putting the ideas we discussed this weekend into practice, or ways you can dive deeper into ideas that may have been new for you. One of the best places to start is to subscribe to our newsletter and podcast, and check out our blog. Links to our blog, podcast and newsletter are in the “about Christian Civics” section below.

Recommended Reading
In addition, there are a number of commendable books that you may be interested in to dive deeper into some of the topics we discussed this weekend.
Surprised By Community: Republicans and Democrats In the Same Pew

Rev. Drew’s book on finding political peace in our church communities is one of the best places to start if you’d like to carry this conversation forward in your own life or with your small group.

Political Visions and Illusions (Second Edition)

David Koyzis does a commendable job of examining contemporary political ideologies and articulating where they reflect and distort elements of Christian ethics and morality.

Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture

Lesslie Newbigin’s 1980’s primer on how to critique our own culture from within through the perspective of the gospel is an essential read for anyone wanting to learn how to witness to people we may already identify with closely.

ISSUES FACING CHRISTIANS TODAY (Fourth Edition)

The venerable John Stott offers wise and practical advice on Christian engagement with critical contemporary issues.

Contact Rick and Charlie

Learn More about Christian Civics

Our ministry was founded by two political opponents who shared a passionate commitment to serving the church. If you’d like to hear more from our ministry, you can learn more about our vision and our work by checking out our blog and our podcast!

Slide Content

Want to refresh yourself on the main points? The main outline from the slideshow is below!

Introduction

Overview

Why care about politics?
Why care about our political behavior?
How do we deal with political diversity?

The Christian Civics Approach

Multi-Partisan
Discipleship-Oriented
Church-Centered

Defining Terms

Politics
  • Partisan Politics
  • Government
  • Public Square
Liberal/Conservative
  • Partisan
  • Cultural
  • Theological
  • Philosophical

Relationships To Government

Biblical

  • Monarch
  • Appointed Official 
  • Subject

Modern US

  • Citizen
  • Elected Official
  • Civil Service

Modeling the good news means living out the story of…

  • …glorious creation.
  • …tragic fall.
  • …sacrificial incarnation.
  • …radical redemption.
  • …confident consummation.

A few ways this plays out:

  • Incarnation
    • Prioritize the local, the neighbor and the direct. “Jericho road.”
  •  Select Partnerships Differently
    •  Partnerships are necessary.
    • Partnerships can send dangerous messages.
    • Partnerships should be approached holistically.
  • Process Hatred Differently
    • Honor
    • Repent
    • Identify
    • Heal

Prayer

The kind of prayer we need to prepare our hearts and our communities for effective witness in a polarized age is…
  • …private.
  • …plural.
  • …corporate.
  • …formative.

The Easy way to pray: Copy Paul

  • Romans 1:8–10
  • 1 Corinthians 1:4–9
  • Ephesians 1:15–20
  • Philippians 1:3–6
  • Philippians 1:9–11
  • Colossians 1:3–14
  • In each of these prayers, Paul repeats five themes. He prays…
  • …for their faith.
  • …for/about the desire to support them in prayer.
  • …for grace and holiness to abound in them.
  • …that they would be filled with Jesus’ presence and power.
  • …for their lives to bring glory to Christ.
 

Love in and from the church

Love is the reason we disagree about politics:
  • We care.
  • We are Christ’s body.

The church is the source of witness; it is the locus of witness. … The presence of a new reality, the presence in the shared life of the church of the Spirit who is the arrabon (the down-payment) of the kingdom, has become possible because of what Jesus has done, because of his incarnation, his ministry as the obedient child of his Father, his suffering and death, his resurrection, AND his ascension into heaven and his session at the right hand of God. … [This new reality’s] visible embodiment will be a community that lives by this story…

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

Avenues of Disagreement

  • Differing Priorities
  • Differing Experiences
  • Differing Glorious/Fallen Emphasis
  • Differing Strategies
  • Cultural Anthropomorphism
  • Differing “Middle Layers”

Finding Political Peace

Jesus wants us to manage our anger in the church:
 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you [plural] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility … that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two.

Ephesians 2

I … ask … that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

John 17

Never forget that the only social institution that will survive the fires at the end of history is the church—America will cease to be, along with the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the NRA, and the ACLU. And the church will survive, not on the margins of society, but at its center. We will be the society. Our task now is to prove that this is so not simply by the fact of our engagement with the world but by the quality of it, and, above all, by the quality of our life together. We must demonstrate the winsome power of Christ to break down the walls that divide us—including the political walls. God help us. Much is at stake.

Surprised by Community, page 130

Idolatries that challenge political peace

  • Nationalism
  • Tribalism
  • Statism
  • Triumphalism
  • Privacy
  • Cynicism
  • Nihilism

Fear: A Heresy That Divides Us

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? … For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8

Fostering Political Diversity

Two vital distinctions:

  • Between theocracy and influence
  • Between principle and strategy
 

The wrong way to pray

Do not pray for others to be re-made into your image.

We follow Jesus not simply by promoting what he says but by embracing his way of doing things—his modus operandi. … He let go of his glory, rights, privileges, and freedoms as the eternal Son in order to join us fully in our human condition and to serve us there. But he did so without taking on our values. … Jesus’ manner of engaging the world gives us a mandate for involvement. But it also reins in the foolish triumphalism that makes us impatient with our neighbors and with one another. To choose Jesus’ M.O. is to choose faithfulness and service over outcomes, leaving the latter in God’s hands. We can expect to be resisted, we can even expect to suffer—for to love the world as Jesus did means, at heart, taking up a cross—not winning an argument or an election. Nevertheless our efforts have value and lasting effect: insofar as we are obedient, wise, and loving in our public lives, God notes our efforts, rejoices over them, and values them as tokens of what is to be when his Son returns to make all things right. What is more, in some mysterious way, he causes them to last, promising that our “labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Surprised By Community, pp. 127–129

The medium way to pray

Praise common principle.

 

The Hard way to pray

Confess and correct.

  • Offer confession.
  • Solicit correction.