During these past months I have read some very absurd claims on social media from both a more “liberal” type of Christian and those deemed “conservative.” On the liberal side, I read a fellow Christian I greatly respect make the claim that if you aren’t a part of Black Lives Matter you’re not a Christian. I read later by someone else that you cannot be a Christian and vote democrat. One side (the former) seems to feel that Christianity is simply about mending social issues (which veers greatly towards the social gospel) whereas the other side (the latter) seems to feel that the gospel is the good news of the Republican Party. I do think both of these pictures are incomplete and are gross distortions of what the gospel really is and intends to do.
To make the gospel more about a movement of our day than about Christ and the Cross (and all the radical implications that go with this) is to water down the gospel, sanitizing it beyond recognition. When one cannot fellowship and worship alongside a fellow Christian because he or she belongs to a different party (or voted for someone other than our choice candidate), that is the moment one ceases being Christ-like; that’s when displaying a political candidate has become more important than displaying Jesus to a dying world. Or honoring our party’s virtues has become more important than honoring Christ’s. Or when our political agenda overtakes our primary agenda of pursuing love of God and neighbor.
This isn’t a call for Christians to stay out of politics and social issues of the day but rather a feeble call for a reexamination of our loyalty/loyalties. If you are a Christian and a democrat, remember that you first are a Christian (=your allegiance is first and foremost to Christ); if you’re a Christian and a republican, remember that God did not call you to be pledged to a party but to be pledged to Himself. As Christians we are called to engage issues of our day and yet always remember that Jesus is Lord, Caesar (=Obama/Trump/our party of choice) is not.
If push comes to shove, I will never die for a political party. I hope that as Christians we will bring back the heartbeat of early Christianity, which said that to live for Christ (not a finite and passing institution) is highest gain and honor, second only to dying for Him (an honor which far exceeds even dying for one’s own country).