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The Prince of Peace and Our Politics: Healing Our Divide

Posted by Dr. Greg Austen on Dec 17, 2020 7:00:00 AM

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

- Jesus (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

In the evangelical, pro-life culture I serve in, I have some of the best of friends. Politically, we don’t always see eye-to-eye; in fact, sometimes it can seem like we’re on different planets. BUT… we love and trust one another and, post-election, we’re trying really hard to listen better and find common ground. And let’s be both honest and empathetic: This election cycle has been tough on everyone—regardless of who you voted or didn’t vote for—leaving many of us feeling like we need some form of trauma therapy!

In what follows, I want to offer four quotes, a podcast, and a passage of Scripture that my politically diverse colleagues and I have shared among ourselves. May God use them to bring you and those you’re called to serve healing, peace, clarity, courage, and strength to lead in these challenging times.

Here are four valuable quotes from Christian leaders that don’t all share the same political views among themselves:

  • “Absolutely stand up for those policies that you think are crucial. But have the humility to realize that wise and faithful people can legitimately disagree. The fact that your friend or family member doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean that they are suddenly foolish or complicit with the forces of darkness.”1 -Shaunti Feldhahn, best-selling author
  • “Our inability to understand the rationality of an opposing viewpoint is more often a failure of imagination on our part than a failure of rationality on theirs. The difference between the camps cannot be that one side is truly Christian while the other is not, or that either side possesses a monopoly on good ideas and good intentions. Countless men and women striving with every bone and tendon to follow Jesus stand on both sides… charitable disagreement requires that we represent our brothers and sisters at their best. We do our faith no favors when we caricature our fellow faithful.”2 -Timothy Dalrymple, President and CEO of Christianity Today
  • “We have ceased to see those who disagree with us as opponents and now see them as enemies. The moment we discern someone’s political affiliation, we ostracize them, other-ize them and de-humanize them. And by ‘we’ I mean professed Christians… After humbling ourselves and acknowledging how our choices have hurt our fellow brothers and sisters, repentance compels us to change direction. This includes changing how we talk about each other AND how we talk to each other.”3 -Nona Jones, Founder of Faith and Prejudice
  • “Our goal as Christians and Christian ministers is never simply to build our own tribe. Instead, we seek the peace and prosperity of the city or community in which we are placed, through a gospel movement led by the Holy Spirit. Movements like these do not follow a ‘bounded-set’ approach in which you only work with others who can sign off on nearly all your distinctive beliefs and practices. Rather it follows a ‘centered-set’ orientation in which you work most closely with those who face with you toward the center. That center is a classic, orthodox understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a common mission to reach and serve your city, and a commitment to have a generous, Christ-focused posture toward people who disagree with you. It’s a type of movement that is missional, integrative, and dynamic.”4 -Tim Keller, best-selling author and Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

Here’s an excellent 30-minute podcast by Pete Scazerro, co-founder of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship on Seeing God in the Eyes of Your Enemy. In it, Pete says, “we learn an important lesson from Martin Buber, a well-known German-Jewish theologian who lived during WWI.”

Finally, here’s a great passage of Scripture that reminds us that in this time the Prince of Peace—the Light of the World—can shine even brighter through His people if we lift Him up and show his grace and truth to a watching world:

“Praise the LORD!
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands…
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord…”

Psalm 112:1, 4-7, ESV


1. https://mailchi.mp/shaunti/we-have-a-choice-to-make?e=33481ee116

2. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/trump-election-politics-church-kingdom.html

3. https://mailchi.mp/a9f6951f6ea4/how-to-change-your-life-6072959?e=e5dd7a13ea

4. Center Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 252. 

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