Doing Politics Well: Ten Propositions for People of Faith


Over at the Evangelical Portal on Patheos, Dean C. Curry offers sage advice for how Christians should do politics:

Proposition 1: The Christian faith is not irrelevant to political life, but there is a right way and wrong way to understand that relationship.

Proposition 2: While the Christian faith is not irrelevant to politics, there is no distinctive biblical or Christian politics…

Proposition 3: A proper Christian understanding and approach to politics is grounded in a proper understanding of biblical authority (special revelation) and in natural law (general revelation)…

Proposition 4: The Bible alone is not sufficient for a proper and faithful Christian understanding and engagement of politics because the Bible is not a textbook of politics…

Proposition 5: But in three ways the Bible does have direct relevance to a Christian understanding and approach to politics:

  • The Bible provides a mandate for Christians to engage the world;
  • The Bible provides a glimpse of the purpose and destiny of history;
  • The Bible provides authoritative principles that should guide the Christian’s engagement of politics, principles such as loving God, loving our neighbor, acting justly, and valuing human life.

Proposition 6: While the Bible provides principles relevant to political life, it does not provide the missing ingredient for translating principles into policy; namely, what the ancients called prudence or practical wisdom, insight and knowledge…

Proposition 7: Christians should not and cannot do their faith only on Sundays. For the Christian citizen, faith inevitably and rightly motivates, informs, and shapes an engagement of all of life, including politics…

Proposition 8: While the Christian as citizen plays a vital role in political life, the Church’s primary responsibility is to be the Church: to proclaim the Good News of redemption. It’s imperative that Church be a sacred space apart from the world of prudential politics. The Church is a reminder that politics isn’t everything…

Proposition 9: Unfortunately, confusion or inattention to the different roles and responsibilities of the Church and the Christian as citizen can undermine and even corrupt the witness of the Church as well as the activism of the Christian citizen.

Proposition 10: Christians must never be intimidated away from political life by the strident hostility and politically correct agenda of secularists and their allies…

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2 thoughts on “Doing Politics Well: Ten Propositions for People of Faith

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  1. This is a very good list. On proposition 10, however, I have a concern. Over the past 40 years, I have found that “strident hostility and politically correct agenda(s)” are not the purview of “secularists and their allies” only. One need only read through a few threads of FB to see how debased so-called believers can become in their verbal assaults on other believers who voice a different nuance of politic. Such rhetoric is less forgivable among people who take their faith seriously precisely because it does, as Curry proposes, “corrupt the witness of the Church as well as the activism of the Christian citizen.” So my takeaway is that I should not acquiesce to silence out of fear of the intimidations of fellow believers. Easier said than done, oh cowardly man that I am. It seems I’d rather face the lions of hell than the tigers of heaven.

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