This past week, I was reading a book by Bruce Ashford from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, called Letters to an American Christian. The book contains ‘letters’ written from him to a young conservative, evangelical Christian who seeks to make his way into journalism as a conservative, Christian writer (or should I say, a writer who happens to be Christian). As many who are Bible believing Christ-followers know, they have their work cut out for them in most state universities. Ashford is helpful in categorizing most political ideologies into four groups:
- Liberalism: in the beginning, liberalism was committed to constitution and representative government that emphasized liberty and personal freedom. The trajectory took a turn that now absolutizes someone’s independence—their ‘right’ to be free from external control or influence.
- Conservatism: As the root word shows, it’s goal is to ‘conserve the social norms and cultural heritage of a particular nation, usually it seeks to conserve a particular era of that nation’s heritage.” So any change, any reform agenda is often met with chagrin. Usually, those who embrace this embrace the values of their childhood. The principles are simply, “This is how it was!”
- Nationalism: Emphasizes a “nation” and usually identifies one criterion—such as language, culture, race, homeland, constitutional order—as the unifying feature of the nation.
- Socialism: An agenda that centers on redistributing society’s wealth in order to force economic equality among its citizens.
These are the political ideologies are what dominate our culture in general and the political landscape in particular. And when issues arise dealing with abortion, marriage, racism, and immigration matters, you can find yourself talking about a bunch of matters. And I know for sure that once these matters are brought up even in church, we do not hesitate to open our mouths about our beliefs on these matters, do we?
What our country desperately needs is for Christians to open their mouths. Being a liberal, conservative, nationalist or socialist are matters of conversation. Each of them need discussion in our culture to show the implications of each. And there is a place and a time to examine each of these prevailing agendas and how to approach each of them biblically as followers of Jesus.
If we are going to open our mouths as Christians, let’s never forget and never neglect to open our mouths for what our country most desperately needs: gospel conversations which will lead to gospel conversions!
Here’s a way to go about it: