In another setting, he said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53).
The first quote reflects a political truism. The second describes a spiritual reality that still hounds those who follow him.
In retrospect, we know that Jesus was not organizing a political or military insurgency against either Herod or Caesar. He and his apostles both teach those who believe in him to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Matt 22:21; Romans 13; 1Tim 2:1-2).
So, as we anticipate a changing of the guard through the installation of a new president, here are a couple of thoughts:
- Acceptance of Christ is the ultimate pro-life issue.
- We value a government that provides freedom of religious expression.
- To avoid dividing the country over unenforceable moral issues, we may need to settle for freedom to divide over the issue of whether to personally accept Jesus as our only way to escape a culture of death.
- Maybe we need to return to the practice of the early church. In a society where abortion and infanticide were common, followers of Christ developed a reputation for not aborting their own children, and even for saving from the garbage other people’s children who were left to die.
- The same might be said for other divisive moral issues that reflect differences of spiritual and religious conviction.
- This may be a way to unite nationally and politically around “least common denominator” social issues, while giving the church a chance to develop a reputation for believing that Jesus really is the ultimate and defining pro-life (and pro-choice) issue.
- Moral advocacy, where needed, would be expressed through our own example, and by a “prophetic voice” that has the marks of wisdom and grace rather than mud slinging, partisan, political struggle for social control.
Am guessing that maybe we are even at a place where we can see that failed efforts to capture faith-based public policy can produce a backlash that ultimately makes it difficult to show that Christ is a much greater issue for us than Caesar.