As we began the God & Politics series this past Sunday with “Kings & Kingdoms,” remember the overarching theme of the series: “Our hope for the world is not America but Jesus!” There is a difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world, especially as it relates to the use of power. The kingdom of this world exercises a “power over.” This is how governments enforce laws and keep the peace. But the kingdom of God exercises a “power under”—a self-sacrificial love that changes and transforms its citizens from the inside out. Charles Coulson in his book God & Government (listed below) explains the difference between these two kingdoms like this:
Nothing distinguishes the kingdoms of man from the Kingdom of God more than their diametrically opposed views of the exercise of power. One seeks to control people, the other to serve people; one promotes self; the other prostrates self; one seeks prestige and position, the other lifts up the lowly and despised. It is crucial for Christians to understand the difference.
Here are some recommended resources for further exploration on this important topic.
DISCLAIMER: Even though I recommend these resources, I don’t agree with everything contained within. When you read, use discernment and critical judgement to come to your own Spirit-led, biblically-informed conclusions.
God & Government – Charles Colson. Colson was Special Counsel to President Nixon. He was convicted and imprisoned after the Watergate Scandal. While in prison, he became a follower of Jesus in 1973. He wrote extensively on many subjects concerning a Christian worldview, but he has a unique vantage point and incredible insight into our response and posture as followers of Jesus in a political world.
How Would Jesus Vote? – Darrell Bock. Bock was one of my New Testament professors at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is brilliant thinker and respected biblical scholar. His book gives a good biblical framework for current issues (size of government, economics and poverty, health care, sexuality, individual rights, etc.).
Jesus Outside the Lines – Scott Sauls. Written by a pastor, Sauls helps us see Jesus and His central, unifying kingdom as the way forward in these divisive times.
Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide – Mike Slaughter & Charles Gutenson. Written by a pastor and a seminary professor, this book is a good theological and sociological assessment of how we can hold to: “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
How to Change the World – James Davison Hunter. While not for the “faint of heart” (i.e., it’s a dense book), this in-depth sociological analysis helps us see why politics cannot be our ultimate hope for change in this world.
Additional Resources. Years ago, I wrote a blog post about “upside down politics,” and I offered additional books and news sources. Some of the books are listed above, but there are additional resources listed in this post.
My prayer is that you would seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit during this political season so that you can proclaim our ultimate hope—King Jesus and His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!
What are resources you would recommend and why?