A discussion thread commenting on similar themes is here:
Today I attended a study at church on ‘Politics and Christianity.’ I don’t think many people who consider this question understand that the American situation is extremely unique in that our system explicitly allows Christians to express themselves, just as it does anyone else. For example, by contrast, in Romans 13 the context is such where the average person on the street, and Christians especially, are just outsiders. This complicates things a great deal for the Christian trying to make heads or tails on how or what our government should be doing.
I find that both politically liberal and politically conservative Christians miss the boat completely. They take opposite sides, but the result is the same thing. For example, I have a friend who is politically liberal but theologically conservative (not exactly common). This person supports all sorts of government programs for the poor, the helpless, the needy, etc. None of these are functions of the government as illustrated in Romans 13, though. See Romans 13:4 for the highlighted function. My accusation against Christians on this side of things is that if there is ever a need for a government program to help the needy, that is indicative of the fact that the Christian church has failed and has failed miserably. If the government is needed at all, it means that Christians have dropped the ball.
Interestingly, the leadership and decision makers tend to operate on politically conservative principles in the management of the organization. What I mean is that the realities of trying to manage money tends to drive people- even Liberals- to keep the eye on the bottom line. But the church is not a business entity. It is not supposed to have the eye on the bottom line. I know its hard to see that given all of the churches patterend after corporations, what with ‘boards’ and ‘chairpeople’ and what not. This isn’t a call for irresponsble money management, just as I am not saying that the government should be indifferent to the plight of its citizens. I am saying that the Christian Church has a different function than the government and a different function than businesses, but the Christian Church fails on both sides.
And when I say ‘fails,’ I mean fails utterly and disgracefully and completely. The stench of the failure makes my nose twitch. It is this failure- the failure to act in line with the specific purpose and function that God has given it- that is the cause of most non-belief and the general stagnation we see in the Church (especially the American church).
The tide will not change until Christians themselves change.