Faith & Politics

Joel is taking time this week to answer some questions we couldn’t get to at Sunday’s Faith & Politics event.

Should churches celebrate the 4th of July?

Sunday night, I answered this question within the context of churches celebrating the 4th within their gathered worship. The heart of my answer was that we must always hold the Two Kingdoms tension. We must always remember we are citizens of one kingdom (Christ’s) before we are citizens of any other (USA, the world, etc.). My concern would be that if churches were to hold patriotic themed worship services, it could possibly introduce the blurring of those lines, and, therefore a distraction from our true focus and allegiance.

Since Sunday, many have asked, “Ok, I think I agree with you there. But, is it okay for Christians to celebrate the 4th of July?”

I think this is perfectly fine. The 4th has always been a personal favorite holiday and I think it offers a wonderful chance to gather with friends/neighbors/fellow citizens to celebrate the common grace that God has granted our country. I think this contributes to the common good, as well.  I just would urge caution for patriotic celebration within the gathered worship of the church.

I have a friend who claims it’s a sin to vote. I’ve others who say it is sin not to vote. What say you?

To my mind, this questions illustrates a sincere attempt to wrestle with the Two Kingdoms dynamic.  For some participation in the political process seem wrong.  For others, to not take advantage of our recourse to contribute, would be wrong.  I would argue that neither is a “sin.”

I think this is an issue that, again, comes down to Christian conscience. The kind of participation, and to what degree, what our participation should look like, etc. is an issue that different Christians will see differently. Either way, as presented Sunday night, Christians do have a responsibility to the Common Good. Voting can be a way to serve the Common Good, but it isn’t the only way.