Building Foundations, Not Fences - Politics Week 2 (Spirit and Law; Church and State))

Week 3 & 4 Resources - Jesus and Politics

Good Faith Debates: Modeling Disagreement with Civility - 

  • These videos, produced by The Gospel Coalition, demonstrate how Christians can dialogue respectfully with one another about key issues (gun control, race, pro-life agenda) without having to come to the exact same conclusion.
  • In Fall 2022, our Wednesday night men's small group used these videos for discussion and to prompt Bible study and prayer.

Truth over Tribe interview with David French -

  • David French is a First Amendment lawyer and committed Christian who writes and podcasts frequently about faith and politics.
  • Truth over Tribe provides a podcast and resources seeking to unite Christians across party lines. Their group is probably a little further left on some issues than most people within our church, but they seem to approach questions from an orthodox, thoughtful perspective.
  • The interview with David French is especially helpful, because it summarizes some key points about recent political developments and how Christians might respond.

Jonathan Leeman article (excerpt from upcoming book)

  • Leeman has written previously about political theology and church governance.
  • This article is pretty technical when it comes to political terminology and concepts, but it lays out an important viewpoint for those seeking to navigate the current political climate.

Bart Barber "60 Minutes" interview - 

  • In October 2022, Anderson Cooper interview Bart Barber, the 2022 President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Though Christians might disagree with certain elements of Barber's answers, the interview is a solid example of someone providing a Christian testimony in response to questions about hard issues.

Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides, by Scott Sauls

  • This book probably belongs under the "general resources" heading for this sermon series, but I've included it here because Sauls uses the topic of politics to set the stage for how Christians can engage various issues with wisdom and grace.
  • He has complementary book to this one, called A Gentle Answer: Our 'Secret Weapon' in an Age of Us Against Them.

Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask, by David Platt

  • Platt wrote this book before the 2020 election.
  • Several resources exist for those preparing to vote; but if you don't have a starting point, this short book is a great option.

Not In It to Win It: Why Choosing Sides Sidelines the Church, by Andy Stanley

  • I recognize that Andy Stanley is not well-received in some Christian circles (and you'll find elements within this book with which to disagree). In this book, though, he addresses some of his statements from the past, and more importantly, diagnoses the deep divisions within the church over the past few years.
  • Stanley draws on church history, on Paul's New Covenant focus, and especially on Jesus' life and teachings to show how Christians can love one another and make disciples of all nations, without allowing politics to divide and distract them from their mission.

When Leaders Matter: How Civility, Integrity, and the Leaders We Need Are Possible, by Joel Harder

  • Joel is the founder and president of Oklahoma Capitol Culture and Chaplain of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Week 4 Sermon Notes - Spirit and Law; Church and State

Building Foundations, Not Fences

Week 4 // Politics (Part 2) 

1 Peter 2:9-17

1. God and Government (Last Week)

2. Jesus and Politics (Last Week)

3. Spirit and Law

  1. Creation - life; order (Word and Spirit)
  2. Old Testament Law - contextual, wisdom
  3. Old Testament Writings - wisdom and worship
  4. Spirit Promised - new heart / transformed mind
  5. Jesus’ Law and Spirit
  6. Fulfilled the Law
  7. Focused on the Heart - Sermon on the Mount "political speech"
  8. Gathered Disciples

4. Church and State

  1. Gen 1-2 - Relationship - not good to be alone
  2. Gen 3-12
  3. Empires - division, rebellion, violence
  4. Abram - nation called in faith to bless others
  5. God shaped a people of faith by His mercy
  6. Israel and the Nations
  7. Jesus builds His Church (Matt. 16)
  8. Spirit empowers the Church
  9. Church - Spirit-empowered, Scripture-based
  10. Made up of many nations, peoples
  11. Exiles and Strangers in the world
  12. **1 Peter 2:9-17
  13. Churches must maintain their Witness (Revelation)

Spirit = Inside Out Politics

  1. Fruit - Holiness / Heart
  2. Wisdom - Discernment / Mind 
  3. Gifts - Empowerment; Creativity / Body
  4. Being who God has created you to be
  5. Doing what God has called you to do
  6. Some areas where Christians have served throughout history - medicine; arts; education; crisis response; care for the vulnerable (unborn, young, women, immigrants, poor)
  7. Persuasion - witness (not force)

Church = Upside Down Politics

  1. Start close, then move outward
  2. Heart, Home, Community, State, Federal
  3. Importance of "local" churches, as part of wider Body of Christ
  4. *Proclaim and Display Challenge #4 - Invite someone (especially someone you might not know well) for dinner, coffee, or dessert
  5. Serve
  6. Christians understand Jesus' call to serve, not be served
  7. We want to elect “public servants” (character, integrity, policies)
  8. Free Church in a Free State
  9. Baptist history and distinctives
  10. Some Christians might disagree on the exact relationship between church and state, but we recognize the dangers of a church-controlled state and a state-controlled church.
  11. Sharpen One Another
  12. Churches are made stronger by having a variety of perspectives (not insisting that everyone share the same political viewpoint)
  13. Jesus' disciples had different backgrounds and political viewpoints
  14. We learn from others, and we learn how to live alongside others
  15. Christians recognize they are impacted by sin and by their limits as humans.
  16. We are best positioned to receive critique and value others.
  17. Danger of Motive attribution asymmetry - seeing the best in one's own group, and seeing only the worst in others/enemies
  18. “One ugly reality about hating your political opponents is that you start off hating their vices and end up hating their virtues as well. In your contempt, you begin to believe that everything about them is wrong, even their insights and practices that could improve you.” - Justin Gibboney
  19. Proclaim AND Display Jesus
  20. As a church, we want to display the love, hope, and power of Jesus to the world.
  21. As a church, we will never back down from the truth of the Gospel and the need to call people to trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

He has told you, O man, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?

-Micah 6:8