Last summer, Doug Wilson wrote my favorite blog post of the year Jesus and Conservatism. In the post, Wilson argues Christians should be political conservatives. In support of his controversial statement, he wrote the following,
When I describe some of where I am, there is no intimation that anybody else has any obligation to be at that same place — a Wilson, an American, a male, a blues aficionado and so forth. To accept differences of this sort is to rejoice in a triune God who did not make us all the same. Trying to “fix” the differences of others like this is to fight for a boring world. Celebrate diversity, man.
But there is a difference between honoring the differences that God placed in His world and trying to honor the differences that sin brought in. The former is Trinitarian, and the latter is rebellion.
Now to say that Jesus wants me to be a male is not to say that He wants that for everybody else. He doesn’t want that for approximately half of us. But to say that Jesus led me into conservatism (for example) is to say that it would be better if others did that too. This is not ideological imperialism; rather, it is what it means to think something, at least something of this nature.
“I think I’ll have another helping of potatoes” says absolutely nothing about what other people ought to be thinking. But “I think that two oranges and two more of them make four” is a claim that I believe to be binding on others.
So when I claim, as I recently have, that belief in the lordship of Jesus Christ obligates us to a position that honors the concept of limited government, I really am saying that everybody needs to get good with this. The Bible teaches it. So then, someone will say, “you are claiming that Jesus is a conservative”? Not really — given where He is, at the right hand of the Father, I really don’t know how the label would attach. But I am willing to say that He wants you to be one.
I think Wilson was right. In the postmodern western world, we like to say things like, “You don’t have to be a ______ to be a Christian.” Depending on what you put in the blank, the speaker may be right. But it is important to remember that no matter what the issue, Jesus has an opinion on it and His opinion is right!
Inspired by the Spirit of God, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8). The Bible also generally admonishes wisdom (Proverbs 16:16). I believe it is wise to be politically conservative, if, for no other reason, than it conservatism works and liberalism & socialism don’t. I believe the evidence for this argument is overwhelming and over a series of posts, I hope to show the wisdom of supporting life, traditional marriage, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, a strong military and a generally free market.
For example, historically, the overall increase of a nation’s wealth has been the best way to alleviate poverty. Government intervention in to the free market (with a few notable exceptions) has been counterproductive at best and disastrous at worst (as I will demonstrate). Thus, if followers of Jesus are truly committed to helping the poor (Matt. 25:31-46), we should minimal intervention in to the free market.
Now, please understand that I am not arguing that Jesus is a Republican. The Republican Party is generally conservative but welcomes those who are pro-abortion and want to undefine marriage. The Bible Jesus inspired does not support such stances. Thus, I do not believe Jesus would align himself with either of the two major American parties. But I believe modern conservatism does align with Biblical principles and I will strive to show you why over the next few weeks (or months…however long it takes).
I realize this strikes many people the wrong way. We have a tendency to become very touchy about our political opinions. They often border on idolatrous. But following Jesus means giving up the center of one’s self for Him and embracing true wisdom. So, if the Bible and reason point to the truth of a small central government, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, the protection of the unborn, etc. then that is where followers of Jesus should go regardless.
I understand this is difficult because I do not want to be a conservative. I generally do not like the evangelical subculture. I generally do not like “uptight” people. I was an atheist for ten years. I ran away to Hollywood at 17. I like to hang with counter-cultural types like artists and academics. I like cigars, scotch, hard rock, Will Ferrell comedies and all kinds of other stuff that conservatives typically hate. But I’m also a guy that is convinced by historical evidence and here the weight on one side is overwhelming.
I hope and pray for open minds…but I can be kind of naive.
Grace and peace.