Church Planting as Political Expression
November 15, 2016
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The Greek word from which we get the adjective political is polis. A polis is a structured social community and is often translated “city.” To be political is to put forth ways of how a community should be structured, how decisions are made, what tasks need to be assigned for the common good, and how power is to be distributed. The church is a polis, in that it is a structured social community of divine origin and mandate. The church demonstrates our politics when we put forth ways of being a community that are consistent with the biblical worldview. We stand as a called out community in God’s Kingdom working to demonstrate—in how we live, act and treat others—what the world will ultimately become when the reign of God's Kingdom is completely realized. This is what we mean when we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
When we plant a new faith community we are establishing a new polis. It is a political action that follows the will of God as manifest in Christ. We demonstrate a new reality that presents a sharp contrast to the politics of the world. We follow Christ in offering a posture of submission to the other which allows us to be faithfully present. In this submissive posture of presence we are called to love our enemies, to care for the least and marginalized in our society, to embrace every tribe and tongue, and divest ourselves of the pursuit of power. We become the city (polis) on a hill that displays the light of Christ’s Kingdom as we do what the Lord requires of us, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This is our politics. This is our call to political action. At times seeking justice, caring for the poor, and defending the week will move us to partner with one political party and at times it will call us to reject that same party. We seek first the mandate of God's Kingdom to love our neighbor—regardless of ethnicity, religious affiliation, color, economic status, physical attributes or gender—and trust that God’s politics will exceed the politics of man.
In the last week the division in our nation has been illuminated by the election process, not created by that process. As a denomination one way we respond to the call of God to be a unique people is the establishment of a polis, our unique communal expression demonstrating an alternative political expression under the reign of God. We stand united, under Christ, as we work together to bring about justice and demonstrate the hope of a new way of life under the Lordship of the risen Christ. Our politics echo that of the prophet, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” This is how we bring healing and unity to a nation wounded and divided. Church planting understood as political expression may have never been more needed than it is today.
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