Monday, December 04, 2006

God's Politics

I have just finished reading God's Politics by Jim Wallis. The major impression I got from the book is that God must be American, because his politics are all almost entirely about the United States. Bizarre!

Jim takes a few verses from the prophetic books of the Old Testament and builds a major political theology around them. I found this approach quite shallow. In terms of the criteria outlined by Ravi Zacharias, Wallis is arguing about issues without ever having established clear principles.

The most important question about the role and limitations of politics is never asked. Jim is a believer in politics. He just assumes that the state can solve any and every social problem. For example, "Only values based politics can overcome our spiritual poverty".

Any political action is justified, provided it contributes to the "common good". The problem is that the "common good" is never defined. I suspect that the common good is a wide gate, that almost any political wagon can be driven through.

On the other hand, I have to respect his compassion for those who are poor or suffering.


Aaron said...

I have the book, but have yet to read it. I've been getting the Sojourners e-newsletter for a little while, and I'd have to agree with you on the apparent lack of depth.

Ron McK said...

Thanks Aaron
You should read the book. Despite my converns he raises some intersting issues about the American political scene.

Aaron said...

I will. You should check out Greg Boyd if you haven't already. I think you'd like him.

Ron McK said...

I have not read Boyd's book, but I have listened to his sermon series on MP3. I liked his lack of confidence in politics, better than Wallis' faith in politics.

My concern was with his frequent statement that there is a ambiguity about political issues that means that sincere Christians can end up in opposing positions. He uses the word ambigous quite often. I cannot accept that ambiguity. The word of God covers the whole of life, so if we look in the right place with honest eyes we must be able to find God's view on these political issues. Some or all of those sincere Christians must be wrong.

I agree with his position that we must not be using power over. In the current environment, we should be putting all our efforts into evangelism. However, if the most people in society become Christians, we will have to come with Christian answers about how the economy and society should be organised. We should start work on that challenge now, so that we will not be caught on the hop, if the Holy Spirit does the job.