What Difference do My Beliefs Make for the World Around Me?
Elizabeth, Toph, and I were in Washington D.C. this last week for The Just Gospel Conference (videos of the sessions are found here). Alongside a time of worship with our fellow TCT Church, Restoration Church, our time was extremely encouraging. The theme of the conference was Pilgrim Politics, and the content centered on healing conversations about Christians and Politics. One of the speakers, Vincent Bacote, a professor at Wheaton College and the author of The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life, reframed the word “political” for me, which sheds further light on 2 Thess 1. Bacote asked the question, “Can we be Christian and political?” He answered that great question by defining his terms. Politics is the pursuit of the common good of all people. It is a way to love your neighbor. I’ve never thought of politics like that before. Now, when I read Paul’s thanksgiving in 2 Thessalonians 1:3, I wonder what the full range of expressions of love is. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for another is increasing. What does this increasing love look like? I am sure it looks like words of love dressed up in visible deeds towards one another. What deeds, though? Evangelism, Christ-centered ethics, and sacrificial giving of goods and person would make the list. Bacote has me wondering now, if politics defined as a way to love your neighbor, has room at the table. Bacote encouraged us to engage in politics, to whatever degree we can, as the distinct people of God as we seek the good of all people, especially their eternal good. One of the most specific areas of distinction for Christians is that we are a waiting people. We yearn for the day when Christ will come to be glorified in his saints and to be marveled at among all who have believed (2 Thess 2:10). Bacote, in the postscript of his book, asked a good question to consider this week. What difference do my beliefs make for the world around me?
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,