« Topic #5: Evangelicalism and Politics »

Launch Date for the Conversation: September 1, 2013

American evangelical Christians involve themselves in politics by engaging the democratic processes of governance, whether as voters, activists, government officials, or merely by discussing issues with fellow citizens. Of course, beyond the governmental ordering of local, state, national, and international community life, evangelicals are also generally interested in the ordering of their faith communities at all of these different levels. Evangelical politics is complicated by the complex overlaps between these different communities. For example, it is conceivable to advocate freedom of behavior at the national level—say, for working on Sunday—while seeking to restrict such behavior within the faith community. In light of these issues, some “leading questions” are

  1. How far should American evangelicals seek to shape the broader culture through political action in order to achieve its own vision for living rightly before God?
  2. Should evangelicals form counter-cultural communities that are disengaged from the governmental process in order to display an attractive alternative way of life?
  3. Should evangelicals actively participate in local, state, and national government? And if so, to what end?
  4. There are evangelical political movements that lean “right” and others that lean “left.” Does it make sense that evangelicals publicly advocate different political positions? Is this healthy?
  5. What have been the effects, both positive and negative, and both on the church and on the broader society, of recent evangelical political movements? 
  6. Is it possible for one’s role as citizen and as Christian to come into conflict? Are there situations where evangelicals should resist and even fight against the ruling officials or government structures? 

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