“There is not one square inch that Jesus does not claim ‘Mine,’ ” wrote the great Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper. Many of us agree with this universal claim, but at the same time we also differ in how this particular claim is to be applied. The political discourse of our day provides us with a challenging example of how the Lordship of Christ can be applied in different ways. People that I deeply admire and have gained tremendous theological insights over the years are diametrically at odds with each other’s proposals. Kuyperians, we may all be, but our strategizing differs rather sharply at times.
One of my mentors, James B. Jordan, has argued that Mitt Romney is the only option for conservatives. The possibility of another Obama term is frightening, and should settle the issue. Jordan–and others—makes the valid point that politics is messy. Thus, politics cannot be perfectionistic. It is not hard to see the implications of Jim’s assessment. He is pointing to Ron Paul, and the perception that many have that he is the perfect candidate. Paul is a Constitutionalist who has refused to compromise in principle throughout his career. He is a rare gem indeed. Jordan–as he has informed me–finds Ron Paul appealing on many levels, but for Jordan, Ron Paul is not the nominee. Jordan’s theological acumen and remarkably insightful analysis of the Bible and its application to all of life should give even the most committed supporter of the Texas Congressman some pause to consider. Jim Jordan is no dummy when it comes to the political environment, and he is well aware of Christian libertarians, since many of his fellow Reconstructionists–Gary North and R.J. Rushdoony– in the 70’s and 80’s were ardent disciples of Misean economics (it is worth noting that they did not imbibe of Misean theology in the process).
On the other hand, one of the wisest pastors I have had the privilege of meeting and interacting over the years takes a different approach. Douglas Wilson, known for his titanic intellect and ability to make the likes of Christopher Hitchens weep intellectually, will not endorse Mitt Romney. Doug is no stranger to the political scene. He breathes Kuyperianism, and both his books and blog posts (however pugilistic they may appear to some) express an unashamedly Biblical viewpoint. Wilson believes we have left the door open too many times to Republicans over the years, and they have not only entered our open doors, but also re-arranged the furniture and expected our full approval of the new design. Wilson argues that we should be more cautious before tattooing the big “R” on our right arm.
These distinctions aside, as I mentioned to my dear friend Andrew Sandlin recently, “we all desire the same goal.” Our goal as Kuyperians/Old/New School Reconstructionists/Theocrats/Theonomists, or whatever term you attach to those who love the reign of King Jesus is to alert the world that Jesus is Lord and Caesar and Barack Obama are not. We all share the view that worshipping in the Name of the Triune God trumps our political allegiances. We all affirm that the kingdom of God does not report to the left or the right, but above where its headquarters reside.
I am instinctively fearful of these political brouhahas. I have witnessed strong and faithful Reformed groups split because of their differing political strategies; men who held virtually every position in common, except their political candidates. As a result, their roads parted, and fruitful ministry opportunities disappeared.
I offer no profound new insight into these discussions, except the pastoral and Kuyperian hope that we maintain our priorities; that we would maintain a kingdom vision that is far greater than the elections of November. My hope is not that these discussions should cease for they are the very fabric of the American culture, but that they would be viewed as a small part, and not the center of the agenda of the Kingdom of God.