THE POLITICS OF JESUS (Dispelling Theo Politics Pt3)

POLITICAL IDOLATRY (Dispelling Theo Politics Pt2)
February 9, 2018
Jesus And The Disinherited – (A Reflective Book Review)
February 12, 2018


Part Three of Three of the series “Dispelling Theo-Politics”

By Vinnie MacIsaac

The classic question often asked of first-year theology students, “Was Jesus a Liberal or a Conservative?”[1] And the question, as you might expect, is a trap. There are usually only three emphatic answers that come back from students boasting complete certainty: 1) Jesus was a Conservative. 2) Jesus was a Liberal or 3) Both.

I won’t keep you lingering for long. It is true Jesus was not a Liberal, nor a Conservative. But, if you think you will outsmart the question by saying “both,” then you’re more duped than those who insist He was one or the other. Jesus is not Earthly political; He is Heavenly minded. Thus, He is Heavenly minded at all times, even during Earthly conflicts. The solutions to earthly problems are only to be found in Heavenly virtue.   When modern day Christians miss that point, if they know it or not, they are, in fact, building an image to the Beast[2]. The Beast, as outlined in Revelation, is, after all, the ultimate Earthly political machine posing as a Spiritual solution. Endtime followers of Jesus can have nothing to do with that machine or with vacillating between the dynamic extremes it permits, in order to keep the whole world in its grasp. The American culture war is a mere illusion of the Beast power of Revelation because it keeps everyone apprehended by the great quagmire of the imbroglio sliding gamut up and down the glissade façade of left to right; and right to left; trying to find the right balance, which really does not exist.

For Jesus, the solution to Earthly politics is looking up to Heavenly virtue, not balancing equal wrongs.

If I am on the left, I am not with Jesus. If I am on the right, I am not with Jesus. And If I am in the center, I am not with Jesus; because Jesus never answers Earthly political problems with an Earthly political see-saw, not even with a perfectly balanced one. Being in the center only ensures you will be equally wrong on both spectrums because neither ends of the teeter-totter were right to start with. For Jesus, the solution to Earthly politics is looking up to Heavenly virtue, not balancing equal wrongs.

I am ever indebted to my undergrad Political Science professor, Dr. John Beck[3], who drilled this brilliant definition of politics into my head, “Politics is the study of who gets what, when, where, and how. The end.” If you stop and think about it, and re-read that simple, yet profound, statement you will begin to see that it is not only true, but it is how the world works and how, in the end, The Beast power gains that power to place the Anti-Christ above Jesus, in the last hour of history. We fight. We fight with each other, over what? That’s right. It is a “what” that we all fight over; as in “Who gets what?” and when they get it, how they get it, and where is it going to come from? If we talk about abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, social spending, caring for our Vets, immigration, supporting our troops, etc., it is always a conversation of, “who gets what, when, where, and how.” It is also always a fight, which most often involves lies, corruption, coercion, manipulations, and oppression; which are the favored tools of the Anti-Christ system. I am certain the devil delights in watching Christians take up his cause in the name of Jesus and religious liberty.

True religious liberty can’t be found in earthly politics because, by definition, true religious liberty is liberating.   It refuses to engage in oppression…

True religious liberty can’t be found in earthly politics because, by definition, true religious liberty is liberating.   It refuses to engage in oppression, nor buy into the distorted contortion that God won’t back the liberty of mankind. Some think we must resort to man’s politics or lose ground to the world at large. The Politics of Jesus dispels this notion, and He never lowers Himself to stoop to human dependency to fix human problems.

A perfect example of how Jesus dealt with Earthly Politics is found in how Jesus dealt with being repeatedly cornered on taxes. Notice in Mark 12 and Matthew 22 the Pharisees and Herodians (the religious conservatives and the state-sanctioned liberals) are, in fact, trying to force Jesus to give an answer that will fit someplace on the teeter-totter of Earthly Politics. Because they know, as soon as Jesus declares a side they will finally be able to compromise Him and pit people against Him in the “who gets what, when, where, and how conundrum.” Jesus, Himself, reads their intent and actually spoke it out loud so that we could not mistake it or sidestep it, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?” It is important to understand, we are not much better than the Pharisees and Herodians in this story. We are often the exact kind of hypocrite Jesus railed against here. I know and confess I have been, and easily can be again, without great care and connection to Heaven. When we try to force people to see that the only answer to Earthly problems is picking either extreme or even a safe middle ground on the Earthly teeter-totter of politics, we are hypocrites trapping ourselves and others. In fact, as painful as it is to admit it, when we do this, we are making “disciples of Hell” because we are actively engaged in evangelism for the Anti-Christ!

Jesus teaches by example, earthly solutions are temporal and fleeting but a loving Father never forsakes His children; ergo you have no need to be waging political jihad for His principles.

Jesus is not playing Centralist Politics when he declares, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” He is being resounding electrifying in His political metrics so that we don’t miss His point. Give to Caesar, because this is not a Heavenly matter; it is just money. Who do you trust as your provider; Caesar or God? Wealth and security do not come from man, so stop trying to hold on to it. Don’t fight, corrupt, lie, cheat, and oppress to hold on to that which was really never yours; but rather, give to God what is His! And what belongs to God is both your allegiance and your faith in Heavenly virtue and Godly love to provide for all your “who gets what” needs. In others words, Jesus teaches by example, earthly solutions are temporal and fleeting. But a loving Father never forsakes His children; ergo you have no need to be waging political jihad for His principles. Yes, be politically reasonable; you have to engage this world. But do so based on Heavenly virtue, knowing that God is ultimately in charge, not man.

Jesus sought to teach this same idea to Peter in Matthew 17. Peter is cornered by the local “IRS” in Capernaum for not having paid the Temple Tax[4]. When the authorities ask if Jesus pays taxes Peter rushes in asserting that Jesus most certainly is in favor of paying taxes, when, in fact, Peter has no idea if Jesus is in favor of it and has to run home and ask him. Jesus actually mentions a radically different political taxation plan that exempts the children of God from paying taxes but rather shifts them back to those who don’t share ownership in the Temple. But, then, He tells Peter even though their system is not perfect, let’s still pay our taxes, “so that we may not cause offense.” Notice what Jesus is doing, He is yielding to what looks like “Earthly Politics,” but, in fact, is “Heavenly Virtue,” not wishing to offend if you don’t really have to. Then Jesus gives Peter the ultimate “Heavenly Virtue” lesson: You don’t need to yield to earthly means out of fear of the “who gets what conundrum,” because when you look to do what Heaven would want, rather than man, God will provide for it. And so Jesus tells Peter, “Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

It is not easy. I don’t want to make it sound like a bed of roses. Earthly problems are very complex because sin is flagrant, bare-faced, and out of control. Some days, with some events, we want to just stand up and scream, “Unfair! I am not taking this anymore!” And that is exactly what the darkness behind the Beast power lurks in wait for; left, right, center, he could care less. All he needs is, desire, and all he seeks is a spirit of intolerance, disgust, and unrest; and boom he will ignite the Anti-Christ power, impose forced worship, and kill all who will not bow. The evil of this Beast power is already unleashed in this world. We won’t stop it! But we can avoid joining it. However, the only way I know to do that is to practice the Politics of Jesus.

Jesus answers the “who gets what, when, where and how predicament like this: “God gets all allegiance, all the time, whenever and where ever political questions are raised, and His will should be done on Earth as it is in Heaven with love, compassion, equality, justice, and self-sacrifice in the place of earthly force, anger, and intolerance.” There are no cookie-cutter positions with Jesus. There are only multiple attempts to bring Heavenly virtue to a shifting, broken, pluralistic world. Which means, the same principles often get expressed in varying methodologies as we respond to Earthly degrees of sin, but we must always be guided by Heavenly Virtue, not earthly ideology.

We are called to make Disciples of Christ. We cannot afford to err by embracing Earthy politics because that always makes Disciples of the Beast power. Alas, I greatly fear with each passing year, the church, at large, is making Disciples for the wrong team!

What team are you playing on?


Foot Notes:

[1] I first heard this question from Dr. Donn Leatherman as Southern Adventist University who literally drove around with a bumper sticker on his van that read, “Jesus was not a Republican or a Democrat.”

[2] For the purposes of this article the Beast power mentioned through it refers to the Beast power of Revelation 13 and the Anti-Christ in general.

[3] I took Intro To American Political Science from Doctor Beck at Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson NC in 2003.

[4] The Temple Tax was both a religious tax and a secular tax because King Herod had beatified the Temple with an expensive re-model at the expense of the state.

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