Opinion: On Christianity and “power”

by Peter Heck · Aug 11th, 2020 3:41 pm
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Last Updated Aug 16th, 2020 at 9:49 pm

Jack Posobiec, a correspondent for One American News Network, lit up Twitter over the weekend with a provocative four-word tweet:

Given Posobiec's uncompromising support for President Trump, the statement inflamed more than just a handful of progressive activists who themselves routinely co-opt Jesus to advocate their political preferences.

Relevant magazine's senior editor Tyler Huckabee took time away from his busy schedule of turning out theologically clownish takes like this to cut the Trumper down to size:

In case you got the impression that perhaps Huckabee wasn't exactly modeling all that "love your enemies" stuff he was happily badgering Posobiec about, he dove head first into the Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" end of the pool, letting Jack know in not-so-many words that God was stoking the fires of Hell for him:

In fairness, no one should question a writer for Relevant when it comes to the topic of paying lip service to the Bible; that is their business model after all.

Of course, Huckabee wasn't alone. Another self-proclaimed "progressive Christian" activist, Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, after tying Posobiec's statement to white supremacy, decided to speak for Jesus:

Let me start off by saying that in my effort to obey the Third Commandment against taking the Lord's name in vain, I have made it a personal discipline to simply let Jesus speak for Himself. Quote Him, cite Him, understand Him, but avoid the temptation to traffic the name of Christ for personal expediency.

Truthfully we can't know what Jesus would say about that tweet without knowing what Jesus would know - precisely what Posobiec's heart meant by it. Though Huckabee and Fitzsimmons unsurprisingly ignored it, the tweet was likely motivated by a trending headline from the New York Times that said those same four words.

The accompanying article referenced the promise President Trump made to Iowa Christians during the Republican primary of 2016 – that if they elected him, he would use the most powerful position on earth to defend them and their interests.

Many of us Christians recoiled a bit when Trump first made the proposition. Everyone likes knowing that someone powerful has their back, but one thing Jesus did make clear to us was that in this world we would have trouble, that men would hate us because of Him, and that persecution and accusations of wrongdoing would be forthcoming for all who were faithful to Him. The Scriptures that He affirmed teach us and train us to persevere and hope in things unseen when the powers of the earth come to bear against us. As nice as it may be to have earthly advocates in high places, we put our trust and confidence in the Great Shepherd who prepares us a table in the presence of our enemies.

And that is my only point of contention with the tweet. It's not that Christianity will have power, Christianity does have power. Blood-bought saints of the living God can, because of the redemptive work of Christ, access the very throne room of the King of all Kings. The Creator of the universe! The trappings of earthly power are beyond inconsequential to those who know this reality and have been brought from death to life.

If Posobiec is, as many accuse him of doing, using the phrase as a political rallying cry to attain or maintain worldly dominion, it is misguided and – if history is any guide – a dangerous premise upon which to build a governing coalition in a pluralistic society.

But at the same time, if Huckabee and others are under the impression that loving enemies, washing feet, and sacrificing wealth for the good of others is a sign of weakness or powerlessness, they have apparently never tried it. Those things only manifest in us when we are emptied of self and filled by the Holy Spirit of God – the same authority that lifted Jesus from the grave.

There's nothing, in this world or the next, more powerful than that.

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