From Jim West-Stop Hijacking Jesus For Your Economic Theories

Jim writes:

“Jesus wasn’t a Liberal Catholic nor a Conservative Protestant when he walked the dusty roads of Galilee.  He was a first century Jewish man who lived in a world where the very notion of ‘capitalism’ as presently practiced was unheard of.  So stop hijacking Jesus and making him your poster boy for your liberal Catholicism or moribund conservative Protestantism.

“Leave Jesus out of your ridiculous debates.  He doesn’t care!  He says so!

Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε, εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου μερίσασθαι μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν. 14 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἄνθρωπε, τίς με κατέστησεν κριτὴν ἢ μεριστὴν ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς; 15 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς Ὁρᾶτε καὶ φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ πάσης πλεονεξίας, ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστὶν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ. (Luke 12:13-15)

“So just stop making Jesus in your own image. It’s sickening.”

The above passage in English, says,

 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Besides hijacking the Son of G-d for our economic theories, we hijack Him for our political and politically-backed social theories.  Now I am all for justice (note I did not conflate the issue by calling it “social justice”-a needless adjective) and helping the poor, etc. However, we represent one who told Pilate “my kingdom is not of this world.  Hmmm…He repeatedly refused to be drawn into the political conflict at hand, which in some cases was just as dire as our current political conflict in this nation today.

Not too long ago, I sat down to dinner with some very dear friends. One person at the table went on a tirade about how various candidates need to bow out of the current nomination race, so we can “unite the party and defeat Barack Obama”.  I held my tongue at this the entire evening, something I don’t normally do.  Not only that, but with the coverage of Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell in the last several decades, much has been made of G-d’s conservative values

I have also read a litany of articles in the last several years, detailing how Yeshua was not a conservative but a liberal, or a Marxist, or a Communist, and that the Acts 2 community that had everything in common exemplified the ideals of socialism, and his social agenda matches the liberal social agenda, not the conservative social agenda, an ideology that was spoon-fed us in my undergraduate program.

When I then reached seminary, I asked my Biblical Theology professor about this idea.  he replied with a question, “When was the advent of Marxism?”  I replied, “early 20th century.” He answered, “so you wish to take a 20th century ideology and superimpose that on a 1st century society?”  The point was made.

If the above passage is any indicator, in addition to numerous inferences littered throughout the New Testament, our L-rd came not to help us solve our political differences, nor is it our job as believers to participate in political conflicts to the end that we unknowingly place political affiliation above our loyalties to the Messiah.  If anything, politicizing faith and spiritualizing politics is dangerous and creates the kind of bedfellows our L-rd never intended us to have.

I realized I was part of this mindset when a dear friend pointed out to me that his “citizenship was in heaven.”  This statement made me realize that I had been banking too much on my American citizenship, and it caused me to repent for treating that citizenship as an idol.

Lest we forget, brothers and sisters, we do live in this world, but we are not of it. Our citizenship belongs to a cause much greater than any political cause, and we have been given a tremendous task apart from government to, of our own free will without compulsion from outside influence, advocate AND physically care for the poor, widow, orphan, fatherless, sick, hungry, thirsty, and prisoner (Matt 25:35-36, 42-43, Lev 19:34, John 12:8, Mark 14:7).

Are you hoping for a defeat of the President this election?  Are you hoping for a victory of conservatism over liberalism?  Or, to the socialist.  Are you hoping for the Supreme Court to maintain the Affordable Care Act as it is?  Are you hoping that our President gets four more years? Perhaps that is what G-d wants.  But perhaps not. The real question you should be asking is, how successful are you at pushing your ideology over the kingdom, because you cannot serve two masters.

So let us stop not only hijacking Yeshua for our economic theories, but also our social and political poster child.  He is not to be found anywhere near one side or the other of the aisle.  He is seated above the aisle.  And if you think he advocates (name your pet political issue here, liberal or conservative), then think again.

His priority in the kingdom are:

The Widow, the Orphan, the Alien, the Stranger, the Fatherless, the Poor, the Hungry, the Thirsty, the Naked, the Prisoner, and the Sick. Those who are most vulnerable to the social and political machine.  Not who gets into office.

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