03 Sep Christian, Not Conservative
I’m a Christian, not a Conservative.
Let me explain.
As it stands today, the label “Conservative” is primarily an ideological descriptor for a political position that stands in contrast to “Liberal.” Such Conservatives do what their label suggests; they seek to conserve the positions and values of the past. They give tradition inherent authority. They are loath to alter traditional values, seeing them as the bequeathed virtues of a preferred past. Danger is represented by those who seek to change those values and traditions, because without them, the honored past cannot be recaptured. And for many Conservatives, that’s the goal: To bring back the way it was when things were “better than they are now.” Conservatives think the future will only be bright if we honor tradition and return to the values that “made us great.”
I’m not so sure tradition is a reliable authority. And I can’t say for certain the values that shaped the Modern world more generally and America more specifically flow from a consistent Biblical worldview. There is certainly an argument to be made for that worldview as a major influence among the Founders as they set about to construct our Republic. But there are traditions that are part and parcel of the American system that are inconsistent with a Biblical Worldview; like rugged individualism, utilitarian pragmatism, and aggressive competition. What’s interesting is that while these values can’t really be supported as Biblical, they’ve helped contribute to the prosperity of our nation. That’s part of why they’ve been enshrined and made over into traditional values.
History has proven that tradition, in and of itself, is a poor arbiter of authority. We ought not cling to something just because it’s honored by our ancestors. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shattered the hide-bound traditions of the conservatives of the day when He said, “You have heard that it was said . . . but I say to you . . .” Jesus showed that the traditions so honored among the people were in fact a dodge that gave them a false sense of security.
The followers of Jesus, that is Christians, must be wary of aligning under labels like “conservative” because they can easily adopt values contrary to the Kingdom of God. Don’t allow your faith in Jesus to be hijacked by a political campaign or social agenda that seeks to install the Kingdom in the institution of man. Jesus made it clear; His Kingdom is NOT of this world. [John 18:36] It won’t be until He brings it in glory. We err when we try to make this world as it is now, His Kingdom. Remember: He REFUSED to allow the people of the First Century to make Him King. [John 6:15]
So, I’m not a conservative. I’m not even a Conservative Christian (whatever that is). I’m just a Christian, a follower of Jesus, seeking to obey Him as my King as I wait for Him to bring His Kingdom.