Sunday, October 19, 2008

On the church and our current political system...

"When I have the good fortune to find myself in a situation where part of the ruler's language of justification is the claim to have the consent of the governed, then I can use the machinery of democracy and I am glad to do so. But I do not therefore believe that I am governing myself or that 'we' as 'the people' are governing ourselves. We are still governed by an elite, most of whose decisions are not submitted to the people for approval. Of all the forms of oligarchy, democracy is the least oppressive, since it provides the strongest language of justification and therefore of critique which the subjects may use to mitigate its oppressiveness." - John Howard Yoder

"The church's identity is not formed by reaction against the state nor by its contribution to the state. The church remains a universal community, always embodied in a specific locality, that is never subordinated to some grand imperial scheme...

Yoder never assumed that the church was in a position to make democratic regimes or ensure their rule. Instead, he warns us that asking how the church contributes to the nation-state may itself tempt us to faithlessness...

Yoder sought to redirect our attention away from the question 'How shall we as Christians rule?' He did this precisely because Jesus himself redirects us away from this question. The appropriate question is how the church endures the powers." - Stephen Long

2 comments:

BenMc said...

Can you give the detailed source for that Long quote? We're covering Acts 3-5 on Sunday and I'd like to use that, I think it fits perfectly.

Geoff said...

Hi Ben, yeah, its from Long's book, "The Goodness of God", p. 90, Published 2001, by Brazos Press.