Hey, This Knife Cuts in Two Directions!
Political Dualism - Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, 07 September 2012
Suppose the point were to be made -- and it is a worthy point to make
-- that being a Christian trumps being an American. This is a point
with which I am in whole-hearted agreement, and which I have made in
this place numerous times. A conservative Republican believer in Jesus
has far more in common with a Palestinian Christian than he does with a
secular representative of the state of Israel. A thousand amens. Jesus
makes all the difference.
But there is a way of agreeing with this that shows one is growing up
into the fundamental tenets of "mere Christendom," and there is another
way of agreeing with it that shows one is just becoming a liberal.
There is a way of appealing to Jesus because you find Jesus appealing,
and there is a way of appealing to Jesus because you find American
So here is a litmus test for you. I am afraid it is an unpopular litmus test because it works every time. It is that kind of unpopular.
If you find yourself in real solidarity with Palestinian Christians,
and you want to know if it is love for Jesus, or just your nascent
inner-anti-Semite rising, just ask yourself this question, which, in its
theological structure is exactly the same question. Who do you have
more in common with -- a Palestinian non-Christian or a devout
Christian woman with hoop earings who just got back from the RNC, where
she spent the entire convention wearing a big hat shaped like an
I said it is exactly the same question, and it is. The reason we
might get radically different answers is that something else is going
on. There is a lot of "radical" Christianity out there that is just a
pretence -- it is simply a stalking horse for another tired form of
anti-Americanism. Show me something new.
I say all this knowing that there is a prophetic case to be made
against America's sins, which are great, and I know further that it is
our duty in the church to make that case. I know also that the heavy
gravitational pull of various American idolatries has many conservative
believers trapped in a criss-cross spider web of red, white, and blue.
But faux-solidarity with Christians on the other side of the
world is nowhere near escape velocity. If shared love for Jesus can
transcend the barriers thrown up by the conflict in the Middle East,
then why can't it transcend the barriers created by your neighbor's love
for the 700 Club, and your inability to abide that man?
It turns out that love for Jesus, of this sort anyway, only creates
solidarity if we know next to nothing about a situation. We have created
our own version of Linus' maxim -- "I love mankind. It's people I can't
stand." We say "I love Palestinian Christians. It's dispensational
Zionist Southern Baptist Christians I can't stand." And it turns out
that the whole thing hinges on the fact that you actually know some
people in this latter group. And their entire outlook and demeanor (and
support for Israel!) means loving them constitutes a whole new level of
Christian discipleship. Might as well get started.