Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

How the Nations Rage BOOK CLUB

How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman.  Thomas Nelson, 272 pages. 2018

We are going to be reading through an important and timely new book from Jonathan Leeman, editorial director at the ministry 9Marks, which helps Christians discover the most effective path forward amid battling worldviews: living as citizens of another kingdom and offering the world a totally new kind of politics.

This week we look at Chapter 1: A Nation Raging, a Church Unchanging  

  • What has been difficult for me over the last decade or two, however, has been to watch a growing divide between America and my Christianity. I might even say the relationship is becoming downright contentious.
  • Pew Research shows that Democrats are more left-leaning and Republicans more right-leaning than they were two decades ago. And both increasingly see each other as an existential threat to the nation.
  • One thing is certainly true: America is in the middle of an identity crisis.
  • The elections especially divided Christians by ethnicity. Whites leaned hard toward Trump, nonwhites marginally toward Clinton. After the election, African American friends of mine wanted to be “done” with evangelicalism.
  • Little by little Christians have felt pushed to the outskirts of whatever America is becoming.
  • It’s my sense that one of Satan’s greatest victories in contemporary America has been to divide majority and minority Christians along partisan lines.
  • This is one of the first goals of this book: to rethink faith and politics from a biblical perspective.
  • What might a biblically driven vision of politics look like? What are the biblical principles that we must hold with a firm grip? What are the matters of wisdom and judgment to hold with a loose grip? And what should we discard altogether?
  • We should strive to stop from time to time and say, “Wait a second. Is this biblical?” and be willing to throw anything and everything off the boat if necessary. And we should do this even with the things that our nation, our tribe, and our people regard as most precious.
  • I am concerned that sometimes we let principles of Americanism determine the way we read Scripture, rather than letting Scripture determine how we evaluate principles of Americanism.
  • The second goal of the book is to encourage us all to invest our political hopes first and foremost in our local churches.
  • This brings us to the third goal of this book. If our political hopes should rest first in our churches, we must learn to be before we do.
  • First be, then do. Don’t tell me you’re interested in politics if you are not pursuing a just, righteous, peace-producing life with everyone in your immediate circles.
  • As the church moves outward and into the public square, we must be prepared for battle. That’s the fourth goal of this book.
  • The division and contention of our present cultural moment is just one more illustration of the nations’ rage against the Lord.
  • I want to help us be less American so that we might be more patriotic. To put it another way, I want to help you and me identify with Christ more so that we might love our fellow citizens more, no matter the name of our nation.
  • The primary goal of this book is not to help Christians make an impact in the public square. It is not to help the world be something. It is to help Christians and churches be something.
  • A Christian’s political posture, in a word, must never be withdraw. Nor should it be dominate. It must always be represent, and we must do this when the world loves us and when it despises us.