November 6, 2012
Wise words on dual citizenship
As we head to the polls today, let us consider these wise words from James W. Skillen, former president for the Center for Public Justice:
The followers of Christ are certainly a called-out community, called out from sin to become a community of obedience to God. But they are not called out of God’s creation. Think for a moment of the biblical language used to characterize Christ’s followers: bride of Christ, the children of their Father in heaven, brothers and sisters of their elder brother Jesus, joint heirs with Christ, a community of priests, disciples (students) in the school of a new teacher, and certainly citizens in Christ’s kingdom. The primary referents in all of these metaphors are the very creaturely realities in which the people of God live.
To live as a member of God’s family, I do not disown my parents but rather obey them as unto the Lord. Likewise, in order to participate in the Christian community as a citizen of Christ’s polis (kingdom), I do not take leave of my citizenship. Rather, I act as a citizen in obedience to the Lord in accord with teachings such as those in Romans 12 and 13. The church, then, is not an alternative to any of these creaturely realities. It represents, instead, the fulfillment of them all in Christ. . . .
Instead, to be authentic Christians, to be able to serve our civic neighbors throughout the world, Christians need to be involved as real citizens in real governments, exhibiting a genuinely Christian public ethic. Such a responsibility will include working for the restraint of personal vengeance. And it will entail the exercise of official, publicly accountable punishment of those who commit crimes and unjust aggression.
Turning from injustice, faithlessness, hatred, and greed in every sphere of life requires constructive, communal service by those who are being redeemed from sin. When Christ, by the power of the Spirit, has finished making all things new, we will then be able to sing with the saints of all ages, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).
May we all take seriously our call to hold dual citizenship and make our voices heard in today's elections.
Skillen's words have been excerpted from Dual Citizenship: A Christian Perspective on Government.
posted by Amy Jackson on November 6, 2012 11:11 AM