Turned off by divisive politics, some Christians see wisdom in the late Gospel Advocate editor’s hands-off approach to government.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
David Lipscomb, an influential leader in Churches of Christ from the Civil War until World War I, urged Christians to refrain from voting and participation in civil government.
More than a century after the Tennessee preacher’s death, his approach to Caesar — and candidates with last names such as Trump and Biden — is gaining new devotees fed up with America’s political polarization.
“The church harms its influence when it becomes political, and Christians cannot vote without becoming political,” said Sarah Blackstone, 38, a member of the Broad Street Church of Christ in Mineola, Texas.
“This distracts from our purpose — to change hearts and lives for Christ by bringing him to them,” added Blackstone, who along with her husband, David, a Broad Street deacon, has given up voting. “By engaging in politics, our focus is then shifted to legislating lives instead of transforming them.”
Jonathan Storment, preaching minister for the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, Ark., said he writes in “Jesus of Nazareth” every four years, prompting his mother to quip, “Oh good, we can look forward to four more years of self-righteousness.”
“But I believe that no one political party or candidate ever fully endorses the ethics and politics of the kingdom of God,” said Storment, 39. “The New Testament ethic is not reduced to talking points and single issues but a claim on the entire universe and especially on the people who have bent their knee to Jesus as Messiah.”
Both Blackstone and Storment cited Lipscomb as a major influence.
In a new book, “Resisting Babel: Allegiance to God and the Problem of Government,” Restoration Movement scholar John Mark Hicks suggests that the present political climate has “awakened” interest in Lipscomb’s approach.
This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.