The body of Christ is a beautiful reality of redeemed souls from every corner of the globe. There is much diversity in Christ’s people, as well it should be. Yet with diversity comes differences of opinions and variations of worldview. Although every believer must filter their outlook through Scripture, all believers come to the table with different upbringings and lived experiences. This is none more evident than in the world of politics. For this reason, Christians need to know how to love fellow church members who have different opinions, which is what Jonathan Leeman discusses in his new book in the 9Marks Questions series, How Can I Love Church Members with Different Politics? (Crossway, 2020).
Contrary to popular belief, not all Christians are card-carrying members of the Republican Party. The reality is that increasingly in modern American culture Christians do not fit comfortably into either of the two major political parties. There are aspects of the Republican Party that are attractive to Christians (i.e., abortion, traditional marriage, religious freedom, etc.). However, there are aspects of the Democratic Party should also be important to Christ-followers (i.e., equality, diversity, social justice, etc.). For these reasons, it is understandable why Christians throughout the nation align themselves with both parties, claiming that it is closest to their religious viewpoint.
In the book, Leeman walks through six recommendations for Christians to follow regarding how to love well fellow believers, and by extension all people who hold differing political viewpoints. Primarily he focuses on doing theological triage when it comes to discussing different issues in the church. There are straight-line and jagged-line judgments. Straight-line judgments are those principles that can be derived directly from Scripture and must be followed by all believers. Jagged-line judgements are principles that are derived from Scripture but fall into the realm of Christian freedom. Many times, believers will hold as solid those issues that are actually freedoms in Christ. Leeman calls all believers to stand firm on the straight-line issues and give grace on the jagged-line issues. This will go a long way in encouraging unity among the body of Christ, while still leaving room for freedom of conscience on second and tertiary issues.
How Can I Love Church Members with Different Politics is an excellent and timely resource for the Church today. How Can I Love Church Members with Different Politics would be an excellent small group study to help flesh out issues and better understand people who have a difference of opinion on jagged-line issues. In a culture that is increasingly divided it is vital for followers of Christ to show the way to unity while also respecting differences of worldview. How Can I Love Church Members with Different Politics will be a great start to that conversation.