Random thoughts on politics and church unity

  • That Paul could say in 1 Cor. 6 that ecclesial judgments are morally permissible but “worse” than forgiveness implies that just war could be permissible but not the best thing it could do; this leaves room for a church that could accept violence morally but also be the institution that teaches the state to “beat its swords into plowshares”, and ultimately bring an end to violence.

    • Visible unity in the church is a sign to the powers that they are, at best, unnecessary to reach the end of human and social flourishing (cf. the biblical teaching about the angels/law ruling while humanity was in its childhood, and being replaced by human beings at their time of maturity), and at worst openly opposed to that goal and to the God who gives it. Because the church can produce those things submitting only to its king, Jesus, it makes other powers and their violently-organizing activities unnecessary.
    • Visible disunity in the church is not a disproof of Christ and his claims, since fundamentally he claimed: a) he was going to give the church the power to be visibly unified, though not the necessity of being so, and b) he would be in control of history to make sure that the church activates its possible visible unity at the times he sees most fit. This means that the church should not normalize visible disunity, since it is both necessary as part of its full witness and because it is good and possible, and yet should not take visible disunity as a disproof of the gospel it trusts in.
    • Visible unity will prompt either conversion (via the power of the Holy Spirit) or open hostility, because visible unity shows that full human flourishing is possible when one worships God, and humanity rejects God partly because it has irrationally convinced itself one cannot trust God to bring it happiness.
    • The most fundamental difference between the Old and New Covenant is the New Covenant gives increased access to God: the church has more access to God to fulfill its calling than Israel, or fallen humanity before Israel, had.