Wayne in Maine wrote:I think this is an important issue, and one I have wrestled with over the years. Part of the issue is that the demands Jesus puts on us as members of His kingdom are totally impractical for a politically and territorially defined nation to put into practice. In a real sense, followers of Jesus form a community that is under a covenant with God who is our ruler, provider and our protector – while we continue in obedience and subjugation to Him. A territorial nation that will not subjugate themselves to Him do not have the benefit, or the obligations of the covenant.
Those who do not subjugate themselves to God are not obligated to obey Him? Does this apply only to territorial nations, while individuals and other types of groups are obligated to obey regardless of their subjugation? I'm skeptical. I see nothing in the New Testament that exempts anyone from obedience to God.
Wayne in Maine wrote:On one level there are obvious and perhaps universal laws that benefit all people and nations to adhere to. Murder is the perfect example - if a government is indiscriminately murdering people it is appropriate to speak prophetically against it. If a ruler does not speak truthfully or steals from his people, then it’s not inappropriate for anyone to speak against it. This of course becomes more ambiguous with other matters like abortion, divorce or homosexuality. There are grey areas.
On the other hand, the “hard” commands of Christ, such as requiring His followers to give to whoever asks or even to love one's enemy, cannot really be expected of non-Christian citizens of a nation.
Again, I'm skeptical. Where does the New Testament differentiate among universal laws, gray areas, and "hard" commands?
Wayne in Maine wrote:We can call for those citizens to become part of God’s Kingdom which abides by those rules, but we cannot impose them on those who refuse to join us. This is especially true if imposing those commands requires the state to create laws, for by doing so we are expecting the state to use the sword to impose the ethics of the Kingdom of God on its citizens.
I strongly agree with you on this point.
What I don't understand is why you seem to apply it to some types of issues and not to others. We must not impose the "hard" commands, but we must also not impose honesty or other "universal laws." If there's a way to speak prophetically against murder, dishonesty, and divorce without resorting to coercion, there must also be a way to speak prophetically against failure to obey the "hard" commands without resorting to coercion. This is the problem with political activism regardless of motivation or ideology.