Guest / Limited Access /

The sober truth is that at this season in American life, when our non-evangelical neighbors hear the word evangelical, they think of politics before they think of the gospel. Perhaps that confusion is an inevitable result of evangelicals' reengagement with electoral politics over the last few decades. But it does raise the question of whether our gospel is being reduced to politics—or whether our politics is being infused with the gospel. Jordan Hylden, a student at Duke Divinity School and former junior fellow at the influential magazine First Things, offers this response to our big question for 2008: "Is our gospel too small?"

John of Patmos saw a vision of the "New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God," but until that time came, he didn't seem to hold out much hope for the cities of this world. In fact, he was much more likely to compare the Rome of his day to Babylon, or maybe a scarlet beast. The author of Hebrews had a similar perspective on politics, if a bit less apocalyptic. "For here we do not have an enduring city," he tells us. We followers of Christ will always be "aliens and strangers on earth … longing for a better country, a heavenly one," where "God has prepared a city for us" far surpassing the Babylons of this world. Until then, he counseled, we hope for what we "do not see."

Of course that is all true, but it's not the whole story, either. The prophet Jeremiah knew a thing or two about what politics looks like in Babylon. His people were conquered by Babylon's armies and sent there into long exile. But even in Babylon itself, Jeremiah counseled his flock to "seek the welfare of the city" of their conquerors and to "pray to the Lord on its behalf." Daniel and his companions took a page ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Figuring Things Out
Switchfoot's Foreman blends the Socratic and spiritual.
RecommendedTrump, Evangelicals, and the Elephant in the Room
Trump, Evangelicals, and the Elephant in the Room
Who are evangelicals and who are they really voting for?
TrendingChristians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Christians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Consider the missional implications before you boycott.
Editor's PickCan People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?
Can People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?
There's a big difference between being a guest in a largely white organization and being able to "move the furniture."
Christianity Today
Aliens and Citizens
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.