The Church Captive?

Have we lost our distinctive presence and contribution to society?

The Church today has become captive to its culture, specifically, to various dominant political ideologies and their vision for the good society.

So argues Nathan Hatch in “The Political Captivity of the Faithful” (Comment, Winter 2020). He writes, “Believers today are powerfully influenced by certain dominant political perspectives. This is so much the case that I fear an actual crisis of faith – the political captivity of the faithful.”

He faults clergy who “were being swept along by prevailing currents of thought with little self-consciousness as to what was happening to them.” Political values and agendas have washed over the church, causing us to lose sight of our unique calling and vision, and making us captive to whatever political winds happen to be blowing. Hatch observes, “Today, I look in vain for religious leaders whose theological convictions creatively bridge the chasm between conservative and progressive views of the world not for political reasons, but for religious ones.”

Hatch calls on the Church to recover its calling as an “alternative polis” – a true City of God – and to exert its influence on the world through the spiritual agenda and practices established by Christ and the apostles.

Only be becoming renewed in love for God and neighbor can the Church prove its uniqueness and make its unique contribution to restoring the reconciled world.


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