In a recent interview with the Evangelical Alliance we asked Professor Tom Wright why public leadership was so vital for the church. He called for Christians to put their effort into building for the kingdom God will one day bring.
One of the things that Christians have often come realised is that it’s not enough just to be a Christian myself, to have a hope in God, a trust in God, and live my own life in the way that God wants me to. God is interested in the whole world, Paul says ‘if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation’; Paul says ‘neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters, what matters is new creation’.
New creation began when Jesus came out of the tomb on Easter morning. Therefore we, if we are believers in Jesus, are to be new creation people – not just in ourselves, but through ourselves for the world. And Christians have discovered from quite early on that means if one can take a position of responsibility or leadership one should do that gladly and to do it for God’s honour and glory.
Of course that’s difficult, of course there may be compromises and Christians down the years have wrestled quite sophisticatedly with the question of which compromises are okay and which ones aren’t. And as we look at public life today we might well say ‘well there are somethings where it would actually be very difficult for a Christian to take a leading role in that’, for example, an organisation that is committed to gambling and making gambling happen, running lotteries and that sort of thing, for as we know lotteries are often a tax on poverty rather than anything else. And a rather unjust way of transferring money from poor people often to richer people.
But when we look at the bigger issues of society, the issues of government, the issues of world health, the issues of education, the issues of medicine, then it seems to me it would be ridiculous to say God doesn’t want Christians in all of those areas, because He does. God wants people who are faithful, prayerful, who are themselves informed by the life, teaching and above all the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. God wants such people to be humble, wise, stewards of his love and generosity so the world may become a place that even though we won’t build the kingdom by our own efforts, we will never the less be building for the kingdom which God himself will one day bring.