Doug Pagitt, politics

>CRM’s Interview with Doug Pagitt on Politics and Faith

>Some may wonder why a “conservative, reformed” blog would devote space to the ideas of those associated with the dreaded emerging church (yes, that was tongue-in-cheek, by the way). Why give a platform to someone many conservatives consider to be a heretic? Well, we are the ones who raised the issue of Doug Pagitt running for the MN state legislature. We have two choices: we can either speculate about why he is doing this and be content to call left-leaning Christians hypocrites for increasing their political efforts after they criticized the Christian Right’s efforts for so many years or we can ask him the questions we have directly and let him explain. Doug has agreed to discuss these issues with us. Although we are not a watchdog/attack dog blog, despite the mean stare of our doggie mascot Grace, it is safe to say that no one would confuse Doug with being a member of a conservative reformed mafia. That being said, Doug Pagitt is responding here as our guest and will be treated with respect. Please post your comments accordingly. Feel free to express disagreement but leave the nastiness for other blogs (Or as Doug mentions in his preliminary remarks, just leave it out altogether).

Doug has responded to our questions via video which helps to take away from the disconnectedness and anonymity which marks blogging oftentimes. He has also posted this video on his blog here. The text of our questions is posted below. Jeff Wright


J_Wizzle writes: Doug, first, let me say thank you for being willing to take time to answer some questions with us. We may not agree on everything, but I appreciate your willingness to be open and to talk to others. With that said, here is my question for you: Why do you think that the overwhelming majority of emerging/Emergent Christians support leftist politics?

Also, many emerging Christians grew up as conservative (both theologically and politically) evangelicals. Many of them have grown disillusioned with what they have grown up with and have switched to more liberal beliefs. Do you feel that the pendulum has just swung from one side to another (so to speak) for many of these people?

Jared Nelson asks: What is different about the role of the church from the role of the state in God’s plan? In other words – can directives given to Christ’s church be done congruently or substitutionally by the state?

Jeff Wright asks: In Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches (pg. 133) you talk about no longer seeing Christendom or the church as “the sole proprietor of the hopes of God through Jesus.” You also mention that “the church, or self-professing Christians, hold no special right to speak for God.” I am not sure if this is what you believe or if you were only relaying what “those outside the church have already concluded” or both. But if what you have written is true then what do you as a Christian pastor hope to bring to the table in the state legislature? What will be unique about your message and efforts?

Jared Nelson asks: Do you plan to resign from Solomon’s porch to either run or if you win election? If not, how would you respond to Christians who see the story of Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:18) as a cautionary tale for people assuming both roles of minister and governor?

Jeff Wright asks: In his book The Kingdom of Christ (pg. 133), Russell Moore writes, “[Carl F.H.] Henry pointed out the irony of church officials proclaiming the certitudes of redemption with less and less certainty while simultaneously making sociopolitical statements that seemed to come with their own self-attesting authority.” He goes on to quote Henry as saying, “Is it not incredible that some churchmen, whose critical views of the Bible rest on the premise that in ancient times the Spirit’s inspiration did not correct erroneous scientific concepts, should seriously espouse the theory that in modern times the Spirit provides denominational leaders with the details of a divine science of economics?” Henry is apparently being sarcastic about the Spirit providing details about economics but he does raise an interesting point. What level of certitude will you have about the legislation you will be proposing or supporting – legislation that will be binding upon all the citizens of Minnesota?

Matthew Bradley asks: How do you characterize the political involvement of James Dobson, the late Jerry Falwell, and others of the evangelical right and how will your political involvement be different than theirs?

Thanks again for taking the time to interact with us on these issues of faith and sociopolitical activity, Doug.



3 thoughts on “>CRM’s Interview with Doug Pagitt on Politics and Faith

  1. >Regarding the difference between citizens and the government, it is important to recognize that the US self-awareness is one of the people being distinct from their government, even though they establish it. Note the preamble to the US Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”Note the difference in how the French formed their constitution:”(1) The Republic and the peoples of the Overseas Territories who, by free determination, adopt the present Constitution thereby institute a Community.(2) The Community shall be based on the equality and solidarity of the peoples composing it.”It’s a subtle difference, and one that is shifting in modern politics. This is essential, because how we think about ourselves and our government influences how we think about solving our problems.Is it more effective to funnel charitable activity through the government, or through churches and other charitable organizations? (It doesn’t take long to learn the answer to this question from either research or Scripture.) Understanding the distinct areas of involvement is key to this and other questions of good citizenship.

    Posted by Jeff | December 1, 2008, 7:34 am
  2. >I’ve been off-line for a while, so I have not been able to keep up with this post, but I was happy that Doug responded. I believe the response does clarify my concerns about the role of church and state in those who are in the emerging church. Doug seems to look “holistically” of the relationship between church and state. Reformed Christians would distinguish between the two more clearly. It seems apropriate this ran during my series on Israel and the Church. If the New Covenant community is completely new and a complete departure from the Old Covenant then much of that makes sense. But if the Old Testament is useful in its harmony with the New, then King Uzziah’s story would still be cautionary. Perhaps then the question would be one of the degree to which the Old Testament is still authoritative and useful. I would encourage Doug to think carefully about being one who handles the sacraments and the reigns of government, just as I think Mike Huckabee should think about giving up his ordination if he decides to run again for office.

    Posted by Jared Nelson | November 29, 2008, 9:05 pm
  3. >Sorry to bump your post there, Jared.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | November 26, 2008, 7:32 am

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