This was the conclusion of Oxford’s influential economic historian, R. M. Hartwell, in his study of the rise of techno-industrial culture and the growth of the modern State. Understanding this startling conclusion helps explain why we now face one of the most polarized political cultures in recent history. It also sheds light on the dilemmas increasingly faced by believers living in a country so often referred to as “the Christian nation.” The difficult questions include:
- What did Jesus mean when He commissioned the church to be salt and light to the world?
- Do believers today have any real choice but to simply vote for “the lesser of two evils”?
- What does it really mean to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”?
- Since the New Testament seems to specifically endorse political government as being “ordained by God,” should believers seek to hold governmental offices?
- How should we define the parameters of the kingdom of God, a kingdom which Jesus said is “not of this world”?