TDB looked at Chris Luxon’s extreme evangelical faith in 2019. In an age of science at the forefront of politics, will New Zealand embrace an extreme religious politician?
Chris Trotter from 2019 …
Chosen to rule? What kind of Christian is Chris Luxon?
CHRIS LUXON has some explanations to give. He has been identified as an evangelical Christian, which, if you will allow me the religious cliché, covers up a multitude of sins. That’s why I think Chris Luxon owes New Zealanders a working definition of evangelical Christianity – and how he intends to practice it.
A private matter? Well, that could be true if Luxon were a private person. It is clear, however, that this is not the case. Luxon has chosen to become an even more public person than he was as CEO of Air New Zealand. The fundamental motivations of public figures are not subjects to be avoided, they are subjects to be explained, elucidated and explained.
So what do we generally understand by the term Christian evangelization? Fundamentally, evangelism is about the active dissemination of the teachings of Christ – especially among those who ignore his message. For a politician, identifying himself as an evangelical Christian is therefore a question of considerable importance.
If such politicians are sincere in their self-characterization, then they will seize every opportunity offered by their public service to proselytize in the name of their faith. They will also feel compelled to testify against beliefs and practices that they deem to be wrong. Do all they can to save the souls of those who are gripped by sin. Christian evangelization is above all faith in action.
It is therefore fallacious (to put it mildly) for Luxon to present his evangelical convictions as having nothing to do except with himself and the congregation of the upper house church to which he belongs. The very name of his denominational community is opposed to this assertion.
The “upper room” mentioned in the Gospels is the room in which Jesus and his disciples went on the night of his arrest. In the biblical tradition, it is the place of the Last Supper of Christ. The Cenacle thus represents the point of ignition of the chain of events which led to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It was the first church of Christianity: Ground Zero, if you will, for the universal mission of Jesus. In the Messiah’s own words:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, until the end of the age.
Does this sound like a private matter? Was the Cenacle really nothing more than the place of a catered meal for Jesus of Nazareth and a few close friends? Is that right?
Obviously not. A non-denominational congregation of believers calling themselves The Upper Room Church is clearly inspired by the belief that, gathered in this famous biblical space, was a group of human beings charged with ensuring nothing less than the salvation of the whole world. . Just as clearly, however, at least some of the church members – including Luxon? – are supposed to ensure the obedience of the nations using techniques very different from the open preaching of the disciples who left this original Upper Room alongside Jesus more than 2000 years ago.
This is when things start to get murky. A quick look at the Wikipedia entry on evangelism reveals the following curious phrase:
Some Christian traditions consider evangelists to be in a leadership position; they can be found preaching at large meetings or in governance roles.
What does this mean in the name of all that is good and holy?
To answer this question, it is necessary to go back to the time and place where bands like The Upper Room were born – the United States of America in the 1930s.
It was a time of enormous social and political upheaval, in which the traditional relationships between those at the top of society and those at its base were called into question in a way that made the ruling elites, the chiefs company in particular, deeply uncomfortable. The Cenacle was founded in 1935 with the aim of disseminating biblical verses stressing the duty of Christians to obey the “powers that be” and to avoid rebellion in all its forms.
The following year saw the formation of what would come to be known as “The Family”. Established in response to the Seattle General Strike of 1936, the family came together in a “Christian Brotherhood” of prominent and powerful politicians, state officials and businessmen, with the goal of restoring the dominance of the stakes across the United States – a mission that included the destruction of those unnatural instruments of Satan, the Unions. The family would grow in strength and power, expanding its tendrils of influence across the U.S. capital, drawing members of Congress, senators – even presidents – to its deeply heretical interpretation of the gospel.
This is what Chris Luxon has to explain. Does he subscribe to Christ’s “preferential option for the poor”? And, is he spiritually committed to fulfilling Christ’s promise that “the meek ones shall inherit the earth”? Or does the Upper Room, like the Family, preach a gospel of wealth and worldly power, in which the Almighty reigns by the special favor of God, which means that all his true servants are bound to do all they can to advance God’s plans for the men and the institutions he raises above them?
Specifically, if Luxon were to, at some future date, receive an invitation to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, held annually in Washington DC by The Family, and attended by all presidents since Dwight Eisenhower (as well as a host of foreign potentates, corporate CEOs and lobbyists) will he accept and participate?
Or, has he already done it?
Does he have?
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