The talk of a new Christian party has caused a little excitement this week, much of it coming from quarters who treat Christianity with suspicion and sometimes outright derision and a thinly veiled hostility.
I have always felt a trifle uneasy with the concept of Christian parties contesting worldly politics.
And as this new party self destructs before it is even born the reasons for that ambivalence becomes ever more clear.
Christ established his Church on earth to bring men to salvation, not to worry over earthly cares such as dealing with EU butter subsidies and the setting of ACC levies. Such things are important in a temporal sense perhaps, but are quite banal in the grand scheme of things.
But in dealing with matters of worldly concern, politicians will raise the ire of those disadvantaged by their policies. And politicians who claim they are working in the name of Christ, will by the very nature of things alienate others from Christ and his Church.
That is not to say that Christians should not be involved in politics, far from it. It surely would be a good thing to have leaders whose world view and outlook is formed by the Church and who look to God and the scriptures for guidance in managing the day to day affairs of the nation. And to do so in humility and full awareness of their own human failings and limitations.
The Church was sent to the world to change the hearts of men to the Glory of God, not to manage the affairs of the nation. If her focus is on the former, the later will improve to the benefit of all.
The meltdown of this new "Christian" party illustrates to the skeptic only too clearly the disputes within the Church. And to the believer on how worldly concerns weaken the very institution that should be guiding people toward their salvation.
The world within the Church.
From the earliest disputes have racked the Church on Earth established by Christ. We see the harm this has done as Christians are divided from one another and people distracted from their true purpose in life.
Thus we know why these issues arise in the first place and from whence they really come.
In each age the nature of the divisive controversy differs as Satan devises new strategies to set people against one another and lead them away from God and their salvation.
And we all know what it is that is further dividing the Church today.
It is churches reinventing themselves to accommodate the earthly passions of current fashion.
It is our struggle to deal with this in a way that Glorifies God and shows forth his light.