TDB researched Chris Luxon’s extreme evangelical faith in 2019. In an age of science-led politics, will New Zealand embrace an extremely religious politician?
Chris Trotter from 2019 …
Chosen to rule? What kind of Christian is Chris Luxon?
CHRIS LUXON has a lot to explain. He has been identified as an evangelical Christian who, if you excuse the religious stereotype, covers a wide variety of sins. So I believe Chris Luxon owes New Zealanders a working definition of evangelical Christianity – and how he wants to practice it.
A private matter? Well, that might be true if Luxon were a person who moves into personal life. Obviously, this is not the case. Luxon has chosen to become an even more public figure than he was as CEO of Air New Zealand. The core motivations of public figures are not to be circumvented, but to be explained, explained and explained.
So what is generally understood by the term Christian evangelism? At its core, evangelism is about actively spreading the teachings of Christ, especially among those who are ignorant of His message. It is therefore of considerable importance for a politician to identify himself as an evangelical Christian.
If such politicians are genuine in their self-characterization, they will use every opportunity that their public office offers to proselytize for their faith. They will also feel obliged to testify against beliefs and practices that they believe are evil. To do everything possible to save the souls of those who are in the grip of sin. Christian evangelism is above all else Believe in deeds.
It is therefore insincere (to say the least) for Luxon to present his evangelical beliefs in a way that matters only to himself and the congregation of the Upper Room Church to which he belongs. The very name of his religious community speaks against this claim.
The “upper room” mentioned in the Gospels is the room into which Jesus and his disciples went on the night of his arrest. In the biblical tradition it is the place of Christ’s last supper. The upper room thus represents the ignition point in the chain of events that led to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It was the first church in Christianity: Ground Zero, if you will, for the universal mission of Jesus. In the Messiah’s own words:
Therefore go and make disciples of all the peoples, baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I will always be with you until the end of the age.
Does that sound like a private matter? Was the Upper Room really nothing more than the place for a catering dinner for Jesus of Nazareth and a few close friends? Is that it?
Obviously not. A non-denominational congregation of believers called The Upper Room Church clearly draws its inspiration from the conviction that, gathered in this famous biblical room, there was a group of people charged with doing nothing less than the salvation of the whole world to back up. Just as clearly but at least some members of the Church – including Luxon? – are intended to ensure the obedience of the nations by using techniques that are very different from the open preaching of the disciples who left the original upper room at Jesus’ side more than 2,000 years ago.
At this point things start to get cloudy. A quick consultation of the Wikipedia entry on evangelism reveals the following strange sentence:
Some Christian traditions consider evangelists to be in a leadership position; they can be found at large gatherings or in leadership roles.
What in the name of all that is good and holy does that mean?
To answer that question, one has to go back to the time and place where groups like The Upper Room emerged – the United States of America in the 1930s.
It was a time of tremendous social and political upheaval in which traditional relationships between the top and bottom of society were challenged in a way that deeply troubled the ruling elites, especially business leaders. The Upper Hall was founded in 1935 with the aim of disseminating biblical verses that emphasize the duty of Christians to obey “the ruling powers” and to avoid rebellion in all its forms.
The following year the family was formed which later became known as “The Family”. Founded in response to the 1936 Seattle General Strike, The Family gathered in a “Christian community” of prominent and powerful politicians, state officials, and business people to restore rule to the pious in the United States – a mission that included: destroying the unnatural ones Instruments of Satan, the trade unions. The family would grow in strength and power, expand its influence through the US capital, attract congressmen, senators – even presidents – to their deeply heretical interpretation of the gospel.
Chris Luxon has to explain that. Is he committed to “Christ’s preferred option for the poor”? And is he spiritually obliged to fulfill Christ’s promise that “the meek will inherit the earth”? Or, like The Family, The Upper Room preaches a gospel of worldly wealth and power in which the mighty reigns by God’s special favor, meaning that all of His true servants are obliged to do everything possible to achieve God’s plans for the people support financially? and does he raise institutions above them?
More specifically, if at some point in time Luxon were to receive an invitation to the National Prayer Breakfast, hosted annually by The Family in Washington DC and attended by all presidents since Dwight Eisenhower (along with a powerful group of foreign potentates, corporations), CEOs and CEOs Lobbyists) will he accept and participate?
Or has he already done that?
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