In the article “The Third Way is Dead. Long Live the Third Way!” TGC C author Chris Watkin seeks to deconstruct bad versions of “the third way” while promulgating a better understanding of it. In particular, he tries to defend Tim Keller of all the nastiness and criticism he’s been getting these last few days over his instance that voting for the abortion-loving Democrat is not problematic in the least.
Taking it one step further, Watkin suggests that given that no political party is perfect- each will have bad things about it, there is nothing wrong with either voting for or campaigning for either party, so long as you call out bad beliefs. This is similar to something David Platt also once said, when he told his congregation If You Can’t Live with Other Members Voting and Campaigning for Democrats, You Should Leave.
Theological engagement asks questions like: how does the complex truth of the Bible, with its overarching story of creation, fall, redemption, consummation, and with all its details and nuances, relate to the categories and structures of modern ontology, epistemology and politics? Political reality deals with questions like: who I should vote for at the next election.
If I begin by thinking things through theologically, I will see that no political party perfectly mirrors a full-orbed biblical view of God, humanity, society and the world. I may still vote for—even campaign for—one party, but my political vision and vocabulary will not become subsumed under that party’s agenda, nor will I stop pointing out when it takes positions that are contrary to the Scriptures. Insisting on the Bible as a third way does not stop me from being politically passionate; it stops me from becoming a political poodle.
Of course, this ignores the question of “how bad does a party have to be where openly campaigning for them is objectively theologically intolerable?” After all, one party openly sanctions the murder of a million babies a year.
How much worse can it get than that?