I have long admired the work of the Center for Public Justice, and their new manifesto about sums up why:
First, the kingship of Christ moderates any pretensions to royal earthly authority. This matters because in the old covenant with Israel it was the duty and obligation of David’s royal lineage to ensure proper worship, to root out disbelief and disobedience to God’s Law, to “cut down the Asherah poles” and “put to death the priests of Baal.” This judgment still rests with the office of King David, but the new King, Jesus Christ, does not empower his regents and stewards to exercise judgment which only rightly belongs to him. Only Christ calls people to himself. Only Jesus turns hearts to obedience, and no mere earthly steward possesses either the authority nor the sovereignty over the human heart to turn it one inch toward Christ. While the primary effect of sin, religious or directional pluralism, persists human politics is not possessed with the right to resolve this. That right belongs to a day and a King who waits.
Second, the kingship of Christ opens up the fullness of creation’s cultural pluralism. The holiness of God and his judgment on sin, poured out in the person of Jesus, meant that the fulness of the races, cultures, and peoples could never be brought into the Kingdom of God until Christ’s resurrected reign. In the Old Testament we read of antecedents of Christ’s coming, cosmopolitan kingship, in people like Rabah and Ruth, but they are grafted into Israel. Christ the King, instead, calls all cultures and peoples into himself and his Kingdom, as they are, what Bob Goudzwaard calls the first truly catholic globalization, the Church. Where circumcision brought people and culture into conformity with Israel, baptism removes not one single cultural manifestation that cannot be reclaimed and repurposed toward the kingdom of God. Moabites come as Moabites into God’s kingdom, Hittites as Hittites, and – yes – even the Dutch as Dutchmen. Christ’s kingship opens up cultural pluralism, the lost treasures of creation, brought back and restored to our political and social life by the work of Jesus. Salvation and relationship with God is no longer exclusive to the Jews.
Finally, God’s design is radically revealed in the person of Christ as all nations are brought into the work of unfolding culture, politics, and the structures of creation. Structural pluralism, the dynamic, immediate authority that God grants to all the spheres of human life, is a root and ground for political life. Each created sphere of life with its own internal norms and laws is ruled by Christ directly (sometimes called sphere sovereignty), not with priestly intermediaries and not with fear of wrath, but with direct access to the throne and with faith and hope, because of the finished work of Jesus. The first word of this new politics is that of the angels in Bethlehem, “Be not afraid” and its last is that of the triumphant Christ in Revelation, “Behold, I am making all things new.”