Politics and Christianity: A View from Oxford

By Dominik Jordan (Virginia)

The focus of the series of lectures by Kevin Bywater, who teaches at the Oxford Study Center in Oxford, England, was to cover a biblical view of politics and to give an understanding of how a Christian should approach politics. Mr. Bywater defined politics as “The study of those living together”. 

Week One

The first week and a half was a dive into the old and new testament to establish thin layers of familiarity with the Mosaic Law, the Old and New Covenant and Paul’s teachings on how Christians were to approach politics and government. The Old Covenant was always intended for the Israelites and only them. The New Covenant began when Jesus died on the cross and released the Jews from the Old Covenant and established the new Covenant for everyone.

Week Two

In the second half of the second week, the conversations shifted to modern politics and our responsibilities as Christians. In a reading assignment given midway through the two weeks, one thing that especially stuck out to me was that not every Christian candidate for public office is the better candidate. However, the most impactful thing to me was what Mr. Bywater said about loving your enemies. I always believed that loving your enemies meant that you needed to care for and want the best for your enemies. However, after a discussion with Mr. Bywater, I learned that it means treating your enemies as another one of God’s creations and that we are called to treat them as humans and not to wish harm upon them.