Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, has warned that Christians are letting themselves be sucked into society's ongoing demonizing and mocking of groups.
"We live in a world fragmented into various 'media bubbles,' in which you hear only news that confirms what you already believe. Anyone whose uses the internet and social media or who even watches most news channels today is being daily encouraged in a dozen ways to become like Jonah with regard to 'those people over there,'" Keller wrote on Twitter Wednesday, referring to the biblical figure.
"Groups demonize and mock other groups. Each region of the country and political party finds reasons to despise the others. Christian believers today are being sucked into this maelstrom as much as, if not more than, anyone else," he added.
"The book of Jonah is a shot across the bow. God asks, how can we look at anyone — even those with deeply opposing beliefs and practices — with no compassion?" he positioned.
Keller linked to his new book, The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God's Mercy, which he said touches upon the divisions in society by exploring the biblical tale.
In further tweets last week, the pastor said that years ago when he was preaching on Jonah, a listener explained his displeasure with him.
"He did not feel I should have criticized Jonah. 'Jonah was just being a good patriot,' he told me. 'We should all be patriots,'" Keller revealed.
"I answered him that while love of country and your people is a good thing, like any other love, it can become inordinate. If love for your country's interests leads you to exploit people, or in this case, to root for an entire class of people to be spiritually lost, then you love your nation more than God," he added.
"That is idolatry by any definition."
The best-selling author has been vocal about the importance of Christians resisting the polarization of American society, even as it continues to become more and more fragmented.
In an op-ed for The New York Times at the end of September, he argued that historical Christian positions on controversial social issues do not align with the Republican-Democrat two-party system.
"For example, following both the Bible and the early Church, Christians should be committed to racial justice and the poor, but also to the understanding that sex is only for marriage and for nurturing family," Keller offered.
"One of those views seems liberal and the other looks oppressively conservative. The historical Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments."
In another statement in 2016 before the general election, he argued that Christian identity should come before politics.
"We might start getting divided politically instead of remembering that you're Christian first and you're white, black, Asian, Hispanic, second. You're a Christian first and you're American, or you're British and you're African second," he warned.
Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, positioned in response to Keller that some might be called to serve God in politically partisan endeavors, however.
"Intense or professional political activism is a special calling likely for very few Christians, as no doubt Keller would agree," Tooley noted.