The conservative evangelical political position in America is basically this:
We have our Constitution -- created by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.
But it will never work.
The Deist-created, Enlightenment-influenced wineskin of modern liberal democracy can never contain the powerful wine of the kingdom gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the end one will ruin the other; both will ruin one another.
We cannot form a modern nation-state around the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus' gospel of the kingdom. The two agendas are incompatible.
Only the new wineskin of the church (as a radical alternative community) is capable of containing and communicating the powerful wine of Jesus' gospel.
The agenda of the "Religious Right" (or the "Religious Left" for that matter) amounts to pouring new wine into old wineskins.
I think I'm right about this.
But what about leaven and dough?
Somehow I think there is a subtle, but essential distinction.
Yes, we exist within the wider culture as a "leavening" influence.
But we are under no illusion that the political structures of this age can be a faithful expression of the kingdom of Christ.
The role of leaven in the dough is to make it rise; to transform it.
This is what we can do (to a limited extent) within the wider society.
But the role of leaven in dough is different than wine in a wineskin.
The function of a wineskin is to contain, preserve, transport and administer wine.
This is something the political state can never do.
Our understanding of the complicated relationship of the church to the political state should not only be informed by the parable of leaven and dough, it should also be informed by the parable of wine and wineskins.
Bottom line: The constitutional democracies of modern nation-states is an inadequate wineskin for the gospel of Jesus Christ.