Posted by Gary on November 11, 2005
The recent Supreme Court nominations have renewed in me a concern that I have had for many years, the politicalization of the gospel. Watching this process with an eye for the matters of Christ has led me to wonder what we are really after as the people of God.
I am as concerned about abortion and the Biblical view of marriage as anyone else but I must say, when I step off the whirly-gig of the political sphere and think about Jesus and the gospel and the work of God in men’s souls I wonder what we are accomplishing. I wonder if we realize that for many years now we have been reducing the Christian faith to a political party in the United States.
I am not wiling to blame the press and its portrayal of Christianity here, there is a sense in which the media’s portrayal of us is true, we are I fear far more about the business of politics than we are the matters of the Kingdom of God.
Yes, I know, God’s matters cross the political realm the question is, is the political process the way that we are to be about the matters of Christ? I ask you if you are a Christian to stop for a moment, how do you see the gospel being furthered through the tremendous political effort of Christians?
In particular I wonder how the revelation that Dr. James Dobson was told things he, "probably shouldn’t know" by Karl Rove concerning the nomination of Harriet Meirs helps the cause of the gospel? To me it just declares that there are many well known Christians who have achieved a place of standing in Washington, ok, now what?
Do I want someone who is pro-life to replace Sandra Day O’Conner? Of course I do. But here is the issue, get everything you could imagine you want, nine Justice Scalias, Ronald Reagan back from the dead and in the Oval Office, a super majority in the House and Senate and what will all this mean in the hearts of men? I really believe that for many this has become the goal. While I join my brothers and sisters in Christ in longing to see abortion declared illegal let me remind us that Roe does not have to be overturned to stop women from killing their babies the gospel and only the gospel is going to truly deal with abortion. Murder is in the heart and women who are determined to kill their babies are going to do so.
I think of the early church, consider how little say they had over the government that ruled them and over the laws that were established in the Roman Empire and yet what do we find? The early believers are spoken of this way:
Acts 17:6 "…These men who have upset the world have come here also…"
While reading the book of Philippians the other day I came across this verse:
Philippians 4:22 "All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household."
Saints in Caesar’s household? How do we imagine this happened? Probably by Paul submitting a petition against offering incense to Zeus right? No, Paul tells us how earlier in Philippians:
Philippians 1:12-14 "Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear."
How have we come to think that changing laws (I grant you a wonderful thing in its own right) and getting the steering wheel of the political process is going to result in the advancement of the gospel? I wonder comparatively how much time Christians who went door to door with petitions in recent elections have spent witnessing to their unsaved neighbor? If they had a conversation with their unsaved neighbor would it be about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come:
Acts 24:24-25 "But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you."
Or would it be an attempt to get their neighbor to see the light of Conservative politics? Is it our goal to make men moral or to see them be saved? You would almost think that we have been called to make disciples of Ronald Reagan.
I marvel at how many church goers tell me that they can’t understand the Bible yet seem to very fully understand all the ins and outs of current political battles and strategy. To me it is a sheer matter of time and "where your treasure is there will your heart be also." Many of these people probably spend 3 to 6 hours a day listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and how much time in the Bible in comparison? Bring up taxes or border control and they become red faced and zealous, speak to them about matters of doctrine and they snore. Petitions? Yes! Witnessing? "Um, well…"
Without question the gospel has a tremendous effect on the morals and behavior of individuals and nations, the Great Awakening is a clear proof of this but again, come back to the priority, the method, were Whitefield and Wesley out to change government or convert men?
One last consideration…Our attempt to change the moral climate, how willing do we think the unsaved are to listen to people who are as immoral as most people in churches are today? Do we really think that God will add His power to our calls for people to change while we refuse to repent of our own sin and obey? Who are we kidding? Not the unsaved and not God.
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