Along with most of my friends, I believe that America has reached an all time low in the way of moral decline and spiritual discernment. While we are going about doing ministry in and through the church, it seems that the coverage and the most tangible impact in those areas that distress us the most and stem the flood from a stinking cesspool are those who organize in patriotic meetings and political protests. What should Christians do to help halt the advancement of this world's agenda against God? Many believe that the best solutions rest in political activism, boycotts, and public meetings.
As I look on at this as an American citizen, I understand their rationale. I sympathize with their feelings. Evil is disfiguring our society. All Christians should oppose the policies that drive the destructive trends. I'm on the side of those in opposition to the government that voice out their objections to corrupt government positions. I have strong opinions about how our government should operate, I think I'm right, and I believe I can prove it through scripture and history. From teaching American Government, I know the constitution better than most.
The question I ask is not what position should I take or who do I support. The question is: "Is this how a church and church leadership should be investing its energies?" I've taught history for 20 years. I am able to influence students in a scriptural view of the world about 200 days a year in our school. I want them to know how to vote and what it is that a citizen of this country should do to influence his government. I think every American citizen should know these things. But should a church leadership be using its time to sway American voters and organize conservatives to support conservative issues? I'm asking just so that we would think about it.
I believe that for us it is a matter of first diagnosing the problem. I believe that the biggest problem we have is not with the world. It is with professing Christians. That's why I write very little about government on this blog. I believe that the unscriptural beliefs and practices of churches are what hurts this country the most. I do believe that 2 Chronicles 7:14 does apply here, that is, that it is God's people that need to humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. God didn't ask how many unrighteous there were in Sodom and Gomorrha, but how many righteous were there.
The religious right in Jesus' day were the Pharisees. They were also His biggest enemies. Don't get me wrong. I believe Jesus would be a conservative today. However, I don't think He or the Apostle Paul would be having anything to do with political rallies and organizing opposition to government policy. And yes, I've read Anita Dunn's Mao's-my-favorite-philosopher-speech. I know who President Obama has in his administration. No, I don't like it. But we don't have to guess what Jesus would do. We know what He did and that's what we're supposed to do. He and Paul had much greater difficulties with their government than we.
There are some temporal, superficial benefits to using the democratic process to oppose immoral practices. I often point to John Leland's heroic organization of Virginia's Baptist pastors for the inclusion of freedom of religion in the bill of rights. I would have had a lot in common with those Baptists. This, however, cannot become the church's main strategy for influencing a nation. And I do believe times have changed. There were enough good churches to affect the Constitution of the United States without having to compromise what those men believed about the Bible. I don't want anything to do with most people in the moral majority.
I'm afraid that the political issue has become a bit of a fake issue with many. It replaces the real issue. It's not hard to talk about what bothers you about the national debt or uncontrolled spending or government control of the healthcare industry or homosexual marriage. What about the issue of our own lack of devotion to God? What about our relative disinterest in spiritual things? What about our seeming indifference about the eternal destiny of our fellow man? You might seem like you care about morality when you're fired up about coddling terrorists, but you really are straining at a gnat in this instance. That's when we might say that we've gone from preachin' to meddlin'.
Our best weapon is still evangelism. Our best work is still preaching. The Bible is a spiritual weapon, powerful to the pulling down of strongholds in people's minds. Moral and legislative efforts that leave people in unbelief cause almost no eternal good. I'm afraid in the process that we could cause others to look to the wisdom of men for a solution at the loss of the glory of God.
I'm certainly open to correction on this.