Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Self-Fulfilling Prophet

Posted by Adam Graham on January 23, 2005

There is much debate in the church about the proper role of Christians in the public square. The answers range from the ultra-pious (don’t even vote) to the most fringe post-millenial viewpoint (“we must enforce old testament law to build God’s Kingdom on Earth.”)

The last viewpoint is held by a small minority. Most people understand that imperfect human beings will not establish God’s kingdom through their own actions. Numerous people have tried throughout history without success. Generally, establishing God’s kingdom through government lasts a generation perhaps less and the creation is quite flawed. Ask Cromwell. Ask the Pilgrims. It doesn’t last and it was never meant to be.

The second idea requires a bit more examination. Ultra-pious non-voters, Christians who are swayed by the “Chuch-State Separation” rhetoric, and those who will vote but believe any other involvement in politics by Christians is sinful or worldly. They will simply declare as that God’s Kingdom cannot be built on Earth through politics and government. They will eschew the concept that government can make men good. Therefore, Christians should have nothing to do with the political process, or they should play a very small role in it. In Evangelical circles, the thought is that Evangelism matters above all else and that political involvement is only a distraction from showing Christ’s love.

The Straw Man of the Pious

Of course, the idea of establishing God’s kingdom on Earth through politics is not the aim of most of us who are actively involved. Rather than deal with the actual reasons or arguments, most prefer to battle convenient straw men or appeal to eschatological authority as an excuse for inactivity.

“His coming is closer today than it has ever been before and the world is only getting worse and worse. We must focus on saving as many souls as possible before the rapture.” has been the cry of many Evangelicals for years in suggesting politics is a waste of time.

Of course, the first statement is absolutely, logically true. Jesus’ second coming is nearly 30 years closer than when Hal Lindsey wrote, “The Late Great Planet Earth”. Of course, The year 2100 is also a lot closer today than it was when Hal Lindsey wrote his literary masterpiece. This is true whenever you’re describing any future event.

The second statement shows a selective view of events in the world. It’s true that secular entertainment is slouching towards the gutter, the gay rights agenda is incredibly pushy, and many mega-churches are producing a McGod that is marketable to the masses rather than true to the scripture. However, on the flip side, abortion and divorce rates are down, millions of highschoolers have taken pledges to remain pure until marriage, the people of states from coast to coast have rejected gay marriage, and we’ve seen the end of communism in much of the world, and segregation at home. Rather than being a world on a consistent downward spiral, it would seem that as we have for the past 6000 years, we’ve been living in a fallen world that has both good and bad in it. If anything, the church is making a self-fulfilling prophecy. It withdraws itself from the affairs of the nation, saying, “Things will only get worse and worse” and lo and behold, as the church fails to be the conscience of the state, the government of America gets worse providing more proof of the impending rapture.

Don’t get me wrong. Evangelism is always important, but Christians must be prepared for more than a rapture. In Scripture, Christ tells us that the servant who will be blessed is the one who is doing what His Lord told him to do when He comes. Nowhere does Christ urge a drastic change in behavior and routine when someone writes a novel suggesting that His return is near. We should do acts of mercy and compassion as we’ve always done, build institutions of learning, and continue all the work the Church is called to do.

This is Part One of a Multi-Part series examining the role of Christians in Politics.


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