Adam’s Blog

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

Where Christians Dare Not Tread

Posted by Adam Graham on February 7, 2005

Most Evangelical pastors proclaim that Christians should be a witness everywhere: on the job, in the grocery store, at the Laundromat, etc.

Indeed, Christians have been encouraged to go into Sports, Acting, and a variety of different activities to be the Salt of the Earth.

In the opinion of most churches there is one area you should stay away from: politics. Politics in the minds of many ministers ranks right up there with prostitution, drug running, and stripping as activities are incompatible with the Christian faith.

God, Inc.

Of course, these people have forgotten quite a bit of scripture, particularly the Old Testament prophets. The books of the Prophets are some of the most political works in scripture, coming down hard on dishonest and oppressive government policies, wicked rulers, and a corrupt establishment.

“…let judgment run down like waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” proclaims Amos (5:24). The scripture is full of admonitions that justice government and a just society are vital to the survival of a people. As Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

Of course, this is blithely dismissed by pious Evangelicals, many of whom hear no messages out of the Old Testament unless the subject is tithing. The Old Testament and all it teaches is thrown out in many churches despite Paul’s injunction that all scripture “is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2. Tim. 3:16)

The God of many Evangelical Churches has drastically changed his personality. God no longer cares if the government is oppressing its citizens, destroying innocent life, and bulldozing the moral basis of society. God only cares about souls. Many churches claim that we’re in the Army of the Lord, but they believe they’re in God’s corporation. They believe, God is only concerned about the bottom line and the bottom line is souls.

The Missing Witness

The problem is that this doesn’t align with who God has revealed himself to be through His Word, nor is it the way that the church has historically functioned.

The idea that a church should care nothing for its community and its nation, only for gaining members is itself a negative witness.

The Christians of old make a difference when they had the ability to doso. Basil of Caesarea used his connections to lobby the Emperor to ban abortion in the 4th Century. Tetramachus died trying to end the inhumane practice of gladiator games.

William Wilberforce and his Clapham sect abolished the slave trade, improved conditions of prisons, schools, and society in general in the 19th century.

When one wonders what has gone wrong with American society, the answer is clear. Unlike Christians throughout the ages, modern Evangelicals have lost their prophetic voice. Most churches will not even encourage Christians to vote and in many cases, attempts to become involved in “political” issues will earn rebukes from their pastors.

For instance, in the 1990s, my family was protesting outside an abortion clinic and ladies from a Fundamental Baptist Church protested with us one hour per week until admonished by their assistant pastor for “leaving their first love”.

Yet, because of the lack of Christian involvement in the political sphere, the leadership of our nation is made up mostly of people in one of two categories. There are those who are radically pro-abortion and rabidly in favor of cultural destruction and those who are on our side but with quite a bit of ambivalence as their primary concern is their own re-election, not the issues of moral concern.

Christians need to have the Spirit of John the Baptist in this hour, to speak truth to power. As Martin Luther King, Jr. observed, the church should not be either the servant or master of the State, but rather the “conscience of the state”.

A person without a conscience will wantonly take for itself, destroying the lives of those around them with their unchecked selfishness. A state without a conscience is the same way, it will consolidate power for government officials, plant the seeds of economic and moral destruction to pay off special interests, and ignore what is best for the people.

It is not enough to vote. It falls on Christians to be unafraid to enter the political arena as activists and candidates and it also falls on their pastors to support them and lift them up in prayer, not castigate them for trying to be a witness in the one place the Evangelical church is afraid to go.

This is Part 2 in a Series of Articles on Christian Involvement in Politics.

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