As believers in Christ, what is our calling? Jesse Phillips is asking a pointed question on the Catablog.
here is the issue and the question:
Some evangelicals believe it’s our duty to fight for righteousness in our nation, creating laws to help non-Christians follow God’s law. Other evangelicals believe that trying to restrain non-Christians or imposing our morals on them will push them further away from salvation.
What do you think?
Go read the rest of Jesse’s post and watch the video he has embedded therein. Here is the comment that I made there:
Excellent question, Jesse. I think the answer is yes. But that the way we fight the nation’s cultural problems is one heart at a time in our churches, neighborhoods and workplaces. The culture and laws have to follow as a result of people coming to Christ and allowing themselves to be changed into proper reflections of God’s glory. 2 Cor. 3:18.
If we go into the world and make disciples teaching them everything that Jesus commanded, then our world will be changed.
The key is making disciples. As an example, if the entire church that already claims to follow Christ would stop paying for pornography, then that industry’s bottom line would be severely adversely impacted.
Comment by Keith Ingram – Aug 06, 2008 @ 07:44 AM
what do you think?
The conversation continues. here is a comment by Ross Middleton to Jesse’s question and the response that I posted over there:
Here goes. I am familiar with Lou Engle and The Call and have been for a long time. A good number of people from my church went to the Nashville Call last summer and are going this summer to DC. On the issue of “purifying the culture” its a good question and an interesting way to put it.
My first answer and argument is we already do. We outlaw murder, hate crimes, racism, theft, etc. Those are all biblical commands that I’m sure we would all agree on. The issues listed in the blog were abortion, pornography and gay marriage. Here is the way I see it. There are two things happening at the same time with issues. There is a natural effect and a spiritual effect. If we outlaw abortion (which is my conviction) will abortion in America completely stop? No. there will still be back alley abortions all over the place. But I would say that I am sure we would save millions of lives. If we outlaw homosexual marriage (which is also my conviction), is that going to stop people from living homosexual lifestyles? No. If we outlawed pornography (I’ve never actually thought about that one) would it stop porn from being made? No. So I think some people could look and say why would we do any of it? I think that’s the wrong question/answer. Here’s why.
First of all, as a Christian I believe we have to stand up for injustice, we can go to other countries and its ok to talk about the Sudan or Sierra Leone and see people get killed and all agree thats wrong. But if its in the womb, somehow we feel as if we cannot speak about it. I believe it is a huge injustice and atrocity. Over 50 million babies have been aborted in our nations history. Its our job to say something about that. Secondly, my tax dollars are helping to pay for abortions because the gov. gives money to Planned Parenthood and organizations like it that abort babies. At some level the blood is on my hands also. On a very practical level, thirdly, I also have to pay for it with insurance premiums. Some insurance companies will help pay for your abortion, guess who helps pay for that, we do.
On the homosexuality issue, its the same thing. When we legalize things like that, first of all our government is saying that they have more moral authority than the Bible. When an organization or person moves outside of the delegated authority that God has given them, they instantly lose their authority, that is why its ok sometimes to rebel against corrupt governments. That is how America was born. When the government legalizes things like homosexual marriage, private companies can then be forced by law to cover someone’s homosexual partner with AIDS. how did they get AIDS? By living a homosexual lifestyle.
Lastly, there is a spiritual side of things that never gets brought up in situations like this. Without writing a book on this response, I believe America is at a place where we need all the mercy from God we can get. I believe that there are spiritual consequences for these things. If our government continues to allow abortion & homosexuality, because God has placed then in authority over us, I believe that God will judge our nation at some level based on the laws that are passed. We see it all over scripture, God judging nations, (Sodom & Gomorra) God wiping out other nations that were ungodly. God killing leaders who were ungodly. Now I know that the gov. is by no means solely responsible for this but I do think it makes a difference. I think in Proverbs it says, when the righteous rule, the people rejoice. Study scripture, if there is anything God does not tolerate it is the shedding of innocent blood. Look at Cain and Abel, read through the OT, he hates it and judges nations because of it. I believe the Civil War was part of God’s judgement on our nation for slavery. Biblically, its in Deut. somewhere, I can’t remember but the only answer for the unjust shedding of blood is blood being shed. Now I know people will say well thats what Jesus did on the cross. I agree……but, look at the civil war and tens of thousands of lives that are lost when innocent blood is shed in these other nations. My point is regardless of the covenant we are under its still a scriptural principle.
What Lou Engle is doing in my opinion, is crucial for our nation. Basically, what it is, is a huge prayer meeting, we need to cry out to God for his mercy. Its not an either/or but a both/and situation. We don’t totally ignore politics, that’s not biblical, God calls us to engage the culture. But we don’t put our trust in politics. At the end of the day the local church is the hope of the nation and the world.
To an early commenter, when you study the constitution there is no separation between church and state ever mentioned in the constitution. That phrase was found in a letter Thomas Jefferson (the deist) wrote to a particular Christian denomination saying that they were not going to endorse or make one “Christian denomination” the official one as a state. When you study American history, the buildings in DC used to be used for church services, like the Senate and House chambers. That concept of separation is a result of revisionist history in America. I’m not saying they need to be the same or I’m for some theocracy I’m just saying thats inaccurate history.
In conclusion, yes I do think we should pray and seek out the ending of abortion in America legally. Yes I think we should outlaw homosexual marriage. and I do agree with Read Scott where there is sin and lawlessness, more laws are needed. That is a deeply scriptural principle. Do I think it will fix all our problems? No. Is Jesus the ultimate answer? Yes. Should the church pull out of culture? No. I think we should speak up and address cultural problems? Should we be the tool of the Republican party? No. Should we put our trust in politics or politicians for the advancement of the kingdom in America? Heck no. That are role, but I don’t think we should ignore it either. I’ll shut up now.
Comment by Ross Middleton – Aug 06, 2008 @ 12:00 PM
Well said. The only issue I have with what you wrote is making sure that the main thing stays the main thing. The older I get and the more I see, the more I am convinced that our enemy’s best tool is distraction. He distracts christians with busyness with “the good” in order to keep us from being effective at “the best”. “taking back America” is not the main thing.
Saving unborn children is a wonderful thing. What is the best way to do that? Getting a fifth judge on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade? That won’t stop abortion. That will just move the fight to state legislatures. If we then succeed in getting laws restricting abortion passed in 35 or so states, then you are correct that the number of abortions will decrease. That is a very good thing. But would that time and effort have been better spent working with our kids to teach them that God’s way of sexuality is different than the world’s and that God’s way is for their good and for their benefit?
Paul said that since we know what it is to fear God we persuade others. 2 Cor. 5:11. He then begins his discussion of our being new creatures in Christ reconciled to God through Christ. We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. We are His ambassadors in this world with His message on our lips. 2 Cor. 5:17-21. Paul wasn’t trying to persuade the Roman government to outlaw baby girl abandonment. As worthy and important a goal as that would have been, the goal of Paul’s persuasion effort was much more fundamental and important. “We implore you through Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20.
My point is that we live in a wonderful country with a wonderful opportunity to have an influence on the laws by which we are governed. I agree with you that we should use that opportunity to push for laws that can teach the culture what morality is. However, we must constantly be on guard against the temptation to spend our resources of time, talent, and treasure on the good to the exclusion of the best.
The best and highest task we have is to be ambassadors for Christ entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.
Peter said that the end of all things is near, therefore let us love one another earnestly, keep our minds clear and use the gifts God has given us as good stewards of God’s manifold grace. I Peter 4:7-11. Good stewards speak as though they are speaking the oracles of God and serve in the strength that God provides in order that “in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” I Peter 4:10-11.
Comment by Keith Ingram – Aug 06, 2008 @ 12:51 PM
Filed under: church, culture | Tagged: church, culture, disciples, laws, missions | 2 Comments »